Averatec, where is KIWI?

KIWI, our 13″ Averatec 4265-EH1 notebook has been away for one month and
one day now on a repair adventure.

A few months ago we decided our
little 12″ Averatec on-the-road computer / notebook named Sammy could use an
update as C would like to use a notebook rather then a desktop as her primary
system. We were happy with the 12″ model, so we didn’t hesitate to buy a better,
faster & more versatile model from the same brand. 13″ widescreen, 1.6GHz
Pentium M 730, XP, 512MB RAM, 80GB HDD, 6x DVDr, wireless, etc. Sounds good.
Price is fair.

The initial excitement wore off pretty quick when
during the first weeks we noted very slow performance, 1.5hr battery life (can’t
finish viewing a DVD on the plane), 2 dead pixels (which were masked by their
desktop background), 1x DVD burning (vs 6x regardless of DVD media) and function
buttons not working. It literally is outlived and outperformed by the old model
with half the RAM etc.

The store (Staples) of course was no option
in terms of a return & exchange. (note to self, next time use Costco or
Sam’s again. Sam’s Club did a no questions asked exchange on Sammy v1 who’s
keyboard was a little warped causing some keys to rub the LCD screen and leave
rubbing marks on the panel within the first weeks
) I checked a few things.
No change. A few emails and calls to Averatec customer support later, they
advised to format the hard drive, reinstall the Operating System + drain &
re-calibrate the battery.

You have to love how quick they say format
the drive and re-install the operating system nowadays. It is the miracle cure!
And, this guy basically wanted me to erase the drive over the phone right then
and there. Euh … hello!? Not so quick. This is my wife’s notebook and she has
her email, photos & documents on there! Before they would issue an RMA, the
reinstall & battery thing had to be done, so, we backed up her documents
(which we would have had to do anyway), did the battery thing, reinstalled
everything and started testing it. Exactly the same battery life, slow
performance, 1x burning, etc. Time to get an RMA number and mail it in for
repair. Since we were a week away from going to Florida and still have Sammy, we
figured that was a good time to get KIWI fixed. We weren’t going to do anything
besides checking email anyway.

Customer service said average repair
time is only a few days, so based on that the notebook would be ready and
re-delivered while we were on vacation. I wanted to avoid it being undeliverable
up north and also avoid many daytrips bouncing on the delivery truck. He said I
can keep an eye on the RMA status page and call in to update the shipping
address when I think it is required. Sounds good. You can ship it to Florida.

Many days pass with an RMA status note along the lines of “Received.
This system is being diagnosed etc”. I call for a shipping address update, only
to be told I couldn’t do that. I explain the situation. Turns out they actually
didn’t know where the notebook was, as in: it might be shipped already. I get a
story about how the customer service and repair facility computers only
synchronize data overnight and they still have old information … Anyway, they
change my shipping address in the computer and would check on the repair. The
next day I receive a call: no info on the repair, but it certainly has not
shipped yet. The girl confirms that my shipping address is updated in the
system. Well at least that is sorted out.

A few days pass before I
check the RMA status page again. Oh, KIWI is repaired and shipped yesterday to
… Florida. Of course! Why am I not surprised? Now KIWI is going on a Fedex
ground trip California to Florida. Only upon arrival there Fedex will read the
address correction note and forward him ground from Florida to Maine. That only
takes about two weeks. Yippie!

Hopefully C’s patience will be
rewarded and KIWI will work the way it should now.

Oh, by the way!
Averatec’s dead pixel policy is that there have to be “two dead pixels side by
side” before they will replace a panel under warranty. No matter how many dead
pixels you have. Generally I hear & read about 5 – 8 pixels or so. But two
side by side?

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