Report: #114379

Complaint Review: Gateway Computers - Poway California

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: Reading Pennsylvania
  • Gateway Computers http://www.gateway.com/index.shtml Poway, California U.S.A.

Gateway Computers Attempted ripoff and how I got it fixed-a help to other victims of Gateway Computers Poway California

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I'm posting an experience that was since resolved in the hopes that:
a). You folks know you're not alone in getting headaches from Gateway.
b). Others can use the method I did to get their problems corrected.
c). Gateway's pattern of shady business practices will be further evidenced for all concerned.

I must say I am shocked that Gateway can still be in business with such a long track record of hurting its own customers.
My story is as follows, to the best of my memory, beginning in mid/late 1995.

I received my computer shortly before Windows '95 came out, the OS was sent to me afterwards.
Full tower system, "maxed out"- had everything, and (according to the computer magazines) was the fastest system on the consumer market at the time- the P5-133XL.

Great, everything was great for a while, even when a part failed, they were quick about getting a replacement sent.

Things were fine up until 1998, when I had about 3 weeks left on the extended warranty (3 years total)- then the computer broke, wouldn't even power up.
Ok, not a big deal so far, Gateway tells me to format the hard drive, reinstall everything.
A second time (different technician, I called back after the install failed), same result.
Once more, no better, so they'll send me a "new" (refurbished, of course) hard drive.
I install, and... nothing.

Repeat this process for the video card, 3 disc CD changer, and various other parts... until we get to the motherboard- after 3 and a half weeks of screwing around.
Tech guy tells me I'm out of warranty, but since the problem started before the warranty ended, they'd see me through.

Wow. Cool. I was relieved.
They send the "new" motherboard- NO instructions.
Mind you, even a simple floppy drive came with nice-sized booklet that tells everything I needed to do to exchange the old one out and put the new in.

But with the motherboard (numerous wires, about 13 screws, 3 expansion cards & 2 memory modules), I'm left on my own, no on site service given (I had paid extra to get this)... well, I don't know to this day if it was a bad board or I messed something up, but after I put the new one in, not even the power lights would come on :(

So, I call Gateway back, tell the techie what's up, and he says they'll replace my computer with a "new" system to fix the problem (you'd think it would, right?), and that'll be the end of it since the warranty period is over.

Ok, I'm cool with that- I get a new computer, problems should be gone- I'm happy.
It took too long, but they "did the right thing in the end".

Well, not really...

When the "new" computer arrives, I think to myself, "Gee, that box looks kinda small."
Once I got it to my room and unpacked, any trace of satisfaction was gone.

Remember I said I bought a "full tower, maxed out system"?
I paid $4,003 for that.
For a replacement, they sent me a pared down, striped bare, mini-tower.
Worst to me at the time was the standard single disc CD-ROM instead of my 3 disc changer.

After cooling down, so as not to be rude, I called Gateway and asked what this was supposed to be sitting on my floor, and why did the thing only have 16 MBs of RAM when the documentation said it had 64?
I got three different answers to that question during multiple calls, and no explanation as to why the proper start up discs weren't included, and was blown off about the idea of getting a full tower and CD changer like the one I'd bought.

"**** it, I'll hafta live with it!" I thought.

Four days later, the "new" monitor is dead.
I call them up, "Uh, guys? You kinda sent me crap."
"Oh really? Too bad, your warranty is over."

I hung up disgusted, but then thought about other products I'd bought, stuff that had mentioned "mandatory warranty of a minimum number of days".
I dig out my old Gateway papers and, sure enough, it says, "...Gateway 2000 shall be liable to repair or replace, at its sole discretion, any part replaced under warranty, and shall warrant the new or refurbished part for the remainder of the existing warranty period, or for 30 days, which ever is longer."

Ah so, they do owe me a monitor.

Here's what you do when they want to play games: contact your state Attorney General's office, give them all the details as best you can remember, and what the company hasn't done that they said they would do.
Add in any grief they gave you, being as honest as possible- if any employees verbally abused you, hung up on you, etc..., and include names/badge numbers if you kept a record.

You shouldn't have to keep records like that, but these folks are a trip, so its best if you do.

Tell the Attorney General:
What you bought.
What the agreement is (warranty details).
What happened (stuff that's broke).
What Gateway has & hasn't done so far- how the agreement has been delayed/broken.
Any other relevant details you can think of.
Avoid any sarcasm or meanness- it won't impress a laywer at this level ("Gateway is a bunch of &%#$#$ and $^$%#" or "GATEWAY IS RUN BY RETARDS!!!")- don't do that :)

I sent a formal letter, calmly written and detailed, to my Attorney General, and that got Gateway's attention- not even two weeks later they were calling me offering a for real brand new system, full tower and everything, even upgraded me to Windows 98 and additional software.
The computer actually worked for almost four years, so they did make good in the end, but what a mess trying to make it happen!

The problems didn't end there, but I did have a working computer.
Just to share how inept this company is, when I purchased my system it came with "lifetime, toll free tech support". So, I could call anytime, so long as I still owned the system, and get help. Software support was even included back then in '95!

I called these people, I had to waste 5-10 minutes getting them to fix my serial number.
It seems the new serial number for God only knows what reason pointed to my old system in their files.
I think about 7 or 8 times I called in, and EVERY time they had to fix it again, only to have it still wrong the next time.

If Gateway has failed to live up to its obligations to you- or try to rob you blind, as I have seen at least three reports of in various places- I urge you to pursue the matter as far as you possibly can to hold these folks accountable.

Get in touch with your state's Attorney General, the Attorney General of CA, the BBB, even the FTC if needed- don't let Gateway jerk you around, you CAN win!

Reading, Pennsylvania

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/24/2004 04:19 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/gateway-computers/poway-california-14303/gateway-computers-attempted-ripoff-and-how-i-got-it-fixed-a-help-to-other-victims-of-gatew-114379. 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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