Tholek & The Case Of The Substituted Laptop

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21-11-2006 21:08:46

Alright, here we go...

Awhile back, I signed up for laptops.freepay (after they finally took my advice and started it ;) ) in the hopes I could get a quicker result than with OC. Well, when I had gotten about 3/4 of the greens I needed, they instituted the 90 day policy. I was forced to give up on my digital camera and nano accounts in a last ditch effort to get the item I needed most, the laptop. Finally, after some divine intervention, I was able to complete it, and place my order. I chose the VAIO FS940.

I felt pretty good. It had been awhile since I had completed a site, and that was a Gratis one too. Of course, that was [iac4567d761]before[/iac4567d761] the shakeup at Gratis. I was impressed though. The process was quicker than before the change. [iac4567d761]Too[/iac4567d761] fast, as it would turn out.

After I went into STV, they updated the site with the Thinkpad. Now this was pretty damned annoying, since I had asked if they could add one if they did a site. In a panic I filed a ticket asking for a switch, hoping it wasn't too late, and they told me yes, it was. That put a damper on my previous excitement, for sure. (

Ah well, I was still getting the VAIO. I tried to psyc myself up again for it. It would be nice, not a Thinkpad, but nice. I even went looking for the full specs online to know exactly what I was getting. I saw the pics on Newegg and started to feel good about it again.

Then I ran across the PCMall listing and was concerned. PCMall is their primary vendor, and the likelihood was it would come from them. The problem was that they listed a FS890 as the FS940. Although somewhat similar, they were made a year apart, with different operating systems, different specs, and most importantly, different batteries.

When I had made my final decision on which model to choose, one of the key reasons the VAIO won out was the stated 4hr battery life. The 940 has that battery life, but the 890 has only [iac4567d761]half[/iac4567d761] that. So, it was disconcerting, but I hoped that if it were coming from PCMall, the error might have been adding the 890 model number to the listing, rather than the other way around.

No dice. It was an 890. (

I emailed them, only to hear that they passed it on to the head of customer service. Support tickets got the same response. They remained open while I waited, then were closed with no additional information, I reopened them, and still nothing. I finally resorted to calling, but as I knew, the once accessible people were no longer at the company. Those that remained who I was able to speak with, were trained well in the art of the runaround. I went back to an email, all this time pleading my case in a friendly, albeit desperate, tone to those that could help, but none did.

I never accused Gratis of intentionally sending me less than they stated. The listing on PCMall was in error already. Yet, after being informed of what happened, there was no acknowledgment from them. Not even to say "This was an intentional substitute". A copy of the invoice accompanying the laptop surely went to them, so they could easily confirm what I was saying (The invoice listed an 890), but nothing.

I knew PCMall would do nothing without Gratis authorizing a RMA, but I visited their site to see if there was any additional information that would indicate who was at fault. Luckily I was able to pull up the actual order placed for my laptop.

The order for it was placed almost two weeks after Gratis had told me they had placed it.

Keep in mind, I don't mean when [iac4567d761]I[/iac4567d761] placed my order with [iac4567d761]Gratis[/iac4567d761], I mean when [iac4567d761]Gratis[/iac4567d761] had placed the order with PCMall. They were kind enough to tell me the date in answer to why I couldn't switch to the Thinkpad.

So, not only did I get an older laptop, but it actually [iac4567d761]hadn't[/iac4567d761] been too late to switch to the Thinkpad. The order for the VAIO hadn't even been placed yet.

[iac4567d761]That[/iac4567d761] was the straw that broke the camel's back, and took the last bit of joy out of the whole experience. (

Well, I finally faced the fact that nothing would ever be done, and cracked open the box I've had for weeks to take out the VAIO. It may not be as good as the 940 I ordered, which is [bac4567d761]still[/bac4567d761] listed on laptops.freepay, but it's not bad. I'll make good use of it.

I just posted this just to let you know how things are now, not to bash the company, or for pity. The company still sends out a lot of correct items, and there are even people who got screwed over worse than me[=http//]worse than me.

This is just an account of a company that no longer cares.


21-11-2006 22:27:16

I just noticed they pulled the 890/940 listing off PCMall. There's a true 940 listing now. If it was due to this....

Captain All That

23-11-2006 10:26:49

Dude... I have a Vaio and I love it... with a RAM upgrade it can actually play games like Halo online... Though the battery life does suck... I've gotten enough free laptops to use them as replacement desktops... but I'm not an intense gamer like most.


23-11-2006 11:31:47

Oh, I think they're great too. I'd put them right behind Thinkpads. I once put Toshiba inbetween, but they have dropped in quality.

It's a nice machine despite being older, it's just not what I ordered.

This just twists that knife further in my back