Friday, May 22, 2009

What Happened to Gateway Computer?

So what has happened to Gateway computer?

First, a little background. I've never owned a Gateway computer. I've had Compaq, HP, IBM, Dell, Acer, even Packard Bell and a slew of homebuilts, but never a Gateway. Considering I grew up in Iowa, that's sort of strange. I've always heard fairly good things about them other than they tended to use non-standard parts which you had to go to them to replace or upgrade. So far I've not seen this problem.

Last October, in 2008, I bought a brand new Gateway LX6200-01. So this is my first experience with Gateway computer. The computer is awesome and Gateway did a fine job bringing this to market. It has a 750GB Hard disk, 8GB of memory, two really cool external SATA drive trays, and every interface imaginable under slick hidden access panels. I bought it at the local Best Buy. I thought my only problem was that I told the salesman I wanted a non-built in video card, but then found that it had fairly decent ATI HD 3200 (AMD) video. I've been pretty happy with the computer overall. Then I tried to contact the Gateway technical support ...

I bought the computer on October 25, 2008. On October 31 I contacted Gateway support about an issue I was having with the computer recognizing my Hannspree HF229H 22" monitor. Their immediate solution was to use the backup created as part of the initial setup to essentially re-image the machine. Having already installed enough software that I was not willing to start all over, I decided to contact ATI (AMD) and see if they knew how to fix the problem since re-imaging and then booting again would just cause the problem to recur. Like most hardware vendors, ATI suggested completely removing their Catalyst Control Center (CCC) software and installing new drivers. What they suggested fixed the problem with the monitor, however I noticed the screen saver did not work. Eventually I found that after every boot and log in the screen saver delay was reset to 1 minute. Setting the value to 30 minutes each log in seemed to deal with the problem.

In early November 2008, I contacted Gateway Tech support to ask about software for the Fax/modem. Their response was that the operating system they included on their computer didn't support the included Fax hardware. After shaking my head, all I could do was shrug and say to myself "What are these people thinking?".

Since the only less than stellar aspect about the computer, causing the "Windows Experience" to only be 4.0, was the graphics adapter I decided to add a new video card. Not being a high end gamer, but expecting reasonable performance on Micro$oft Flight Simulator FSX, I chose a Sapphire Radeon HD 4650 to minimize the system change. The card has 512MB DDR2 memory and is working great today.

On May 9th I grew tired of the screen saver issue and I was feeling happy that I had cleaned up the other issues mentioned earlier. I contacted Gateway tech support describing the problem [090509-000110]. They informed me that my computer was not registered based on the serial number submitted, said that they would be happy to register it for me if I gave them the information, that my computer was indeed under warranty, and informed me that to set the screen saver I should "right click, choose personalize..., etc.". Since their response was almost a quote of my original Tech support request, I asked whether they even read my original request. I also asked why the message from Gateway, dated October 31, 2008, entitled "Thank you for registering" did not mean I had already registered the computer. By this time, I was suspecting I was dealing with a "Help Desk" that didn't have a clue, or at least didn't care and my response was with a smart ass attitude and I included Google results showing this is a well known issue with their computer, even Answers Microsoft is aware and Windows VistaForums has six pages on the problem. The response I received really shocked me. I was told that obviously the person responding couldn't help me with my problem and they gave me the pay for support number to call to find a solution.

In one breath, Gateway Tech support is telling me that my computer is under warranty and the next that I need to pay to find a solution. Does Gateway still employ any technical types who see they have a problem and find a solution, or have they gone to "don't care zombies" who just collect a paycheck?

Thanks Gateway, you ruined a really promising day and convinced me never to buy another Gateway computer all in the same day! What was this, a lazy and/or stupid employee, or a company's attitude toward their customers? Doesn't matter it was Gateway.

1 comment:

Pedro said...

About 4 years ago Gateway wouldn't return my money for a piece of laptop equipment I never ordered in the first place. 4 Years later I didn't buy another gatewway. They were definitely crooks and it's no surprise how little you hear about them today.