[Rant] Why is nothing built to last these days and why has TRUE customer service died?

I’ve recently had two VERY expensive failures of items in my life that I thought would have lasted a LOT longer than they have namely my car and my personal laptop.

I’m still waiting to hear back from Hyundai about my car so I won’t post the story here for now.

About 3 ½ years ago I needed a laptop to help me with a major community-related project I had on the go at the time and to run my SMS virtual lab on. After extensive research I bought a Rock Quaddra Ti (basically a mini-server/ workstation class of machine in a 17” laptop with a price to match).

I was VERY impressed with it until things started to fail on it. As I’d bought it from Rock Direct I couldn’t just call out an engineer or return it to the shop. Instead I had to wait for them to collect it, inspect it, verify with their insurance company it was OK fix under the warranty, fix it, and return it. As you can imagine being without the machine for a fair amount of time was not easy but an evil I had to endure last year.

The machine came back with a new motherboard. I powered it on and everything seemed good as new so I powered it off again until January 08 (the first chance I had to start reloading my apps and data).

I left it loading from Windows Update only to return to find the machine completely dead. The power light was still on the power block so I assumed something inside the machine had gone wrong so I called Rock only to be told that as the machine was out of warranty I’d need to write a letter of complaint which I did and sent it off to them.

After a couple of months of hearing nothing I called them and I was asked to email them a copy of my letter which I did.

Another couple of months later nothing so I called them AGAIN only to be told they had gone into administration (even though the old staff were working there). It was only when I pleaded for help the Tech FINALLY stopped repeating like a record over and over again that they were now a new company and not responsible for any machines sold previously that he started to be a bit more co-operative. The end result though was I needed to send ANOTHER letter of complaint to the new company, which I did.

Yesterday I actually got a call from them. Although the machine is out of warranty they have agreed to waive the £80 they normally charge for finding the fault, estimating the cost of repair and then shipping the machine back to me.

Now although I appreciate this I’m miffed at the way the guy told me this - almost with an air of arrogance and that they are doing me such a BIG favour. I’m also a little upset by the fact that I need to fund the cost of getting the machine to them in the first place just for them to estimate the repair cost.

So I’m facing the decision as to whether to go through the hassle and cost of getting the machine back to them and then paying for the repair, or whether to just cut my losses and have one of the most expensive door stops in history.

Lessons learnt from this are:

  • Rock’s slogan “change your life…” should actually read “change your life for the worse…
  • Don’t expect anything expensive to last beyond the guarantee these days
  • Don’t expect any sort of decent customer service (those days are long gone)
  • Keep to mainstream brands as third party companies are an even bigger nightmare to deal with than the corporate big boys

Just waiting for Hyundai to get back to me know (the outcome of which I can almost guarantee will be the same).

Published Friday, July 18, 2008 11:55 AM by chobbs
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# re: [Rant] Why is nothing built to last these days and why has TRUE customer service died?

Probably a good lesson here is to go with a bigger name brand.  I've been using HP laptops for the past few years and they've been great.  Service is awesome, too.

Friday, July 18, 2008 9:49 AM by rodtrent

# re: [Rant] Why is nothing built to last these days and why has TRUE customer service died?

Going with HP and bigger named brands is fine if they have a product that meets your needs which in this case they didn't :-(

Monday, July 21, 2008 5:30 AM by chobbs