The SH*T List!
Companies and/or people
who have given me bad service or ripped me off!
I've put up a page on this lot so you don't make the mistake of dealing with them.
in Thailand are the first offenders. (bloody thieves, they are)
Aopen computers are the next..
Coyle-Hamilton Insurance , Ireland, are last, and are the worse financial offenders.
The computer that I'm writing this on is an Atec Sunrace 780T. As a laptop computer, there's really very little bad to speak of it, but the same certainly can't be said of the customer support from Atec themselves.
The short version of the saga of getting this computer running is this; At the start of 1999 I was looking at getting a laptop to use for when I'm overseas (like I am right now, in Fiji ...) so I can keep myself entertained and update my web pages more often. At about that point a friend of mine mentioned that he had a laptop for sale. It was pretty much exactly what I was looking for, so I said I'd buy it. It was complete, but lacked a functional power supply/charger. My friend said that he had sent an email to Atec and they were all to happy to send a new power supply/charger in about 10 days or so.
I only wish it was that simple!
I quickly found that to get Atec's attention, a single email was not enough, and that a good ten or so was needed. So, I had to resort to nearly email bombing them to get any sort of reply. I also had three email addresses for them, but only one would reply at all!
The first problem was that I sent them a bank cheque to pay for the power supply/charger, and after about a week or so there was still no package on the front doorstep or even an email. So, after another quick multiple-emailing, they finally came back with "No, we haven't received any cheque."
I then re-checked with my bank, and they confirmed that the bank cheque had arrived and had been paid. I emailed this back to Atec, who asked for a copy of the cheque details. I'd just moved house at that point and so it took me a while to find it, but I did eventually send it. But in any case, after a lot of hassling & chasing them up they came back and said that they'd found the money (it had actually been recieved a couple of days after I sent it) and they'd be sending the power supply/charger the next week. This didn't happen, as I had to chase them up over the next month or so to see when of if they'd sent it.
I got the run-around as a reply.
I finally got completely sick to death of their BS, and sent an email stating quite clearly that I DIDN'T want the power supply/charger, and I wanted my money back right now.
Please note that this was NEARLY FIVE MONTHS AFTER I'D SENT THE CHEQUE !!!!!!!!!!!!!
One reason is that because of my work commitments it often takes me quite some time to keep track of things like this, but the main reason is that Atec seems to hate their customers, and tells dirty rotten lies to them ...
But there's still one last surprise!
Four days after I'd emailed them saying that I want my money back, the power supply/charger arrived on my doorstep! I guess that out of shock I accepted the package, but I really should have sent it back to Thailand. (But I realise that with their previous track record the amount of trouble this would have caused just would not have been worth it)
Now get this - I checked the date on which the package was sent, and it was TWO DAYS AFTER I sent the email NOT to send it, and to give me my money back!!! The bloody rat-bags have basically STOLEN my money!
They have also refused to answer any emails, including the one where I told them not to send the package, so again their clearly poor standard of customer service (which as you've seen includes delays sending paid-for packages and then stealing your money anyway) shows through.
So, to sum up, do not Atec
computers unless you want to be ripped off and stuffed
around for a few months.
My main desktop computer uses an Aopen AX6BC, and again by and large it's an excellent motherboard, but the customer service leaves a lot to be desired. Right from the start, the computer would lock-up completely for no apparent reason (CTRL-ALT-DEL even wouldn't work) and although by using certain programs I could repeatably and consistently make the computer lock-up, I just couldn't figure out why it was locking up ....
(No, there was no IRQ conflicts, unusual set-ups, etc)
So, in desperation I turned to the Aopen newsgroup for help. A few people tried to help, and some were doing a reasonable job though others just wouldn't read what I'd written, the main people I wanted to get help from would NOT answer - Aopen.
I could see plenty of other threads where they'd helped people directly, but they would not respond to any of my postings. I even resorted to the almost-email bombing style that Atec required to get any sort of answer from, but to no avail.
Finally, one person came up with the answer - The AX6BC boards DO NOT LIKE running with a Celeron PPGA CPU in a Slot One adapter card. I couldn't stand putting up with the lock-ups any more, so I bought a genuine Pentium 2-400 and fitted it straight to the motherboard.
ALL of the lock-ups disappeared!
I posted this to the Aopen newsgroup, and challenged Aopen to respond, but again they would not reply or help at all.
P.S. - I tell a lie about the lock-ups
.... the darn thing STILL locks-up completely sometimes when I try to write
to the floppy drive. If you look through the Aopen newsgroups, this is mentioned
a number of times by users wanting a solution, but Aopen will never reply
to it - They obviously support their product only when and where they desire
- not when it's in the 'too hard basket', unfortunately ...
I haven't bothered chasing up the floppy problem yet, especially as Aopen refuse to help, but I guess I'll have to fix it one day.
I work for an Irish pilot contractor
company, and they run their insurance through Coyle-Hamilton Insurance, also
in Ireland. In late 2000 I left my band-new Hewlett Packard in the secure
lock-up in the company run section of the compound in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
At the time I left the country I was supposed to be coming back about two
weeks later, but it ended up being closer to two months. In that time, the
bag containing the laptop was stolen from the secure lock-up. I put in a
Coyle-Hamilton, via my contractor company, in late December 2000.
I chased them up via email every month or two, to see what progress was being made. The usual reply was that they were still looking into it. From talking to other people who have had to deal with them, I knew it would take a long time. Anyway, after nearly A YEAR of emails I finally got sick of waiting, and sent a far more strongly worded email to them & my company asked WTF was going on. They said that the claim had been denied because "the laptop was not stored in a safe place." For over a month after that I attempted to get some sort of reply from Coyle-Hamilton, but they would not provide me with information of what they specified a 'secure place' was. I then rang them up, and talked to a gentleman who promised to look into it. He then emailed me and said that the file was closed and put into storage, and it had been denied because I had left the laptop at the airport. I emailed them & called telling them that I clearly stated that I did not leave the bag containing the laptop at the airport and they had obviously not read my report on the matter, which included a signed statement from the company Jeddah station manager stating that I had left the bag in the secure lock-up, which had never had anything stolen from it previously.
Coyle-Hamilton said that the case was closed and there was no reason to open it again.
I have tried to get some of the Irish insurance ombudsmen interested in the case, but they all seem to pass it off to someone else.
So the irony is that the insurance company that insures against theft are in fact the thieves themselves, as they have distorted & ignored the facts so they say they don't have to pay out.
So would you use them for your insurance company?
Page & contents where applicable © Bill Sherwood