Shame on you, John Harlan - Part 1 (of 5!)

Shame on you, John Harlan – Part 1 (of 5!)

January 23, 2011

John Harlan, Lloyd

(Lauren here: We’ve had a bad run-in on ebay in the past month, and while everything has turned out mostly alright, we thought it might be a good idea to warn people about John Harlan of Sylvania, Ohio, or as I like to call him: The Bad Man. Here’s Lloyd with Part 1.)

You might recall the really nice monitor I got about a year and a half ago. You might also remember it dying about a year ago. You probably didn’t know that although I was devastated, I quickly got over it when I realized that the monitor had a 12 month warranty.

What you certainly didn’t know, because I was too embarrassed to tell you, is that I did not buy the monitor during the first part of the summer (as I remember) but during the last part of the school year (as I didn’t remember). And that when I finally got around to doing the repair the monitor was 3 weeks out of warranty. I really wish I had someone else to blame.

I’ve been thinking about getting a new monitor for months now, but I always think about how much money I wasted on the last one, and change my mind. Recently, I’ve been using two monitors. That’s pretty cheap when you buy them for $25 at an auction. Anyway, I started thinking that if I was going to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a new monitor, I should at least look at spending some money to get my broken (but not yet two year old) monitor repaired.

My local TV/Monitor repair shop said that they could not get parts for it, So I thought I would contact Gateway and ask them who could repair it. Here’s how that email exchange went:

Me:

My monitor is out of warranty and the display is strobing/flickering. (like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMDXfQjnHy8 )How do I go about getting it repaired?

Gateway:

Dear Lloyd Sommerer,

Thank you for contacting Gateway. I apologize for the inconvenience that you have experienced.

I understand that you are experiencing an issue with the flickering display.

We have verified your product serial number and it shows that your product is out of warranty.

Do a power reset.

– Turn the monitor off and unplug the power cord and VGA cable from the monitor.
– Hold the power button on the unit down for 30 seconds.
– Release the power button and plug only the power cord back into the unit.
– Turn the unit on. What screen do you get? If you are getting the ‘No signal or cable disconnected screen on your monitor’ then your monitor is working fine.

Please be informed that we cannot pull your monitor to our depot repair center, since your monitor is out of warranty. So you may contact a local technician to resolve your issue.

For further clarifications please feel free to visit our web site: http://support.gateway.com

Thank you for contacting Gateway.

Have a great day!

Respectfully,
Gateway Online Technical Support

NOTE:Gateway customer support emails all contain a certain amount of boiler-plate language. To save you some reading, I’ll only include the text that changes from email to email.

Me:

Thank you for your prompt response. I realize that my monitor is out of warranty. I would like to know how to go about paying a gateway authorized technician to repair my monitor that I purchased less than two years ago.

Gateway:

According to your information we found that the product warranty has expired.  Please be informed that we cannot pull your monitor to our depot repair center, since your monitor is out of warranty. So you may contact a local technician to resolve your issue.

Me:

Thank you for the information that, “Please be informed that we cannot pull your monitor to our depot repair center, since your monitor is out of warranty. So you may contact a local technician to resolve your issue.” Could you please send me information about how I contact a local gateway authorized technician to fix my monitor that is not yet 2 years old?

Gateway:

From your email I understand that you like to get the details of local technician to resolve the issue with monitor. Please be informed that gateway authorized technician is not required to repair the system. You can contact any of the local technician in your area to resolve the issue. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused.

Me:

Thank you for the help that you have thus far been able to offer me regarding my purchase of a gateway monitor. Again, I understand that this two year old monitor is not under warranty and that I will have to pay to have it repaired. I would like to know who I can have repair the monitor.

Gateway:

Lloyd ,Gateway do not offer repair to Out of warranty Monitors . Please contact local technician to resolve the issue.

Me:

Could you tell me who services Gateway monitors in may area: Nebraska, USA

Gateway:

Lloyd ,we do not have the specific information about the technicians located in your locality to repair the monitor.

Me:

I have a $1200.00 monitor that less than 2 years old and Gateway will not repair it even if I am willing to pay for that repair? And gateway can offer no help in telling me who will repair it? Does that seem strange to you?

Gateway:

Lloyd, I understand the situation and I really apologize for the inconvenience happened. I suggest you contact any local technicians to resolve the issue with the monitor. Lloyd ,we do not have the specific information about the technicians located in your locality to repair the monitor.

Me:

Thank you for your continued help in resolving my problem. I have contacted technicians located in my area and they say that they are not able to get parts from gateway. Could you provide me with a parts list for my monitor and tell me where I can order parts?

Gateway:

Please click on the link below to know from where you can purchase parts. http://gateway-us.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7

Me:

Thank you again for you continued efforts to assist me in fixing my Gateway monitor. Unfortunately, the three companies that you recommended only sell parts for Gateway tower, desktop and laptop computers. I would appreciate it if you would find out where I can order parts to repair my Gateway monitor that I purchased less than 2 years ago.

Gateway:

I understand that you wanted to order parts for your Gateway Monitor, we regret to inform you that we may not be able to suggest a store or reseller from whom you may order monitor parts. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Me:

Thank you for your continued help and assistance. I have always thought of Gateway as a good company to do business with, so I think that I must have misunderstood something. Let me see if I understand you correctly:

1) Gateway is unwilling to repair my monitor even if I am willing to pay for the repair.
2) Gateway is unwilling to provide the part to repair my monitor even if I am willing to pay for the part.
3) Gateway is unwilling to provide information about where I can buy a part for my monitor.

Are any of these statements incorrect?

Gateway:

Lyod, Unfortunately we do no offer repair for Out of warranty Monitor and we do not sell parts for Monitor.

Me:

So that there is no misunderstanding, would you answer YES or NO to each of these three questions?

1) Is Gateway unwilling to repair my monitor even if I am willing to pay for the repair.
2) Is Gateway unwilling to provide the part to repair my monitor even if I am willing to pay for the part.
3) Is Gateway unwilling to provide information about where I can buy a part for my monitor.

Thank you again for your help.

Gateway:

The only option that we can suggest is to get the product serviced by a local technician. You can click on the link below to know from where you can purchase parts. http://gateway-us.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7

Me:

I have contacted the three companies at the link you provided. They do not stock parts for Gateway monitors. They only stock parts for Gateway computers. How else can you help me?

Gateway:

We actually do not have the a local setup in US or Canada to take our machine for repair, and that goes true with monitor too. There are some authorized resellers who at times pull the machine for repair, but they too send the machine in our service facility in Texas to major complaint but that is in case of a Computer and not a monitor. So if you search for Gateway Service center you might not find any in your location, rather there might local repair center or technicians who would be able to locate replacement spares or components for Monitor and they might be able to assist you this situation, we understand that this too rude from our part to say this but our support option on a Monitor if out of warranty is limited. Kindly take our sincere apology on this inconvenience.

Needless to say, Gateway was no help, and the monitor remained broken. More to come tomorrow….

Click here for Part 2, but read the comments first – we have funny people on our team!

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About Lloyd

Lloyd Sommerer is a middle/high school teacher who likes to build websites, read books, grow beards, make fun of Lauren’s prototypes and eat the sauce of the picante.

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17 Responses to “Shame on you, John Harlan – Part 1 (of 5!)”

  1. Amy Said on:

    You have much more patience than I would…

    … your monitor cost more than my laptop ~_~

    not that my laptop isn’t nice…

    That was some lovely engrish there

    Reply

  2. Brad Said on:

    Holy cow! I think my head would have caught on fire after the third exchange. Good job, Lloyd.

    At least at the end they said that they understood it was “…too rude from our part to say this…”

    Reply

    • Lloyd Said on:

      I really didn’t expect to get anywhere with them, so it was just sort of fun after a while. I have a friend who used to work for Gateway, but he quit when they started off-shoring all of their tech-support and out-sourcing all of their repair work.

      Needless to say, I would recommend stabbing yourself in the foot repeatedly before buying a gateway product.

      Reply

  3. Peggy Said on:

    Dang.

    I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story because this makes me boiling mad.

    I think you should contact Marley Safer or at minimum Andy Rooney with your story!

    Reply

  4. Kristi Said on:

    Lloyd -- You have the patience of Job to keep emailing The Bad Man.

    Reply

  5. christina Said on:

    I just liked that you eventially became “Lyod”. I wonder if they could pronounce your name?

    Reply

  6. Gretchen Said on:

    So if you don’t recommend Gateway, what kind of computer do you recommend? (we are planning to buy one soon.)

    Reply

    • Lloyd Said on:

      I well known consumer magazine recommends The HP Pavilion HPE-440f and the Dell Studio XPS SX8100-2777NBC. As far as technical support goes, they give Apple a rating of 87, Dell a rating of 55, HP gets a 53 and Gateway gets a 39. Clearly they had better luck with Gateway than I had (but not much better).

      Reply

      • Amy Said on:

        Dell has always been good with me for repairs. (Yay extended warranty). It was however an expensive, but slow computer.

        I have an Asus now and I love everything about it. It’s a very basic laptop, but it’s nice and light weight for its size 🙂

        <3

        Reply

  7. Peggy Said on:

    Your drawing is fabulous, as always! But because your hand is in it, it reminded me of an episode of The King of Queens I just watched the other night & I laughed until I was crying. Maybe you had to be there…..it was about a painting that Doug & Carrie’s friends gave them. (and this is bad video) Trust me…it was funny!

    http://splicd.com/GlVrTUEI1S0/15/42

    Reply

    • Lauren Said on:

      That is hilarious!! Especially since I thought the same thing about my hand -- “That hand is huge!” I had also drawn a huge nose the first time, but that was easy to white-out. Hands, not so much. 🙂

      Kristi, this email-guy isn’t the true Bad Man, but you’ll get to know John Harlan soon, unfortunately. “Tune in next time….”

      Reply

  8. Paul Marxhausen Said on:

    As an electronics tech for UNL, I’ll comment that the past practice of companies maintaining a listing of authorized service centers has gone by the wayside … not so much so that it was naive of you to ask, I would do the same, but I would have given up the conversation much, much earlier. And Gateway is a special case, since they kind of imploded, got bought out by other brands, and no longer are a US manufacturer, anything they sell would be a commodity item that they probably do not design or support. Anyway, it sounds like you have plenty of reason for rage about the whole Ebay issue, but unfortunately having high-tech, expensive tech equipment die with no recourse to repair or support is extremely common, not only with consumer gear but also with specialized research equipment that costs frightening amounts of money. You have a better chance of repairing something built 25 years ago than something sold in the last five.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Shame on you, John Harlan – Part 4 (of 5) | LloydAndLauren.com - January 26, 2011

    […] You might want to read part 1, part 2 and part 3 […]

  2. Shame on you, John Harlan – Part 5 (of 5?) | LloydAndLauren.com - January 27, 2011

    […] you might want to read parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 before you read […]

  3. Shame on you, John Harlan – Part 3 (of 5) | LloydAndLauren.com - March 7, 2011

    […] You might want to read part 1 and part 2 […]

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