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I need a New Computer Update: My terrible mail order computer experience
3.25.03 | mlmr

Posted on 03/25/2003 1:41:32 PM PST by mlmr

About a month ago I posted a request for infomation since I was planning to buy a substantial PC. I subsequently bought a Dell. About 2000 worth of computer. Thursday Dell is picking up both the computers they sent out... it has been a terrible experience. The returns man was abusive. He didn't have to be. He had the ability to give me the return but I had to fight for it. The customer service was the same, I had to argue for parts and service. I don't ever want to use them again. Any other computer recommendations for the kind of machine I am looking for??

I am looking for a 3.06 GH 1 GB RAM 120GB hard drive with Office XP and Windows WP a good graphics card , sound blaster, speakers etc.


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I could use freeper feedback...am I expecting too much??
1 posted on 03/25/2003 1:41:32 PM PST by mlmr
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To: mlmr
I've had good experiance with Alienware.
2 posted on 03/25/2003 1:42:58 PM PST by Psycho_Bunny
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To: mlmr
That's a highly unusual experience with Dell. There must be more to the story. Can you fill us in?

Michael

3 posted on 03/25/2003 1:43:00 PM PST by Wright is right! (Have a profitable day!)
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To: mlmr
Get a Mac! You will never regret it.
4 posted on 03/25/2003 1:43:32 PM PST by jacquej
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To: mlmr
A few more details would be helpful. What was wrong with the PC? Did it not work? Was it not what you ordered? I've had very good experiences with Dell. If you could be more specific about what happened.....
5 posted on 03/25/2003 1:43:46 PM PST by MineralMan
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To: mlmr
Hmm. I would probably recommend Dell, but, well...I have no help. I buy generic parts and assemble them myself, but that takes some experience/skill you might have.

Mostly I'm curious: what was wrong that you were shipped TWO and neither one worked?

6 posted on 03/25/2003 1:43:51 PM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: mlmr
I've had very good luck with Gateway and so-so luck with Dell.

Since you only want a straightforward system with nothing fancy, I'd look around locally to see if there's a "white box" dealer (no name or local brand) near you. That way if something goes wrong, you can show up on their doorstep.

7 posted on 03/25/2003 1:44:33 PM PST by bcoffey (When Paula Zahn left FNC for CNN, the average IQ of both organizations soared)
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To: mlmr
I've always "rolled my own". Try Pricewatch.com for parts. Otherwise Gateway is not a bad machine.
8 posted on 03/25/2003 1:44:41 PM PST by Spruce
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To: mlmr
If you need service, have it built locally. Find a mom and pop store that's been in business for a few years and builds computers.
9 posted on 03/25/2003 1:45:02 PM PST by js1138
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To: Petronski
"Mostly I'm curious: what was wrong that you were shipped TWO and neither one worked?"

I'm curious, too. I've never had a problem with Dell. Maybe something else is going on here other than a dead PC.
10 posted on 03/25/2003 1:45:11 PM PST by MineralMan
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To: mlmr
I don't know what to say... I bought a Gateway in 1998 (200 Mhz PII, Win 98 OS) and was super please, and then bought a Dell a year ago January (1.6 Ghz P4, Win XP OS) and have been super pleased... Sorry...
11 posted on 03/25/2003 1:45:52 PM PST by vrwinger
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To: mlmr
Go to a local "mom and pop" computer store and have them build you a computer. PC's like these are very upgradeable and you can save money down the road when your computer gets "long in the tooth". Computers such as IBM, Dell and Gateway have proprietory motherboards which are not easily upgradeable, and you have to end up buying another computer.

Better yet, learn to build your own computer. It is fun!
12 posted on 03/25/2003 1:46:29 PM PST by saluki_in_ohio (Gun control is the ability to hit your target!)
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To: mlmr
MPI

Been using them for seven years now.

13 posted on 03/25/2003 1:47:45 PM PST by Michael Barnes
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To: mlmr
Sorry about your story. Dell user for life and I always have had good service calls with Dell.

I had asimilar experience to you with Gateway.
14 posted on 03/25/2003 1:48:17 PM PST by finnman69
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To: mlmr
Here's my experience.

I make a spreadsheet of the specifications. I watch the newspaper and note the specs, who has it, the price.

After gathering data for about 2-3 weeks, I make a visit to the retailer who has the best computer for the money. I look over the computer, making sure it has what I want.

And I buy from a local retailer -- so if I have problems, I can take it back.

Works for me!

15 posted on 03/25/2003 1:48:40 PM PST by i_dont_chat
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To: mlmr
We recently bought 3 Dell's for our office. They are great. No problems. Excellent purchase experience.
16 posted on 03/25/2003 1:49:10 PM PST by nana4bush
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You could always build one


17 posted on 03/25/2003 1:49:20 PM PST by KneelBeforeZod (Deus Lo Volt!)
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To: mlmr
In the past 2 years I've purchased about $300,000 worth of equipment from Dell for work and about $3000 for home use. I've needed tech support for both home and work which is two different call centers. The only problem I've had was that for basic support I rarely get someone that speaks english very well. But for returns and such (Dell branded and other equipment) I've never had any problem. As a matter of fact they called me on a potential problem with some equipment and asked when I would like to have someone out to take care of it. I'm not trying to defend them, I'm just reporting my experience.

BTW, what kind of problem were you having? Using so much of their equipment I've found a few incompatabilities that they hadn't ever seen before.

Æ
18 posted on 03/25/2003 1:49:22 PM PST by AgentEcho (If you're in a fair fight you've done something wrong.)
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To: Petronski
"Mostly I'm curious: what was wrong that you were shipped TWO and neither one worked?"

I just had a thought. It could be that the new PC's wouldn't work with her existing peripherals. I had that problem when I upgraded to a PC with Windows XP. My old Xerox laser printer, a scanner, and one other peripheral just weren't supported by XP.

Never mind. I bought a new printer and scanner, which I had needed anyhow, and am much happier now. Two bits says that was the problem.
19 posted on 03/25/2003 1:50:00 PM PST by MineralMan
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To: KneelBeforeZod
Too cheap to by a case, eh? :)
20 posted on 03/25/2003 1:50:32 PM PST by saluki_in_ohio (Gun control is the ability to hit your target!)
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To: mlmr
You aren't expecting too much. I'm pricing computers for my Mom and have come up with a decent solution for $1100 from HP. OK, so it's an Athlon instead of a P4, 512 MB RAM instead of 1 GB, and 80 GB of HD space, but it comes with a Geforce4 Ti4200, SoundBlaster, a CD burner, and a flat panel monitor.

As an alternative, Alienware makes good stuff. Their cases are certainly non-conformist. Just be forewarned that they cater to gamers more than, shall we say, the general public. Also, you pay a bit more for the "cool" cases and the gaming-rig parts.

If I had to actually buy a computer (instead of build my own from scratch), I'd probably go with Alienware. I upgrade too much to go HP and I don't trust Dell. Gateway is just way out.

MD
21 posted on 03/25/2003 1:50:50 PM PST by MikeD (It's a machine world, don't tell me I ain't got no soul...)
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To: mlmr
I've used to approaches to buying computers and accessories.
1) If I have to have the latest and greatest, I go to a store, and hold my nose. If I have a problem (and I have) I put it in back in the box, take it back, and say I want another one. If you belong to one of the warehouse clubs, Sams/Costco, etc., they have good deals. I know mail order is cheaper, but if you have a problem (and you will, if you buy enough computers) its much easier to put it back in the box and drive back to the store. I truly believe it is cheaper in the long run.
2) If I really want cheap, not latest and greatest, I troll ebay/half.com, look for a seller with lots of good feedback, and wait for a really smoking deal, something so cheap that even if there's a problem, I don't feel I got screwed.

From what you describe you want, I'd walk into a store, (Costco if you belong), pay up, pay the sales tax, and realize you're likely to save yourself hours of aggravation if its DOA.

Just one man's worthless opinion.
22 posted on 03/25/2003 1:50:58 PM PST by HarryKnutszacke ("Is he live or dead---I don't really know, let's scan his head.")
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To: mlmr
Well, since you haven't answered any questions regarding the problems with the Dells, can we assume you work for Gateway? When you start a thread, it's customary to stick around and respond to questions.

I have a Dell now, after having built my previous PC. The Dell had a problem with a bad CD player. They replaced it (tech came to the house) within 3 days. I haven't had a problem since (2 years).

23 posted on 03/25/2003 1:56:38 PM PST by browardchad
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To: browardchad
"Well, since you haven't answered any questions regarding the problems with the Dells, "

Yes, that is disturbing. Several folks are here, ready to help, but nothing after that first message. Why waste our time?
24 posted on 03/25/2003 1:58:14 PM PST by MineralMan
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To: saluki_in_ohio
an old aquarium makes a good case, and prevents filling up the landfills!!


25 posted on 03/25/2003 1:58:50 PM PST by KneelBeforeZod (Deus Lo Volt!)
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To: KneelBeforeZod
Dude! Is that computer in the picture real? Don't you have heat issues?

And I'm guessing you don't own any cats...LOL.

26 posted on 03/25/2003 2:03:44 PM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: KneelBeforeZod
LOL!
27 posted on 03/25/2003 2:04:02 PM PST by saluki_in_ohio (Gun control is the ability to hit your target!)
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To: Wright is right!
I would be happy to. I ordered the computer and installed it. It had video card problems immediately and a new card was sent out. Eventually a customer service rep came out to install the card. (this is only after hours on the phone and on my knees in front of the mother board as a woman from India read to me from her troubleshooting manual. sigh!!) Blue screens continued with Bios errors. The cusotmer service rep said he would not touch anything except the video card even though on the phones I was told he would also investigate the bios issues and the blue screens. He took me aside and said, exchange the machine.

After more hours on the phone they finally sent out a new machine. It arrived around twelve days ago and I scheduled someone to help me switch towers today. I opened the box and the config is wrong on the new box and the Read write CD thingie is not installed.

Soooo I call Dell and ask what to do. They initally tell me that they will send out a new Read write CD drive and send someone to install it. then they sent me over to customer service to set this up. This happened twice before Iwas actually connected to customer service. The nice man from India told me that yes, he would send out the Read Write part...but only after I sent back the first comptuer because there was only one service contract and it had to be transfered to the new computer before anything could be done.

Deep breath!!

Then they argued about sending me a rep to install it too.

I went back to customer service and told them I wanted my money back and to take both computers. They said no becasue the first comptuer more than a month out.
I was transferred to a man who refused to consider taking the computers back for twenty minutes. He would not even negotiate with me. He refused to transfer me to a superior or to let me talk to anyone else, including his manager. I was in tears by the end of our conversation. He told me that the exchagne could not be made. He then put me on hold for the second time, to review things, and then made the return.
After he processed the return paperwork, I told him that he didn't have to put me through this...and instead of having a disappointed customer, Dell now has an appalled ex-customer.

I found the customer service to be appalling and heard regret and I am sorry so much in the past month....it was awful.

I certainly would appreciate feedback.
28 posted on 03/25/2003 2:04:35 PM PST by mlmr
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To: mlmr
Costco has a NICE system, with an awesome video card, tons of memory and kicks butt even over the sony they have.

$1,800 built by Northgate

Burns DVD rom AND CDRs.


but it is sold with a monitor....

Processor & Memory:

AMD Athlon XP 2400+
1 GB of PC2100 DDR SDRAM memory

Drives:
120 GB Maxtor (7200 rpm) hard drive
2.4X DVD-RW Drive can burn both DVD's and Normal CD-R Discs.
56x CD-ROM
1.44 Floppy Disk Drive
6-in-1 Media Card Reader

Graphics & Video:
nVidia MX440SE-T 64MB DDR 4x AGP w/TV Out Video Card
17" LCD Monitor (silver)
Media Center TV Tuner
Media Center PC Remote Control

Communications:
56K Fax Modem
10/100 Integrated Ethernet

Audio:
AV512 C-MEDIA 6 Channel Dolby 5.1 Sound Card
Juster DHT-630 6 piece 5.1 Dolby Digital External Speaker set with Subwoofer and multi- directional satellite speakers (Home Theater)
Headset with Microphone
29 posted on 03/25/2003 2:04:42 PM PST by KneelBeforeZod (Deus Lo Volt!)
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To: MineralMan
I would love to hear the whole story. My only problem with Dell is really a problem with Microsoft: They are not including a full install disk for their software, only a 'restore' disk.

Of course, since it was WinXP, the first thing I did was erase it all anyway.

30 posted on 03/25/2003 2:05:22 PM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: MineralMan
The first one had Bios problems, the second one was improperly configured and the customer service was abysmal.
31 posted on 03/25/2003 2:08:02 PM PST by mlmr
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To: mlmr
Buy locally. Go to one of the big stores and buy what you want. If it breaks take it back. It doesn't sound like mail (web) order is for you.

That's my only advice.
32 posted on 03/25/2003 2:08:24 PM PST by MineralMan
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To: MineralMan
No, it wasnt a peripheral problem. It was a Dell problem.
33 posted on 03/25/2003 2:10:02 PM PST by mlmr
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To: browardchad
No, I dont work for anyone except myself. I am a computer user and not tech savvy. It took me a while to type up the explanation of what happened.
34 posted on 03/25/2003 2:11:40 PM PST by mlmr
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To: mlmr
Pity you were treated that way, but as I read it, you got one defective computer, and one mis-equipped computer, plus the NAFTA-esque service department (so-called), and a rude customer service rep.

I know this will sound crazy, but if you live in a city, I would recommend you go to a Staples or CompUSA or whatever, and buy a Dell from them. You'll get better service in person and if it is defective out of the box, just box it back up and take it back.

Best of luck.

35 posted on 03/25/2003 2:12:24 PM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: Petronski
You know, I almost bought from the stapels guy but all he had were HPs and I have been told to avoid them.
36 posted on 03/25/2003 2:13:25 PM PST by mlmr
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To: mlmr
Or better yet, when you go to that local 'bigbox' retailer, get a list of a few brands that fit your specs and price range and bring the info back here. I guarantee there will be at least half a dozen of us who can tell you it's a good deal or wave you off with a red flag.

The beauty of FR (thank you JimRob) is that there is at least a handful of people in ANY field of expertise you might imagine.

37 posted on 03/25/2003 2:15:15 PM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: mlmr
There are some families of HP computers that you DO NOT WANT. But there are some that run just fine. It depends on the family and specs. They're not universally bad (like, say, Packard-Bell used to be).
38 posted on 03/25/2003 2:17:01 PM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: mlmr
I too had a horrible experience with Dell. I'll never buy from them again.

Crappy 'puter and crappy "service" was what I got.
39 posted on 03/25/2003 2:17:53 PM PST by Henrietta
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To: mlmr
You didn't happen to have an ATI Radeon VE (sometomes called the Radeon 7000) in there did you? There was a plug and play problem with those and a run of their monitors. There was nothing wrong with the PC it was the monitor. (I think it was the E771 though the same monitor is used on several configurations like when they add a base with speakers they call it an MM model) This was one of the problems that frustrated me for a while until I found the problem. As a matter of fact when I called them on it they had just released the memo to the Gold Level support people and from there it takes a while to get to the lower levels.

This sounds suspiciosly similar.

Æ
40 posted on 03/25/2003 2:24:37 PM PST by AgentEcho (If you're in a fair fight you've done something wrong.)
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To: mlmr
Welcome to the REAL world. I had to wait 6 wks for a replacement after my new 3 wk old computer melted down.

Every time I saw that commercial about the Customer Service Dept. working 24/7 I had to resist the urge to throw a shoe at the TV.

I'm still angry, and intend to notify the Iowa Attnry General and the Better Business Bureau.
41 posted on 03/25/2003 2:25:07 PM PST by Iowa Granny
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To: Henrietta
Well maybe it wasnt all me.
42 posted on 03/25/2003 2:39:09 PM PST by mlmr
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To: AgentEcho
I had a Dimension 4550.
43 posted on 03/25/2003 2:58:11 PM PST by mlmr
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To: Petronski
Thanks
44 posted on 03/25/2003 2:59:15 PM PST by mlmr
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To: Iowa Granny
Was it Dell that you were dealing with? Or is this just mail order computers generally?
45 posted on 03/25/2003 3:00:13 PM PST by mlmr
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To: mlmr
Which video card and monitor did you order?
46 posted on 03/25/2003 3:12:59 PM PST by AgentEcho (If you're in a fair fight you've done something wrong.)
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To: AgentEcho
I didnt order a monitor, I am using my good old envision. The card I ordered was a 64Mb CE force4MX graphics care with TV out
47 posted on 03/25/2003 4:22:43 PM PST by mlmr
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To: mlmr
OK, I understand now. My advice to the technically challenged (and I'm not being sarcastic) is not to order mail order computers. I've learned that the best way to deal with tech support is to identify the problem before you call them, so you can be one step ahead of them when they ask you to turn the machine on and off, whether it's plugged in, etc. If you know what the problem is, you can head them off at the pass, and get things done quickly.

On the other hand, you have to be careful where you buy locally. I bought some expensive peripherals at Computer City, and within a month, they moved out of the area. Fortunately, I never needed to return them.

If possible, try to hook up with a computer-savvy person (maybe at work?) who can help you diagnose problems. If that's not possible, do as much reading as you can, and try to understand the basic elements in a computer, so you can recognize problems yourself.

Unfortunately, today's tech support is usually a warm body on the other end of the phone who is using a manual (not his/her brain) to diagnose problems.

48 posted on 03/25/2003 4:26:33 PM PST by browardchad
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To: browardchad
I don't take it as sarcasm. I am a big user but inside the box scares me. I wanted to buy as big and bad as I could get so I could do some interesting things and not have to think about up grade for a few years. I am now going to look locally for a good provider. I want a company that is not going to go out of business soon. I wonder how staples' stock is doing??

That last customor service rep just took it all out of me. I have never been treated as poorly on the phone. It was amazing...for the byword is customer service in most industries.
49 posted on 03/25/2003 4:35:14 PM PST by mlmr
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To: KneelBeforeZod
What is a Costco?
50 posted on 03/25/2003 4:36:52 PM PST by mlmr
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