Alienware customer wants a laptop that works

Gripe Line reader is reduced to begging for help with a laptop that has not worked since she received it

I am happy to report that my faith in social media has been somewhat restored. Two days after I posted Tina's gripe about Toshiba, she sent me a note saying, "I received a call today from Guy at Toshiba. He is shipping me a box to send my laptop to Toshiba. He tells me that if the techs there can't fix it, they will replace it or give me back my money!"

Thanks to the awesome Gripe Line readers who offered to provide Tina with phone support to get her laptop fixed and to those who offered to start a campaign to pelt Toshiba with e-mails so someone would take notice of her plight. It seems the company is paying attention to the blogosphere. I'll let you know how it turns out.

[ Got amazing IT tales, real-life experiences, lessons learned the hard way, or war stories from the trenches? Submit it to InfoWorld's Off the Record blog. If we publish your story, we'll send you a $50 American Express gift card. ]

So here's another gripe I've been trying to get resolved behind the scenes with little success. This one has only been going on for a couple of weeks, but the Gripe Line reader affected sounds as frustrated as Tina did. And I'm getting no response from the company: Alienware.

Sharon writes:

I have completely lost faith in Alienware and their deceptive tactics. I purchased a M17 laptop from the company. It cost over $2,000 and arrived defective with part of the keyboard and the network adaptor not working. I immediately called Alienware's tech support and was redirected to their website's knowledge database to find the solution and resolution on my own. After I refused to give up, the tech finally agreed to hold my hand while I did this. My Dad once said "A good deal gets better and a bad deal gets worse." This laptop has not gotten better. Even with 4MB RAM, I constantly get Out of Memory warnings; and it sometimes doesn't see the second hard drive. Something is not right and it's only getting worse.

So after a couple weeks -- but still well within the 30 days -- I asked Alienware for a replacement. Tech support asked me to try reformatting the hard drive first and assured me if that didn't solve the problem I would get a replacement. I agreed.  In a perfect world,  I would have formatted the laptop that night. But I didn't find the necessary free time for over a week.

Reformatting didn't resolve any of my problems.  So, as instructed earlier, I called Alienware and told them reformatting did not help. To my surprise, I was denied a replacement! Instead I was invited to send the laptop top to Florida for repairs as they suspected I had a bad motherboard. Alienware claims they had no record of my requesting a replacement earlier. I can give you the exact date and time that I requested a replacement and the name of the Alienware representative.

Feeling frustrated and taken advantage of,  I demanded a replacement. I had gone along with everything they suggested from day one.  However, I was told it was now after the 30 days and a replacement was no longer an option.

I've written back and forth with the executive department. I even faxed a letter explaining this was not a repair issue but a bad laptop from the outset. They still flatly refuse a replacement on the basis that they have the right to choose whether to repair or replace. I have absolutely no interest in sending the laptop in for repairs because I no longer have any confidence in Alienware.

I need my laptop but can't afford a replacement without first receiving a refund from Alienware.

I forwarded Sharon's letter to Alienware two weeks ago and again this week. I have received no response at all.

Got gripes? Send them to christina_tynan-wood@infoworld.com.

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