I'm not happy with a particularly large computer manufacturer who just happens to be the manufacturer of my laptop, a laptop I love and lug around with me everywhere in our condo. If it was smaller, it would be in my pocket. Why am I not happy? Because you can only use said manufacturer's AC adapters – you can’t purchase another brand’s adapter to use with their laptops. And said manufacturer's AC adapters die in less than a year and sometimes in less than 6 months.
It’s called a monopoly of AC adapter sales, I tell you.
So, as you can imagine, every time I plug in my AC adapter, I have a fear that the little green light won't come on, which means the adapter is dead, which means I'm only running on battery, which means I have about a good 4-5 hours of laptop life before the battery dies, and well, without a working AC adapter hanging around, I can't recharge my battery, and that makes me very sad and quite a disgruntled laptop owner.
I'm not the only person out there who has this problem. If you go to this particular manufacturer's web site and look up reviews for AC adapters, pretty much every single person has the same complaint as I do. One person put it best: You end up paying almost 100 bucks a year to replace the adapter just so you can use your $1000 plus laptop. Like a membership fee to the suckiest club in town.
Last time this happened to me, in January 2008, I got fed up with the situation, and I sent in a complaint. Low and behold, the person who answered me said they were sending me a new adapter, and I received it the next day. Well. Now that's service, I thought. I wasn't sure why I was getting the adapter sent to me with no questions asked, but I assumed it had something to do with it dying in less than three months of use.
Fast forward to last Thursday. I needed to use my laptop for work purposes while I was working at home, so I plugged my baby in and lifted up the screen. The screen was dim, which means the laptop was running on battery power. I unplugged and plugged in the adapter again into my laptop. I did the same from the outlet. I tried another outlet. Nothing. Dead.
Keeping in mind what happened last time I sent in a complaint, I started the process again. There was no way I was going to pay for another adapter when the one I got in January lasted only 6 months.
I answered all their questions (customer number, order number, address, mother's maiden name, recite the alphabet backwards, what's the real figure for pi) and smugly sat waiting for some nice customer service rep to respond telling me my new adapter would be in the mail and I should get it by Friday.
What I got instead was an automated e-mail, asking me to perform all kinds of things to ensure I wasn't just a big dummy who didn't know how to use my AC adapter, and, if it turns out I'm not so stupid, I had to answer another batch of questions, some of which were repeats of the initial set I had already answered.
One question was about my service tag. I kept looking at my adapter and putting in numbers, but nothing took. I had this problem last time, and then I remembered that it's the service tag of my laptop they want, not the adapter, which doesn't have one. Since I was going to give them that, I figured I'd look up my warranty since I didn't remember when it expired. I apparently bought the best warranty plan available, which was 5 years plus all the bells and whistles, including but not limited to: 24 hour replacement shipping (as in, if I need a new adapter, I should get it the next day) and complete customer care (as in, I'm the best and they must bow down to me and kiss my feet).
Well, well, I thought. I'll just answer these questions, give them my service tag, and I'll get that friendly e-mail telling me I'll be receiving my new adapter by Friday, Monday at the latest.
So I waited. And waited. Aaaaand waited. Friday came and went. Saturday flew by. I figured no one works on the weekends, so I surely wasn't going to hear from anyone on Sunday if I didn't hear from anyone on Saturday.
Then I received an e-mail from my buddy Surmukh.
My buddy Surmukh was lucky enough to be assigned to me. Surmukh politely asked me to do the following:
I would request you to check if the original 65 Watt adapter is also not working with this system. If possible, please try your 90 Watt adapter with some other Laptop.
Now, I've owned this laptop for about three years now. The original 65 Watt adapter my pal wrote about is long gone (well, it's somewhere around here since I don't know how to throw it away without killing the environment) and is dead, dead, dead. Why would I try an adapter that no longer works? Also, I don't know what crack pipe my pal is smoking, but if I try my adapter with another laptop, wait, that's ‘Laptop,’ then how will that prove it's working? Because assuming that it'll only work with my manufacturer's laptops, and considering I only own one laptop, and considering I wouldn't begin to think of trying to blow up my work laptop since I don't own it (whose AC adapter, by the way, has been working just fine for years now), I just don't see how using it on another laptop would determine anything.
As you can see, my pal was making me mad. Very mad indeed. And insulting my English Major sensibilities.
Then my pal said if the adapter was damaged, he/she would be glad to replace it. But I had to give him/her some information first. Namely:
1. I had to verify the ownership information the system (read: laptop) and must give them, again, my name and address as per their records.
2. The shipping address where I want my CDs to be shipped. Yes, that’s right, CDs. I was just as confused as you might be.
3. My alternate phone number.
So I gave my pal a piece of my mind. Because this was the third time I was providing the same information to them. I also let my pal know that I don’t know why I would be getting CDs, but if that’s really going to solve my problem, please tell me what they are and how they’ll fix it. Then I gave my pal every address I could possibly have used and are using, every phone number I could be reached at, and my name, again.
Finally I told my pal that time will not make my dead adapters rise again. Send me my new one. Now.
My friend promptly wrote me back:
I apologize for the term 'CDs' mistaknly written in my previous e-mail. I welcome your suggestions regarding verification procedure being followed on e-mail. Your comments and suggestions are very important and will us assist in making improvements.
Yaaa….now you see why my English Major sensibilities were ready to fly to whatever place my pal was located at and beat them upside the head with an English Dictionary and an English Grammar book. Or just teach them how to use spell check, word processing software’s most helpful tool if you don’t abuse it.
It’s now Tuesday, I’ve yet to receive said adapter, and my need to blog is getting bad.
The lesson I have learned from this: Next time, call. Because getting irate with someone on the phone is so much better than yelling at them in e-mail.
And I’m now welcoming any propositions from laptop makers who make AC adapters that actually work for long periods of time. Please contact me. I think I’m a darn fine writer, and if your AC adapter works just as fabulously as you think it does, I’ll be sure to remind people of your fine products and services (apple).