Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Saga of My Crappy Acer Aspire

Is, like many classic sagas, a tragedy.

I bought my Acer Aspire 5738-Z* laptop from Amazon a few weeks before Christmas for about $525. That meant my deadline for getting an 80% refund for returning the laptop was Jan. 31, 2010.

*Don't ever buy an Acer product. I would animate this warning with flashing red and blue warning lights and a siren noise if I knew how.

Oh, how I wish I had bitten the bullet then instead of trying to get the problems fixed.

I've returned the computer TWICE to the Acer Repair Center in Temple, Texas, which is apparently staffed by inbred mechanics struggling to manipulate their flipper-hands through an alcohol-induced haze while listening to country music. Once it arrived, they apparently decided not to examine the error messages I sent or to actually test the computer. They simply reloaded the operating system. Oh, and they claimed to have replaced the hard drive at one point, but since I kept experiencing the same problem when it came back, I really have no way of knowing if they just made that up.

I had to pay to package and ship the laptop both times. So I'm out another $30 or so, plus my time, right there.

My last email to the Acer service center, which promises to respond within 24 hours, has still not received a reply some three months later. Opening a repair ticket is a bit easier, but doesn't allow you to communicate with anyone. The notes attached to the defective laptop each time it returns are terse, like the pronunciations of a weather-beaten cowboy as he squints at the horizon. "Reloaded hard drive," he says. There's no response at all to the specific problems I've noted, or the error codes cited, or the questions I've asked. It's a drop-down menu of fortune cookie tech support wisdom.

I have high hopes that my current email to Acer might generate more than the automated response. Well, that's not true. I have a little bit hope. That's all I'm left with at this stage after Acer has managed to underwhelm my expectations with practiced ease.

This suicidal laptop has literally spent more time at the repair center or in the mail than it has sitting on my desk, said sitting time itself exceeding by an order of magnitude the amount of time that it has actually been on before the inevitable crash.

I suspect it's a hardware problem, given that the machine will crash regardless of the application being run (or attempting to run). It could be a Windows 7 problem. Because I am more of a nerd than a geek, the distinction doesn't matter to me at all. I've already spent more than enough time trying system restore discs, installing and reinstalling software, and browsing arcane tech forums.

Here's an idea: when you charge somebody more than $500 for a piece of equipment, it should work at the most basic level. That is, you should be able to use a fancy Windows 7 laptop to actually check your mail, look at a website, read a file, or compose a document before it blows up in your face. Without having to resort to a bunch of bizarre fixes and work-arounds. My fucking first generation iPod can do all of that except compose the document.

Acer screwed up somewhere with this product and it has cost me $550+ and many man-hours to this point to own something that doesn't work. I don't anticipate ever getting even a portion of my money back or of having a functioning machine. It has disappointed the kids so many times now that after it came back from the last "official" repair and we tried to get them to watch a movie on it, they started complaining. "It's just going to crash!"

And they were right.

So, Acer, until you make this right and stop jerking me around and wasting more of my money on pointless faux-repairs, YOU SUCK. I wish the worst business luck upon your company. I hope your stock falls, your products get recalled, and you become a laughingstock of the industry. And I hope your "Repair" Center in Temple, Texas is demolished and the ground sown with salt.

BECAUSE THIS WAS A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR MY CHILDREN, THE WORST CHRISTMAS GIFT EVER. And after building this piece of shit, you have dangled promises of fixing it over my head for three months, stringing me along as I try to tell my kids that maybe they'll have a cool, up-to-date computer at their disposal for work and play, because dad thought buying a video game console was a cop-out when they could do so much more cool stuff with a laptop if I spent a bit more.

SO FUCK YOU, ACER. Because you are very, very close to the point where you've worn me down and I just can't muster enough energy to care about this any more, at which point you will have my money and I will have a shiny blue rectangle with rounded edges and a high-def screen that isn't even useful as a paperweight.

Don't buy an Acer. Of any kind. Ever.

No comments: