Readers sound off against defective hardware and poor PC ratings

Readers weigh in with their thoughts on PC maker rankings and hard drive reliability and service

I am constantly impressed by the depth of knowledge, technical experience, and empathy for the suffering of other high-tech professionals (and dabblers) that is evident in the missives and comments from Gripe Line readers every day. Here are just a few that arrived this week.

"I have to sympathize with Joel," writes Gripe Line reader Phil in response to Joel's frustrating experience with Iomega (see "Defective hardware, deteriorating customer service").

[ For insight into a disturbing trend, see "Defective hardware, deteriorating customer service" | Find out how your PC manufacturer ranks against the competition | Frustrated by tech support? Get answers in InfoWorld's Gripe Line newsletter. ]

He continues, "I feel compelled to compare it to my own experience with Western Digital. I bought two 250GB drives about 18 months ago. I used one immediately. Eight or nine months later, I tried to install the other. It just clicked, so I went to WD's Web site, but I couldn't log on to check the warranty so I had to call.

"In that one call, I got a helpful technician who helped me check the warranty, confirm it was still in effect, and submit a claim. Western Digital sent me a pre-paid shipper so I could send the drive back, and I got a new, slightly more recent version, by return mail. The whole process took a week."

In my post about Forrester's ranking of PC manufacturers, I wrote, "If my middle schooler brought home grades like these, he'd be grounded."

To that, Gripe Line reader Glenn says, "I am not sure where your kids go to school, but in our school district every vendor would have failed. Seventy-five is considered the minimum passing grade -- even in the elementary levels. But my experience with PC manufacturers has been exactly that as well. I have an Asus, an Acer, an HP, and a Dell. And the only one that consistently provides a pleasurable experience is the HP. Even that, though, is far less than what I expect from a computer."

Taking issue with those same grades from "How does your PC manufacturer rate?" -- where Dell held tight to the bottom of the rankings for the second year -- Tom writes, "I'm always amused to read the annual manufacturer ratings. I'm a systems administrator at a research group that uses Dell systems for the majority of our desktop and laptop systems -- though we have a few Apples. I've been working with PCs since the PC XT days and do a fair amount of troubleshooting before I pick up the phone to call tech support. So it seldom takes long to get replacement parts."

However, he notes, "And while it's true that I have never had to call Apple for support, I would like to point out that that company's standard warranty has to be about the worst in the industry."

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