ED Magedson – Founder
Acer America Corporation333 West San Carlos St., Suite 1500 San Jose, California United States of America
In April of 2007 I purchased an Acer Aspire 5100-3019. Prior to purchasing this computer I checked out Acer on the Internet and I was led to believe that Acer was one of the best laptops made. Since I could not find any bad reviews for this model and since the price was very reasonable for the features that this computer had, I decided to purchase it.
For the first few months I was happy with the computer and It seemed to be a well built machine. However that perception would soon changed.
After about four months of use I started to notice that the DVD drive would not read or load disks that it had read before without any trouble. At first it started with just a few discs, then it grew to more discs that it would not load that it had read before.
Soon it would not accept any discs. I contacted technical support and described the problem I was having and they suggested that the drivers might have become corrupted and that I should remove and reinstall the drivers. This I did but it did not fix the problem. I called technical support again and they walked me through several procedures, none of which solved the problem. In the end they had me perform a system restore and that seemed to fix the problem at the time.
Things seemed to go well for the next month and then the drive started rejecting discs again for no apparent reason. I was going to call technical support when the problem seemed to disappear on its own and the drive started working normally again.
I thought that this was the end of the technical difficulties that I would have with this computer. I was, WRONG things were about to get worse, A LOT WORSE!
About a month after the drive started working normally again, when the computer was about 7 months old I started to experience a strange malfunction with the computer. Every now and then while working or sometimes while playing a game the computer would suddenly lock up and then a strange blue screen with broken white lines that almost looked like a bar code would appear. It almost looked like the famous "blue screen of death" except that you couldnt read the error message because the characters appeared as broken white lines.
The computer would beep once and begin to reboot. However in the early stages of rebooting while the screen was still at the command prompt with the blinking DOS cursor the boot sequence would just freeze and the computer would have to be powered down by holding the power switch for 5 seconds and then restarted by pressing the power switch again to power up the computer. Then it would boot normally.
The first few times it did this I didnt think much about it because I assumed these were just normal crashes. However these "crashes" started becoming more and more frequent, and once they did I decided to call technical support again because I was afraid it might be a possible hardware problem and if it was I wanted to get it fixed before the warranty ran out.
I did call technical support and I explained to the operator the problem I was having with the computer and the strange crashes it was having. I asked him if he had heard of this model behaving like this before and he informed me that he was not aware of any technical issues with this model. I learned later through chatting with other asipre owners online that Acer was aware of the motherborad and graphics card problems with this model all along and that they never bothered to notify the owners of these models.
I asked the operator if I needed to send the computer back to be repaired and he told me that he didnt think that it was a hardware problem. He said it was probably a problem with the display drivers and he instructed me on how to remove and reinstall the drivers.
Needless to say that this did not solve the problem. After about a week the computer started crashing again, and again I called technical support. After waiting on hold for about an hour I finally got through, I explained to the operator that I was still having a problem with the computer crashing and asked if it was a hardware problem and if I needed to send the computer in for repairs while it was still under warranty. I again asked if this was a known issue with this model and what had to be done to fix it. Again I was told that it was not a hardware problem but a problem with the drivers or maybe a software conflict.
I explained that I had already called technical support before and that they had walked me through uninstalling the drivers and reinstalling them and that this had not solved the problem. The operator was still insistent that it was not a hardware problem and would not instruct me in how to return the computer for repairs. Instead he walked me through several different procedures that he said should solve the problem.
Again it didnt work. At this point the 1 year warranty on my computer was nearly up and it was still crashing more and more frequently.
I made one final attempt to get this problem fixed before the warranty on the computer expired. In early April 2008, I tried one last time to get technical support to issue a warranty service order before the warranty ran out but the operator I spoke to once again insisted that this was a software problem and didnt think it was necessary to send the computer in. Once again I was walked through several procedures to try and fix the problem that ultimately proved ineffective.
In June of 2008 I was laid off from my job due to economic downsizing. Two weeks after I lost my job I was working on the computer when if suffered one of these blue screen crashes again, but this time instead of rebooting the computers display shut off and went completely black. It tried to reboot but let out a POST code of one long beep and two short ones. I later found out that this code means that the integrated graphics card failed.
I called technical support and explained to them that the graphics card had failed and that I had tried several times to send the computer in for repairs while it was still under warranty and had been told that the computers problem was software related and they wouldnt issue a warranty repair order when I had asked for one many times before. The operator told me that since the computer was already three months out of warranty at that point, that Acer would not cover the repair under warranty. When I complained that I had tried to get the computer fixed while it was still under warranty, I was told that he couldnt do anything to help me get it fixed under warranty.
I asked if he could at least pro-rate the repair and get it fixed at a discount since the computer was only barely over a year old and had suffered a major hardware component failure that I believed was the result of a part that had already become defective while the computer was still covered under warranty. He told me that he couldnt offer me a discount.
I asked him how much a new graphics card would cost. He told me that the graphics card is fully integrated into the motherboard and that to replace it I would have to buy a new motherboard and that the new board would cost $499.99 + $429 for labor + shipping. This is outrageous since I paid about $600.00 for the whole computer new.
By the time I would have been done getting this computer fixed I would have spent more to fix it than I paid for the whole computer new. It would be cheaper just to buy a new computer. However since I had just lost my job and was on unemployment buying a new computer was definitely out of the question.
I posted a forum entry on www.notebookreview.com to see if anyone else had experiences this issue with the Aspire 5100 before and I got several replies to my post informing me that many other people were having this same problem and that they had also reported it to Acer technical support. This tells me that Acer DID in fact know that there was a problem with the motherboards on these models and never informed me when it might have done some good.
What was the point of registering the computer to receive technical updates and recall notices if Acer doesnt contact owners to inform them of possible and expensive repairs that might have been covered under warranty?
I also received the following post from www.notebookreview.com where someone informed me that Acer has been aware of this issue for quite some time but never informed owners that there was a problem with these computers.
Join Date: Mar 2008
Rep Power: 4
This is one of the most common faults for the 5100. Its all down to the IDE controller on the mainboard. Every now and again it just decides that the HDD is not there and freezes. These boards also have problems with the vga cards which also cause the same symptoms. Either way you need a new mobo. Acer Tech should know about this, its been around long enough! hope this helps --
Obviously Acer knew all along that these models had motherboard issues and could have informed me the first few times that I asked to send my computer in for warranty repairs but they didnt say a word, even when I asked them they told me that they werent aware of any technical issues with these models when clearly they DID know that there was a problem with them.
Because of thier failure to inform me of this problem I missed out on the chance to get my computer fixed under warranty and now I have been stuck for the last year with the worlds most expensive paper weight.
I am still out of work and on a severely limited income. I have been trying to scrape together enough money to buy another laptop.
But what really makes me angry is that if thier technical support people had just told me the truth when I asked about getting the computer fixed the first time, then maybe I wouldnt have to spend money that I really cant afford to spend to replace a computer that should never have failed so soon in the first place!
To say nothing of the fact that I feel like I was seriously ripped off. I paid good money for that computer and it broke after only a year of use.
In addition to the calls that I have made to their technical support number I have also sent many e-mails to them about this issue. All of them have gone unanswered.
I think I have made more than a few reasonable attempts to get this matter resolved and I feel like they have really let me down.
All I can say is that when I do finally manage to put together the money to buy a new laptop I DEFINITELY WILL NOT BE BUYING AN ACER. In fact I very much doubt that I will ever buy one of their products again. I just cant afford to plop down that king of money for a computer that might fail in a year and for a company that obviously doesnt offer good technical support.
I have since found out that many other people have been complaining about the quality of Acers and many other pepole have had difficulty getting warranty repairs done when Acers do fail. Apparently it is a tactic of Acer to stall warranty repairs until the warranty period expires.
My advide to anyone reading this is to do yourself a favor and don't buy anything made by Acer, Gateway, or E-Machine (all Acer brands). The money you might initially save just isn't worth the trouble you will have later.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/03/2009 08:20 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Acer-America-Corporation/San-Jose-California-95110/Acer-America-Corporation-Acer-Aspire-5100-3019-failed-prematurely-and-Acer-stalled-me-fro-489830. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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