I am a little miffed as I write this, so forgive me if I go off on an occasional tangent. You see, I purchased an Acer Aspire M5100 desktop last year through Geeks.com. It seemed like a pretty good deal, and I needed a new desktop quickly. Geeks was offering it for a little over $500.
A few months after purchasing it my wife and I noticed that the fans on it were getting louder and louder. It turns out that their fans easily collect a lot of dust. No big deal right? Just clean out the dust and it quiets down for a month or so. Annoying yes, but not a deal breaker at this point.
Well, about two weeks ago I pulled the the case open to clean out the dusty fans again because the noise was getting unbearable. After the routing cleaning I tried to power on the machine, and it wouldn’t. Oops! It looks like I may have shorted out something. I mean this thing was a brick. it would not even go into POST. I checked online, and sure enough, I had another month or two on the warranty.
I went to the Acer Website, and tried to find a phone number to call to get the motherboard RMA’d. After looking around their site for an hour or so (exaggeration), I could not find a phone number. I did however find their online support area, and reported my problem. After filling out their forms describing my issue, all they said was to ship it to their repair center in Texas.
Since I was going to have to blindly ship the thing back, I wanted to make sure I had a backup of my wife’s important files since it was her PC. I didn’t have a SATA to USB adapter, but my buddy Sundance did, so I took the drive out and gave it to him to burn my wife’s settings to DVD before I sent it out.
After Sundance burned my wife’s stuff, I put the drive back in and shipped it off. About a week later it arrived in Texas. I got an email saying they were shipping it back. About an hour or so AFTER that I got another email saying they just received it. That is the second WTF moment.
Curious, I emailed their support team (Note: I still couldn’t find a God forsaken support phone number on their site). I wanted to know if they had actually made any repairs since I got the return notice so quickly, and BEFORE I got the receipt notice. They said the following:
Paul, I understand that you would like to know what are the repairs had been done on the system.
According to the serial number provided our database shows that, the Depot repair had Replace hard drive,reloaded software,tested all components.
That is the third WTF moment! Replaced the hard drive, and reloaded all the software? Why the hell would they do that? The computer wouldn’t POST! It is NOT a hard drive problem you friggin’ idiots!
Besides, even if it was, why in the name of all things holy wouldn’t you friggin’ call me to tell me that you have to replace the hard drive? That way I can ask you to back it up, or send the hard drive back so I can back it up? Nope, no call, just replace the drive and away we go!
When I got the computer back it came with a piece of paper attached. FINALLY a mother fuckin’ phone number!
For those looking for a phone number for Acer support it is 1.800.816.2237
[EDIT]: I actually found the number on their site. Is is rather hidden, but it is available here: (Acer Contact Us)
So I called their support to find out why they had to replace the hard drive. They told me that the motherboard appeared okay, but after running diagnostics it appears that hard drive failure was imminent.
So once again I find myself asking, “Okay, that is nice and all, but why wouldn’t they call me and let me know that?” No answer!
At least I had that backup Sundance made right? Well, not exactly. It turns out that Sundance’s DVD burner was on its way out, and the burn was bad. All is not lost though. Like any good "tech guy" I have multiple backups in various forms. Pictures on the web, email settings synced with smart phones, etc.
Still though, it would have been nice to have been warned that they were going to replace the drive BEFORE they replaced it and blew away all of my stuff. I mean, now I have to re-download all of my BitTorrents!
After this episode, I think this will be my last purchase from Acer. I just can’t do business with a company that doesn’t have their customer’s best interest at heart.
Their customer support is closed as I write this. I will try calling them tomorrow to see if their is a snowball’s chance in hell that they still have my old hard drive, and if so if there is any way I can get it back.
Have any of you had bad experiences with Acer? Care to share your experiences/frustrations? Hit me up in the comments!
[EDIT 4/17/09] - Wow, I never expected this to go front page of Digg! It appears that the Digg users don't agree. I guess I should clarify my bottom line opinion then.
It doesn't necessarily bother me that they replaced my drive. What bothers me is the lack of communication and customer service from Acer.
When reporting the problem to them they did no remote troubleshooting with me, they simply told me to ship it back. When they told me to ship it back they did not warn me of the possibility of wiping/replacing the drive. When they got the machine, they did not email me, or call me to let me know that they found a problem with the drive requiring it to be replaced.
Now, as the article said, I knew in the back of my mind that there was a possibility of this. That is why Sundance and I tried to get one last backup before sending it back. However, the AVERAGE USER wouldn't know that, and once again it speaks to the importance of good communication.
I have worked with various PC manufacturers and their support. A couple of them have been HP and Dell. Both of which are very good at communication, and letting you know UP FRONT before they do stuff.
It all comes down to communication and customer service. Both of which Acer lacks.
I had to turn on moderation of the comments due to some pretty outraged Digg users. Unfortunately the few ruin it for the many. I promise to get your comments moderated quickly, so please keep them coming if you have something intelligent to add to the discussions.