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Getting screwed by gateway...

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Ok so almost 3 years ago i purchased a 400sd4 laptop from gateway with upgraded everything, cost me almost 2 grand before the 3 year service plan i bought from them. Can i fix it myself? of course, but the plan is cheaper than the parts so Duh. Anyways. i purchased a pcmcia wifi card from them same time i bought the laptop, plugged it in, didnt work. Wiggled it around a little and it worked. This continued for about 4 months until wiggling a little didnt work. You had to take it out and put it back in. At first i thought it might be the card so i bought another of the same. Same problem. To make a long story short, pcmcia slot in my laptop hasnt worked for about 2.5 years. Also, the laptop always ran very hot, but i got a chill pad to use when convenient. I know how to take care of computers, thats what i do for a living.

About two weeks ago i turned it on to play some WOW and it powered on but nothing came on the screen. I turned it off and turned it back on, hdd light came on and then went off. Tried this a few times before giving up and calling tech support to have it sent in. Before i sent it, i brought it to work for some quick tests. Hd still ok. Unfortunetly i didnt hook it up to external monitor, which i should have. But I did test my ac adaptor for output voltage, and it was putting out 20.08v on my very reliable voltmeter. The specifications say it should be 19v and this concerned me so i made a note of it and sent it along with my computer to gateway.

Now i have a question for someone more electronically inclined than myself. I have tested hundereds of ac adaptors and ive never seen one show more that .5v more than specified. I feel that this was the cause of it always running very hot (but never to the point of shutting itself down). Since other components seemed ok, laptop powered on and all, i would be inclined to think that the video went out because of nearly 3 years of running hotter than it should.

Now the part that has made me livid: Gateways says turnaround is 3-4 days which is cool. The tech i talked to was not an idiot and didnt treat me like an ignorant child. But a week later, i call to find out why they havent shipped it back and they say that they need my approval for a $667 out of warranty repair. I say no freaking way of course, i can get that mobo for like $200. They tell me that they have already replaced my power board, dvd/cdrw, and touchpad (which was not in any ways broken). Now am i the only one that thinks its strange that they repaired all this other stuff before getting my approval for mobo replacement? They wasted their parts and labor on a unit that still dosent work.

The reason they say they cant replace it is because: THERE IS CUSTOMER DAMAGE TO THE PCMCIA SLOT AND THAT RESULTED IN THE DAMAGE TO THE VIDEO COMPONENTS. Now i think that is crap. Is there something I am missing. Can a slot that stopped working and hasnt been touched for 2.5 years have one day suddenly make my video burn out? I dont think so.

In the meantime they sent my laptop back unrepaired without my consent to send it back to me. Anyone got any ideas about what I should do? I can fix it myself but i paid for a warranty for them to fix it... Am i totally wrong about the voltage thing?

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Neil Jones

Neil Jones

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Technically your "wiggling it around" can be classed as customer damage because you shouldn't have HAD to wiggle it like that.

What you should have done is claimed under the warranty in the first place, as soon as you found out the PCMCIA slot didn't work, and claim for the PCMCIA slot, the overheating and the power supply as well.

Gateway will probably argue that your using the chill pad could have contributed to it, and of course damage that could or has been caused by third party accessories aren't covered under the warranty.

You'll probably find that it'll be far more convienent to repair it yourself. One really has to wonder why you took out such a warranty in the first place when you have the knowledge and tools to do it yourself, and alarm bells should have started ringing when you saw how cheap it was. If its too good to be true, it usually is.

Don't forget, $667 includes the new stuff, the labour and postage and packing as well + any appropriate taxes. It's not like anybody's going to work for free.

Edited by Neil Jones, 19 February 2006 - 05:39 AM.

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If they allready replaced all that stuff allready replace the mobo and call it a day is the easiest thing to do as when you moved it around you probably did damage the video, but if you make enough fuss and phone the right people and genreally make a nuisance they will probably give in and do it in warranty.
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