Feb 13 2006

Kiwi – our Averatec 4265-EH1 notebook – is finally back with us, after its third RMA. The repair or shipping department forgot to return it via 2 day air. That meant again a 7 day ground trip.First looks: The combo drive (DVD CDRw drive) now sits flush and closes properly. The severely stripped case screws have been replaced as I had requested. But that is pretty much where the good news ends. The battery again was not replaced. Even though this was noted in RMA #1, repeated in RMA #2 and once again in RMA #3. Or was it? I know 110% sure I requested it more then once.

After a little room temperature warm up period to acclimate the system, I fire it up. The optical drive is correctly recognized. Finally! Why didn’t they do this the previous time(s)?

We already knew battery life is only 1 hr 15 min or so when you play a DVD. Tested it again, battery life is still 1 hr 15 min. I cannot accept this as “long battery life”. Our 2yr old 12″ Averatec 3150HS did better:
2 hours and time to spare.

One new anomaly shows up: the battery status does not update. It remains at 100%? Even 1 hour into a movie.

That’s odd! But, before I complain to Averatec again, how about the “BatterySaver” feature?

Fresh boot on the mint factory pre-installed system, I press the dedicated button on the top right side of the base above the keyboard:

What the heck? A “Blue Screen of Death?” Can’t be. Let’s try that again.

Well, I most consistently get a screen lockup similar to this with fuzzy vertical lines and total lockup. (non-responsive system) As pictured below.

On occasion it is the BSOD above. ( Note. The Norton splash screen to sign up (comes back after factory reset, and I haven’t activated it yet) was moved a little to the left by me to further illustrate the lockup. By default it sits more centered. )

I can clearly repeat the steps & crashes.

Time to document it and get back to Averatec. This is where it gets more interesting.

With RMA #3 I was referred to Advanced Customer Care. I was told to get back in touch if things were not resolved. So, I write my contact person a detailed email describing the symptoms with some
screenshots. I also request to be escalated further and referred to a manager or a person in a decision making level that can help us out for a refund since after all these months of troubleshooting and 3 RMAs in 3 months where we saw the machine not even a handful of days; we still have a dead pixel, very short battery life and now power management issues on top of it. I don’t have the energy to test real-life performance and DVD burning speed. It seems to work snappier, but that’s without any load, no antivirus, firewall, … nothing. So who knows?

My contact advises me promptly that I have to call the regular tech support hotline again, report the issues, get a new ticket / RMA number and request to be escalated. What? Sure enough. Another call to tech support where I have to explain the whole situation and give them the instructions from Advanced Customer Care. How backwards is that? I was at the second support level, need to get the level three but I have to go back to square one, wait for escalation, wait for level two to get in touch with me and
then hopefully be escalated further.

And so the saga continues. I am not surprised any more. We’re just both very very disappointed by the lack of professionalism. Technicians don’t test their repairs and ship machines back which clearly were not re-assembled correctly. They do not include repair notes. We don’t understand their organization. One hand does not know what the other does. You’re bounced up and down the support chain.

We can only hope that with patience this will get resolved at some point.

PS: Unfortunately this all too clearly reminds us of the huge struggle we had with Fedex’ insurance a few years ago. But that is another story.