Frustrated with Gatewy Laptop Product Quality (Lemon), Warranty and Service
CONWAY, ARKANSAS -- This is a copy of a letter that I wrote to Gateway, after two years of a very frustrating experience with their product quality and service. The letter speaks for itself. Following my letter is their response letter dated October 3, 2003. This letter wonderfully speaks for Gateway, Inc. Their letter is a "must read" by the computer audience.
If you know of other web sites that I could post this letter on, please advise.
September 12, 2003
14303 Gateway Place
Poway, CA 92064
Re: Service Request 2-931274594, Customer ID 26573551
Gateway Solo 9500, SN BDB51350145, 0024600204
To Whom It May Concern:
This is to request that Gateway, Inc. replace the referenced laptop computer. This computer has been a lemon from day one. I have been totally dissatisfied with the computer and have expressed this many, many times to your technical staff. Due to my total dissatisfaction, I was advised to write this letter by your technical staff using the referenced service request number.
My latest experience with the computer was 7-22-03. The LCD viewer went out while watching a DVD movie (no, I didnt drop it, had not dropped it, hadnt even though about dropping it, and there is no evidence from looking at the case that the computer has ever been dropped). I called your technical staff 7-22-03 and talked to Manzil, #105744, and he informed me that the LCD was bad. The best part of this conversation was that he informed me that the LCD was not covered under warranty. I even talked to his supervisor, Adam, and he confirmed the good news. They said they would have someone call me the next day with an estimate of the cost to replace the LCD and to arrange for me to ship the computer to you for repair. The estimate was $869. Good news? What this meant is that I would have to take a $2,284.99 computer and throw it in the trash can.
For your information, during the month of August, Dell had a laptop advertised with similar hardware for $699. None of this helps me. Regardless, I am the looser and Gateway continues to win with your present policy. All I ever wanted was to have a dependable laptop for use in my consulting engineering business. I have never had this from day one, thanks to Gateway.
I have read and re-read the limited warranty. I cannot find where the warranty excludes the LCD. The warranty simply states:
Gateway Companies, Inc. warrants to the original end-user that the Product ( excluding Accessories) will be free from defects in materials and/or workmanship from the date of shipment for the period indicated on your invoice, except for portable batteries, docking stations, and Gateway-branded big screen monitors (27 inches or larger) for which the warranty period is one year from the date of shipment unless otherwise specifically indicated on your invoice.
I purchased the computer 8-30-01 with a 3-year extended warranted that I paid an additional $105.00 for. I was assured by the Little Rock, AR Gateway staff that the computer was completely covered by the warranty. They assured me that the $105.00 I paid for the extended warranty was a bargain. I assume that I can now place this warranty on my bulletin board until it expires, as a reminded of Gateways efforts toward customer satisfaction, since I now have lost the use of my $2,284.99 lemon computer. I know, it is only money.
I regret having to spend my time writing this since all of my repair history is on your computer under my customer ID number. But since Gateway has a policy of not providing a hotline phone number that a person can call to express their total dissatisfaction with a Gateway Product, I am listing some of the wonderful experiences I have had with Gateway since my purchase of the lemon computer 8-30-01:
1. On 12-5-01, the computer would not boot-up. The computer is 3-months old. I called technical support (by the way, sit down sometime in the quietness of your home, experience the wonderful Gateway call menu, and time yourself on how long it takes to reach a real live technical person) and talked to John, Event #60655534. He told me something to try with no success.
2. I called technical support back 12-5-01, 11:45 am and talked to Charlie. After going through the exciting Gateway telephone menu and the disappointment of not having a working computer, then expressing this to Charlie, he was so concerned that he hung up on me.
3. I called technical support back and talked to John, and then I talked to Doug, then to Andrew and then to a supervisor named Tim. Each required me to experience the wonderful Gateway telephone menu again and again. After all of the frustrating calls, they decided the hard drive had failed.
4. I dont remember what happened between 12-5-01 and 12-10-01, but on 12-10-01, at noon, I called technical support and talked to Rick, then we were disconnected for some unknown reason. I then called back and talked to Ryan, 99490, and I believe he said I would have to send the computer in. This was Event #60655534.
5. On 12-12-01, I called technical support and talked to Mark. He said that I would have to send the computer to Gateway for repair. I am now 7-days into the wonderful Gateway customer satisfaction policy. On 12-12-01, Chris called to advise me of the procedures Gateway uses to pick up the lemon computer. Then we were disconnected before I received all of the needed information. I then had to call back the wonderful Gateway telephone menu and talk to Shawn. He told me that Airborn Express would pick up the computer after I received a box (by mail) to put the computer in for shipping. This happened as planned.
6. On 12-19-01, the computer was shipped back to me. I believe I received it on 12-22-01. The service department had replaced the hard drive and shipped it back to me. The good news about all of this, I lost all of my work related engineering files. There is no way to put a value on this loss, but I am sure it would be in the thousands of dollars. But I know that was my fault, since I did not have them backed up. I also know that under normal circumstances, you can retrieve files from a hard drive before discarding. I now know too that I am a Gateway, totally unsatisfied customer.
7. On approximately 12-21-01, I called technical support again at 2:30 pm and talked to Siin complaining about the US port on my computer not working. He gave me some things to try.
8. On 12-27-01, I called technical support and talked to Mike at 12:30 pm. I complained of not being able to use my USB port and the unavailable Help and Support on my computer, Event #61590712. His advice was to reload the C drive. This did not work, so I called technical service back 12-27-01 and talked to John. He said I needed another hard drive and he would mail me one and I could install it.
9. On 12-27-01, I called customary service to express my dissatisfaction with the computer. The computer is now 4-months old. I was convinced the computer was a lemon. Two replacement hard drives required in the first 4-months of use of the computer. I talked to Ed with no satisfaction. I then called the local Gateway store in Little Rock, AR and they advised me to call customer service.
10. On 12-27-01, I called back customer service and talked to James. He then transferred me to technical management. I talked to Tonya, #044, case management and she transferred me to portable management. I talked with Mark, not with portable management, but I am now connected with technical support. He transferred me, and then I was disconnected again. I then called technical support back and talked to Justine and during the conversation, I was, yes you guess it, disconnected again. By now, I am totally frustrated, disappointed and mentally exhausted from being a Gateway totally unsatisfied customer.
11. On 1-3-02, I tried something new; I conversed with Emory, via email. She said to carry the computer to the local store or call case management. Remember, the computers USB port was not working and Help and Support software would not boot up. So I called customer support, and during the conversation, you guessed it, the satisfied customer was disconnected. I called backed again and explained by problems.
12. I believe I received the replacement hard drive (it was a used part that had the famous words reconditioned on it) the same day, 1-03-02. I called technical support and Justine walked me through the process of replacing the hard drive. After installing the used hard drive, you guessed it, the same two problems existed, no USB port nor Help and Support.
13. I called technical support again on 1-3-02 and talked to Lisa. She said that she had read about this complaint and suggested that the fix is to reset the computer clock. I reset it to May 2001 and she told me to do something that I dont remember, but regardless, after resetting the clock back to the current date, the computer worked perfect. She gave me a #208-323-2551 for the fix. This was Event #61590712.
14. Then on the same day I had to call technical support back and I talked to Justine. The computer would not boot up. She suggested that I turn the computer off and hold the off button for 10 seconds before releasing. This worked. Thanks to Lisa and Justine, my $2,284.99 lemon computer was working perfect again. Remember, the computer is still 4-months old with 2 replacement hard drives and 24 phone calls to technical support. Time is only money.
15. On 8-13-02. I carried the computer to The Computer Works, a local computer repair center in Conway, AR. There was a short in the computer. You could slightly press on the computer and it would loose power or lock up. I was willing to pay for the repairs, even though it was still under warranty. This is indicative of how much I despise the effort that is required by Gateway to get the computer serviced. The Computer Works advised me that there was a crack in the main board and since it was under warranty, to contact Gateway. I continued trying to use the lemon computer by propping it up so as not to loose power. At the time I was doing technical writing for the federal government and my use and need for the computer was intense.
16. On 9-4-02 (the computer is now 13 months old) I carried the computer to your local store in Little Rock, AR. They review the electrical short problem and determined that they could not repair it. So they mailed the computer to your Gateway Repair Center, Irving, TX. It was received by the Center on 9-13-02.
17. On 9-13-02, the Repair Center replaced the fan
On 9-17-02, they replaced the case and reflowed cold solder.
From 9-18 to 9-26, there was no work on the computer.
On 9-26-02, the Center had or did replace the main board, CPU, heat sink assembly, IC socket, video card, and the UA1 MB assembly. It was shipped out the same date, some 22 days later. All of my personal engineering files where gone again.
During this 22 day period I continually tried to determine when the computer would be returned. I was told 9-4-02 at the local store in Little Rock, AR, that the Repair Center would return the computer in 5-7 business days. It is obvious that what you say is not always what you mean. I tried the Chat Center on 9-25-02 and talked to Storm. She replied with a cookbook answer: As per our records the technicians at the service center are working hard on your system. Is there anything else I can help you with? I pleaded with her to find a way to replace the computer since it was a lemon. She referred me to same old merry-go-round the Client Care team.
The Chat Center was only one of the many calls I made during this 22 day period. Since I was in dire need of my lemon computer, I called at various times to Tashi, #761, Rick (Supervisor) #035, Muridel, #2207, Avery, and Carol, in my efforts to find out the status of my computer. All, with the exception of Avery, gave me the typical our technicians are working hard on your computer and it will be shipped soon. Avery was the only one who actually took time to locate the computer, determined the expected return shipping date and even gave me her direct telephone line so I would not have to go back through the wonderful Gateway phone menu.
18. The computer again worked perfect until 7-22-03. The $2,284.99 lemon computer is now 23 months old. This is when the $869.00 LCD viewer went out and for some reason, it is not covered by warranty? This wonderful failure of my outstanding Gateway product was alluded to at the beginning of this letter.
Again, I resent even further having to take one-half of a day of my time to write this letter. Your technical staff assures me that youll keep a history of my lemon computer within your computer filing system. This letter has cost me more than $500.00 of my time since I am in business for myself. Not only that, I have spent endless hours with your technical staff to determine solutions to the lemon computer. I have lost all of personal files twice. I was delayed in my technical writing contract during the 22 days you kept my computer for repair. This cost me over a thousand dollars. I have pleaded continually that this computer be replaced. Even Best Buy has a 3-time lemon warranty. If you have to have your computer repaired 3-times during the warranty period, they will replace it free.
If you force me to throw my $2,284.99 lemon computer in the trash by refusing to replace it, you will win the battle as you have from the day I bought this lemon. But I want you to listen closely, I will win the war. I promise to insert this letter on the Gateway computer user site, I promise to send this letter to our local Better Business Bureau, I promise to send this letter to the Arkansas Attorney Generals Consumer Alert Division, I promise to share my lemon Gateway experience with every engineer or individual who is in the market for a computer and I promise to write PC World and other related magazines about my experience with the Gateway lemon product. I will win the war many times over if you decline and continue with an insensitive attitude towards replacing my LEMON Gateway Product.
AGAIN, THIS LETTER IS WRITTEN TO REQUEST THAT MY LEMON GATEWAY LAPTOP COMPUTER BE REPLACED PERIOD.
I know I have been sarcastic, non-professional and somewhat unkind in this letter. I apologize for my tone, but I am so frustrated and disappointed with the lemon product. I believe Gateway will act positive on this request. All I want is a dependable computer that I can provide information and do the work that is required in my consulting engineering business. I do not want to purchase the lemon computer again, nor do I want to throw $2,284.99 in the trash can.
Don L. Potter, P. E.
260 Grand Falls
Conway, AR 72032
Following is a copy of Gateway's response letter:
700 East 54th Street N
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
October 3, 2003
260 Grand Fls
Conway, AR 72032
Dear Don Potter:
Thank you for your recent correspondence to Gateway. Your letter has reached the Executive Offices.
Gateway values you as a customer and your issues are important. At the point of delivery, you were provided with the Gateway Limited Warranty. Gateway policy is to repair computers within the terms of the Gateway Limited Warranty. Gateway will not deter from this policy. Unfortunately your computer is not within the guidelines of this document. There is nothing further that can be done. Any future correspondence will be filed and not be met with a reply.
Gateway's mission is to build great customer relationships and we are committed to your overall satisfaction. We are constantly striving to improve our company and pride ourselves on the quality of products and services we provide.
Thank you for taking the time to contact us.
Emergency Response Specialist
Gateway Executive Offices
As I stated in my September 12, 2003 letter, I have read the limited warranty over and over, and I have never been able to find where the LCD is excluded. Regardless, the laptop was, is and always has been a lemon. A copy of the limited warranty may be faxed upon request.
Thank you for reading and sharing my frustration with Gateway. Please share this with any computer literate person that may be interested in a factual experience with Gateway.