Sunday, August 14, 2005

Computer Woes

AKA, first world problems of the highest order. . .

When I got my laptop (a hand-me-down from one of Adam's gaming friends), there was an intermittent problem with it recognizing the power cord. Occasionally it would switch to battery, but if you jiggled the cord a bit, it would switch back and all was well. Adam's friend said there was a loose connector that needed to be soldered - he figured Adam could do it, but we were both leery of that. And since the problem seemed manageable, fixing it wasn't a priority.

Last week the problem got worse, until the computer couldn't "see" the cord at all. I tried to conserve the battery power, but I also needed to get files off it, and in the midst of that, it went into hibernation because the battery was drained. So I can't use it at all (luckily, I managed to get everything I need to work on immediately off it before that happened).

On Friday, I called the place around the corner that advertises that it fixes laptop and told the guy what was going on. He seemed to understand, quoted a flat rate of $75 to fix the problem (barring any unforeseen additional problems), and I ran it by later in the afternoon. The guy behind the counter was young, and although he claimed to be the same guy I'd talked to earlier, he didn't seem to recall anything I'd told him. So I ran through it all again. Things went downhill from there. . .

"So it won't turn on?"

Patiently, I explained again what was going on, ending with, "so yeah, it might not turn on now, since the battery is dead, but if you put a new battery in it, it would work fine." (Trying to explain that it's a power supply problem.)

"So, you think it needs a new battery?"

Again, I explained the problem. This time he finally got it, but began explaining that it wasn't as simple as it seemed, since all of that was one piece, and it was possible he'd have to put a new motherboard in. He piddled around and got an estimate - $150 on top of the $75 he'd quoted before (mind you, Dell's advertising new laptops for $400). He also went off on this long exegesis about how it might not even be related to the plug but might be something much more seriously wrong with the computer (and I'm thinking, but not saying, that this is junior high level trouble shooting. There's a problem and when you mess with this it works again, so odds are that this is the problem. Drew, at eight, could figure out that much.)

I start to explain that husband's friend -- someone who knows about this stuff -- had suggested it was a very simple repair. "He said the connector just needed to be soldered."

"OH. Well, I can't do that kind of work.  I don't have the tools for it. If it turns out that's the problem, then you'll need to send it back to Dell."

So I'm thinking this guy seems like an idiot and I'm not entirely comfortable leaving the computer with him, but I decide it's worth it to let him open it up and at least see if that's the problem. So then he asks for the $75 upfront. "But, if what I think is wrong with it, you won't even be able to fix it!"

(As if to a very stupid child.) "You have to look at the positive side. At least you'd know for sure what was wrong. And if you send it to Dell, even for a simple $50 repair, they'll charge you all kinds of other fees."

"But I'm already pretty sure I know what's wrong, and it's something you've said you can't fix. Besides, if that's the problem, you've said I'll still have to send it to Dell and so I'll pay all their charges, plus what you've charged me. I think I'll call around some more and talk to my husband before I do anything."

He refuses to give me my computer, and continues to try to justify the $75 charge. "If I open it up, you can't expect me to do that work and not get paid!"

I reiterated that I wasn't going to pay him the same fee for an estimate as I would for him to both diagnose and fix the problem. And he still wouldn't give me my computer. Finally after going back and forth many times, I got it back and left, so angry I could hardly speak. It was now 5:00 pm on Friday afternoon and nothing was open. So I can't even look into finding another place until tomorrow. GRRRRR!


At 6:08 PM, Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

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At 8:09 AM, Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

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At 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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