The minor crack that turned into a nightmare …

So about 7 weeks ago I noticed a minor, minute little crack on the left hand side of my laptop’s screen.  Probably about 10 pixels in total that was dead.  Nothing major, but seeing as the laptop was (is) still under warrantyI decided to push my luck about a week later and see if Incredible Connection would book the laptop for repair under warranty.  They did.  They also gave me a loan unit (which turned out to be useless because I had a 64-bit Linux installed and the CPU on the loan unit was a 32-bit, but that’s ok … managed to work around that).  Three weeks (finally!) later I got the laptop back.  Yay … or was it?

The first thing I noticed was that the PCMCIA Express placeholder thingy was missing.  I went in on the Saturday (I got it back on Friday) regarding this.  Still, something about the screen also annoyed me but I didn’t quite know what until about the Tuesday when I happened to look at the screen at a slightly different angle and realized there were two huge hazy white blotches on the screen (when looking straight at them they were barely noticable).  When I wanted to show one of my technicians this I tilted back the screen … it switched off!  I “closed” it a little and it came back on.  This was Wednesday and I really didn’t have time to go in immediately, so Thursday I finally got a chance and I took it back to them.  They were quite friendly and agreed that it’s definitely something the supplier needs to fix, on all three counts.

I informed them that I cannot wait three weeks again, and they agreed that somebody would take it in that afternoon personally so Tarsus can look at it Friday morning, find out what’s wrong, order what’s needed the same day and have it repaired by Monday, and I’ll go and pick it up direct at Tarsus if they can’t get it back to Menlyn by Monday.  If only … I believe it was Gustav that took it through on Friday morning, he left at around 10:00 if I understand correctly (got back at around 15:00).  Obviously Tarsus was not going to look at it.  I phoned again on Monday and they were still waiting for feedback.  On Tuesday I phoned again and got informed that Tarsus claims the warranty is void but they’re trying to sort it out.  Warranty VOID?!?  Ok.  That’s not good.  After a bit of back and forth I called Tarsus direct.

They quoted Incredible Connection  R1200 to repair the laptop, and Incredible Connection quoted me R1300 (which I obviously REFUSED FLATLY to pay).  After speaking with Andrew at Tarsus at around 16:00 and again at 16:30 I still had no definitive answer.  He kinda promised me he would sort it out Wednesday morning … just one snag:  AS IT TURNS OUT HE WAS ON LEAVE WEDNESDAY AND NOBODY AT TARSUS HAD A CLUE ABOUT THIS.  Eventually I got hold of a Susan.  Someone who has nothing to do with Technical side of things but was willing to assist in the absence of anybody helpful from Technical.  Surprisingly she sorted out the payment issue very quickly, I just needed to get authorization from Incredible Connection to pick it up direct.  So I phoned Incredible Connection, however, technical already closed, must’ve been shortly after 17:00 or something, so I ended up leaving a message, however, when I phoned again on Friday … let’s just say things seems to get lost.

During this call I ran into the “warranty manager”.  If I was this guy’s boss, I would no longer be.  He’d be fired quicker than a union can say sorry you’re not allowed to do that.  He blatantly kept on insisting that he cannot do anything until I pay the R1300 blah blah blah, no sorry sir.  I told him a few times that Tarsus waivered the fee.  The first time I was nice and calm.  The second time it was more down the lines of “sir, you’re not listening to me, Tarsus said…” (interupted), “sir, it doesn’t work that way, you first have to” … and which point I stripped my moer, BADLY.  I screamed at him that he’s NOT LISTENING to what I’m saying and that Tarsus waivered the fee he needs to just please speak with them … which he interrupted me again I threw down the phone, realized ALL my employees were staring at me quite wide eyed (not being quite so used to me losing my temper quite that badly).  I got in my car and I drove to them.

Got there and insisted on speaking with the store manager, a person by the name of Michael, who got hold of the technical manager (Gustav) and they sorted out the whole thing in a matter of 10 minutes.  Tarsus _finally_ ordered the screen … so eventually on Tuesday I went to pick it up.

  1. The screen was now working.
  2. The PCMCIA Express placeholder was NOT replaced.
  3. The SD-card placeholder was jammed.
  4. Both the wireless kill and the subwoofer switches was jammed.

I insisted they go look for a placeholder for the PCMCIA Express, which they did (it looked like they wanted to protest … but I was not going to let them intimidate me so they went looking).  Only one problem:  It too was now jammed.  I’m like, we’ll, go fix it, now.  Just open it up, fix the latch and be done with it!  Andrew/Trevor is like “sir, we’ll need to replace the motherboard to fix that”, and obviously “we’ll have to book it for you” … NOT A CHANCE.  Hell will freeze over before I leave my laptop unattended with you guys, EVER again.  So they agreed that they’ll order the motherboard and let me know when it arrives.  I phoned yesterday afternoon … it has arrived.  WHY is it the same story over and over again?  It seems nobody from Tarsus ever calls back.  Ever!

Anyway, so first thing this morning after I managed to get rid of the majority of issues I left for JHB, got to Tarsus at around 10:22 … spent some time there whilst they “replaced the motherboard”.  Yes, the quotes are with full intent.  In spite of all mechanics now working properly (ie, replacing the motherboard) the MAC addresses on both the wireless and ethernet is identical to what it was.  For those who’s not getting this:  The MAC address of a network card is a property of the physical chip driving the port, in all likelyhood the ethernet port is soldered to the motherboard, the wireless I’ll still fall for “add-on card”.  This implies that they COULD NOT have replaced the motherboard, so today’s trip was all for no real benefit – I drove there for them to do something they could already have done on Tuesday.

Back to Incredible connection after that.  Sort out the paperwork.  And off to lunch … by now it’s about 13h … so I grab a quick something to eat and something else starts annoying me:  I can only fit four default sized aterm windows on a single desktop … I should be able to do 9, so run a quick xrandr to double-check the resolution and behove and behold – the MAXIMUM resolution reported by xrandr is 1440×900.  That should be 1920×1200.  I had a WUXGA screen on it, not a WXGA.  Phone Incredible Connection … talk with probably about 3 different people hopping the phone around between them so I decide to walk back there … at around 14:00 to 14:30.  I spend the next hour and a half to two hours communicating with Michael and Gustav, explaining to them that this is not acceptable, they phone Tarsus, who’s full of shit stating that these laptops only comes with WXGA screens.  Google mostly agrees.  To my surprise.  This is something a LOT of people complained about.

Finally I do manage to locate an old Incredible Connection advertizement for my laptop, clearly indicating that it’s a WUXGA screen.  Michael is happy, I’m happy, Gustav is happy.  We’re still waiting for feedback from Tarsus.

Updates to be posted.  Right now I’m almost dilarious with laughter.  I don’t think I should play the lotto any time soon.  I don’t think I’ve ever had so much problems with anything hardware related yet.

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