A fellow geek, of whom I would like to call the King Geek (ok so I respect him for his geekyness leadership), Chris Pirillo, has recently had a problem with his computer as you can read from a recent blog post here.
Instead of commenting on his blog, I figured I would post this to my own for my own clients to read as I will make my comments below.
First of all, considering he bought a Gateway, in my opinion, was his first mistake. Why? Because a number of years ago when Gateway was doing quite well, they were doing so well because they really boasted about their tech support. My opinion on that is, "are you buying a computer based on it breaking down?". Second, he purchased the extended warranty which apparently included door to door service. That is all fine and good, but when you are admitting that you are the one that spilled coffee on it, why should a warranty cover anything at all, let alone have the tech support guy even give you the time of day? Well, because tech support realizes that the customer is always right, so even after going to his manager to find out what to do, the result was the same in which the computer would have to be sent in. My next question would be as to why, even though Chris knows what he is doing, and opened the box and determined what the problem was, why should this company honour anything when you cracked open the box? It seems to me that when you are going to believe in some extended warranty, like with any item that may say "no user parts" right on the package, should you be opening this to see if you can find the problem yourself.
Now why am I sticking up for the tech support in this case? Because I don't know how many times I have witnessed similar issues (only no admittance of guilt was given), where I will be diagnosing a computer problem and state that the problems are a result of "x" when the client rants and raves that they never did this or that, only to find out that Johnny's friend did in fact come over and do this and that to it because he knew more then the owner of the computer did, or the son of the owner did. It is typically only after things go from bad to worse that the call is made to the tech support people. In my opinion the results of what Chris faced were quite fair and the fact that the entire system would have to go in makes sense, after all, the admitted coffee spill happened, and even though he found the problem, who is to say that other components may have been affected but at this point have not failed, but could at any time as a result of the original accident?
The moral of this story is, if you are going to pay for some extended warranty, you should be well aware that opening the box MAY result in your entire warranty becoming null and void. What he should have done, again only my opinion here, but he should have phoned Gateway the moment the coffee was spilled on it and have the tech support send someone over, since the warranty he has apparently allowed for this door to door service. That way they could have then determined the problem was the video card and replaced it on the spot, along with charging him for the replacement part, since it was an accident and not a fault of faulty equipment. Making people aware of shotty tech support is one thing, but realizing what you get when you pay for something is an entirely different story.
Sorry Chris, my vote on this one goes to Gateway Tech Support.