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About 9 months ago my computer was not working so I took it to the closest technician I found on my Google Maps. Turned out there was a problem with the motherboard and that the repair would cost around $160. At that point owner of the shop made me an offer that said you trade you broken computer + $200 and I will give you a used computer with the same technical specifications. I was desperate at that time so I accepted. This guy looked a bit shady however; he offered a 5 percent discount on the $200 if I paid cash. He also offered a 15 month extended warranty on hardware issues in exchange for $24. I accepted both. In addition to the receipt I also have a document that shows purchase of warranty.

Since the beginning computer had hardware issues that impacted its functioning. I only found the time to take it to the store in September. Owner said he would fix it and that since I have warranty I would pay nothing on parts and labor. After keeping my computer at his store for 2-3 days he said he repaired it but really didn't as the same two issues persist exactly as before. I'm not sure what I should do at this point. On the one hand I need to get my computer fixed under the warranty. On the other hand I wouldn't want to have him keep it for days and then not fix it again. There would normally be no reason to doubt his honesty: maybe he thought he resolved the issues and he actually didn't. However his store has very poor ratings on Yelp and Google Reviews and most reviewers call the owner of the store dishonest and a fraud. Perhaps relevant to the situation is the fact that the owner has had issues with criminal activity and immigration in the past. My question is

  1. What can I do at this point. Should I just give up and accept the loss?

  2. What action can one take against someone who is not willing to honor a warranty? Is the customer always powerless?

  • What country is this in? In the US I'd say the customer has a lot of power. – NuWin Oct 17 '16 at 22:35
  • Should've mentioned its in the US. – mathemagician Oct 17 '16 at 22:36
  • Well by all means if the owner fails to honor the warranty in which all repairs/replacements are bound to the warranty -- he/she is committing fraud. You can take some sort of legal action but not sure if the benefit outweighs the cost on this one. Best bet is to report this to someone and see him get shut down. Hopefully others can provide a more detailed answer for you. – NuWin Oct 17 '16 at 22:41
  • I think the very bottom line is "you're screwed". it's sad but that's life. I have one for you - we had a top of the line ($3000? $4000?) apple laptop that had the classic video card problem from the moment I opened the box. They swapped the motherboard once, no fix; i was genuinely just incredibly busy, overseas and so on, and did not get to report the problem until two days - 40 hours - after the warranty expired. Because Apple are _ _ _ _ s, they wouldn't fix it. There's really just "absolutely nothing I can do" - it's a straight $3000 "I got screwed" situation. – Fattie Oct 18 '16 at 13:26
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    @Mindwin - you mean Amazon? Right, so true, exactly. A great consumer benefit if you take advantage of it. – Fattie Oct 18 '16 at 14:21
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You're probably best off going to a different store to fix the computer.

Right now you don't have "damages." You could sue him but, there's no thing to sue for. If you sue for your original costs, you'd have to return the computer and probably only receive a portion of your original costs, less court filing fees.

If you have someone else fix your computer you can sue him for the cost to fix your computer. You'll take him to small claims court, win or lose you probably won't get anything from him. If you win, you'll have a piece of paper (judgement) that says, "Yep, that guy owes you money" if you lose you won't even have that.

You could report him to the BBB or some other business agency but that doesn't help you fix the computer.

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    A lot of brand new computers/laptops are not that expensive. I never needed to take my computer to get fix because I can do it on my own but I would assume it's pricy. Just buy a brand new one. It will probably last longer and not that more expensive then fixing a broken one. – NuWin Oct 18 '16 at 1:36
  • DO NOT take the computer to another store unless the guy who sold you the warranty says in writing it's okay to do so. I can almost guarantee his warranty contains language stating that letting anyone else work on warranty-covered items will invalidate the warranty, in which case he's off the hook and you lose! – Daniel Anderson Oct 19 '16 at 1:51
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    @DanielAnderson, the guy who sold the warranty is already not honoring the warranty. And none of this is worth enough money to get past small claims court. If this was a car or an addition to a home, the course of action would be different. – quid Oct 19 '16 at 2:12
  • Depending on the state, you can sometimes ask for treble damages, so it depends. Still, my last point remains valid. If the computer is taken to someone else for repairs before the case is litigated (Small claims or otherwise), the vendor may likely have justifiable basis to argue the warranty's void and he was not given adequate opportunity to resolve it. There has to be a strong paper trail to make sure the OP can prevail, although at this point it sounds like a simple win. – Daniel Anderson Oct 19 '16 at 11:12
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    You're approaching this as though it's a much larger issue. My post basically illustrates why it's not worth pursuing a judgement in small claims over a total transaction of $224. Do you really want to file papers and waste a day at the court house over $224 that, even if you win, you'll probably never receive. A paper trail is not worth the time to create. I wouldn't even bother spending the certified mail cost. I'd write off this shop owner as inept and move on. – quid Oct 19 '16 at 16:57
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The issue yo have to consider is that under many state laws, you must give a merchant three opportunities to correct an issue before you can sue them, so check with your state before considering that option.

Here's a link to the Federal Trade Commission's warranty information page, which may give you some ideas about what your options are.

Keep in ind, if you let someone else work on the computer rather than the store you bought it from, you might give the guy a valid claim in court to throw out your lawsuit! Many times, warranties will spell out the conditions under which repair work can or must be done, so make sure you follow every step to the letter in order to preserve your claim.

I would strongly suggest that you start creating a paper trail for your claim. Start by writing a very precise and detailed letter to the store owner, with copies of all relevant documents (your receipts, warranty papers, etc.) included. Explain the entire history, including what steps you've taken to date to get him to honor the warranty. Offer him the option to let you take the computer to another shop for repairs at his expense. Then, send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the store owner so that he can't deny receiving your letter. This is all in order to make the best case you can for your claim just in case you do have to sue him.

Do not take the computer to anyone else until or unless he tells you in writing that he is willing to let you do that. You don't want to risk him arguing that the other shop is responsible for the problems now.

I hope this helps.

Good luck!

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Give him a second chance to fix it. Some computer problems are hard to nail down. THIS:

So you're a tech. It's common to work a problem, do procedure A and B that should've fixed it, test repeatedly to make sure it's fixed, and hand it back to the customer... and then the customer, under his operating conditions, has it fail again.

If it comes back to you, you have the foreknowledge that A and B didn't work. And you immediately try C and get it fixed.

This knowledge does not magically transfer to other shops. So the user goes into Yelp Mode and storms off angry to another shop... they blindly try A and B again, burn in, send him home, it fails again, user's even madder. This is how computers DON'T get fixed.

5% discount for cash is reasonable. If you want to know why that's normal, sign up for Square. Credit cards and checks have a significant overhead, including the risk of bounces and chargebacks, and that adds up to about 5%. Only a few businesses actively solicit it, but many family-owned businesses would accept it if you offered.

So firstoff, does the shop give you a creep factor other than your feelings about him not fixing it the first time? If so, cut your losses and bolt. You will definitely need to pay cash to have this fixed properly.

Otherwise take it back to him and give him a chance to fix it properly.

Having dealt with a lot of customers, what you say sounds an awful lot like "problem so minor I was able to use it for 9 months before bothering to get it fixed which I'm only doing because the warranty is ending", and therefore, "I am resentful about having to give it up for an extended period of time to have it fixed because the problem Just Isn't That Important". If that's true, you're in a values conflict and you might just be better off recognizing that.

Cheap PCs are cheap. But the vast majority of niggling PC problems are not in fact hardware problems, they are just MS-Windows being MS-Windows.

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