Dear United: If you're going to cancel my flight and I have a tight connection, it might be nice to let me know so that I will not get to the airport and discover that my flight has been cancelled and the earlier ones that would enable me to make my connection have already left.
We'll call the computer company Phony (oh, do you see what I did there?). I had actually, up to this point, been rather pleased with their customer service, so when my fan clogged up, I called them to see if that was under the warranty. It was, so they sent me a box and I packaged up my computer and sent it to them.
About a week later, I'm checking the status of the computer online and there's a note that says "we're not sending it back until you pay $200 for the repairs!" But wait- this is not the suck yet (though I would have appreciated a call about this, rather than needing to check online - perhaps they hadn't gotten to it). It is, however, going to become relevant to the story. I called them and said, "wait, wasn't this under warranty?" Apparently the repairs were for the screen and the keyboard, both of which had cracks in them that I hadn't asked Phony to repair, as neither was affecting my computer's performance. Luckily, the repairs hadn't actually been done, so I didn't have to pay the $200. Thankfully.
Now here comes the suck. I get the computer back later...and it's not working. That's right, the "repair center" actually broke my computer. It takes three minutes to boot up (one of the tech support people timed it) and probably another three minutes to go from password screen to fully-loaded desktop. I couldn't shut down properly (it'd freeze on the shutting down screen). Games would freeze my computer. Anything more complicated than .jpg files would crash my browser (embedded youtube videos on LJ killed me a lot). My internal mouse wasn't working (still isn't, in fact).
TS: Now reboot your computer...
Me: I'm going to have to do a hard restart.
TS: That's bad for your computer! >(
Me: I know, but I can't restart any other way, seeing as how my computer won't let me. So help me fix it and that won't be a problem.
TS: [sighs] Fine, do a hard restart.
Me: Okay, but it'll take a moment, as I said before, since slow start up is part of the problem.
[silence while computer reboots]
TS: Is it finished?
TS: Is it finished yet?
Me: No. I promise I'll tell you when it's done. See, I wasn't kidding about the slow startup.
They also either didn't believe that it was their fault (which I can sort of get, but it was working at 100% when it left and at about 10% when it got back, so unless I happened to contract a virus at the very last moment before shipping, unlikely) or they didn't want to admit it was their fault, so I had conversations like this:
Me: Could it have been damaged during shipping? Maybe it was dropped? Because it was fine when it left and it was not when it got back.
TS: No, being dropped would not have caused these problems.
Me: Orly? [wonders if they will admit it is their fault, but they do not]
Anyway, the refused repairs came back to haunt me when the first TS person promised to talk to the "repair center":
TS: They said you refused the repairs.
Me: Uh, repairs for the keyboard and the screen, both of which have been broken for awhile and have not affected my computer's performance.
TS: Well, if you refused all repairs-
Me: I didn't know I was refusing repairs for a problem I didn't know I had.
The problem was fixed seven calls to tech support later, but the TS rep I got on call number six was a special snowflake himself. I had finally gotten through all the troubleshooting stuff that the first level of tech support had (only apparently not because TS #7 managed to find something that fixed it). I got transferred up to level 2 of tech support, so you'd think they'd be competent or something. Long story short, after awhile of troubleshooting with this guy, he tried to tell me that the problem was caused by Ad-Aware and Spybot, which were virus programs.
I was willing to buy this, though I'd never heard anything but good about them from techie friends that are more in the know than I am. Later, I started thinking this was weird, though, especially because it would still be strange that my troubles with the programs started right after I shipped it off. I googled both programs, found criticisms of the programs but nothing about either one of them being malware. I checked Symantec's website, and at least one of the two is listed as a helpful program by Symantec. So I don't know if this guy was a lying liar or if he was locked into the tinhat database of virus programs.* Either way, I was not pleased, especially after Lying Liar's paternal lecture about being careful about what you download from the internet.
*If I'm wrong about this, please let me know, but research seems to back me up for the moment.
And yes, as mentioned above, the guy I spoke to next finally found a way to fix it, ironically while trying to make it so the computer would acknowledge my external HD (another new problem I had since the "repair" - my computer doesn't like to acknowledge anything stuck into the USB ports and makes me jump through hoops to use them) so I could back up my data and do a full system wipe. In fixing the HD problem, he managed to get my computer fixed. I got a supervisor's email from him and sent in a complaint about Lying Liar and praise and thanks for him.
The end? I hope so.