Mysterious Screen Breakage
I received an ASUS VIVO Tab RT for my birthday and I have to say it’s an awesome device. I really like how ASUS ran a promotional where you can get the keyboard dock for free if you sent in your proof of purchase. Really great little product. Only issue is with the charging process, it uses a proprietary charging cable that really makes it annoying to keep charged, since all my other devices use a micro-USB cable.
Anyway, the screen broke under some circumstances that I can’t figure out. My best guess is that since it happened in Canada the screen just couldn’t take the cold (it was like -10F that day) and any little ding was going to cause it to shatter. It wasn’t dropped and it was in a well padded laptop backpack with nothing ever being set in it. Very strange.
Getting an RMA
Well I didn’t want to buy another one so I got in touch with ASUS to find out if I could get it fixed. I realized it would probably cost me some money, but I thought since I didn’t drop it and the screen was literally crumbling in one corner it was worth seeing if there was a bad batch of glass or something. So I was instructed to RMA the tablet, so about ten days later I got it in the mail with all the paperwork they required me to fill out.
The paper work wasn’t bad, but I felt that I had already told enough people what had happened that I shouldn’t have to fill out a form. Whatever, though, I work in IT so filling out this kind of crap wasn’t foreign, just hadn’t had to since basically 1998. Here’s a screen shot of the form.
This is actually the same kind of stuff I used to ask my clients, so I figure they’re sub-contracting out repairs. Well since Windows 8 uses your Microsoft Account password, I didn’t feel like giving that out, and I recovered all the data on it so I just asked that they wipe it if they had to and I would just set it up again.
Note that this is not a form you can just type in the information. It’s not one that has any kind of stuff filled in. Yes, you either have to use the typewriter tool in Acrobat Reader, or more likely print this up and hand write everything. Please note that this is ASUS, a manufacturer of motherboards and all kind of other high-tech stuff, not “Bob’s Doorknobs”.
So I got everything filled in, sent to a service center down in the Dallas area and waited patiently for the verdict and a price. Now, they could have just straight up said, “Yeah this is probably going to cost you $200.”
ASUS had the tablet for about a week and I heard nothing from them. So, I checked the Repair Status page they have. There was a “Waiting on Customer Response” message there. I checked my e-mail again, no messages. I sent them a message asking about this. Several hours later I got a message from someone saying billing would get in touch with me. Note that I had to instigate this communication, I didn’t get so much as an automated e-mail from them when they changed the ticket status. Next day (on a Wednesday) I got a message explaining why the repairs wouldn’t be free, and a quote for $225 to repair it, not including shipping.
So I figured as much, broke screen is broke screen after all and they specifically don’t cover that in the warranty. Before I responded, I checked to see if I could just get a new one for $300, no dice. So the next week after I got paid I decided to send them the money. I printed the form and started to fill it out.
I noticed a few things about this form. First was that you have to hand write your credit card information on it and fax or e-mail it back. This seemed quaint but I figure they don’t have to bill much for repairs and I have had to do this before with other companies. The second thing was that you have to hand write the prices onto the bill and add it all up yourself. This struck me as incredibly messed up. I mean, was this the 19th century? Who makes their customers fill in the costs? I can’t even imagine anyone in the 1800’s doing things this way. There are FREE open source CRM applications out there that will run on a crappy Linux box that will do a professional job of this. Yes, the premiere motherboard, computer and other high-end electronics manufacturer does not apparently have automated billing systems for consumer electronics repairs. The irony is, I could put together a system that would do this for them, made almost entirely out of their own hardware.
So because I had to fill in the prices from the quote myself, I checked the e-mail. The e-mail stated I had to send it in before a certain date or they’d send the tablet back as is. Seemed fair. Unfortunately that date was the day before I got paid, a Monday, and at the beginning of the month. So I had missed the deadline by a day, I felt pretty stupid. I sent a, “Hey sorry, can you give me a few more days” letter the service rep. I should have checked when I got the repair quote before sending a nice letter. I got it on the previous Wednesday, in the afternoon. This enraged me because I realized I’d been given three business days to pay, and less than five days total! I have NEVER seen a company give less than seven to ten business days for something like that. I couldn’t believe after all the delays and crap I patiently waited through, that they’d give someone less than three business days at the end of the month to come up with $225. So I sent back a less than kind e-mail. I am still astounded by how ridiculous this was.
Thoughts And Getting The Tablet Back
Hopefully with their other products the repair process is easier and less annoying. I’ve never had to send anything they make in for repair, so I wouldn’t know. My best guess is that they so rarely have to bill anyone for repairs that they never updated anything beyond the forms they send out. All the hand written stuff is really not secure for e-mail or faxes. I wouldn’t think a PayPal business account would be a problem to use for this. If they don’t like the surcharge, they should just tell their customers that they’ll add a 5% fee to the quote if they use PayPal. It certainly would have made me more comfortable and it isn’t like they’d be the only company doing that (heck my county does that for debit card charges, and we use the same bank!).
I will say that they are extremely fast with the repairs at the Dallas service center. I got a notice earlier today (2/12) that it has been shipped back to me. They say that it takes 3-5 business days to do the repairs, but by my count it was more like two. So apparently they didn’t have to back order a screen or anything.
I’ll post some thoughts about Windows 8 on a touch screen once I have the thing back for a few days.