I admit it up front. I want to take $399 out of the hide of Newegg.com. Here's why:
purchased a refurbished Asus K50 Series K50IJ-RX05 laptop from Newegg 4
weeks ago, for -- you guessed it -- $399. The laptop arrived
three days later, and I installed Kubuntu 9.10 on it. No muss, no
fuss, no hitches. Everything worked, right out of the box:
wireless, graphics, the whole shebang.
Well, apparently everything
worked. The laptop was a birthday present for my wife, you see.
So the first thing she asked for was for me to install Skype on
it so she could make video calls to her daughter.
problem, says I. Presto, Skype got installed. Oops, the
picture is upside down. This laptop was manufactured/assembled
with the webcam installed 180 degrees out of whack!
ok. I guess. There's a Video For Linux patch just for this
situation. So I installed the patch (a library to pre-load prior
to running apps that use webcam). Alrighty, the webcam
video is no longer upside down in Skype. I handed the laptop back
to my wife.
Day two: the wife says, "My
laptop locked up." I asked her what she had been doing at the
time. "Moving the mouse."
Oh, oh, this
isn't right. The Asus K50 is running an Intel T4200 dual-core
processor and the Intel 4500 graphics chipset. The Linux Intel
graphics drivers are pretty solid. In fact, I've installed
Kubuntu 9.10 on several nearly identical Acer T4200 laptops with the
4500 chipset, and they are all rock solid under some pretty heavy-duty
So, I installed the very latest Kubuntu
update, which brought the kernel and modules up to
version 2.6.31-19, and handed the laptop back to my wife.
No go. Three - four times a
day the machine just locked up. Randomly. Hard. Power
cycle required to reboot.
So now I
go to the intertubes to do some research (I know, I know) and discover
[careful, big surprise coming] that the Asus K50 Series K50IJ-RX05
machines had the webcam installed upside down at the factory. Oh,
and they randomly lock up several times a day. Linux, Vista, XP.
Whatever. They lock up. There's a reason that so many
"refurbished" units of this model are up for sale.
an unsatisfactory situation. So I contacted Newegg and explained that I
was unhappy with the defective laptop they had sold me. After a
brief consultation with her supervisor, the nice lady approved my RMA
refund request and sent me a free UPS return label for me to use to
ship the laptop back.
Not too shabby, I
thought. This kind of service is why I have been a good Newegg
customer for the past 7 years. Spending about $2,000 - $3,000 per
year. For seven years. At Newegg.
Oops, not so fast. [I bet some of you saw this coming.] See the email I just received from Newegg:
Thanks again for shopping at Newegg.com.
We recently received your RMA and your return was then sent to our Inspections Department for closer examination.
User changed OS to Linux Kubuntu
has been modified/altered original manufacturers operating system has
been removed cannot access restore partition, this voids Newegg
warranty. Unit cannot be accepted or resold as received.
RMA denied return to customer
Newegg would be facing a loss if we were to replace this item, we are
returning the product to you and recommending that you contact the
manufacturer directly to request that they repair or replace the item
under your manufacturer's warranty. Please visit the following
link to view a listing of all the manufacturers whose products we
RMA Inspections Department
This email was sent from Newegg's Automated Email System so please do not reply.
That's right: I installed Linux on the laptop, and therefore Newegg is not going to honor my refund.
I say more? Newegg is now on record as a vendor from whom you
purchase at your own risk. They have demonstrated that they will
knowingly sell defective hardware, and not honor refund requests on
A very good way to go out of business, in my opinion.
*Mr. Roberts was a staff member at
Los Alamos National Laboratory for 20 years before leaving LANL to join
the staff of a research organization in the Research Triangle Park in
North Carolina. Mr. Roberts is a long time Linux developer, and
has contributed code to the Red Hat Kernel project.