How much would you pay for a laptop that's good and dependable? This one started going out just after the year warranty was up and only worked 3 months after the repair. I liked the features of the notebook, but what good are they if it only works for 3 months and then you have to pay $299 to get it fixed?
Recommend this product?
Features? Keyboard with integrated number pad, quick buttons for accessing frequently used applications, Volume built into the keyboard (press function pgup - volume up), External power supply, built in touchpad, 1.44 floppy, 2 USB ports, 1 monitor port, 1 printer port, NO ps/2 mouse port, built in 56K modem, 10Mbit ethernet connection, 1.33Ghz processor. It's a pretty thin case weighing in at about 2 inches and about the size of a college notebook. Like I said, nothing fancy, but you expect it to last a little while, right. Keep reading.
Now that you know what it's got, let me say that Gateway is the worst company I have ever had to deal with. Their store gave me a one year warranty on repairs that the main company will not honor. They basically told me to take them to court over the repairs. I will never own another gateway.
Okay, If I haven't convinced you then keep reading. The rest of this review is basically about the run around and poor service provided. If you still want to buy gateway then be my guest.
It was late August 2002 when I bought the notebook. My previous computer had given up the ghost and the laptop that I was using as a loan from work just didn't cut it. I was looking for something durable as a laptop should be, since it is portable and should work if taken care of reasonably. I wanted something in the 1Ghz range with a CDRW to make it easy to burn CD's on the run. A nice big screen would make things easy on the eyes and most of all a company with a good name to stand behind it. At that time only one company stood out above the rest. GATEWAY!
I had always heard good things about Gateway. A lot of my friends had bought Gateway desktops and raved about their customer service. Surely I thought that a company with such reviews from family and friends would be a good investment for years to come. I've owned a total of 2 laptops and 7 desktops from various computer companies. These all go back to the earliest 386 so I've had a variety of experiencs with companies that deal in hardware.
August 2003 - Got the notebook. I enjoyed having something with some speed even though it seemed slow because of Windows XP. It didn't have many more features than any other notebook, but that's not what I was looking for in a notebook. All I wanted was something I could take with me on the run and burn a few CD's if I needed it.
December 2003 - Well here I am 2 months out of warranty. The notebok has stopped working. It won't power up. I called the tech support. After being hung up on a few times I get through to a technician that takes me through some steps. He tells me to flip over the notebook and look for a little button on the bottom. I'm guessing it is a master reset button. It still did not power up. I'm instructed to take it to the Gateway store. Okay, so I take it in. The lady at the service desk takes my information, and tells me it will cost almost $300 for them to look at it. Keep in mind that it's out of warranty and only a little over a year old. I felt a little like I just scratched off a non winning ticket in the lottery, but that's the chance you take. In this case I lost. So, I signed the Gateway Work order Agreement for them to fix my notebook. I removed my hard drive from the machine since I didn't want them to wipe the drive and I keep personal finance information on the drive and had no way to remove it at the time.
2 weeks later.
I get my laptop back from Gateway. It's packaged up all nice in a good shock proof box and it's like Christmas time all over. I open it up, take it out, plug in my hard drive and ta-da, it works. Whew! glad that headache is over, everything is back to normal. The paperwork in the box said the the Chasis had to be replaced. I called Gateway and spoke to a technician and he told me that was basically the Motherboard. Okay, if that's all then I have a new motherboard and it should last a long time.
March 28, 2004
The laptop died again. Same problem. Won't power up. I called Tech support the next day. This guy didn't even take me through the steps. He tells me that I will have to ship it in. I asked if I could take it by the Gateway store. "Sure", he says. I pack it up and proceed to drop it off the next day. I go by the store and all the windows are covered with black plastic. The place is shut down, locked up, nobody home. I located the next closest store to drop it off. I tell the onsite tech that it won't power up. He plugged it in and verifies that it has no power. Then tells me it's going to cost $180 for them to check it out. I gave him the short history of the machine and let him know that it should still be under warranty due to the contract that they approved stated that the repairs were good for 1 year. It had only been 4 months. He took a look on the computer and told me that according to the records it was out of warranty and that repairs were warranted for 30 days.
Now I am battling it out with the home office. They don't even know what their warranties have on them as they asked me to fax the Work Agreement to them. ??????
April 23, 2004
After about 4 weeks of Gateway putting me off they are not going to honor their contract. I was told that parts would be covered but labor would not be covered. They tried to tell me that the contract that I signed was with the Gateway Store and not with Gateway. ????? The contract that I signed in good faith is titled Gateway Companies, INC. It's like they are saying we are not affiliated with our stores that have our name on them???? I do not have faith in anything Gateway speaks. I would advise anyone considering purchasing a Gateway or an E-machine that was recently acquired by gateway to consider what you are doing. Caveat Emptor ("Beware Buyer")
BTW, as far as customer support. If you like calling into a support line and they can't answer your question, and then they tell you, "hold on, I'll transfer to someone that can help". Then, when they transfer you, the line goes dead. Oh, and don't even think of asking for a number to call anybody back. There is no direct line to call anybody. All calls go through the 800 line. Don't ask for a name. All you will get is my name is george badge number ###. Nobody has a name or will take responsibility to get your problem solved.
Update July 03, 2004
Just sent my computer in yesterday for repair. It's going to cost $299.00, yet it is still under a one year warranty from the repairs. I left message after message to the first guy that I talked with about the repairs for $189 and he would never return my call. In my last conversation with him he told me that thier legal department had come to the conclusion that they didn't have to cover the warranty. They are just leveraging the fact that it would cost more to take them to court than to pay for the repairs. If you search the internet you will find that there is a growing base of people having this same problem. and are starting to report the actions to the local BBB's. Why did I go ahead and pay? No sense in wasting the machine because of bad business practice of a company, but you can learn from my mistake. I am now backing up all my information and will be trashing the machine the next time it fails.
Don't buy a Gateway!!
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Amount Paid (US$): 1400
Operating System: Windows
Processor: Intel Pentium III
Screen Size: 15 inches
Internal Storage: CD-RW
Hard Drive (GB): 13-20