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I have never purchased a computer from Packard Bell and never will, basically because I know not too. I have had a number of problems with other peoples packard bell machines though (I used to be a computer technician) and the people with the problems have all had a valid cover plan. So you would think that Packard Bell would come along and sort the problem out for them….wrong.
In 2 cases I have been called out to fix Packard Bell machines, both times with the same problems (hard drive). I have told both customers to ring the Packard bell helpline as I cannot touch the machines without affecting the warranty. They have both done this and have been waiting weeks for a response. Considering you can pay from £200 upwards for coverplans you’d think they would offer better service than that, but they don’t.
In one case, we needed to format the hard drive, easy enough to do you’d think, but no….Packard Bell had previously installed a different CD-Rom drive into the machine so the boot disk that came with the machine didn’t work. We rang, the sent another one, that didn’t work either. In the end, I just formatted the normal way you would with any machine, but that’s not the point, packard bell’s are meant to be ‘user friendly’. Then the modem didn’t work, as the drivers were not available on the Windows disk that I had used. Again, we rang packard bell and they told us that it was not their problem as it was a software error and not a hardware error and the cover plan that we had only supports hardware, so we’re stuck again. I overcame that problem by formatting again and sticking windows 98 on.
A couple of months later, the hard drive fails. I know for certain that it was a hard drive failure as I used to deal with these sorts of problems myself. So, we rang again, after about 30 mins of explaining that the hard drive was knackered and after numerous tests that the operator told us to carry out, he said he would send us a boot disk! Now….a boot disk is no good if your hard drives broken, but he insisted that it was their policy and there was nothing he or I could do about it. So basically he was sending us a disk that we wouldn’t be able to use and when we had received that disk we had to ring them again. A couple of weeks later and the disk had still not arrived, so we rang again. This time they said that there was no record of any disk being sent out, so I had to do the same tests again (they don’t believe you when you say its broken) and he said he would organise an engineer and a new part. Great I thought, at last. They then had a problem, what a surprise…they didn’t have the part we needed in stock, so we have to wait a further 3 weeks for them to get that part in stock. They could have just given us a bigger hard drive but were to hard up too. 3 Weeks later I receive a phone call, they couldn’t get hold of the part so they would give us a new bigger hard drive, but now we would have to wait another week for an engineer to become available. I explained that I would be able to install the Hard Drive myself if they would just send it, but no, not good enough, we had to wait again. The computer had now been out of use for over a month now due to a hard drive failure.
So, more than a week later, more like 17 days later we get a phonecall that the engineer would be coming today. He did, he fitted it and it’s now running smoothly again. He did give me a bit of advice though….
He told us that it depends who is on the other end of the phone as to what type of service you get. Surely that’s not right. He then went on to tell us that if they don’t know what to do, they will normally fob you off with the boot disk story, as he did with us. So why buy an extended cover plan, infact, why buy a Packard bell PC at all?
Well, to any unsuspecting mums and dads, Packard Bell offer you all you want. PC World and Dixons will tell you that they are really user friendly, packed with software and have disks that you can just stick in the machine and it will fix it all for you. They then push a extended cover plan onto you which will come in the form of either an extra 2,3 or 4 years. I would only recommend buying 2 years if you must buy a warranty, best buying none at all and sticking with the years warranty you get with the machine, but buying anything more than that is a waste of money anyway as your computer will be outdated in a couple of years anyway, so your probably just throwing money away. (buying 2 years will boost your warranty to 3 years and buying 4 years will boost it to 5 etc). They know this and know that you probably won’t be using the same PC in 3 or 4 years time, but they don’t care, their making an extra few hundred pounds.
I have had a lot of other problems which I could have fixed myself, but if I did, would have voided the warranty, which isn’t worth the paper its written on anyway!
My advice is if you have to go for a Packard Bell machine, be very careful and don’t take no rubbish off the helpline operators, if they say they can’t fix it, ask to speak to someone in charge. Afterall, you have paid for a service. Another thing…. Packard Bell machines can be very hard to upgrade. They do this on purpose in the hope that you will take it back to them when you have a problem. One more thing…..read the cover plan before you sign it, they will catch you out on a lot of things otherwise!
i totaly agree about packard bell helpline staff i thought they were rather cheeky when mine broke down
SparkyDeighton 12.08.2001 11:22
Hy Graham, very useful op. I had a Packard Bell as my first computer and also had hard drive trouble one month after the warranty ran out. Fortunately my friend knows what he is doing inside a computer and he showed me how to replace and add further drives. I have heard from others with first hand experience of their technical support helpline being terrible.
alexandrapontecaille 07.08.2001 18:47
Thx for this op, very informative. i have a Bell PC and i went over 10 times on the phone to the helpline and for nothing, i got several answers to my problem and nobody still want to do anything about it. It is the last time as well i take a coverplan...:( hopefully everything will get back on tracks:0