Click here for more information about Totally Awesome Computers going out of business. Otherwise, feel free to read the following post about my negative experiences with TAC.
By the way, if you don’t read all the comments on this post you are really missing out. Trust me, they’re worth it. Some of the comments are from SuperDell Shanze himself and they’re pretty choice.
Super Dell is flying over my office at this very moment. I kid you not. I came in to do some work on a Saturday, and suddenly I hear this noise like an airplane from outside. I go out to look and see someone with a big fan strapped to his back and one of those paraglider things that says “totallyawesome.com” on it. I’m pretty sure it’s Dell Schanze himself, because he’s pretty low and I can see the guy and it looks like him, only with goggles, ear protection, and some sort of suit. By the way, did you hear that Super Dell is selling his gun range? But that’s another topic altogether.
We’ve got a fun park called Boondocks next door to our office, so I’m guessing he’s trying to do some guerilla marketing, or get killed when the volcano spouts out flame, or something.
This serves as a nice way for me to talk about my bad experiences with Totally Awesome Computers.
As a disclaimer I’ll say that these experiences happened a few years ago and TAC may have cleaned up its act. I wouldn’t know because I’ll never buy anything from them again.
For those of you who are outside of Utah or don’t have a TV, radio, and are unable to communicate with the outside world, SuperDell is the owner of Totally Awesome Computers. Simply by his moniker and the name of the company you should already have an good idea of what this guy is like. But wait, there’s more.
SD has made TAC successful through the use of in-your-face, annoying advertising. As opposed to Overstock.com’s advertising, however, this is good advertising. It’s good advertising not just because it works, but because it’s clear, to the point, and has a good hook that doesn’t depend on cheap sex to sell product. I have just one problem with TAC’s advertising–much of it is false.
TAC makes several claims in their advertising. Here are some of them:
1. All other computers are junk.
2. TAC has wonderful computers.
3. Our customer service is great!
4. Other computer companies have bad customer service.
My experience buying two computers from TAC and 20-30 from Dell have proved, at least to me, that these claims are completely backwards. Here’s how it all went down…
Having heard TAC’s advertising for a while, I decided to try them out. The idea of having somebody local was appealing to me since I depend on my computer to make money and can’t afford for it to be out of commission for very long.
So I went in and bought a computer. I also convinced my dad to buy one around the same time.
Then I took it home and installed Windows 2000 on it. Windows 2000 is a pretty common desktop OS, right? I mean, before XP came along. Well, I immediately had problems. The computer would basically just turn itself off randomly, and you couldn’t reboot it unless you actually turned off the switch on the power supply. So I called TAC and asked them about the problems. Their response was “We only support Windows 98.” I was dumbfounded. Windows 98 was already a bit old, and Windows 2000 was much more common. What surprised me more was that they weren’t even willing to look at my computer or consider answering my questions. As soon as they found out I was running Win2k they refused to talk to me about my problems. Their suggestion was that I reformat my machine with Windows 98 on it. Noooo thank you.
Three months after I bought the machine, the power supply went out. For those of you with any experience buying computers, you know that power supplies will sometimes go out, but it’s not super common. I’ve only had one other computer have a power supply go bad out of over 30 computers I’ve owned. And that was on a computer that was over two years old. Three months means there is definitely a defect.
So I had been sold on TAC’s great customer support, right? They stand behind their machines, right? I figured it would be a no-brainer that I could walk in, tell them my power supply went bad, and they would simply pop a new one in.
I took my machine in, and I was told that the power supply had gone bad because of “dust” and that TAC didn’t cover power supplies that go bad because of dust. This is their store in Orem, by the way. Again, I was almost speechless. Are you kidding me? They thought my power supply went bad because of dust in three months? I’ve had computer run for five years without having any dust problems, and it’s not as though I was using this computer in a high school wood shop classroom. It was sitting at my house in a normal room that didn’t have any more dust than any other house might.
I argued with them about it, but they refused to fix it. I asked them how much it would cost me to replace it. “Ten dollars” was the response. So I paid $10 and walked out of TAC for the last time. I was even more stupefied now. As a business owner, I sometimes give my clients things they ask for, even when they have no right to ask. I almost always do this if it’s something small, just to maintain goodwill. TAC chose to ruin a customer relationship over something that took $10 and five minutes to fix, which they should have fixed anyway since they make promises about their machines in all their advertising.
To make a long story short, my dad had many other problems with his computer, and when he talked to TAC he was met with the same “Your cause is just, but we can do nothing to help you” type of attitude. He ended up taking the machine to other computer stores to get it serviced because TAC couldn’t/wouldn’t help him with it.
If it were an isolated instance, I wouldn’t tell everyone I meet to not buy TAC computers or write about it here on my blog.
Oh, and all those Dell computers I’ve bought? Not only did they cost me a lot less money, but I’ve only had two problems with them, ever. One time a CD-ROM drive went bad. I made a 1-minute phone call to Dell, gave them the ID of the computer, and they had a new drive shipped to me within 48 hours (I think it might have been within 24 hours) at no charge. The other problem was with a power supply, ironically. We were able to take a spare one in the office and fix that ourselves, so I haven’t actually taken the time to test Dell’s customer service a second time. But suffice it to say, I’ve got more faith in that issue being fixed if I ever feel like fixing it.
After two bad computers from Totally Awesome Computers, what do I do now? I buy Dells. They’re reliable, inexpensive, and their customer service is some of the best I’ve ever experienced.