Practical Technology

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Linux or Windows: Most hardware support plans are worthless


Recently, a user who had replaced Windows on his netbook with Ubuntu Linux discovered that, as far as Best Buy was concerned, he had voided his warranty. For all practical purposes, he had.

In The Consumerist, the disgruntled netbook user reported, “My four month-old netbook’s touchpad and power adapter all stopped working. I took the machine into Best Buy for service under the Geek Squad’s Black Tie Protection Plan on Saturday, and demonstrated its problems. The manager of the Geek Squad informed me that installing Ubuntu Linux on my machine voided my warranty, and that I could only have it serviced if the original Windows installation was restored.”

In the end, he did restore Windows and that didn’t get him any service either. The manager said, “‘Look at the last page of the warranty. We can refuse service for any reason we want, and based on our conversation yesterday, I will not service your computer.’ He alerted security and ordered me to leave the store.”

The tech. support manager was clearly a jerk and deserves to be fired for the holidays. But, think about it, 99% of all vendor support don’t have a clue about what to do with a PC with Linux. Even if they wanted to help you, chances are they can’t do a thing for you.

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