Tips For Computer Repair
Computer Under Warranty
Okay, so you purchased a brand new laptop or desktop less than one year ago and everything is great. Your computer is under warranty, you are happy, completing all your work, homework, or appropriate social network postings. On occasion, your computer has seemed a little slower than normal but nothing to lose sleep over. And then one night it happens, you see a flash… a blue flash, a freeze or something of that nature. And then… nothing.
You try not to let it concern you, unplug your computer and then restart it only to see some matrix looking black and white code or a blue screen with white lettering again. And then it happens again… nothing. But this time it seems worst. In fact, even though you try everything you can think of, you still get nothing.
You start to panic, but then realize a comment the dorky guy made when you were first looking at the computer in the store. Something about a one year warranty.
Sound familiar? Been there before? Are you currently in that type of situation now?
Fortunately for you there are solutions available to assist you in getting your computer repaired under your current manufacturer’s warranty. It may take a little research, perhaps digging up a receipt or two in the worst case scenario. But it is possible to have your computer back up and running without too much of a headache.
For the most part, computer manufacturers like Sony, HP, Compaq, Dell, Toshiba and Gateway are somewhat understanding of the fact that most of us do not keep every single receipt of purchases we make. As a result, what they will do is verify the status of your warranty based upon three things:
- Serial, Product, and or Service Tag Number
In most cases, a manufacturer will require that you provide your computer serial number, product number and or the service tag number. Depending on the manufacturer, you may verify the status of your warranty online by just entering this information in. Once you’ve supplied them with this information your warranty will be considered verified and they will then process it in for repair and or exchange depending upon the problem.
- Warehouse Stock and Date of Ship
If you have a computer for less than a year, and were not able to register it, your computer may be losing warranty coverage because of the warehouse stock and date of shipping. In other words, if you bought your computer in January 2011, but it was stocked and shipping in June of 2010 there is a chance that the manufacturer’s system will begin your warranty by the date it left the warehouse instead of your date of purchase. If this happens, (although very rare) then you must have your computer warranty verified via date of purchase.
- Verifiable Date of Purchase
This method of verifying that you have a warranty on your computer is by far the most time consuming and on occasion frustrating of them all. The only way to verify the original date of purchase on your computer is with a copy of the actual receipt from the store. You are not able to submit your credit card statement or bank statement. The only way is with an actual copy from the location you purchased it at. It can be a reprint, or a copy, but it has to be from the original store or your warranty will not be verified.
After Your Warranty is Verified
Once your computer warranty has been verified, you will then be able to receive free technical support as well as repairs free of charge from the manufacturer or an authorized service center. Depending on the level of repair you are in need of, you may have to go over some basic troubleshooting steps with the technical support representative (over the phone or via email) prior to having your repair authorized. Keep in mind though; there are strict guidelines for what is covered under a manufacturer’s warranty and what is not. Here is an outline of the process that they must follow from start to finish (I have also inserted warranty links as well):
Initial Contact with Manufacturer
This is the first and probably most frustrating stage of the process. The best advice I can provide for you to remember at this stage is to either ask for a supervisor or hang up the phone if you are not having a good interaction with the technical support representative. I say this because it can be difficult to solve a problem without good communication. The last thing you need is to send you computer for a memory replacement only to have the battery replaced instead. Ask for a supervisor or hang up and call back.
Next they will ask you for your computers serial, product and or service tag number (as mentioned above). Using the web based warranty verification process at this stage can speed things up a great deal for you. Each manufacture has a different web interface but the data you enter is generally the same:
Troubleshoot Issue if Possible
After your warranty has been verified, the technical support representative will begin to ask you troubleshooting questions and in some cases ask you to run a few built in an effort to identify the problem you are having. A side note here, if the person you are talking to asks you to perform any computer repair troubleshooting methods that require opening your computer and removing parts it is a good idea to immediately ask for their employee number and then ask to speak to their supervisor.
If you are a trained computer technician or not, you are entitled to have your computer repaired by the manufacturer if your warranty has been verified. You should not have to do any troubleshooting beyond the basic integrated hardware test and network connectivity test.
Should your computer be in such a bad situation that you don’t see anything on your screen; it may save you some time to tell the representative that right up front. One of the more common symptoms is “Lights on no display.” In most cases this is either an early symptom of a bigger problem, or a bigger problem that has finally surfaced. Either way having the manufacturer look at it is the best thing to do at this point.
What is Not Covered By Warranty
Unfortunately, any software problems that you are having are not covered under manufacturer’s warranty. What this means is, if you are unable to connect to the internet, or your Microsoft Office 2011 is freezing up in Word or you think you have a virus you will have to either resolve the problem on your own or have a professional repair it for you.
Technical support outside of your warranty is also not covered. Be leery of this, as the representative may ask for your credit card information and you may incur fees for troubleshooting the problem over the phone. It’s a good idea to shop around locally prior to agreeing to pay for technical support over the phone. Often, you will find a much better service.
In addition, the manufacturer may offer to have issue that is not covered under warranty repaired for a fee. This fee is generally several times higher than what you able to pay locally so you again may want to shop around prior to making any commitments at this point.
Deliver or Ship Your Computer in for Repair
This is where my gripe resides. For some manufacturers, you may be required to pay for the cost of packing and shipping your computer in for repair. Once the technical support representative has identified the problem to the best of their ability, they will initiate a work order and provide you with shipping in formation and a confirmation number of some sort.
HP, Compaq, Dell, and a few others will send you a box with a prepared shipping label and package foam ready for shipping. At the moment Acer and Toshiba are still requiring that you pay the cost of shipping your computer in for repair and they will pay the cost of shipping your computer back to you.
Each manufacturer uses different terminology for confirmation. HP calls it a Customer Service Order Number and all the others call it something else. Either way writing this number down and to saving for future reference is always recommended.
As with cars, your computer may also be subject to the Lemon Clause. Basically what that means is that you are entitled to request a replacement computer if your current computer has been sent in for repair of the same problem three times or more. You will have to ask for the replacement in some cases, but as long as they repair was for the same issue you may evoke the Lemon Clause and request a replacement.
Local Service Centers
All of the above processes, procedures and guidelines can create a really frustrating situation for someone who just wants a working computer. If this is you, taking your computer in to a local service center like us is one of the most convenient options. The major manufacturers set high standards for companies to achieve Authorized Service Center status. Each company must be properly trained and insured up to one million dollars at the least. If you want convenience and you are here on our site, give us a call and we will help alleviate some of the hassle of going through the warranty process. We are experienced and here to help.
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