Warranty Problems, Possible Power Surge?

  PapaShango 20:37 04 Mar 03

Last week, I turned on the PC in the morning, it got halfway through startup then just swithced itself off. I tried it again, It started up and got halfway through ScanDisk then died again. I returned home later that day and thought I'd try to get it going. I swithced it on and all I heard was some loud popping from the inside. There was a little smoke and i could smell burning.

I sent the PC back to the shop because I am still under warranty. They told me that EVERYTHING inside the PC was basically fried.. with the exception of the Memory. I was also informed that they wouldnt replace it because it couldnt have possibly been an internal problem and blamed it on a possible power surge.. even though I have a Surge Protector on.

So, Who is the burden of proof on? Do they have to prove that it was an external entity that caused my machine to fry? Are they well within their rights to refuse to repair or replace it under the warranty?

They said that what has happened was very unusual and couldnt have possibly been the result of an internal problem.

I want a replacement..Do I have a leg to stand on here? or am I basically over a barrel?

  carver 21:16 04 Mar 03

First thing to ask yourself is has any other electrical item in the house fried,TV,Vidio,Hi-Fi,Micro wave.If all these items are OK, forget about a power surge, especialy if you have a anti-surge socket for the P/C. Second thing is to phone you electric suplier and ask if any power surges have been noted on the day in question. Third thing is to go back to your P/C shop armed with these answeres and tell them very politly that you want te

  carver 21:29 04 Mar 03

Sorry about the abrupt ending, my cat decided the keyboard was a nice place to go to sleep.

Right carry on, take the P/C back to the shop and politely tell them that they have a duty to repair the M/C under warranty. You could take the surge protector to another shop and have it checked which takes 5 Min's, but these things are so bullet proof that most of them even carry a guaranty to pay for the cost of any damage to equipment due to failure.

If being polite dosn't work then I'm afraid it's the courts, best of luck.

  wee eddie 21:30 04 Mar 03

may be difficult to get.

However the manufacturers of your Surge Protector may be a useful starting place, and if you manage to get satisfaction, whichever way you do.

I should give the sellers of your current PC a two fingerd salute, as they appear to have offered you little or no assistance.

  DieSse 22:56 04 Mar 03

It is entirely possible for a faulty PSU to then do consequential damage to many or most of the other items inside the system. In fact I had just such a faulty system a couple of months ago.

You should tell them politely that such a thing is entirely possible, and you would like it corrected under their own warranty terms.

If push comes to shove, with the evidence of a fitted surge protector, you would have little problem making yuor case legally - I'm sure any competent power supply specialist would advise you and them of this.

  DieSse 23:00 04 Mar 03

PS - the only things left working inside the system i had was the Meory a,d the floppy drive. Onevrything else you could actually see the burnt chips - clearly the result of one of the Dc voltages getting much too high - it could then destroy most things it fed to - which is most things inside the PC.

  PapaShango 23:02 04 Mar 03

No, nothing else in the house got affected. I also informed the shop that a chain reaction could come from a faulty PSU. But they said it wasnt possible. They also had the cheek to offer me a replacement at COST PRICE! I threatened them with Trading Standards if they didnt honour their warranty and the Managing Director is phoning me tomorrow morning.

What should I be armed with when he phones me?

  Forum Editor 23:31 04 Mar 03

1. Tell him that you have a surge protector on the power supply to the computer, and that it would have tripped and cut the supply had there been a spike on the mains.

2. Tell him that it certainly is possible for a faulty PSU to allow an over-voltage onto the motherboard and 'fry' all or may of the components - it's rare, but not unheard of.

3. Tell him that the problem was almost certainly caused by a faulty PSU and that current legislation would support your claim for a full replacement of the damaged components - never mind what their warranty says. The warranty is in addition to your statutory rights, it doesn't replace them.

4. The retailer has a right to offer a repair in such cases - rather than a complete replacement - but you must make it clear that you will accept this action on condition that the machine functions perfectly once the work has been done.

Try to be friendly but firm - don't threaten the man with Trading Standards until and unless you feel you are getting absolutely nowhere. Make it clear that you understand your rights as a consumer, and that although the fault is in a bought-in component your contract was with him, the retailer. Reasonable behaviour usually triumphs over ranting and raving, and threats of legal action are best saved until all other avenues have been explored - the court should be your last resort.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

  bfoc 23:45 04 Mar 03

Be polite but firm.

Point out that:

1. A surge protector was fitted to the machine and so an electrical surge of such intensity is highly unlikely as an explanation, especially when other items on the same circuit were unaffected.

2. That you are happy to have the surge protector tested at an agreed venue. If it passes they will pay the testing fees and replace the computer and if it fails then you will have to pay for the test and pursue the surge company for compensation.

3. That you have taken expert advice from PC Advisor forums and it has been confirmed that it is possible, and examples have been given, of a faulty PSU causing just this damage.

4. That you really want to sort this matter out amicably as you were happy with the machine, until this happened and hope you are not forced down the route of legal action.

5. Ask him what positive suggestions he has.

You could also say that, without any prejudice to your legal rights, you would be happy for the computer to be examined independently to attempt to establish what happened. It would seem reasonable for the cost of that to be split between you, until the cause is established.

It might also help if you had (or can get) 'statements' from anyone who could verify that you had a surge protector atttached.

You should also keep detailed notes of what you and he say. This could be very important if it does come to legal action.

It is slightly problematic because you do have to 'prove' that the fault was internal, but if you can prove it was not external then it can only be internal.

  Andsome 10:58 05 Mar 03

Sound advice, couldn't have put it better. Remember however that a telphone call is difficult to prove in court should the situation arise. I would suggest that after your telephone conversation, you send a letter stating the points covered and any agreements. Send it special delivery to the registered office, AND KEEP A COPY.

  oresome 12:27 05 Mar 03

If I understand one of bfoc's earlier threads correctly, the burden of proof is on the consumer to prove that the defect was present from day 1. This is to be ammended from the end of this month so that within 6 months of purchase , the burden of proof will be on the retailer to establish it wasn't present from day 1.

So at present, the burden of proof is with PapaShango.

Proving that the PSU was faulty from Day 1 will be no easy task despite the bluff and bluster written by some on this thread.

I don't deny it may well work and persuade the retailer to back down though.

Bear in mind that the effectiveness of the surge protector may depend upon a low impedance earth return path and any telephone / aerial connections can introduce damaging voltages to the PC if they are not similarly protected.

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