My Experience with CEG

Discussion in 'Reseller Feedback Forum' started by Ingvarr, Apr 9, 2015.

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  1. Ingvarr

    Ingvarr Notebook Deity

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    Updated on 16/04/2015. Initially I've refrained from posting my (not best) experience since I wanted to give CEG time to fix issues, also they've asked me (sic) "please don't make panic on NBR". Now that I consider transaction complete, I can fully describe what transpired and how it ended.

    I've decided to purchase Clevo P751ZM at the end of January. Of all resellers, CEG have recently appeared on the radar, with one or two NBR members used it to good results. Their price was really competitive. They also offered me a small further discount (about 2%).

    Before I’ve decided to order, I’ve became aware that P751ZM has a coil whine issue, and I knew it would be absolutely unacceptable to me (my work environment is majorly quiet). Also before when ordering Clevo I had problems when resellers sent me one with wrong keyboard layout (I live in UK, but prefer US layout). I’ve asked CEG and they assured me that laptop will be carefully checked for both proper keyboard and coil whine to ensure everything is ok.

    I’ve placed my order just before first of February. As far as shopping experience went, it was pretty fast and without a hitch – I’ve received my laptop in 2-3 days. But here the good things ended. When I opened it, I immediately have seen that they have sent me one with UK layout. When I switched the power on, I was greeted with ultrasonic interference noise – which was so noticeable that I noticed it over the fans of my old laptop running next to it. Whining noise was so pronounced that I had no trouble recording it on my phone -

    After I did a bit of driver install, wireless driver for Killer N (which I ordered) failed to install. I was quite baffled, but after bit of digging have found that laptop had cheaper Intel WiFi installed instead of Killer N.

    So obviously I came back to CEG with complaints. They replied very promptly, both by emails and phone, repeatedly assured me that all problems will be fixed – they said that engineers told them laptop was tested so they can’t explain why nothing I asked about was done right. About wireless card they said that Killer N had problems with drivers and they had to remove them from configurator, I agreed that this is fair enough and they said that they will of course refund me difference. They also said that coil whine from my video definitely looks bad, but I must be first person who had such issue, since nobody else complained and they sold many laptops already (not sure how this relevant to me though – even if they claim that probability of defect is small, there is no proof, and it’s not making me feel better since its already here).

    So CEG said that now I must request an RMA and send laptop (at my cost) to Clevo Service Center in Germany, because Service Center is who handle any repair. Which I did, sent it on February 10. CEG again assured me that “we will fix it fast, don’t worry”. So I just had to wait. At some point I tried to communicate with them and ask if they can actually verify that noise is fixed before sending laptop back so we don’t waste even more time – to that I’ve received reply that they can’t test it and my laptop was already sent back anyway. I immediately became uneasy again, and unfortunately I was right.

    I’ve received my laptop back from service on 16 February. Keyboard was replaced with proper layout which was good, but my mood plummeted when I noticed that “service done” note inside box said just “system test ok, drivers installed”. Obviously, when powered on, horrible coil whine was absolutely the same – nothing was done to fix the issue.

    So I again complained to CEG, more sternly this time. And they basically said “since service center said there is no fault, nothing we can do about it”. I insisted this is ridiculous since I recorded a nice video which shows the fault exactly. They said that their environment is noisy and they can’t test for this noise reliably (at which point I obviously not so fondly remembered how they assuredly promised to me that they “will check everything reliably” before I gave them my money)

    Then we started playing the game “admit it’s a defect”. They forwarded service center engineer to me, who said that “you shouldn’t compare this powerful laptop with quiet ultrabook”. I said that this point is moot, since I never compared with ultrabook, but with Clevo own previous generation P150EM and P150HM which had absolutely no such noise. Then they suggested “its power socket interference, check with socket in another place”. But I’ve showed to him that noise was still here even when running on battery (just different “tone”), and recorded another video -

    At this point I already became quite frustrated and thought that I probably should just return for refund. CEG also thought that I probably should if service center says this is not something they can repair. At this point responsiveness of communications started to break down – e.g. CEG again said I need to request a new RMA from Service Center, and I waited couple of days for reply to my email, got none, had to chase, and finally got reply that I don’t actually need RMA for refund.

    Also by this time several other customers on NBR received this laptop with similar levels of coil whine and also started making noise (pun intended). One person have done Clevo’s job for them by stripping all components down to motherboard and finding what exactly makes noise. At this point Clevo admitted that issue is there and they can fix it (fixing it for this customer). So I’ve decided to give them last chance and trying to repair. Again, I had to send laptop to the service center in Germany at my own cost second time. Even when second time I managed to find more economical postal service, I racked quite a significant postal bill at this point (laptops are heavy & expensive to insure shipping).

    I’ve sent laptop back on 23 February (that’s how long it took to finally make them admit that defect is indeed present and indeed a defect). Then there was a long wait. At weeks’ time I’ve became concerned and chased it with CEG. CEG wasn't well responsive at this point, but basically kept replying that it’s all in Service Centre hands and they could do nothing to help me – all they know that RMA is in progress, but no idea if repair could be done, no idea how long it will take, etc. They said I should just email Service Centre directly - and Service Centre didn't respond to me at all. Basically I’ve spent several weeks just banging on the brick wall trying to find out what is going on.

    CEG said several times to me that they ship hundreds of their laptops are ok, and only small percentage (like mine and 4 other people on NBR) had this problem. How this supposed to make me better I am not sure.

    I’ve received laptop back third time on 18 March. And finally, coil whine was fixed, so I was able to keep it. However, there still remained matter of me spending a lot of money on international shipping to Clevo Service Center – which was entirely CEGs failed responsibility, since even if we accept that coil whine was just random defect, I warned them about possibility of it present and they (CEG) promised that they will test before sending my order - which wasn't done. I discussed it with CEG and they agreed that it was not my fault (kind of hard not to really, why on earth must I pay out of my pocket for having defective laptop fixed by service center which can’t even properly fix first time?). But they said they need to discuss it with service center again (?) about refunding my postage. I also reminded them that they still need to refund me a difference between Killer N and Intel AGN.

    I’ve emailed them again in a week time, got no reply. Emailed second time, got reply “I still waiting for reply from Taiwan” (???).

    I wrote to them another email on 8 April pointing out that I’ve purchased laptop from them and they are not exactly showing as responsible reseller just keeping saying that “it’s all Clevo Service fault” (and Clevo Service don’t give a damn).

    Then I finally got a reply that they can't afford to refund whole shipping and only offer me two choices:
    - refund of 50% of shipping
    - or 5% discount on further purchase
    So basically, this meant that I still had to pay out of my pocket for fixing defects laptop had (and which took more than a month). Obviously I still picked the first option - at least giving me option to get some costs back.

    After I've accepted first option, there was another week delay. This time they said it was because they were moving office to another city.
    I finally received the money on 16 April - concluding the whole "get a new laptop adventure" which took almost 80 (!) days from start to end. Shipping cost remained for me to pay was not big, but basically meant that the initial cost advantage/discount of buying from CEG was completely negated.

    So would I recommend them? Well, if you are feeling lucky and don't have any "special requests" at all, then yes. Their prices are certainly competitive, and their configuration choices good. Which means that you will be fine and happy if you just get a laptop without issues and all is good (like some people on NBR did).

    But the caveat is that better price you getting basically comes from economizing on customer service/after sales support.
    So I would recommend to avoid them if you want peace of mind in case something goes wrong. Because if something goes wrong (or god forbid you find a factory defect which still quite a possibility with complex electronics), you will be plunged into prolonged customer service hell and may rack up extra costs which will more than offset cost savings you initially had. Also be wary if you want special requests/tweaks/checks/customizations - and don't fall into a trap blindly believing the promises of sales rep.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2015
    Tristan likes this.
  2. MrDJ

    MrDJ Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    have not had a chance to read fully or check the video's out as at work but this bit rang alarm bells for me.
    as we are all in the EU then why the hell should you pay for a RMA on a new faulty computer.
    what does their warranty state is covered?
     
  3. Ingvarr

    Ingvarr Notebook Deity

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    Well, to be fair the fact that you will have to send to Service Center for anything is actually stated on their website T&C. But it is in German only and easy to miss, and you are correct that actually against European law - they can't just make law invalid by stating this in T&C.

    They admitted at the end that my laptop was a warranty case and they have repaired it. Issue was how much time & effort did it take - again, even if warranty & speed of repair is Clevo at least part-responsible, we ended in this situation just because CEG didn't test laptop properly as they have promised they would before I've placed my order. This is my main complaint against CEG as responsible reseller.

    Obviously if you go to court, you will win, but I am not doing it yet because I still giving them chance to resolve it amicably - even if slow and with a lot of friction, I've managed to at least get the usable laptop, so there were at least some progress.
     
  4. Samot

    Samot Notebook Evangelist

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    But they don´t say you have to pay for it.

    To all you readers of Ingvarr experience: i´m also having a terrible experience with CEG, and will make a thread about it. Tomorrow is the deadline to receive my refund. If i do not get it by tomorrow, legal action will follow and i´ll demand compensation since i have nearly 3000€ stalled since late January.

    Edit: just to clear things up - by 3000€ i´m meaning the 1755€ for the laptop bought from CEG (without cpu/ram/ssd´s) and the remaining that was spent on cpu/ram/ssd´s. Add to that what i spent shipping it back twice. Didn´t get a single day enjoying the laptop.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
  5. TomJGX

    TomJGX I HATE BGA!

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  6. splinterfaction

    splinterfaction Notebook Enthusiast

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    This makes for distressing reading. I'm very sorry to hear that you have had such a terrible experience with CEG and I really hope that they come true and do the right thing in paying your compensation soon.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences - it's very timely for me as I was very close to buying from CEG but I will avoid them now and go for Mysyn as their customer service appears to be excellent and that is the most important thing to me.

    Thanks again and warm regards,
     
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  7. Ingvarr

    Ingvarr Notebook Deity

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    I've bought my two previous Clevos (P150HM and P151EM) from mySN. I must say mySN is not trouble free,- with my last purchase I've also run into silly issues like wrong keyboard (that's why this time I thought I was prepared), and then wrong power supply - so funny enough, mySN also had to send laptop back and forth two times - but both times they just gave me a shipping label and overall resolved it a lot faster. You can probably still see my posts from back then in mySN feedback thread ;)
    This time I've decided why not to save on costs (mySN was quite more expensive), I mean, my previous mySN experience showed any reseller can have issues, so how much worse can it get? But this showed how I was very wrong about it...
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
  8. Yarolounet

    Yarolounet Notebook Enthusiast

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    I too am very much interested in the how your issue (and Samot's) with CEG will be solved as I am considering seriously my next buy over there. However, I want a sturdy and reliable product. Not something that has to be shipped back and forth countless times to finally work...

    Thanks a lot for sharing this and I am hoping things will finally get solved for you two in the best way.
     
  9. Ingvarr

    Ingvarr Notebook Deity

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    On April 10 CEG said they can only refund 50% of shipping cost (or give me 5% discount on further buy). I said go ahead with part refund (even when I think its still a rip-off), but I still haven't got the actual money from them.
     
  10. Samot

    Samot Notebook Evangelist

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    Thanks.

    As with every brand/reseller/vendor, there´s a chance you might get a defective unit. The problem with CEG is how they test their units before shipping them, their communication, and their after-sale service/support.

    Not only it´s a rip-off, it´s against EU law.

    Still haven´t got my money back. Deadline was last friday, when they thanked me for sending them my bank account details (yeah, i had to, they didn´t ask for it). So, i´m giving them until this thursday. After that, formal complaints to the competent EU entities and legal action will follow.
     
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