Beat Yourself To Death (leaveyoufordead) wrote in bad_service,
Beat Yourself To Death

PC Hell Sucks!

I am reminded of this by novelconcepts ’s very similar tale of computer woe, posted a week or so ago.

This is sort of retro, but not really, as it details ongoing poor service that I’ve had since I bought the laptop. Each thing isn’t a complete bad service in and of itself, but over time... well, it does begin to get my goat.

Four years ago, before I went away to University, my parents bought me an ADVENT laptop from PC Hell here in the UK. It wasn’t the fastest/best/most expensive on the market, but it did everything I needed it to. We also bought something call PC Performance which they then renamed Tech Guys.

My laptop might not have been brilliant in the first place, but that’s why I got the care-service/repair plan/insurance on it. This is not a suck about ADVENT laptops. My brother has a newer, more expensive model and his is great. And has an awesome cover design I am very jealous of.


About three months into owning the laptop, and not having loaded much more onto it other than firefox, AIM, and Microsoft Office, it goes down. Keyboard stops responding totally, doesn’t seem to be connected, and the tracker pad also stops working. Now, I’ve basically got a screen that I couldn’t do anything with. I ring up their help line, and tell them what’s up. Because none of my F-keys are working either, they decide to come and collect my laptop to fix it.

...Apart from they can’t find where I live. Okay. I live on a student village, but no other delivery service has had problems. Still, not the Customer Rep’s fault and I say I’d be happy to take it somewhere else they can pick up. Maybe from my department’s offices. Oh, they can’t pick up from that sort of address? It has to be my home address or my work? Well, I’m unemployed, being a full-time student, and my home address is actually 250 miles away. Nothing doing? Fine.

I was planning to go home that weekend, and so got them to pick it up from my parent’s home. It was delivered back to my student address, though, and when I asked the delivery guy why they could drop it off but not pick up, he said PC Hell DID in fact pick up from my student village, he didn’t know I why I was told otherwise. He advised that I call the local store next time I needed a collection and repair.

Fast-forward to the week before my exams. I’m already panicking, but my pre-exam stress triples in intensity when yet again, my keyboard and tracker stop responding. I call my local store, which look me up on their records and are very sympathetic to my plight. They will not be fixing it, however. They are too busy, and they won’t do it. Not for free, anyway. So I fork over £70 to get it done. They promise a less than 5-day service. Which, granted, doesn’t help me much, but I turn to my text-books for the first few exams, and I can get online to revise for the rest of them, once my laptop is back and fixed.

I finish my first week of exams. Still no laptop. I call the store, and they have no record of my laptop. None. No record of it coming in for repair, no record of my payment, no record of my repair plan. Nothing. I freak out and call my parents, who are paying for the repair plan and my dad calls them back.

Even though it’s his name on the paperwork, they refuse to speak to him regarding the account, as he isn’t the ‘primary owner’ (this is important later on!) I call them again, but again, they still no information. But they will search their records and see if my laptop has gone to any of the other 6 ‘local’ stores, IE: the rest in Wales and Western England.

My second and final week of exams finished, and suddenly, I get my laptop back! It has, according to the attached paperwork, been sent to my HOME store, 250 miles away, for repair. My cheque of £70 is still in the envelope.

A bit weird, but what the hell.

Summer comes and goes, I’m at home, and I have a full-time summer job, so the laptop doesn’t really come out of its bag. The first time it does... the wireless card has gone. Kapput. And it is rattling around loose inside. Now, it might be my fault, but the laptop is covered for damage no matter what the cause. So I call, and book a pick up to get the thing fixed. Delivery man collects, and the laptop is brought back to me only three days later. A simple fault, I think, that was quick and easy to fix as I’m opening up the secure packaging.

Aside from it isn’t my laptop. I know, because mine has ADVENT across the cover. This one has HP. I don’t think a loose wireless card would warrant a replacement. But the delivery guy has gone. So I call the store. I have the wrong laptop? I must be wrong. Whose laptop have I got, if it isn’t mine?

How on earth am I supposed to know?! I am not turning on someone else’s laptop to find out! Well, they’d come get it and work it out from the computers unique ID, blah blah blah. They told me they’d collect within a week, but couldn’t give me an exact date, because it would be collected whenever a delivery person was in the area.

As I said, I had a summer job. I wasn’t in from 9am till 7pm, so I thought if I missed whoever came to collect it, well, no harm done, I would either take it in myself or wait and see. But one day I came home in the pouring rain to find my laptop and charger left out on my front door step. It had been delivered while I was out, and just... left. In the rain. Where someone could steal it.

I was fuming. I called to complain, but they said someone had been in and had signed for it, so it was my word against theirs. They told me to bring in the HP laptop, and my one, so they can check it for water damage. I take both in. They try and keep my Advent and check the HP for water damage. They were corrected several times, but when I left I still wasn’t certain they’ve checked my laptop properly.

And, what do you know, three days later it needed sending back. It took a month to fix, and even though I was calling every few days, they kept telling me it was fixed and ready to be sent back out, although it clearly wasn’t let fixed.

Fast forward again to December 2008. My laptop isn’t picking up wireless, the keys aren’t responding, and I get a million errors every time I start up. I don’t know why. At this point I’m at my in-laws for the holiday season, and need the laptop for my dissertation work, that needs to be done by January. The PC place comes to collect it, only 4 hours late (at almost 9pm at night!) and I ensure they know to deliver it back to my parent’s home , less than 30 miles away, as that’s where I’ll be after Christmas Day. I am assured that it will take only five days to fix, and while they’re shut Christmas day, the repair will be done by the 27th December. It isn’t back by January 2nd, we drove the 250miles back to University, and I used my desktop to rush my work.

When did I get my laptop back? On Saturday 17th January, when my in-laws came to visit. It was redelivered to them on Friday 16th January. I rang PC Hell that day and asked why they’d delivered it to them, rather than the address I’d requested.

Their reply? They didn’t know it was fixed yet, or ready to be delivered back to me. So they had no answer, or any apologies.

And when I switched my laptop on that Saturday? They’d wiped everything of it. Wh00t. And the damn thing still wasn’t picking up wireless.

When I switched it on yesterday night, bearing in mind it has lived in its padded case the last few days, the screen was just a bright square of white. And, this is good, the on/off switch has GONE. Fallen out somewhere, been pushed into the casing, or something. I can’t do anything about this, so foolishly (when will I ever learn?) I give them a call.

I call... and they won’t talk to me or discuss the faults, as the PC plan is in my father’s name, and they have changed policy to that only the named contract holder can request repairs. Fan-fucking-tastic. Do you remember when the won't talk to my father because it wasn't his laptop? Oh how the times have changed!

But this new policy is really, really going to screw over all the university students whose laptops were bought by the parents. I asked the guy on the line if there was a complaints number, he said there was, and gave it to me. As it was 11pm at night, I resolved to call them this morning.

I called. The number he had given me was a dead line. Great. I called the Customer Service/Complaints number helpfully provided on the bottom of my PC plan contract. The girl I spoke probably didn’t learn English as her first language. So after some misunderstands on both our parts, she tells me that there is no loner a complaints telephone line, and I have to write to PC Hell.

Oh, and my dad will still have to ring up on my behalf, even though he doesn’t know anything about laptops. *sigh*

Long and the short of it:
Continued bad service just keeps getting worse: laptop stops working at 3 months old, they tell me conflicting information, constantly don't deliever/pick up from the right address, leave my laptop outside in the rain, change their policies without warning, and oh, don't fix the computer in the first place.

Tags: tech support

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