Saga: Buying a Dell Inspiron Demo Laptop from Staples
Dell Inspiron Model #N7110 floor demo
EAGLE ROCK AVENUE, WEST ORANGE NJ -- Saga: Buying a Dell Inspiron Demo Laptop from Staples
Approximately a week before their teenage son was to leave for a 9-month stay in the middle east, a neighbor for whom I often provide basic tech support (on a volunteer basis) decided to purchase a Dell Inspiron demo PC from the Staples at Eagle Rock Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052. This neighbor is 100% PC-illiterate so I was a bit chagrinned to hear that he had done this without consulting me. I set up his wireless connection with no problem, but I did not spend any time with the PC.
The day before the son's departure he called to say that he had not tried to use the PC again until now and it would not connect to the Internet, although another wireless PC in the house was working fine. After determining that the new PC was connecting to the router and discounting all the other usual problems, I called Verizon to see if there were any issues at their end. The Verizon IVR played an announcement saying that PCs running McAfee were currently unable to connect to the Internet (!). Sure enough, this PC had a McAfee "freebie" installed. I happened to have a multi-license Norton Antivirus (NAV) disk with an available install, so I removed McAfee, installed NAV, and the PC promptly connected to the Internet.
Here's where the story begins. NAV immediately reported hundreds of tracking cookies, 9 viruses and 2 Trojans - all this, in a PC just delivered to a customer by Staples. NAV made short work of the cookies and viruses, but advised that the Trojans would require manual removal. I downloaded and ran NAV's removal tools for these infections, but they failed to eliminate the problems. I know how to remove Trojans with Malwarebytes and other tools, but this can be time consuming and I was running out of time. I also noticed that the touch pad was behaving erratically, could not be turned off, and there was no icon on the task bar. I had recently loaded a new operating system on a Latitude E6520 to switch it from 64 to 32 bit ( http://www.my3cents.com/showReview.cgi?id=109264and ) and when the touchpad didn't work correctly, found that the touchpad driver - along with many other drivers - was missing from their driver site. I suspected this might be the case here.
The store where the PC was purchased was 45 minutes away, but there was another Staples about 2 miles from us in Dover NJ, so I called that store, explained the problem to the tech, and asked if he could honor the store warranty. He replied, "Come on over!". To our dismay, when we arrived, the store manager wanted nothing to do our PC and wouldn't allow the tech to touch it! Moreover, he wanted to charge nearly $100 to make a system repair disk - a common scam, since the system itself can do it for free! It was already noon of the day before the boy's departure, and I was seriously running out of time. I called the West Orange store, explained the problem to the tech, and told him that my neighbor could not get the PC to him until after he returned from work at 4 that afternoon. Although there would be a shift change at 3, he promised to brief his replacement and assured me that all the problems would be addressed promptly while he waited. After my experience with the Dover store, I had little faith that this store would - or could - address the problems, but still sent the tech a fax listing them. The good news is that, when my neighbor arrived, all the problems were, in fact, remedied completely within about an hour.
The takeaway: a) Although the West Orange store improperly handed over the pc without first running a system restore, they not only backed their own warranty but, in view of the urgency of the customer's situation, addressed the problems fully while the customer waited. b) A different Staples store would not support the first store's warranty, and even tried to pull the "recovery disk scam". c) McAfee totally failed to protect this PC or detect its multiple infections.