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Repair Hassles: Who Will Fix a Defective Graphics Card?

A Sony VAIO owner encounters difficulties when he discovers that his malfunctioning model is not on the recall list

I have a four-year-old 17-inch Sony VAIO laptop. Everything worked great until I upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. The laptop crashed, and even after I formatted the drive and did a clean reinstall of Windows 7, it continued to crash. Whenever I got it to boot, it produced lines in any video that I ran. After doing some research, I found that Nvidia had listed my laptop's GeForce Go 8400 GT graphics card as defective, but my particular laptop model was not on the approved recall list. Nvidia could not help because of contract restrictions with Sony, and Sony said that it would repair only recalled models. Is there anything you can do to help?

--Edgar Lee, Vienna, Virginia

On Your Side responds: After hearing about Lee's case, Sony arranged for a contract technician to inspect the defective graphics card at Lee's home. The tech stated that there hadn't been enough reported cases of the problem in the 17-inch laptop to warrant a recall, even though the graphics card was indeed defective. The tech installed a new motherboard with a working graphics card, at no cost to Lee.

If you have a faulty product that you think might be included in a recall, check the recall statement; if your product isn't listed but it has the same defective part, tell the company. If the issue persists among several models, the company may recall the entire line.

High-Speed Woes

Gloria Berens of Flushing, New York, wrote to us after several failed attempts to get her apartment fixed up with DSL/ADSL Internet service from Verizon. On her last try, Verizon told Berens that other floors in her building could receive an ADSL connection, but that her floor was ineligible. It provided no further explanation.

When we inquired on her behalf, Verizon sent techs to survey the neighborhood infrastructure. Verizon later explained that high-speed Internet requires a copper-based network, and the distance from Berens's building to the nearest Verizon-owned copper terminal box was too great for the company to provide DSL/ADSL. (Berens's neighbors receive their Internet access from other providers.) Verizon eventually extended the copper infrastructure to Berens's apartment, so Verizon high-speed Internet is now available.

When you are shopping for high-speed Internet service, try sites such as MyISPFinder.org, which lists packages specific to your home address. If you want a particular service that isn't available in your neighborhood, you can request an evaluation from the provider.

Have you run into a problem involving customer service, a warranty, a rebate, or the like for your tech gear? E-mail us at onyourside@pcworld.com.


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