Everyone has that new piece of tech now and then that they have their eye on: a spanking HDTV, that sexy camcorder, or a dinky little netbook. Most people go ahead with their shopping spree, and when they finally receive their new toy, they usually check out the warranty while setting it up or sitting on the toilet. But when disaster strikes and they try to get their toys repaired or replaced, they are often left hanging because their warranty doesn’t cover a particular type of damage. How can one prevent this, you ask? By sitting down and doing some homework!

The Aspire One 751 does indeed look very tempting for the great price.

The Aspire One 751 does indeed look very tempting for the great price.

Let’s run through a scenario, shall we? Meet Leeroy: a good friend of mine who happens to be a computer noob. Leeroy decides to walk into Incredible Connection to look at a laptop he spied in their advert – an Acer Aspire One 751. He liked the large screen and 3G modem, which would be perfect for him.

He walks in and is greeted by a friendly salesman, who shows him the netbook, and Leeroy did as he normally would, nodding to everything the salesman said. Ten minutes later Leeroy walks out with his new netbook, confident that he made a good choice.

Four weeks later, Leeroy is still happy with his purchase. He carries it around with him everywhere, and occasionally uses it to watch movies with friends using a projector. After a movie night, he packs it carefully into his bag and drives home. When he gets home and switches it on, he discovers a crack running down the middle of his screen. Leeroy is dumbstruck; he has no idea how this could have happened. Leeroy takes his netbook to Incredible Connection to see whether it can be fixed. The same friendly salesperson tells Leeroy that he must contact Acer to get it fixed, and kindly lets him use the phone.

When Leeroy gets through to Acer, he is told that Acer’s warranty doesn’t cover cracked screens, and is also told that the repair cost will be R2000 – nearly half of what the netbook cost. A disappointed and dejected Leeroy returns home and laments his situation. He calls me and asks my advice, and I show him what Google could have revealed.

Most people wouldn't have seen this if they hadn't visited Acer's website. A lot of people don't do their research properly, and they end up complaining when the company tells them about their policies, which are there for all to see.

Most people wouldn't have seen this if they hadn't visited Acer's website. A lot of people don't do their research properly, and they end up complaining when the company tells them about their policies, which are there for all to see.

All over the world, thousands of people just like him are having the same problem and are being told the same thing by Acer: “Cough up or live with it.” We even discover an online warranty that would have warned him beforehand about paying for the repair. Leeroy decided eventually to pay the repair cost, and later sold his netbook to buy something better – an ASUS laptop, one that he carefully researched and enquired about, and one he is satisfied with.

So, gentlemen, ladies, can we agree then that doing your homework before you buy may end up saving you a ton of money? I’ll drink to that. Now get out of class before I decide to lock you in!

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