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Computer manufacturers are fairly equal, but what about their customer service?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / February 17, 2012 8:00 AM PST
Question: Computer manufacturers are fairly equal, but what about their customer service?

Hi members, I typically think most computers are fairly equal, but I
am not too sure about the customer service offered by each

With the complexity of the operating systems and the interface between
the operating system and the computer and other programs, I am forced
to use customer service more than I would like. Therefore this makes
choosing a computer more difficult when I have to factor in customer
service. I know there will be many different opinions from each of you,
but given your honest experiences, I'm hoping I can get a better sense
of who comes out overall on top. Your shared experience is appreciated.

- Submitted by Carroll W. of Lake Forest, Calif.

(Note to members: What Carroll has asked is for you to share your experiences on customer service from the manufactures you have dealt with in order to make a sound buying decision. However, this discussion thread is by no means a ticket for you to go all out and negatively bash or vent your frustrations, or start a thread campaign for class action lawsuits against manufacturers. Please keep this discussion civil and helpful. And if you can't offer constructive advice, then please just step away from the keyboard.Thank you!)
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HP failed me completely. Destroying my laptop and more.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 17, 2012 8:51 AM PST

Just a few months old I tripped over a bug in the laptop and after over 8 hours on support calls HP agreed it was broken. The box arrived and I sent it off. A week later the laptop came back but would lock up in minutes.

Back on the phone and HP's support said "Sorry but we've done all we can." I called in many times and fortunately for me my office had already supplied me another laptop so it sat there with me calling and filling in response forms for months.

After 6 months of that I disposed of the laptop because it was clear to me that HP had written me off and I have done the same to HP.

Another 3 months later and some "social rep" of HP heard about my story and offered to make good but could not because the laptop is no more.

Would you keep a dead laptop around? I don't and see no reason to deal with this company again.

There are stories about companies walking out on the customers and my advice is tell your story and learn from the experience.

--> Another lesson I learned from this problem is that HP buys almost everything to make their laptops. If you discover a design flaw, HP at this time appears to be unable to correct the flaw. In my case it was a BIOS flaw. It's a well known one (once you learn about it) and to this day HP has not responded that they corrected the flaw.

What more did HP destroy? My faith in their products and service.

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HP/Compaq has terrible supoort
by FlightRiskAK / February 24, 2012 1:24 PM PST

I had the same problem with HP. I had "free" tech support for 1 year but only if I used the module on the computer to "chat" with them. If I had to call I had to pay for the long distance call and enormous amount of time it took to take me through the same steps they have already taken me through. I had a Pavilion and it frequently booted to the blue screen of death. That makes it impossible to use the module on the computer when it won't even boot. It had so many issues. Tech support constantly blamed software I had installed as the problem saying it wan not compatible with the OS. Yes, they even said Microsoft put out software that was not compatible with their own OS, even though the package said it was. I emailed them with detailed emails of what I had done so far and what they had asked me to do. Their response was to do the same exact steps. I don't think they even read my email. After my year of free support ended and I still had mountains of problems with this computer, I ended up replacing it. I swore never to buy HP (or Compaq, which was now owned by HP). I was later notified that my computer was one of a large class action lawsuit against HP for faulty motherboards. They knew all along that was the problem but blamed everything else but themselves. I won't buy anything that says HP on it and if I see someone in a store studying an HP product I have no problems sharing my story. I still have the emails but the computer is long since dead and gone. I'm somewhat of a tech geek and have devices made by all sorts of companies and never run into this poor of support from anyone else.

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To clarify
by FlightRiskAK / February 25, 2012 2:09 AM PST

I am not suggesting that anyone start a class action suit. I am saying that I was notified that my computer was part of one. By joining in, the final judgement was a $25.00 discount on another HP purchase. I also at one time had an HP officejet all in one printer. It too was poorly made and nothing but trouble. No HP is worth the headaches I put up with.

I currently own a Gateway laptop and a Gateway desktop. I've never had any trouble with either so I couldn't say how tech support is since I've never needed them. I have a Dell laptop. Never needed support so I have no stories to tell there either. It is an old laptop but still works like a charm. The OS was wiped and Linux put on it and it works great. I have a Toshiba laptop that is dead (hard drive failed long after the warrantee expired). While it was working, it worked great and no calls to tech support were needed. I have a monochrome laptop by Bell-older than dirt with Windows 3.1 on it. Works just fine other than the battery not charging any long. No support calls needed. I have another old laptop with Windows 95 on it. I can't recall who made it, it was an off brand. It STILL works great. I'm very familiar with computers and if these old models can still plug away and work like a charm that says a lot. Not having to call tech support because the equipment is good is even better. What speaks volumes on this forum is the common offenders. When people have bad experiences that are not addressed by the manufacturer, they can expect those people to speak up. It is well known in the business community that if a person has a bad experience they will tell 10 people but if they have a good experience they will only tell one person. It is my opinion that HP and Dell make tons of money off of business and corporate contracts so the little guy who is the consumer is relatively meaningless to them. That is just food for thought.

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Yep! Class action...
by JCitizen / February 25, 2012 5:26 AM PST
In reply to: To clarify

on Elite series of HP Pavilion desktop PCs. I saw an article on an ex lawyer who got over $800 dollars in small claims court over the same thing. Class actions only make money for rich lawyers. Probably didn't even punish HP enough!

I've torn my hair out for three years with mine; and if but only for the fact I am a technician, I would never have come to the bottom of the problem with this series of junk PCs! It is now a pretty good computer after about six or seven .NET updates over the years.

Don't dare use HP drivers for x64 systems - only Microsoft codes them correctly. I replaced all of mine with Windows drivers and am finally getting a functional PC. This is the exact opposite of the past with most XP designed computers. I include XP 64 bit (based on 2003 Server kernel) in that statement.

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Dell problems
by Chalfontlad / February 26, 2012 7:14 PM PST
In reply to: To clarify

A few years ago I was standing on a train station and 2 men in front of me were discussing the rollout of new machines in their individual companies. One guy asked the other if they were going to use the latest Dell equipment and the reply was astonishing -
" No , Dell will not let us have the latest equipment. They said they don't roll it out to corporates until it has been tested through the general public and all the faults fixed. They don't want to be sued etc by corporates for supplying sub-standard or faulty equipment!"
Being an IT manager thay really pricked up my ears - and put me off Dell equipment for business and personal use for a long time.

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Recent unbelivable Dell experience
by mfm99 / February 27, 2012 1:20 PM PST
In reply to: Dell problems

Just the facts, ma'm , not venting anymore:

I spent about the last 2 1/2 months, and by my rough count, some 60 hours of phone time having warranty support work done on my Dell. It's about 2.5 yrs. old. A technician came to my house, replaced the hard drive three times, the motherboard three times, the power supply once, and the front USB panel once. Had I known, I would've quit much sooner. It was excruciating.

FYI, Dell's current policy 2/12 is that if the technician is sent out a fourth time, they just send a new comparable machine.

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I believe it...
by JCitizen / March 15, 2012 10:06 AM PDT

I've got a client's machine just out of warranty that is newer, and we are trying everything to get that thing stable; no luck so far, but I notice the more x64 updates we get for Win7 the better and longer it lasts. I think it is a Dell driver issue myself, but Microsoft doesn't offer any of their own, or we would try them.

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hp laptop sudden dead
by mokibaby / February 26, 2012 9:21 PM PST

My experience with HP was a bit on the scary side.... the machine was working good and it was shut down properly.... then, the next day - sudden death! It will not come on any more - the motherboard died peacefully after the last shut down... it was a good thing I have backup all my files (learn from a virus experience Happy
I called HP (now this is a 3 months old machine) and nothing can be done on it.... I was write off too I guess...
So far, I have own my share of computers & laptop from HP, Dell, Toshiba, Compaq and Acer

Out of all, Toshiba last the longest (my first Toshiba last 11 years, run on 256 MB, win 95 then) and it lives for 11 years (org. battery and charger were still good when then board died!)
When you have a good machine, you don't need any customer service, the machine 'self-serve'

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I agree. HP is the worst.
by jaiminita / March 2, 2012 2:09 AM PST

I had a similar experience from HP. After reporting an issue HP sent me the laptop 'duly' fixed, but the same issue was still there. When it was reported again, by this time its warranty was lapsed.

Then they charged $260. to fix the same. The laptop went dead within 1 week of 3 months warranty on their fix. They refused to entertain and tried to fix the laptop again at a discounted price of $260... I wrote off that laptop and HP too.

Unlike Bob, I still have that laptop lying at home. I have purchased 4 new laptops in last 2 years and none were HP. I have also convinced each and everyone of my colleagues to 'never buy an HP product again'. At least 4 of my friends bought laptops in last 1 year - and none were HP thanks to HP messing up on their promise.

I understand that DELL treats its customers in a similar fashion. I had one purchased 5 years ago for my family members and when the keyboard gave error, it was just 10 days over the guarantee. I stopped using Dell except for the professional one supplied by my office. That machine too has a lot to be desired in terms of quality.

We also have a couple of Apples but we never had any need for customer support. Exceptional general quality of their hardware.

Compared to that I have had Impeccable responses from Lenovo even in cases where the errors were on my side for after sales service. The quality of product is way better than others.

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Not just HP Forget Dell too
by SUPERBWON / February 24, 2012 1:37 PM PST

We just junked a 4yr old Dell that was my ex-wifes, only used a couple times a week. Hard drive went out like everyone here says thier Dell done...They are junk!
My friend and my brother got around 3 yrs light use on thier HP's. I went to buy a top line HP desk top in 2006 because I'm on it alot. A whole lot since I'm disabled! The salesman told me to buy the cheapest desktop they had because it was better. He was commission too, just honest and knew his business.
The cheapest one I never heard of though. It was a company I never heard of called Lenovo. He said they were IBM's. That name I heard of for sure. I bought the cheapest Lenovo made. Im on it 12-16 hrs a day every day and its never had an issue. Not one issue..I'll buy these all day long! Who needs customer service when they work?
I've seen 2 high end dells and 2 HP's and 1 E-machine {for what its worth} all newer than my Lenovo bite it,I'll buy another Lenovo today if it goes,the cheapest one they have!
Just my 2 cents...

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Another HP owner
by chipw6 / February 24, 2012 5:10 PM PST

I'll put my response here because I own an HP also.
I've been very satisfied with the quality of my 6-yesr-old HP computer.. If computer manufacturers are fairly equal this doesn't count for much, but I question how true that is.
Technical support is available through online chats (and other means too I think). The quality is so-so but I don't expect a lot - tech wizzes aren't likely to occupy those jobs. Still it's a place to start and I did get some answers.
But HP and I got off to a bad start, and I'm happy to complain about that.
Initially I intended to upgrade the software on my old Compaq - from Windows 98 to XP. I placed the order then, while on the phone with the HP guy, changed my mind, deciding instead to buy a new computer. They could have said "Okey dokey" and canceled my software order, but instead I had to talk to someone in some other department and justify the canceling of the order. Irritating.
I wound up buying an HP - with rebates. I loathe rebates, but they were sizable - $200, maybe more. I was meticulous in following the rebate instructions - dotting all my i's and crossing all my t's - and still they gave me a hard time. After too long they claimed not all information had been provided. I resent the entire packet (which I'd meticulously made copies of) along with a letter chewing them out real good. I eventually got my rebates, but they'd tried to finagle out of it which I still see, not as a mistake or oversight, but as just plain dishonest.

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w/n 1 yr, my 17" HP was on 3rd HD! Faith also lost on HP!
by lilacblue7 / February 25, 2012 7:51 AM PST

I agree! I have had 4 HP computers. After the last on, 17" HP now about 2 yrs old, I have no faith in HP laptops. It was also the bios problem! After the 3rd HD failure and after Best Buy put in the last 2, HP finally said they would give me a new one. They renegged and decided they wanted to send me a return box instead so they could "fix it". Ha! I had absolutely no faith after that. Having had to reinstall everything 3X! I decided I was never going to buy another HP laptop! I do not trust it. It crashed a couple months ago and deleted all my emails! I had to reinstall Outlook and now I only download movies with it or surf the neat. Nothing important. I back up everything all the time too! I used love their printers, but the last one I bought for the W7 17" HP laptop (HP didn't make a driver for the W7 then!) is really junk! I use the old one instead most of the time. The next pc... don't know, but it won't be a HP!

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loved my hp service

I bought new hp tower through Costco. One major reason was US customer service centers. After 6 months had unfixable problems. Granted I had to go through the hoops; after 3 failed attempts to repair the tower. HP replaced my tower! Granted no company has perfect customer service; I was very pleased with my HP experience. Costco has a conceriege service that can help with software issues; plus once I had to start dealing directly with HP; Costco would check back with me to be sure my tower was being fixed properly and that I was happy with the process. I hope that helps you make a decision.

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Clue to success: a local heavyweight in your corner.
by randy238 / February 24, 2012 9:52 AM PST
In reply to: loved my hp service

My opinion is the more weight you can through, the more likely you are to get good service.
Costco is certainly a heavyweight and their concierge system is a manager you can count on
( I have no connection with Costco other than that of a well satisfied customer of many years
who finds their return policy unequaled.) Charlie.

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Custermer Service
by leocwa / February 24, 2012 11:50 AM PST

I bought an ACER laptop at Costco, it had a problem with a Jumping Curser.The Costco conceriege service ,was reliable ,and once i was past their service they did check back to see if getting the service I neeeded, and i did , So so far so good.

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Question concerning your cursor problem
by dkmartin / February 25, 2012 9:31 AM PST
In reply to: Custermer Service

I have the same issue, different laptop, but I had an extended warranty with Square Trade and according to them they did "extensive" testing and could not replicate the issue. However, I continue to experience the "jumping cursor" issue. What exactly was the diagnosis and the fix for this issue?

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concerning your cursor problem & mine
by deebeefc / February 25, 2012 4:29 PM PST

Everyone I know has problems with jumping cursors, including my boss who uses an IMac with an Apple mouse. It doesn't seem to matter what operating system since XP, or what kind of mouse or mouse software.


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A little late to this thread but here's my two cents
by netsiu / May 8, 2012 11:31 PM PDT

Home built w/MSI Motherboard and Win 7 Pro.
The only time I have to fight for control of curser is when stuf is going on in background. Norton I think is the worst. My settings allow it to scan when ever it feels.

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Loved my hp service-no
by chanrs / February 24, 2012 11:13 AM PST
In reply to: loved my hp service

You are lucky that you bought it from Costco. It is only because of Costco that you got service from HP.

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reply to loved my hp service
by jstvns / February 24, 2012 11:14 PM PST
In reply to: loved my hp service

I think your good service was because of Costco - it is their concierge service - and it does make a difference.
My experience with HP matches most here. When I bought through Costco and needed service it was outstanding

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Computer manufacturers are fairly equal


I have been using computers and building/repairing them since the early 1980's. During that time I have seen computers by the "big names" rise in fall in quality as well as customer service. Dell, Gateway, Toshiba, HP, Compaq as examples have had excellent PC's, and good manufacturing and customer service, and have fallen to what I would call not good computer design and assembly, or have bad customer service response. (Not that any of these example companies are currently in that spot.). Fortunately, they learn, and come back to their higher standards.

What I would recommend you do is look at the computer reviews for the current models and select the ones you think you want to purchase. Then do a "my computer failed" search on them through the Internet to see if there are problems currently with a model or manufacturer. Then, maybe a trip to a local computer store to chat about it with a technician or two. Make your decision, and it is likely to be a good one. By the way, sometimes there is a manufacturing run where a bad capacitor or other part gets in the run. Pay attention to the speed and response to the issue to see where the Company is on their customer service, but don't judge it's overall quality by a single happenstance.

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I Love Dell

I have always had great luck with Dell. Last year, I bought a Windows 7 computer from Dell. It kept rebooting and online support, though very helpful, couldn't resolve the issue. They sent an in-person repairmen to replace the motherboard and fan. Didn't help. At my request, they sent me a new computer -- no hassles at all. This PC has run perfectly.
I had my previous Dell for about 10 years and never had a single problem with it -- even running Windows ME.

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DELL, HP, terrible support
by SINBAD / February 17, 2012 10:47 AM PST
In reply to: I Love Dell

I have never had any luck with any major manufacturer especially Dell. Had a problem and they wanted me to take my tower apart and install something myself. Everytime I called I got a foreigner whom I could never understand even though I asked for someone in the USA. I spent 10 hours one day calling, getting transferred, getting disconnected, etc and almost having a heart attack over their service.
Never again. Last computer I bought I purchased a warranty through the store so that they furnished me my tech support. I will never buy another computer that is Dell, HP, etc. Next one I will be sure they have tech support in US or I will have someone build me one and supply tech support.
We do not need to have our product support located anywhere else but in USA as there are plenty of people here who need jobs. Why give it to foreign countries????? This is BS!!!!!

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Go to Hell Dell
by mjmissell / February 24, 2012 9:56 AM PST

I'm a 66 year old Great-Grand-Father, Who is Having a Hell of a Time getting Someone to get Their *** here to fix or replace My computer. I've been on line for over 10 years and Started out with IBM., both Desktop and Laptop before getting My 1st desktop from Dell. I'm now on My 4th computer and Have Purchased 3 different warranties including one to Repair or Replace. The Prob lem I'm having Every Time You talk to Tech Support, They act Like You Don't Know Your *** from a Hole in the Ground. Maybe If I stop Payment, I wonder If that Will make them show up at My door, Lol, Just wanted to *****.

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It's worth paying extra for U.S. Dell support
by alexmaxx / February 25, 2012 1:18 AM PST

With Dell you have the option of upgrading your support to a higher level for $200 and you will always talk with someone in the U.S. I've had great customer service ever since I paid the extra $ for the support. I have used Dells for 10 years and been very satisfied. I hear the low end Dells don't last, so I only buy from the small business group...all my desktops are Optiplex and have lasted until I'm ready to upgrade and then some. I don't prefer the Dell laptops--although I have one that's 9 years old and still working well.

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But why?!
by helsharmar / April 19, 2012 1:56 AM PDT

It's unfortunately typical that it now costs extra to pay for what used to be free. Making customers pay hundreds of dollars just to speak to someone who isn't reading from a script and/or speaking with such a thick accent that it takes 15 minutes just to understand their initial greeting just leaves a horrible taste in the customer's mouth. And half they time, they either tell you what you already know or give you misinformation. It doesn't matter what the product is. This is happening with everything.

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by orca99usa / February 24, 2012 10:19 AM PST
In reply to: I Love Dell

Glad your Dell experience was good. Mine, not so much. First, I got a customer service rep in India who had such a thick accent that my call took three times as long as it should have because we couldn't understand each other. Then my laptop made a trip to Dell's repair center due to a faulty touchpad. It was returned to me in the same shape as it was when I sent it in, with a non-functioning touchpad. I gave up and bought a wireless mouse. Apparently Dell didn't even test the machine before they sent it back after their so-called repair.

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What Dell Told Me
by AppleLover3 / February 24, 2012 10:13 PM PST
In reply to: Dell

When I went to purchase a computer for our Non-Profit Dell told me they have two types (in the area I was buying). One is for home use and one is more for business. They look the same but: The home use one has a box of plastic with a non-tested motherboard and the business is built around a mental shell with a well tested motherboard.
We spent the extra $125 and have had the unit working well for the past three weeks.
I'll let you know if it fails, what failed and how it was handled by both Dell and our tech.

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by mathur_c / February 27, 2012 5:10 AM PST
In reply to: Dell

I too had a very bad experience with Dell. My brand new laptop died within couple of months of purchasing it. Dell reps were not at all helpful. Each time I called I was put on hold for 40-60 minutes, and was bounced from one department to another. BTW, my calls were answered by reps here in the US. I sent it to their repair center but my machine was returned to me without being fixed.
Finally, Dell replaced my laptop with a refurbished machine, much cheaper than what I had paid for my original machine. It was a very frustrating, and I or my family swore off Dell. I am happy with my lenovo thinkpad.

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So tired of Dell
by wearyandworn / August 2, 2013 8:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Dell

I have had a Dell for two years. My warranty is for three years. I have had to call them so many times. They take over my computer each time and once, the guy disappeared but he still had control of my computer. After several hours of this, I turned the computer. I can't understand their thick accent much of the time. This last time I called them because my webcam disappeared. I didn't even understand what the guy said but it was something like they were sending me some software. Instead I got a technician who did not know what he was there for and they had not sent him the right parts. He came back the next day with many new parts. My computer was working but he had noticed that all my USB ports didn't work so he wanted to replace them. My computer was working - just no webcam. He turned it off to work on it and it would not come back on - ever. I had to send it off and they told me no one had ever complained when they fixed the computer. I was without my computer for five days and I got it back. There is still no webcam and the USB ports don't work. It will come on now but it freezes up after four minutes. Mail does not work. They called me and they tried to take control of the computer but it would not stay on long enough. I had to press F12 and they are going to call me back. It's been running test for about four hours. I will never, never buy another Dell. I sent letters to the US addresses and got a phone call from India. The guy told me everything was there now. I'm sure this will end up with my computer going back again. I'm using my old Gateway laptop and could cry that they are no longer in business, although I heard they were bought out by Acer. I did have one Gateway laptop that I had trouble with and I kept calling them and saying I thought it was overheating. They ignored me. It would start to come on and got hot really fast. I gave up and got rid of it and then they came out and said they did have some with an overheating problem. It was too late for me. I ordered this Gateway on line - not another one from a store. I really don't know what to do about the Dell. I'm disabled and need both computers but continous support that doesn't work is getting old. I guess I'll wait until they call me back for my next move for now. (Even the technician that came to my house was from another country and I had to ask him to repeat things several times.)

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