PSA: Always Research the Company

Published: December 2, 2014 3:00 PM /



My gaming desktop recently died.  I could very likely troubleshoot the problem, replace some parts, and get it back up and running, but seeing as it is 6 years old I opted to start fresh and new.  I've built most of the computers I've owned, but most of that was back when I didn't have a wife and kids on top of my demanding IT job.  Now I'm looking for convenience, so I checked out some of the PC Building websites to shop around and spec out what I wanted.

I have worked with iBuyPower before and they weren't bad at all, but sometimes I feel like their customization is limited.  So I looked around, and found another site by the name of CyberPowerPC.  The site looked nice, the customization was fantastic, and of all the other sites I looked at, their prices seemed somewhat reasonable.  So I made my decision, I spec'ed out my computer, purchased it, and had it delivered.  The lead time took quite a while, but I somewhat expected it since this was a custom build as opposed to one of their promotional, pre-built offers.  So after some time and a bit of impatient waiting on my part, it was delivered.  I un-boxed my new rig, checked the instructions and manuals to ensure there were no additional steps to take, and hooked it up.  After taking time to load my games and let them update, it was on like Donkey Kong.

Choosing the ultra settings on my games felt great, the game ran smooth, and it was better than I could have imagined.  Then it happened, an all out freeze of my system.  No reboot, no blue screen, no nothing.  Everything just locked up, I couldn't Alt+F4 to close the game, Ctrl+Shft+Esc to bring up task manager, or even Ctrl+Alt+Del.  My only course of action was to hold the power button and shut it down the hard way.  Thinking this could be a one time occurrence, I shrugged it off, and tried again.  After about 10 more minutes of gaming, all out lock up yet again.  So I contacted support just to see what they had to say, and outside of a couple of blanket troubleshooting steps that didn't make any sense, their recommendation was to send it in for warranty repair, after only having it a day.  Thinking something could have happened in transit, I said sure, why not, and the support guy said, "Alright, I'll send you some information, go pay to have it shipped to us with a return label to your house."  Excuse me?  This computer is less than 30 days old, and you're expecting me to pay for shipping both ways to have it repaired?  You sent me a lemon and I have to pay for it?  After explaining this to the guy, that didn't matter, the warranty states the customer is liable for shipping in warranty repairs.  Frustrated, I declined the warranty repair, and instead decided I was going to disassemble the computer and put it all back together, begrudgingly.  I didn't want to do this, that's why I paid to have it built, but at the same time I didn't want to pay for a repair after day 1, so let's bite the bullet and get to work.

During the process, I noted everything that was wrong with the build as I disassembled it, put it back together, and tested with success.  Awesome, I now have a working computer.   Regardless of it working, I felt obligated to report these issues to the company so they can be addressed because they were all build problem.  After addressing it with the company I simply brought up the fact I paid for a service that was done incorrectly, what can you do to take care of this issue?  As compensation they could offer me some games for free, which I was fine with and wanted to see the list of games.  Path of Exile, Heroes of Newerth, Strife, Infinite Crisis, and War Thunder.  Are you kidding me?  Did you just offer me free to play games I could go to Steam and download myself as compensation?  That was an insult, an outright slap in the face, and the last straw.  After receiving that email, I immediately called to return the computer for a refund, which the 'friendly' support personnel informed that it doesn't include the original shipping costs, or software costs.  Also, surprise surprise, I have to pay to ship it back for the return.  I may be out some money by returning it, but now it's about the principle of the matter and I have to stick to my guns and refuse them my business.

As the title said, this is a public service announcement, but is the goal of this article just to slam this company and get my frustrations out?  No.  I will admit putting my feelings into text is therapeutic, but this is not the overarching theme or reason for this article.  This is a cautionary tale I hope you all can learn from and remember going forward with your larger purchases.  Do your research!  If I simply would have taken the time to just research this company and find some business reviews, I never would have solicited their business, had these issues, and I never would have had to deal with these frustrations.  The company reviews were horrible, and every single 'positive' review simply said it was affordable and the hardware was nice, but had a caveat that the warranty repair and customer service, for a lack of better words, sucked.  So before you make any purchases, not just tech related, but any kind of purchase, research, research, research.

Last, some of you also may be confused, what the hell is the cover photo of this article about?  That is their support page during normal business hours EVERY day.  They lure you into thinking you can get free live chat/support/help, but the link simply sets up an email to their tech support by always saying live help is currently offline.  Superbly misleading tactics can now be added to the list.

Update: I felt obliged to include a couple more nuggets of my experience with this particular company, as these happened after my original draft was completed.  Instead of trying to Jimmy these pieces into the article potentially wrecking the flow, they will be added in the paragraph below.

After informing them that offering free games was an insult in more ways than one, what is their recourse?  Offer me another game for free.  I don't even remember the game specifically, but after a quick google search I found out this is a game I could, just as the others, get for free, but this time by registering my video card information.  After contacting regarding a return, I get a response back, but it was by someone who I assume was a business retention 'specialist', but I use the term specialist loosely.  Telling me that I'd be better off paying $100 dollars to ship both ways for repair as opposed to losing over $100 in non-refunded shipping costs is not a good approach for business retention.  I don't even need the repairs now, but that strong arm tactic of, "Well do you want to lose money and return the computer or lose money and get the computer repaired," doesn't make much sense.  Then, after asking to speak to a manager or supervisor, I receive no response, and am instead sent a survey asking, "How is our customer service?"  The original theme of this article was to research the companies you do business with, and that still hold true, but now I will include a personal warning, an additional bit of friendly advice.  This is purely my opinion, and is in no way the opinion of, but I urge you, avoid business with CyberPower PC at all cost.  As I continue down the rabbit hole, nearly a week after requesting a refund and a return, I still have yet to receive an email containing return information or instructions.  Couple that with the customer service I have received and I now find it is my mission to warn everyone who takes the time to read this article about this company.  If this continues much longer on their part, I will either be claiming a billing dispute with my credit card company, or will take legal action against them.

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