Monday, January 29, 2007

Quiz Question II

Okay, thank you for your answers to the previous post.

The first two problems with the computer were:

1. The build sheet had included a 3 1/2 inch floppy disk drive, since several important and often-updated files were kept on floppy disks. However, this was missing.

However this was not terribly important, in fact it was forgotten, as
2. The CD/DVD drive wasn't working. Therefore none of the home software (for instance, the drivers for the printer or the wireless doodah) could be installed. Nor could files from CDs be put on the computer.

Back to the shop, where they took out the CD/DVD drive and replaced it, same day and free of charge.

This rather important issue being dealt with, the owners of the computer (one hopes they can be considered to own it - they paid several hundred pounds by credit/debit card, but are still, a couple of months on, waiting for any paperwork beyond the card slip) took it home, plugged it in, and tried again.

Do you think it worked properly this time?

No, of course not.

Let's consider what the computer-owners asked for.

"I want to use it to access the internet."
The house has a wireless internet connection set up. It was set up by Steve. Steve is a networks engineer by trade. It is fairly safe to say he knew what he was doing. There is a desktop pc at the house (running XP Home) using that connection with no problems at all. It also has been cheerfully used in a problem-free way by four different laptops and two different sorts of PDAs. The internet connection is sound.

This little computer though, once we had installed the antivirus recommended by the shop, and installed the drivers for the wireless... decided to play silly buggers. It would run MSN messenger, for instance, but none of your contacts could see you were online. It would also run Internet Explorer, but after a short period of time (usually about two minutes, sometimes less, occasionally as long as 45 minutes but that was a maximum), the program would crash, and sometimes the computer would Blue Screen Of Death as well.

They tried installing FireFox. Same thing happened to that as had happened to IE. Standard, reliable, "safe" sites, google, eBay, BBC News, crash, crash, crash.

They decided to cut their losses and use the non-internet functions and ask Steve to check the network.

"I want to use basic office software."
Crash. Lockup. Blue Screen Of Death.

They tried to run the virus scan. It wouldn't complete the scan, it just crashed. Repeatedly.

They tried to run Scandisk and Defragmentation. Crash, crash, crash.

Finally, they recalled that the Windows XP disk had a "repair" function and decided to do that. They put in the CD... but it DIDN'T have a repair function. It did, however, suggest reinstalling Windows. So they decided to try that.

Crash. Blue Screen Of Death.

At this point they gave up and took it back to the shop. The people at the shop asked what had happened and agreed to fix it. Technically one would hope that, it being only about a month since they'd bought it, and certainly less than a month since a working CD drive was put in, it would still be under warranty (although of course they have no paperwork).

No. They were told that normally bench-time would be £40, but "because you've admitted what you did to mess it up" they would "only" be charged £20.

For some reason it was impossible to explain to the shop in a way they could understand that it was messed up before anyone did anything to it...

Anyway, to avoid confrontation (the owners were getting quite upset at effectively being told "it's your fault the brand-new computer doesn't work"), they paid up the £20 and took the computer home, again.

Who thinks it worked right this time?
Is it unreasonable to expect something you have purchased to do the things the retailer said it would do?
What would you have done at this point?

edit 12:13 on 30/01/07
Apparently the owners of the computer never got a credit card slip either. But it is on the credit card statement they have since received.


Anonymous said...

Take it back and mention, just in passing, the small claims court. That and selling things that are 'fit for purpose'.

Then take my business elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I would cry in frustration, I think. Do the owners of the computer speak the same language as the retailers? If so, complain, vociferously and specifically. If not, cry some more. Then get a native speaker to complain vociferously and specifically.

Mary said...

Tom - ooooh, we didn't even think of mentioning them. Maybe we should mention it in passing in the next round.

Jo - You could say that the owners of the computer speak the same language as the retailers - English all round, as Lowestoft is a bit low on "ethnic mix" (any sensible person from a foreign country should avoid the place at all costs. It's lovely to retire to but crap for a career. But I digress).

However, the owners of the computer, while being intelligent and perfectly competent normal home users and having had no problems with using their previous computers at all, were left utterly confounded with the level of technobabble (not to mention the attitude of "you moron") the staff of the shop were using.

This is where Steve and I come in, as "native speakers" of the technological befuddlement.

Anonymous said...

Definitely time for a letter saying: refund our money completely in seven days or we will see you in the "county town near were you live" small claims court. Equivalent to a solicitor's letter but cheaper. As long as you put in the name of the town, then they seem to understand you mean it. Plus mention in the letter "not fit for purpose" like Tom says.

Maggie said...

Urk, what a nightmare. How about claiming the money back from the credit card company?

BTW I'm afraid I put up a rant on some "therapies" that you might be interested in reading.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to get in touch with Trading Standards for advice, or possibly CAB. This site may help though. I'm not sure you'd be entitled to money back yet. These sort of computer problems are a real pain - where they might be software or hardware.

Mary said...

Cheers for that link Vic.

Maggie, I'll have a look shortly, thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Other great wordsd= to drop in conversation are "Ombudsman" and "Watchdog". Maybe "Alice Beers" for good measure.