Over the past fifteen years I have bought quite a few computer parts. I used to buy a lot of them from Aria PC Technology. In fact, I bought all the parts of my current PC and my previous PC there. My business now spends thousands of pounds per year on replacement parts for the computers that we fix. You won’t find me buying them from Aria though, and here is why.
They might as well not provide a warranty.
The main activity of my business is repairing computers. From time to time people want to purchase a computer from us, and I explain that quite honestly, I can’t compete on price, and if I did manage to, we couldn’t afford the warranty obligations. Well I suppose not honouring the warranty is one way to keep the price low.
Note: the rest of this rant is mostly here to make me feel better. Feel free to skip it.
There is always a certain margin of failure for computer parts. Things like RAM and hard disks are delicate, easily zapped by static or broken by rough courier handling. They can easily break down within the terms of the warranty. When that happens, you would expect to send the item back and get another one. That is what the law says after all. It isn’t like that with Aria though. When you send a part back to Aria, they send you a nice email. Here is a quote from the email. “We endeavour to have testing details within 3 to 5 days; however in extreme cases testing could take up to 28 days.” Five days to test an item and decide it is broken might be ok, if it weren’t utter rubbish. In my experience, and that of several people I know, Aria basically shelve and ignore anything that is returned to them until the irate phone calls start annoying them. After that, they make a series of excuses until eventually they can make no more, and if the item has still not actually been tested, they eventually issue a refund to get rid of you.
I know people that had to wait two, sometimes three months for refunds from Aria on several different occasions.
I had a Samsung Hard disk fail a few months ago. It was purchased in January 2009 and was more than a year old when it failed. Not a problem though, one of the reasons I picked Samsung was for their three year warranty. I duly went to the website, typed in the serial number and… no go. Samsung would not honour the warranty, because it was a grey import. That’s right, Aria import drives from cheaper countries, then sell them here without so much as hinting that the three year manufacturers warranty won’t be honoured.
Well, since I was sold a warranty, if Samsung wouldn’t honour it then legally the retailer would have to. I went to the website, found the order, clicked on return and was then told that nothing in the order was under warranty so I could not process any returns.
I resorted to contacting customer services through their contact form. I included all the details necessary to process it. I got an email that acknowledged my contact. Then I waited. And waited. After a week, I emailed them to ask what was happening. The email bounced. I used the contact form again. Another acknowledgement. Another three days. Still nothing. I phoned and was put in a queue. After an hour, I gave up. The next day I phoned again and finally got through. The person I spoke to was helpful; he agreed to process the warranty claim and sent me an email detailing where to download a postage label. I went of to print the label. The website asked me for a post code to confirm that it was me. I tried my current postcode, then I tried the postcode that I had used when the original order was placed. Back on the phone again, the next time I had time, I was told that the postcode I should have used was Aria’s own. Why? because they processed my return manually and had used their own address not mine. Clever. Thanks for telling me guys! I plugged in their postcode, printed the label and posted the disk.
Another week passed. I finally received an email acknowledging receipt of the disk and telling me the nonsense about waiting 3 – 5 days. After several weeks I called again. The disk had been found faulty. That’s nice, can I have a replacement then? No. They have to send the disk off to Samsung and wait for a new one. How long does that take? No idea.
Today I called again. It has now been two months since they received my disk. I was given the line about waiting for Samsung to return a disk for me. “But that’s not good enough, is it. Two months is a very long time to be without an essential part of your computer.” Silence. Then “hold please.”
After quite a long wait, the customer service rep eventually came back to me. He finally agreed with me that I should be sent a new disk. I got the impression that he wasn’t supposed to do that, that I ought to wait for Samsung to send one.
So now I am waiting for my brand new replacement disk to arrive next week. At more than two months wait it has been horribly inconvenient but I know people that have had far worse treatment from Aria.
So there you have it. Aria, you blew your chance. My business and I will be shopping elsewhere. Oh, and by the way, Aria: more than two thousand people read this blog last month.