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"Online Laptop Repair Services -- No Good, Bad, and Ugly"

By Inky960 ·
We've all probably see their ads: "We charge less because we fix the BOARD -- we do not *replace* the board, as the big companies do..."

And when you have a 2 month old Acer that you spilled Gatorade on, or into, thus destroying your motherboard... and Acer is asking $454 (to replace the whole insides of the thing), the online company's *implied* fee of $100 or so is very tempting.

This is my own case I'm talking about. I sent the Acer to -- a company in Santa Clara, CA. The Acer worked 90% of the time, but would "hard-freeze" at the worst times, and sometimes, for a day or so, wouldn't power back on after powering off. A pain in the butt. So in a "why not" moment, I sent it to these wonder-workers, who have a ton of positive feedback on eBay, along with a good sprinkling of scare-you-breathless bad feedback, just enough to make you wonder.

Long story short, 'twas a horror story. The fee was to be $220 plus $25 postage. Then, a few days later, things changed: the laptop could not be fixed at all. "Human can not fix computer, scientifically." (They're Vietnamese, and the communication barrier is tremendous. Conveniently for them, in my case, I'm afraid.)

They sent my almost-new Acer back to me. It now does not even have power. Plug it in, nothing. And "Long" - the main "engineer" at WILL NOT tell me why it's in this condition. He says, "Laptop was not working, otherwise you would not have sent for repair."

The story becomes much more horrifying, but space doesn't allow for everything. The thing I'd like to discuss here is, What *should* I have done? Pay Acer $454? Should these companies *ever* be trusted? Any of you had experience with And, what (in your expert opinions) should I do with the computer now? Long's advice was, "Never buy Acer computer again. Buy Dell, is best brand name." But that doesn't help me much NOW. I *had* a very good laptop; everything worked, and I knew it worked, except for the motherboard glitch. As it is now (dead) I can't even sell it for parts, as I can't power it on to see whether the parts even work!

Are there any companies out there I could trust to give me a fair price for the remains of this Acer? Any that might fix it? Do you think Acer will even touch it now?

Problems, problems.


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by CharlieSpencer In reply to "Online Laptop Repair Ser ...

"What *should* I have done?"

Paid Dell to fix the original problem. Stopped payment on the unsatisfactory repairs. Kept the Gatorade in a sippy cup.

"Should these companies *ever* be trusted?"


"And, what (in your expert opinions) should I do with the computer now?"

Maybe you can move it on e-Bay for parts if you provide full disclaimers about it's problems. You should be able to get something for the battery and hard drive, at least.

"Long's advice was, 'Never buy Acer computer again. Buy Dell, is best brand name.'"

I don't care if Steve Jobs custom built it by hand, it's not going to stand up to liquid dumped into it.

Are there any companies out there I could trust to give me a fair price for the remains of this Acer?

Define "a fair price". You said Acer wanted $450 or so for the repairs on a two-month old system. How much did you pay for it new? That plays a big part in determining whether their price is "fair".

"Do you think Acer will even touch it now?"

Sure, but don't expect to get them to complete it for the original $450 estimate; you've sustained additional damage.

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Thanks, Palmetto

by Inky960 In reply to 1-800-OUTALUK

I appreciate your response. The problem is complicated by's refusal to tell me why the $900 Acer has no power now. How can I sell it for parts when, now, I can't say for sure that *any* of them work as they should, if at all?

Another part of the story that's more interesting, I think, than the first part: when told me the laptop could not be fixed, the guy says, "So now you have two options, sir. Because it can't be fixed, you see, it must now be recycled. What we are prepared to do is pay for the cost of recycling, okay? Keep in mind, we send your hard drive back to you, okay? You get hard drive back. We even pay postage for hard drive back to you, but we recycle, okay?" [How many innocent people fall for this, I wonder?] He went on: "Other option, we send old computer, you must pay for all recycling charges! You must pay for postage back to you! So, you want that we recycle for you, okay?"

Hand to God. When I wrote "Long" and told him how appalled I was by this, he said, "I hope you will please excuse receptionist guy, we cannot hire college educate to answer phone."

Given that I don't know anything about any of the computer's components now, it seems that if I want *anything* from the whole mess, I'll need to send it to Acer and let them screw me, or take their turn, as it were.

Again, I appreciate your kind and frank reply.


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In the future

by The Scummy One In reply to Thanks, Palmetto

for expensive portable devices (cameras, notebooks, etc.) pick up (and review first) any coverage for accidental damage. Sure it costs more, but in most cases this kind of thing would have been covered.

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Sounds like a scam...

by normhaga In reply to Thanks, Palmetto

They cannot get the part, either an IC controlling the power supply (read fancy voltage regulator) or something like the bios. They Scam you and tell you they cannot repair the machine and keep it for parts for the next one. I used to own a television shop this occurs more frequently than you know.

Your best bet in these situations is to bite the bullet and either send the machine to the manufacturer, take it to a reputable repair shop (I only know of three in the Salt Lake area) or buy a new machine. When needed, I troubleshoot to component level, but it is time consuming and I mostly recommend against it because with many components the static generated by the breeze from your air conditioner can destroy an ungrounded chip.

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Scam Sounds About Right

by Inky960 In reply to Sounds like a scam...

Yes--a scam makes perfect sense, given how things transpired and the vibes I got from this crank in email correspondence with him. He gets much of his business via eBay. But, in a fit of stupidity I contacted him directly, sent the computer directly, and got screwed directly. He had nothing to lose and some hard-to-find parts to gain. This explains everything. He refused to tell me why the laptop now has no power--and now I'm beginning to see why he refuses to comment.

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll send it back to Acer.

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