Acer Laptop woes - part 4

Well, I got home this morning to find a courier waiting outside my door to collect my laptop.

So, it’s all packed off to Acer. Lets hope I see it again, preferably in working condition :-)

Letter to Acer 2

Gianfranco Lanci
Acer Europe SA

RE: Extended Warranty not valid outside country of purchase.
Pages: 1 (including this)

Dear Sir,

I faxed your office on the 13th of November, concerning my Acer Ferrari 4005WMLi laptop (with an Acer Advantage Extended Warranty), that my UK employer bought me, out of my salary while I was working there. The laptop’s motherboard has failed, about 14 months after it was purchased. When I tried to get it repaired by Acer South Africa, they said that my extended warranty isn’t valid outside UK. I bought the warranty because I was explicitly told it would be valid Internationally (by the sales staff at Easy Computers).

You can read the rest of my previous fax here

I’ve since heard from Dave Malherbe of Acer South Africa, who told me that your office had authorised reducing the cost of repairs from R6 099 to R4 400. That’s hardly much of a discount, and I could still buy an entire new laptop for less than that. After a few phone-calls back and forth, he even agreed to drop it to R2 250, on condition that Acer SA kept my damaged motherboard. While I appreciate this discount, it’s not what I was looking for. I want the repair done entirely at Acer’s cost, as I purchased an Extended Warranty that (I believed) entitles me to this.

I’ve seen that other people are having major hassles with Acer support, so I weighed in as well, and made my impressions of Acer public, on my blog. It’s not my intention to rage about how terrible Acer’s support is, but rather to warn others away from the nightmares I’ve had to deal with. I’ve highly recommended the Acer Ferrari 4000 to everyone who asked me about it (or high end laptops in general), and I hope that none of them ever have to deal with these kind of support issues.

Please can you organise for my laptop to be repaired at Acer’s expense, under warranty, in South Africa. I’d really like this to end amicably. I’m not enjoying life on my old substitute HP laptop very much, at all, and I’d love to have my Ferrari back in working condition.


Stefano Rivera

Acer Laptop woes - part 3

I got a reply!

Dave Malherbe from Acer South Africa called me, and after a chain of “returning your call” voicemails, we spoke yesterday. He told me that my request has gone up the chain of command at Acer HQ in Europe, all they way to the President (or at least his PA), and he’d been authorised to give me a discount on my repair.

He could drop the cost from over R6 000 down to around R4 400 (+VAT). Not much of a discount. For something that escalated so high, I wasn’t very impressed. I said that I’d rather get it repaired in UK (if you factor in courier costs, it’s still cheaper to send it there).

We then discussed my extended warranty, and he said I’d need to pry it out of Easy Computers (my supplier in UK who’d sent me the wrong laptop). So I fired off an e-mail to them. It’s gone backwards and forwards a few times, and they told me to contact Acer again. So I sent a very strong e-mail back to them:

We are sorry you are experiencing technical difficulties with your goods. All manufacturers have dedicated support lines staffed by trained personnel. We strongly recommend that you contact the appropriate manufacturer of your product:

I did that. Over a year ago, in fact. And they did nothing. Eventually, this week, they told me to contact you guys, as you didn’t supply me with the extended warranty pack that I paid you for.

If this is going to be a problem, please speak to my Acer contact who I’ve been dealing with: David Malherbe +27 11 233 XXXX. He knows all about my case, and if you mention my name, he should know who I am. He says that you guys need to supply me, you say they need to supply me, please can your sort it out between yourselves.


We’ll see…

I spoke to Dave again, this morning, and he offered me an even bigger discount. If I didn’t want my motherboard back, he could discount it to R1 999 + labour (R250) and VAT. That’s starting to sound reasonable. I still think I should get it for free, but I’m almost prepared to pay that kind of price, just to save myself further hassle…

Letter to Acer

To: Support Manager, Acer Europe, Switzerland

Cc: Support Manager, Acer Africa (Pty) Ltd, Sandton

Incl: Invoice for laptop and 3yr Extended Warranty, Original complaint about wrong model, Support reply, Pricing for new motherboard

RE: Extended Warranty not valid outside country of purchase.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I had an Acer Ferrari 4005WMLi laptop bought for me (it came out of my salary) by GetReel Digital Services, while I was working for them in the UK around August 2005. It was bought through Easy Computers, in the guise of, which is prominently linked from Acer’s website.

I didn’t actually receive the right model from Easy Computers, I got one with 32bit Windows XP, and no paperwork for my extended warranty. I complained about this (complaint attached), but received no reply from Acer, so I dropped it. I hardly ever use Windows, so it wasn’t very important to me, and I had the invoice to prove the warranty.

It’s given me good service for a year, definitely a good buy. It ran Ubuntu Linux pretty well (although the DSDT provided in the BIOS is atrocious —- it thinks that my battery (dis)charges in ~3s, and is full of other errors). I have recommended the same model to several associates and clients.

Around 2 weeks ago, it developed a fault that is causing it to crash constantly, and occasionally fail to boot up, beeping 3 times. I have verified the same crashes in Windows, and they seem temperature dependant. I contacted Acer Support, who postulated that it’s a dead motherboard, I concur. I was never given a support ID that I can quote, only an automated response (attached), the rest of the conversation happened over the phone to Acer South Africa.

However, they also told me that my warranty isn’t valid, because I bought the laptop in a different country, and accused me of illegally grey-importing my laptop while on a holiday in UK. They have quoted me R6 099 for a new motherboard and labour. I assume this repair would take place in Johannesburg, so I would have to pay courier costs to and from there, too. That is insane, for that price, I could take a trip to the UK, where my warranty is valid, and get a repair that wouldn’t void my (rather dubious) warranty.

I work for GetReel in both UK (I’m an EU citizen), and remotely from South Africa, so when I bought the laptop, I specifically enquired if the warranty was international. I was informed that it was, so I bought the 3yr extended version. I’m an IT professional, so I know that hard drives have a propensity to die, laptops aren’t easy or cheap to mend, and so long warranties are a good thing. I spend a lot of time in South Africa, so I wouldn’t have bought the extended warranty if they had told me that it wasn’t valid internationally.

In this day and age, laptop users travel the world, constantly, so I find the idea of a global laptop manufacturer, whose warranties are only valid in one country ludicrous.

Please can you organise for my laptop to repaired, at Acer’s expense, under warranty in South Africa, or for it to be couriered for free to Europe for repair and back.


Stefano Rivera

Acer Laptop woes - part 2

My faithful Ferrari has been chugging along merrily for a year, following me almost everywhere, and keeping up with the latest fashions in Ubuntu Linux (amd64).

Suddenly, while I was busy reading some lecture slides, cramming for an exam earlier this month, it crashed. Odd. Reboot.


Hmm. Badly seated RAM? Try a quick re-seat.


To cut a long overly-geeky story short, it seemed temperature-related. It would run for ~20 mins and then crash. And after that while still warm, it wouldn’t turn on without giving the beeps of death.

Aha! It’s Just as well I bought a 3yr warranty, thinks tumbleweed, otherwise I’d be in a bit of a bind. The laptop is 14months old now - what good thinking! < pats self on back />

Not so fast. Acer informs me that my 3yr warranty isn’t valid in South Africa (as I’d been assured it was when I bought it). They also accused me of grey-importing my laptop. Sure, I spend most of my time in South Africa, but surely I can get my employers to buy me hardware in the country they exist in?

I was quoted over R6000 to get it repaired. For that price I could fly to London, (with the help of youth fares) get an in-warranty-repair and have a quick holiday to boot. Rude letter writing time… (I’ll add the letter as soon as I’ve vetted it for the spammy world of the web)

I faxed it off to the EU HQ, as well as the local office, and waited.

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