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Acer TravelMate 291 LMi-G problem

by zangaru / August 2, 2004 1:26 PM PDT

I have been looking for new laptop that came with a DVD +/- RW) and decided
to go with an Acer TravelMate 291 LMi-G (sku: LX.T3506.160) based on the specs available on Acer's website.

After I received the computer (bought through an internet website) I found out that the OS (XP Prof) has not been supplied with the computer( only a "recovery CD") which does not allow you to set anything.

I also noted that there is no documentation for the components that go into the computer so I could not verify if I received the right parts or not (except for info from Device manager - take the model number and go to manufacturer's website to check it out - hard work).

On June 22, 2004 I had to burn a DVD+R media and when tried to do so, the drive did not recognize it and going through the procedure to find out what drive I have, I found that the drive I have can only burn DVD-RW media.

I contacted Acer and after several days (they said they will call me back because can not get a hold of the engineers in Taiwan to figure out if my laptop came with the advertised drive) they agreed to send me one and they said it will arrive in two days.
Three days have passed and no sign of the drive and contacted them again.
They said that the drive is in backorder and don't know when is coming from Taiwan. Asking them why I was not notified from the beginning about this fact, they mentioned that they have no info about the items in stock (warehouse).

Two weeks have passed until I received the drive (July 8, 2004), placed it in my computer and tried it out; it only worked partially:
1) The NTI CD Maker Gold 6 (came with the computer) did not recognize the drive
2) In Windows Explorer when trying to read CD-RW media previously burned with the existing drive, it did not see the data

Looking more careful at the drive I noticed that it has been previously used and manuf. in Feb 2004.
If it came from Taiwan I just did not think those people keep the drive in stock for 6 months ?! So something was fishy about their (ACER) story.

I immediately contacted them and told what the symptoms were and the tech person told me to return the drive and they will ship me a new one.
Again they assured me a new drive will be shipped to me in two days, and again after two days they found out the drive is in backorder and again it has to come from Taiwan.

After calling almost daily to find out the status of my problem, I also asked to talk with one of the Supervisors and day by day each technician has declined to transfer me saying that I have no reason to talk with a Supervisor.

Even on their website all the contact information will only go back to the same number 1-800-816-2237 and no email Customer Service is available.

On July 25, 2004 when calling to ask about the status of my problem, the tech support guy has told me that they tested the drive sent to me before it was shipped and there was nothing wrong with it. So, I replied, if it was thoroughly tested as you mentioned why it was partially working on my computer ? And why you only mention about this after this time?! It did not make sense to me where these people are trying to
go ?!

Now they have told me that a new drive will not be sent to me because I need to send the computer in for an evaluation !? I told them the computer is fine and is nothing wrong with it and is working with the drive that it originally came with.
Because I use the computer to earn my living with, I told them that I can do that only if they send me a replacement and they said no. And case is closed because I do not want to send them the laptop. So I ended up nowhere after all this time.

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Re: Acer TravelMate 291 LMi-G problem
by KenSanramon / August 3, 2004 4:12 AM PDT

Some companies will send out a new A/C adaptor or component but many will not. The standard line is to send it to them for analysis, they often reformat the hard drive whether that is the issue or not (as this takes any software issue not standard when the notebook was purchased out of the equation).

Note, Toshiba has somewhat better reliability than HP/Compaq but it has come to my attention from reading another post on a motherboard problem (where they could not obtain a new one for weeks) that Toshiba will not replace a notebook requiring substantial downtime or several problem issues (like a car 'lemon').

HP/Compaq will replace the notebook in these cases so that leads to customer satisfaction in the worst cases.

You are always taking a risk buying a notebook from a company that has most of their operations overseas (like Acer in Taiwan).

HP/Compaq makes the notebooks under contract in China (very similar Acer is made there as well) but HP/Compaq has one repair facility in Milpitas, CA and a 2nd one is in Canada I think.

So, repair is not waiting on overseas shipments of parts in most cases.

According to Bob, Toshiba has sped up the turnaround on their repairs but in the worst case scenario it is not their policy to replace it.

Acer, Averatec, and other fringe (U.S. presence limigted) notebooks have some attractive specs but this situation can be the downfall if repair is required (which is more likely at some point on a notebook than an desktop).

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Re: Acer TravelMate 291 LMi-G problem
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 3, 2004 4:42 AM PDT

Since " I told them the computer is fine and is nothing wrong with it and is working with the drive that it originally came with", I lose sight of what issue you are having.

I will note however that it is very common for supplied CD and DVD recording software to stop working when you install a new CDRW/DVDRW drive. Right or wrong, the software is tied to the exact model of the drive. I've seen firmware updates cause the owner to have to obtain new CD/DVD recording software.

For this scenario, no vendor is left unscathed by the irate owner.

BUT let me share two things.

1. If you use any software that treats a CDRW as a disk drive, only over time will you discover how flighty (unreliable) this will be. I can only share this, but some have to learn it first hand.

2. I am now using http://www.cdburnerxp.se/ to record when this situation crops up. Maybe you won't want to do this, but that's the breaks.

In closing, parts outages will happen. And at today's cutthroat business practices you won't get calls of assurance or tracking of your issue. UPS/Fedex has this down to a fine art so I must mention this.

Bob

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