Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Two Month Headache

I have endured a frustrating and stressful two months and it was all down to a laptop computer.

And before I go on, I am probably going to sound selfish going on about an issue like this when there are definitely worse things going on in the world. So, I am going to preface this post by asking you to forgive my ego on this occasion.

The laptop that I have had since late-2006 started having sound issues earlier this year. I didn't get them fixed immediately as I could still hear through a pair of earphones. I rarely needed the speakers as I would always use the laptop while watching TV with the earphones in to combat the collision of noise from the television and computer.

To cut this long story by an inch - I went through the spring and summer knowing I would have to get the laptop repaired sooner or later.

I called the warranty helpline in late July and it was picked up on August 3rd.

It was away for three weeks and was returned to be in an even worse condition than it had left. Sure, the sound was working perfectly. I just had an AC adaptor giving off smoke immediately and the laptop would freeze as soon as Windows started up.

I immediately called the helpline again and it was re-booked for another collection. They told me I had to wait six days for the courier, though. I argued that the warranty stated I was eligible for next day collection but they wouldn't budge.

I waited the six days and the courier didn't show up. I rang the hotline again and they tried re-booking the collection - this time they gave me a two day wait. I argued that I wanted the next day collection as it was going against the agreement I was paying for . I fought my way to the operator's supervisor after countless attempts for him to allow me through. The operator was apologetic and rang me back. He tried getting the laptop re-booked for the following day but was having trouble doing so. At this point he made a promise that, should the laptop not be fixed by September 14th, it would be written off. His last promise to me was that he would call me back if he had secured the next day collection or, if not, I should expect the Friday pick-up.

He didn't ring me back. I assumed the Friday.

The following afternoon, I missed the knock at the door - the couriers had called to pick up the laptop!

They arrived the following day and it was sent off.

We then head towards September 13th, the day before the deadline. I received a text message that morning telling me the computer was on its way back to my house.

They made it by one day.

Not so fast, my friend - as Lee Corso would say.

The laptop was still stalling at the start-up or, at best, a few minutes after I started using it.

I called again and - bearing in mind the deadline was almost due - the operator booked it to be written off. He told me I had to ring them as soon as the text message arrived informing me the computer had reached their factory for the process to begin.

I didn't get the text and - as I would always get them on the Tuesday following a collection - I rang the company back up. I was then told that the laptop had been repaired and was due back to me. I argued that it wasn't meant to be repaired as it had passed the deadline I was given and asked to be put through to a supervisor to sort it out. The operator refused. I hung up on him after giving him a piece of my... gutter language.

I called back and another operator told me to reject the delivery when it arrived at my door and she would start the write-off again.

At this point, I was annoyed and sent off a letter and email to head office. It should also be noted that, in the back of my mind, I had a feeling I would get messed around in some way so I had the foresight to film three video clips of the laptop not performing. I even had proof of the day I was recording (panned the camera from The Sun website bearing the date to the machine) and I sent these recordings to the email address.

I heard nothing back.

Then, this past Monday, I received a phone call from accounts informing me that the laptop had been repaired in time and the write-off wasn't going to happen. I was hit for six and couldn't argue back. All I said was I was going to look into having a solicitor involved.

Then, I went and wrote to one of the CEOs of the company and included my video evidence.

I spent yesterday morning expecting to be contacted by someone in the company but nothing happened. My plan was to wait the day and then contact my family solicitor in the evening but then I decided to give the call centre one more try.

I ended up finding out that the original write-off booking on the 13st September was set down as a repair rather than a write-off. That was their argument for the quick repair job that they did on the machine. I wasn't buying it and asked to speak to a supervisor.

They put me on hold to wait.

And this was the best part of my argument. You see, at this time, I was sitting there thinking 'what am I going to say that hasn't already been said to everyone else?' and it hit me.

The manager introduced himself and I explained what had happened and then I threw my pocket aces at him.

'If you were me and you knew that the laptop was not fixed by the 14th September deadline would you have it collected for repair on the 15th knowing that it had to be written off?'

And he agreed with me. You would have to be stupid to do that.

So, he told me he was going to immediately cancel the redelivery of the laptop and then write it off and phone me back with a code to buy a new machine.

I got a call back and had the choice of a laptop up to the value of £569.99. I bought a Sony Vaio and got the remaining thirty pounds in store vouchers.

I spent yesterday night backing it up and today was the first time I have used it to surf the Internet. In fact, typing this post, is the first thing I have done other than setting it up.

It truly was one of the most frustrating things I had to go through. It's hard trying to get your point across when people aren't doing their jobs right.

I won in the end, though.

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