We help IT Professionals succeed at work.
Get Started

refusing to honor warranty- any advice?

Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Hi, its a long one, if anyone is up for reading it, any advice would be appreciated!

History: Gateway computer, purchased extended full warranty, purchased aprox. 3-4 years ago.
My father purchased this computer originally; he put in ATLEAST 4-5 service requests. The original problem was the computer randomly would not power up, or would get stuck on the blue screen. He also noted in first or second time the computer was sent in, that the CD rom had issues.

*- dates are estimated, + or  maybe a week or so.

2/1/08- My father gave me the computer because hes so sick of having problems with it- he gave it to me because it was sitting in the box for a half year or so- he finally gave up and purchased a new system. I saw it downstairs so I asked him if he uses it and he said no, he will help me set it up if I want it. He said every time he sends it for repair, it comes back with a problem, or the problem shows up within several months.

2/2/08- I installed some software however noticed a CD rom issue- it worked at first, but the cd rom was not detected after I reset. After a three or so resets it was detected and worked. However whenever it worked, upon the very next reset it would not work. The computer also froze one time- had to push the reset button (later that day).

2/3/08 8:00 AM- the unit was frozen when I woke up- had to press the reset button. Later that day the wireless internet was intermittent- only on that computer though (my dads wireless laptop remained connected all day- no issues).

2/9/08- I powered the computer up and within several minutes I heard a weird sound from the speaker then the unit powered off. I powered it on again, it did not respond at all. I then smelled a burning smell, and it was emitting from the unit. I immediately powered it off and called gateway. They told me a company called MPC tookover this model of computers, and I had to contact them. From this point on, all contact is to with MPC.

I called them up and told them all the issues I was having with the unit. I also mentioned the prior issues it had, incase the records were not kept on file of the previous repairs. They shipped me a box to send the unit back in for repair.

2/15/08- The box arrived.

2/17/08- I shipped the computer back to them

3/14/08- the extended warranty has expired. I was told since the system is still in service in there hands, when I get it back I will have a 90 day warranty on anything that they had just serviced. I asked how much longer the repair will take- they told me they see the computer was in service but they couldnt find any info on it- they said a supervisor will call me by 6 PM.

3/17/08- I once again called asking for an update. Still no info is found. They said they will call me back by 6 PM.

3/18/08- I once again called asking for an update. They said the unit is not covered for warranty because it expired. I explained it was under warranty when I shipped it to them, they said oh yeah& we will cover this problem. They said within 7-14 days the unit will be repaired and will ship back to me. (is it a coincidence they held the system and lost the info until several days after the warranty expired?)

4/14/08- the computer arrived back to me. I noticed bunches of deep gowges / scrapes on the bottom of the unit- like someone actually used a knife or sharp object and scorred it. When I sent it to them it looked brand new. I placed the unit on the table and turned it around to see if theres any more scratches, and as I turn it I hear a big squeek. I lift the computer and see a 12 gash on our 800$ office table!
I figured something must have been under the computer when I turned it like a thumb tack or something- but I checked and couldnt find anything. Upon examination I found the source- it was a screw they installed- it was too long (keep in mind this is an all in one system- monitor, wifi card, cd rom, motherboard etc are all in a box. The computer has 4 little rubber pads on the bottom, they are about 1/8 long. In the middle of the computer there is a screw, and with the screw head, it extends about ¼ long. So the computer was actually sitting on a screw- not sitting on the rubber pads.
I powered it up to check if it works ok, and there was an obstruction with the cooling fan because I can hear something hitting it. I called them up and complained. They said they will send a box for re-shipment.

4/16/08- a tiney box arrives- they sent me a laptop box- the PC wont fit in this box. I called them and they re-shipped me the correct size box.

4/18/08  the right size box arrives

4/19/08- I ship the computer back to them to replace the scratched plastics, fix the cooling fan, and to fix the screw problem (I sent in photos as well, as well of the damage it caused) I called them and after talking to 4 people, they offer me a 50$ coupon for there store- due to the $800 table getting gouged. What am I going to do with that?

5/9/08- the computer arrived. Since I originally sent the system in (beginning of Feb) this is the first time I can actually use my computer. The 90 day warranty should be in effect as of today. By now I am getting worn down- sick of all the problems I am having with it. Though my old computer is slow, I prefer it over this gateway because its reliable. I put the gateway (box and all) underneath the desk.

6/25/08- Me and my dad once again took down my old computer and set up the gateway. I put in a CD and listened to it. I ran the windows updates and all and it said to reboot.
I rebooted, windows loaded and I went to play my CD again. Its a NO-GO, No cd rom detected!!! THIS WAS MY ORIGINAL PROBLEM!!!

I called them, they said the problem may not be covered for warranty. According to them, only the service dept. knows if it will be covered or not. I asked to talk to the service dept- they told me I cant do that. I requested a manager- he told me the same thing- it may or may not be covered. If the service dept. says it is not covered (which he hinted at they they would determine) then even if I decline to pay for whatever part needs to be replaced, - its going to cost $169 for diagnostic labor / return shipping.
I asked why it wouldnt be covered since when I got it back, I had 90 days on the warranty- he said yes but it was serviced again (for the screw and the obstruction in the fan) so that is the only thing they may cover now (even though its still within the 90 days since I had the original repair mailed back to me). He said when I sent it in, I didnt mention the CD rom problem. I said thats because I didnt even fully power it up- I heard the obstruction in the fan and powered it off- he said that is not his fault then.

Does that make sense? I know that was a lot of info so here is an analogy-
- If you buy a car with a warranty - you get it and have engine problems so the dealership repairs it.
- The engine is supposedly fixed- you go to pick it up at the dealership but you notice a big dent on the door
- The dealership says to come back in 2 more weeks- they will repair the dent
- 2 weeks later you go to pick it up and when you get home you once again have engine problems- but they tell you since the last repair was the dent in the door, they wont cover the original problem I had which is the engine.

So on 2/1/08 here is what I started with:
- Broken Gateway computer

Today 7/9/08 heres what I have:
- $800 table with a 10  12 deep scratch on it
- Broken Gateway computer
- $50 gateway coupon (useless- the only thing they sell are computers& I would NEVER buy another gateway in my entire life). Infact& if someone gave me another one I would still refuse it.
to be honest I feel I should be given a more reliable computer. I know they wont give me one, they dont even want to cover this one. So here are my options:

-Send them a formal complaint- mention I may file a report with the better business bureau.
-Dont even try contacting them again- just file the report
-Something else?

Any reccomendations?

Thanks for reading!
Watch Question
Top Expert 2012
This problem has been solved!
Unlock 3 Answers and 4 Comments.
See Answers
Why Experts Exchange?

Experts Exchange always has the answer, or at the least points me in the correct direction! It is like having another employee that is extremely experienced.

Jim Murphy
Programmer at Smart IT Solutions

When asked, what has been your best career decision?

Deciding to stick with EE.

Mohamed Asif
Technical Department Head

Being involved with EE helped me to grow personally and professionally.

Carl Webster
CTP, Sr Infrastructure Consultant
Ask ANY Question

Connect with Certified Experts to gain insight and support on specific technology challenges including:

  • Troubleshooting
  • Research
  • Professional Opinions
Did You Know?

We've partnered with two important charities to provide clean water and computer science education to those who need it most. READ MORE