Written in 2014 when I had 3 daughters at University, and laptop repair long distance was not an easy thing to do. I muddled through it, and in the end, I had quite the Laptop Boneyard of spare parts.
Last week my youngest daughter called to say that her laptop computer was in distress, and was not working, due to the batter being dead, and the charging unit unable to charge it. This continues the family tradition of:
By the end of the 2nd University year, all laptops will crash or become unusable at a time when an important assignment must be completed, which results in the purchase of a replacement computer either immediately, or shortly after that time.Big Cajun Man – Rules of Technology – 2014
I kid you not. That is precisely what has happened to all 3 of my daughters. The first two laptops were HP (I wrote about my oldest daughter’s problems in Student Computer Safety), and this last one is a Dell. All three have had issues with the charging unit, the system overheating and/or hard disk crashes (i.e. the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). The problem is that portable computing is now “table stakes” for most University Students (unfortunately), so (for now) a laptop computer is a necessary (expensive) evil.
I ended up having to buy another Dell Laptop to send my daughter back to school with, and after some judicious “Dad’s I.T.” wizardry, I was able to extract all the essential data from the laptop’s hard drive.
I am now left with a “dead” laptop however, Costco is now “fixing” the broken computer (thanks to their Concierge warranty which doubles the typical 1-year warranty for most computers), but the methodology to make the “fix” happen is quite puzzling (to me). I had to call someone who took down all the details of what transpired (and verified I had bought this PC at Costco). Once it was determined that the computer needed fixing (which seemed obvious to me, but I had to convince the person on the other end of the phone), the young lady said the PC would be serviced and I would receive a Box very soon.
The Box arrived and shipped via Purolator to the house (naturally left at the front door, without ringing the doorbell). This magical Box was padded with styrofoam, but it had tear away so that the computer fit in it properly. The box also included a whole bunch of documentation for me to fill in, and finally, it included a pre-paid packing label (for Purolator) to put on the box.
I filled in all forms, my wife made sure the computer fit in the box, and we included all the requested documentation(that we could find). We taped the Box shut, put the shipping label on it, and took it to the Purolator drop-off site, and away it went. It is now whisking off to a repair place in Toronto that will hopefully fix the computer and then ship it back to me (presumably by Purolator).
My only question is, how can this be cost-effective?!? I suppose it must be, or Costco wouldn’t do it this way (they seem to be a brilliant retailing firm), but it leaves me scratching my head (and hoping to see a Purolator truck showing up at the house soon). Other retailers follow this model, so it must be that they have very cheap rates with the courier companies and a well-negotiated support contract with whoever is fixing the computers.
Assuming the machine can be fixed, I now have a 3rd laptop to add to the “Big Cajun Laptop Graveyard”. I point out that this piece was written on one of those formerly derelict computers (picture above).
Other Back to School Thoughts?
- The Business of University Fees talks about how you should look very closely at all the fees you child might pay at school. Many of these fees are refundable, think about doing that.
- Back To School and RESP Time this is when to think about it. If your kids aren’t at University, do they have an RESP?
- High Tech Hand Me Downs & Back to School another area of spending. Are you buying new computers or handing them down?
- You think you don’t need an RESP ? Maybe check out that page for some hints on how much it can help.
- Student High Tech Hygiene is very important. Your kids downloading viruses can make your remote I.T. work that much more enjoyable.