Beleaguered Gateway grinds up customer and spits him out unsatisfied

“We get quite a bit of e-mail from readers complaining about the quality of service and support provided by PC vendors. But one message we received this month stood out because of the epic length of time and effort the reader spent trying to resolve his particular problem. The way Chicago native Karl Immermann tells the story, it’s a tale of lies, vandalism, and outright thievery–and it doesn’t have a happy ending,” Nancy A.


  1. “I don’t have to eat 8 bites of a turd and saurkraut sandwich to know I don’t like the taste.”
    I’ll take one of those…. hold the turd though. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    It truly is amazing the abuse people will take by choosing a PC. I think much of their choice is based off what CrapMart sells. Need a computer…. let’s go to a store that carries only junk…. get in the car kids… it is time to go to Wally World…. new computer for us! Get computer home and set up (2 hours later), get on internet… ohh…… you’ve got… viruses! Back to Wally world to get antivirus… no sales person would ever mention that every week a new virus is released for the crap box they are about to buy.

    Sure… you save a few bucks at the register…. but with the price of gas… and what is your time worth? When is a “good” deal not a good deal? When you buy a PC.

  2. “I sympathize with the guy–I’ve bought a few lemons in my time, too. But I don’t see any reason Gateway should give him full price for a two-year-old computer.” – KennyLucius

    I’d have agreed with you if the computer has worked well during that period. But according to the article, the computer has been malfunctioning all the time and Gateway didn’t resolve the issue. It is understandable that lemons are to be found in anything even from the best brand. But, good companies resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the consumer, even if they have to lose money in the process.

    BTW, whether the guy needs a computer or not is not the issue. Even the spokesman admitted that the company didn’t resolve the issue to the customer’s satisfaction. What more proofs do you need?

  3. you all have such contempt for human beings. it’s really sad. this guy went through hell. if you don’t care about that, you’re already dead. screw you.

  4. Until Apple decides to effectively demonstrate in their advertising exactly why Macs are better and worth a little more money (or how feature for feature they’re not more money), most people will assume that all computers are created equally, and cheaper is better.

  5. “most people will assume that all computers are created equally, and cheaper is better”

    That is why these stupid SOBs keep buying crap. If they are too stupid or too lazy to figure it out who cares?
    Meritocracy is self-perpetuating.

  6. Gateway does suck, but as an Apple fan, let’s not ignore what happens in our own backyard. Apple still needs to improve it’s service and it’s selection.

    I really hate the fact I have to buy everything from Apple, when I can buy hard drives, RAM and other trinkets for MUCH cheaper from someone than Apple. Like someone said before, just give me the case, motherboard, processor and leave out the other stuff.

  7. Much of Gateway’s quality problems come from the fact that they DO buy their components as cheaply as possible, Chomper. I worked for a school district that was big into Gateway, and they had problems after one big purchase networking classrooms of computers, just setting up a LAN within the classroom, because the networking cards came from 4 different manufacturers and just wouldn’t cooperate.

    The whole point to how Apple sells its hardware is to avoid hardware/software incompatibilities and quality issues like Gateway has. Most people who buy Macs and are aware of this appreciate the result.

    All the same, my G4 has 75% of its RAM, both of its hard drives and its internal 4x dvd burner all from non-Apple sources and they work just fine. Who says you have to buy everything from Apple?

    You can always go to the Apple Store and custom configure a machine with the minimal RAM and HD then go buy your own. If you want the cheapest possible hardware, tho, then you can always go to CompUSA or online, buy your own components and build your own box.

  8. An anecdote is just that–although something THAT bad should never happen. Large-scale statistical surveys are another matter.

    According to Consumer Reports surveys of thousands of people:

    Apple is the best PC maker in terms of hardware reliability, for both laptops and desktops.

    Gateway is the worst in both categories.

    Apple is on top in effective customer service.

    Gateway rates much worse (but not at the bottom among PC makers).

    Full details here:

  9. And FYI, that sounds even worse than my experience with eMachines, which was a similar nightmare. (Drawn out with no solution… ever. Finally my warranty ended and I still never got a working machine!) In the eMachines case, there was less abusiveness towards me but more incredible stupidity.

    They sent me a power supply instead of a modem. That’s about the MOST intelligent thing eMachines’ tech support managed.

  10. I feel that the guy’s story is exaggerated. There were 4 or five problems listed: drive, power, software, boot, etc. It’s easy to make it seem like the computer was always in the shop, but it may have been in the shop for only a few days for each incident.

    None of us really know the story, but I imagine Gateway offered him a replacement computer (probably faster than his lemon, but cheaper), and he held out for the money. I can’t really blame him, since I wouldn’t want another Gateway after his experience either, but I can’t blame Gateway for refusing him $3500 to take over to Dell.

    The funny thing is…I get the impression that the guy was going to use the money to buy a big screen TV or something. He doesn’t seem to need or want another computer.

  11. Give the guy a break, folks. Assuming that his account is factual, he bought a computer with the reasonable expectation that it would fulfill its intended use (even though it was a PC) ;o) Everyone gets stuck with a lemon product or service at some time in their life. The missing information at the end of this story is, “what did he do after this sad experience.” Did he get a Mac?

    The proliferation of arbitration clauses is of great concern to me. In many cases the company dictates who arbitrates and where the arbitration occurs. In many cases it is not worth the money and effort to travel to another state, especially when the outcome is in doubt. Your best defense is to use a credit card for any significant purchases. You can backcharge for up to 180 days according to what I have been told.

  12. $4000??? Holy crap, PC s are so much cheaper than Macs!

    What is it called when an item is advertised at a low price, but when a buyer finds out that to make it worthwhile, a lot of “extras” (that would be standard for a Mac) have to be purchased as well, usually more than doubling the price…is that bait and switch? Check out the Dell site. By the time you add all the “Dell recommends” items to a $595 computer, the price is well over $1000. I can’t believe people fall for that crap. Of course, they probably brag to their friends that they bought their computer for $595.

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