Originally Posted by Ekko
I appreciate your attempted metaphore here, but unfortunately you miss the point. When I go to the gas station, I expect to wait in line. There is no formal contract between myself and the gas station that says I get priority when I pull up. I also know that when I pull up i'm going to pay what the sign says outside -No more, no less. I get my gas, I pay, expectiations are met and we all go on with our lives.
When I purchase a $3,200 computer from a company that touts 4 star customer service and a warrenty that covers all defective parts and labor, I expect that they uphold what they say. Did they ultimately uphold the contract? Of course - It's obvious that it's to their benefit to do so. Did they uhold the 4 star customer service? Absolutely failed.
Trust me when I say that I was rooting for the reps on the other end of the phone, hoping they would find a faulty driver, or some messed up piece of software, but unfortunately, this wasn't the case. The drive was cranking out a horrible sound and basically just fried - within the warranty.
My fault isn't with my time that was wasted - it's not even with the fact that they charged my credit card. My issue is with the that fact that I was forced into a re-install my operating system. Thats it. Period. If you think that this is standard with all companies, think again, my boy. It took me weeks to get the machine up to working standards. The 'required' reinstall blew away all that. Wasted time? When we are talking about a $180 piece of hardware? Absolutely. Don't even tell me for a second you wouldn't have pushed back in this situation.
Why couldn't AW have sent out a new drive and charged my card? I would have totally accepted this. If the drive worked, I send back the faulty one and they give me my money back. If I don't, they keep the money - end of story. If the new drive doesn't work, I send it back, they refund and we start looking somewhere else.
It's really a question of what does AW value more, the customer or the bottom line. If they want to compete they need to re-think their priorities, and cut some slack to those that invest so much money into their hardware.
To let you know, Hammerhead, I have definitely grown stronger through this experience - it just came at a price I personally felt was too much to pay.
: jason :
I understand your frustration, and I have had a couple hardware failures with my AW systems. My experience was very different than yours though. I had a video card burn out, and it was replaced in a couple days with an upgraded card as they no longer stocked the card I had. The other was a motherboard failure, and the error codes and behavior made that obvious, so it was depoted. Haven't had any trouble since. (by the way, when you depot a system, the first thing they do is a fresh install of Windows. This solves the majority of issues they see in the depot.)
On more than one occasion, I've loaded software that messed up my system, including making the optical drives malfunction or disappear. I've always kept system restore current so it's not been a problem for me to restore, but I know that a large portion of the machines sent into Alienware's depot have user created, or software created issues that are resolved with a simple reinstall of windows. It may be that Alienware was overly cautious with your situation, but a fresh install does eliminate the possibility of user added software being the cause of the problem.
I don't know how your phone conversations went, but I'd agree with you that a physical grinding noise from the drive should have led to AW identifying that as the likely cause of your problem. It wouldn't have been unreasonable of them to pre-approve (not charge) your credit card to send out a replacement drive to see if that solved the problem. I've never had a problem getting them to replace defective hardware. But I don't know about their internal policies at this point regarding making sure software isn't the cause of the problem.
There are things you can do to protect your data in the future to make sure this doesn't happen to you again. If it was your hard drive failing, you'd lose all your data the way you're doing things anyway. For business computing, you must find a way to back up data if it's loss will cost you money.
I'd suggest you learn to partition your drive, and put your operating system on it's own partition if your data is as valuable as you say it is. That way you can reinstall your OS without disrupting your programs or data. And get a secondary drive to keep backups of your data. You can get external usb hard drives now pretty cheap.
Or invest in a program that allows you to take an image of your hard drive. Some will update automatically and back up one drive or partition onto another drive or partition. That way you could do a fresh install, check the problem, and then restore your drives to the way they were before the install.
I have all my machines main drive image backed up on two of my desktops, one at my office, one at home. In addition, I have more than one drive in all of my systems to make sure crucial data is backed up in case of an hd failure. It may seem paranoid, but hardware fails and I want to make sure I don't lose any data. It takes a matter of minutes for me to refresh any of my computers to a state where I know it was running well, and I retain my programs and data as well. Most backup programs can be automated, so they update the image of the hard drive automatically according to your schedule.
I have to disagree with you that reinstalling drivers, then the OS to eliminate potential problems caused by the user while troubleshooting isn't standard. I've never been asked to do a full install by AW, but I have been asked by other companies to do so, including Acer, Compaq, and Dell.
Again, if you're in business for yourself, and you can't afford to lose your programs or data, get a backup machine to protect your business, or get a secondary hd and back your sh*t up.
As for your post here stating that it was reinstalling the OS that got you upset, that's quite different than itemizing $2400 in damages and demanding compensation.
Alienware warrants your hardware, your data is the customers responsibility.