Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tech support on the eeePC

Joe (my eldest) has been making great use of the little Asus eeePC linux-based ultra-portable for a while. It has everything he needs day to day and he loves the fact that he's running a different OS to everyone else he knows!
Anyhow - ours developed a fault where it started crashing and eventually it couldn't even complete it's BIOS memory count before freezing - a classic case of a hardware problem (you'd think!).

Anyway - I just wanted to detail the miserable experience using Asus's tech support was;

Firstly you have to submit a web request for support - the online form has a couple of funnies - you can only enter 150 characters in the fault description and no punctuation is allowed! If you've ever tried to write something coherent with only alphabetic characters you'll appreciate what a challenge this is! Also - 150 characters? They need to hire a decent PHP programmer! Another niggle is the fact that the case number is a required field! You've just opened a case and they demand your case-number. They also wanted fax-proof of the age of the machine. Given that they've been out for about six months and they come with a two-year warranty.....
Anyhow - you submit the form (after a dozen attempt because they're server keeps firing it back at you with invalid data due to the full-stop you put at the end of the problem description!) and they tell you that it'll take 48 hours for them to acknowledge your request. They manufacture computers and yet they take two days to process a simple CGI form! They are clearly running their tech support system on counting-beads!
Anyhow - after three days I eventually found a number to call and got through to someone who told me that tech support had bounced back my request on the grounds that I hadn't done a system restore - that was required to eliminate software problems! Now, remember that this machine freezes after a few seconds of power AND it has no CD-drive! So, even if it was a software issue they expect you to have bought an external USB CD drive. After much ranting down the 'phone they persuaded me to re-submit on the web. I did and gave it another four days - no response!
So, back on the 'phone to be told that tech support had issued a collection notice but neglected to email me. Eventually I got the UPS details and the thing was collected and returned a week later with a new motherboard and it's all good.

One thing you can never get away from is that tech support departments are never properly funded and tech support engineers will often say anything to get you off the 'phone because they probably won't get you when you call back after having tried the pointless thing they've suggested - re-installing the OS rather than figuring out the problem, for example.

The 'phone number is 0870 1208340, and if you have to do battle with Asus here are a couple of names that helped me;

1 comment:

Rupert said...

why did you think it was called eee? that's the sound you make when you call support!