Gateway Complaint - Don't expect acceptable support during warranty period from Gateway
TEMPLE, TEXAS -- In September my son purchased a Gateway DX4820 for me. The specifications included a 56kb V92 fax modem and the OS was Windows Vista Home Premium. When we assembled the computer we found the socket for the phone line just outside the PCI slots location. When we looked at the Device Manager there was no modem listed. I contacted the company and was told that to use a modem I had to have Windows Vista Business (this option was not explained when the computer was purchased). I did not upgrade my OS because Windows 7 Home was due out shortly and it included a fax capability. My Windows 7 upgrade came from Gateway and after installation the Device Manager still did NOT list a fax modem. I contacted the e-mail support for Gateway and it took me 2 e-mails to get the support personnel to acknowledge that "As per our records your desktop is in warranty and is registered." They then proceeded to look at their canned answers book and instruct me to go through the Windows 7 fax installation package (I had informed them that I had already done that). After several e-mails on this issue they tried to switch me to their paid support service, and when I AGAIN explained that my computer was under warranty they suggested I go to a shipping company, have them package and send the computer (at MY expense) to the Gateway depot in Texas where it would be "fixed" in 7 to 10 days after it was received.
I work from home and could NOT be without the service of a computer for such a long period of time, and suggested that because the fax modem is just a PCI card they could send me a new card and I would install it. This was a too obviously simple solution for the technical support personnel, who insisted that "As per our policy Fax modem is not an end user replacement part". A PCI card is not "user replaceable"????? Then I was supplied with the phone number of the Gateway "Voice Technical Support" where the support technician I contacted was even less knowledgeable than the ones I had been dealing with over e-mail. She first insisted that my computer was NOT equipped with a fax modem card. When I pointed out that the specs for this model list such a card and that there was a socket on the outside of the section where the PCI slots are located, she said that the card on that slot might not be a fax modem card. When I asked her what other kind of card had a socket that fits a phone line jack she said it could be an Ethernet card (on a PCI slot with a socket that would not fit an Ethernet jack?????).
At this point she kept mumbling and going around in circles about what my computer model could have so I realized I was wasting my time with the whole support crew and I hung up. I bought a new fax modem PCI card for $40, removed the original one, put in the new one, and lo and behold! the computer recognized it and I now have a working fax modem. I looked at the original card I removed and it was indeed a fax modem card model HPI56L6(P40) manufactured 2009/06/02. If Gateway personel have such poor knowledge that they could not solve this simple problem, I hate to think what would happen to buyers who face more complicated problems while still under warranty. (PS I have a copy of all the e-mail traffic with Gateway).