[ale] How NOT to buy/sell a computer.

Robert Heaven robertheaven at earthlink.net
Sun Feb 1 17:40:15 EST 2004

I had the opposite experience recently at www.pcusa.com (PCSourse in
Peachtree Corners)... A couple of weeks ago I bought a new MB/CPU/RAM
upgrade and when I put it in my box it wouldn't boot. (no bios, no
nothing, like it had bad memory) On Saturday, I took it back.

As I was walking in the door, without having to say a word, the lady up
front immediately picks up the phone, punches the intercom and says,
"technician to the front". Within 1 min a technician came up and ask me
what was wrong. I told him what happened and he said "no problem, I'll
take a look". He took the MB/CPU/RAM into the back room and proceeded to
look. One minute later he came out and asked me to come to the back with
him where it was running perfectly. As it turned out my old ATX power
supply did not have a connector that the new MB's need (something he
called a P4 connector) so, for only $8.95 I walked out with a new power
supply and a much better feeling.

On Sun, 2004-02-01 at 16:43, Benjamin Scherrey wrote:

> 	Just had an interesting experience with the MicroCenter in Gwinnett county. Yesterday I 
> picked up one of these cool litle Shuttle X boxes that runs an Athlon64. Tony, the sales guy there 
> was helpful and knowledgeable so I was satisfied I had a good system with the right components. 
> Spent just under $1000 for the components and brought them home to assemble. It cost me nearly 
> $200 more to buy it locally than mail order (even after shipping expenses) but I always prefer to 
> support my local stores with the expectation that they'll stand behind their product and the added 
> advantage of immediate gratification. It was a nice idea anyway...
> 	Unfortunately, the machine didn't get much past POST. Recognized the CD media but 
> locked up during the boot. Also immediately locks when trying to get in the BIOS. Checked out the 
> online support forums and saw several reports of power supply problems which seemed to fit the 
> behaviour I was seeing. So today I take the machine back and explain what's happening. Initially 
> MicroCenter wanted $85 to look at it - but I could exchange it for free. This made no sense to me 
> but I explained I just wanted to get a working computer and would do whatever was easiest for 
> them. There were only four possible components to change out to see what the real problem was 
> so I suggested a 20 minute effort was cheaper for them and myself than exchanging out everything 
> at once.
> 	So they let me back in the tech room with the tech (Walt is his name I believe) and 
> explain to him the symptoms and what I had found on the support forums. He plugged the power 
> supply into a little 3" long device with a power switch and a green LED which lit up. With that he 
> declared the power supply fine! I suggested that it might be better to test it with a load on it but he 
> insisted that the device did this. I figured it wouldn't do to ask him what remarkable technology was 
> able to dissapate 200+ watts of power without performing any work or heating up enough to burn 
> his hand... ;-) He then attempted to boot the machine, got the exact results I had described and 
> said there was no telling what the problem was and a tech would be available on Tuesday for the 
> afore-mentioned $85.00 - reinforcing my long-held belief that ego/attitude and talent are inversely 
> proportional amongst tech types and photographers.
> 	Not quite understanding what the point of that excersize was, I decided to just take the 
> initial offer of exchanging everything - even though it didn't sound like such a great deal for 
> MicroCenter. So now I needed to extract my DVD-ROM out of the box as it was the only 
> component of my own in the box. Unfortunately the tech said I couldn't borrow a screw driver or 
> work on the box in any way inside the tech area for fear I'd electrocute myself and sue them. 
> (Seriously - this is what he said) I guess he'd be glad to do it for $85.00. So I take all my stuff out to 
> customer service and start disassembling the box there with my pocket knife. Can't get two of the 
> screws out (that's what I get for screwing things in right) so, when the manager (Bill) asks me what's 
> going on I explain to him what's happened and that I need to borrow a screw-driver to get my DVD-
> ROM out. He disappears back in the tech room and finally comes out asking me to follow him back 
> to the tech room (again) where he will let me borrow their screw-driver - but only after enduring his 
> anecdote that had I bought tires at an auto store they wouldn't let me borrow their tools to install 
> them. He literally held the screw driver away from me until he finished his story - which took an order 
> of magnitude longer than the time required for me to remove my drive. Once removed, he also 
> noted that if I exchanged the computer and had similar problems that there would be a 15% 
> restocking fee! 
> 	Finally insulted and harrangued enough for making the effort to do business with 
> MicroCenter and attempting to solve the problem with as little cost or trouble to them and myself as 
> possible, it was clearly time to cut my losses. I told him that I'll just return everything and take the 
> added savings of mail order rather than do business with them again. So, Bill & Walt of MicroCenter 
> managed to spend nearly an hour in an effort to lose a $1000.00 sale plus the loss of taking the 
> returned items and all future business from me rather than the 20 minutes necessary to keep the 
> money, stand behind their product, and retain a customer.
> 	lesson learned,
> 		Ben Scherrey
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