5 On Your Side

Laptop Memory Upgrade Goes Bad

Posted May 10, 2007

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— May Sherrod's 4-year-old Dell laptop worked great until last month.

That's when she took it to Intrex Computers on Glenwood Avenue to have more memory installed.

But when she went to pick it up two days later, she learned the computer crashed.

"I was floored," Sherrod said. "And I said, You mean everything? I mean, it's just dead?' And they said, 'Yes.'"

Intrex suggested the laptop had a "pre-existing condition" and told Sherrod she could pay $200 for technicians to install a used motherboard.

Sherrod, however, did not think that was right.

"I think if you're in a business, you need to be responsible for your staff," she said. "And if a member of your staff made a mistake and crashed the computer, then I think they should do something about it."

But Intrex is firm that is not its employees' fault.

"They were polite, but they were stubborn in their opinions, and I'm stubborn, too," Sherrod said.

Sherrod complained to 5 on Your Side and to the North Carolina Attorney General's Office's Consumer Protection division.

Intrex operations manager Ramsey Ziade told 5 on Your Side that his employees were not negligent and did not cause the crash.

He also pointed to the fine print on Sherrod's signed service order that says the company is "not responsible for any part that fails" while it has the computer, unless it was "directly caused by us."

Sherrod said she is just angered by the whole experience.

"If they're not going to do anything about it, I would like for other people to know that this is their practice," she said.

Ziade told 5 on Your Side he would do something for Sherrod but that he wasn't exactly sure. But then, in a letter to the attorney general, he offers nothing. He, again, refers to the receipt's fine print.

Sherrod said the Intrex employee told her the fine print simply gave the company permission to open her laptop for "privacy reasons."

She now says she won't ever sign anything again without reading all the fine print.

Ziade did not return 5 on Your Side's follow-up phone calls.

36 Comments

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  • unc2000 May 12, 2007

    Crashed could mean any number of things. As on other poster said Intrex, could probably have just replaced the motherboard at the cost of the motherboard just to maintain good PR.

    As I said earlier, there is no way to prove fault from either side

  • tech4county May 12, 2007

    I say so what the laptop was 4 years old. They could have told the lady that the laptop wasn't worth upgrading. They wanted the money regardless. They could have called her when the laptop supposedly crash, they didn't. She had to find out when whe returned. They could have suggested any number of things, but they didn't up front. They wanted a sale. That is their goal. When I do work on someone's PC I give them an HONEST opinion UPFRONT. I am not about to put something in hard to read fine print to take advantage of them in the end. That is what this is. Taking advantage of the customer.

    Say what you want but the fact is that the laptop probably was ruined by the tech and they don't want to cover her loss. I bet they still tried to charge her for RAM she can't use now.

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ May 12, 2007

    Intrex should have offered an "insurance" option where they would do a backup of her hard drive before working on the laptop. A small fee would have to be charged for the service. Then, if the woman declined and the laptop hard drive crashes, it is truly her fault.

    In this case, Intrex is at fault IMHO because they are the expert in the IT field, and they did not properly inform of this risk due to the age of the laptop. The fine print in Intrex's receipt does not excuse the company of this responsibility.

    GWALLY, this is no different than a car mechanic. If you drive your car to the shop to have new tires put on it and a wheel falls off when you drive off due to a broken lug, the shop cannot say that it is the customer's fault because the customer should have maintained the car better. The age of the vehicle dictates higher risks, and the mechanic needs to inform the customer of these risks with ways to mitigate these risks.

  • joeincary May 11, 2007

    This is what happens when you take your laptop to your average computer store. There is at least in shop in the triangle that specializes in laptops.

  • goda17 May 11, 2007

    Totally irresponsible story by '5 on your side'!

    I’ve been in IT since there was IT. I don’t particularly care for Intrex myself, but it’s absolutely ridiculous that this lady should expect more from them. From my experience, (5000+ computers easily) anything can happen and you can’t control when things decide to break. Especially old laptops, these things get hauled around for years and eventually they die – it’s that simple.

    It comes down to common sense. Say I took my car with 200,000 miles on it for an oil change. I go to pick it up and find out the transmission blew up while it was there. Am I going to insist they find and install another transmission? Absolutely not! It’s the same thing with this Dell laptop. Maybe Intrex could give her a used MB at cost and give a good labor rate, but they don’t have to and shouldn’t be expected to. ($200 to rebuild an laptop – sounds like they did anyway)

    I hope Intrex doesn’t suffer from this story because it

  • Red May 11, 2007

    I recommend Intrex to everyone I don't have time to do work for. As for the comment about them conveniently having a matching laptop motherboard, I have looked for legacy hardware for machines better off at the dump. They're hard to find and cost more than you expect. But that's what you get when a specialized part for an obsolete model is no longer manufactured. That's why the price for 256MB of PC-133 is still as high as DDR-xxx. Back to the main point. I don't think this customer, as many don't, understood the technology. It's a machine and it will break.

  • mt1190 May 11, 2007

    DurhamDude- I only asked a question I ment no harm.

  • DurhamDude May 11, 2007

    mt119, since we really don't know the cause of the failure, I'd have to say no since she did sign the disclaimer. There was a comment on the PR issue this story has cause, which is important for them to consider, good or bad.

    I mearly made a comment on what I've observed in a few of their stores in regards to how they handle electronic items.

  • mt1190 May 11, 2007

    DurhamDude so do you think they should pay for her computer/Laptop???

  • DurhamDude May 11, 2007

    I have foud most of the technicians at Intrex to be mediocre in their knowledge. Plus, it seems most of them have no idea what ESD means and handle items poorly. But then, I'm sure they don't get paid the big bucks either.

    Motherboards do fail. In fact, lots of electronics can be "weakened" by ESD.

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