On Your Side: Laptop Repair Service Refused

I bought 23 Lenovo laptops from GovConnection, each with a three-year extended warranty with on-site service. When one of the laptops failed, the service provider, Service Net, refused to fix it, saying they would provide service only after the one-year manufacturer's warranty was over. Later they told us they provide on-site service only within 50 miles of their service center. Then they said that we did not, in fact, have an on-site service agreement with them and that we should pursue the matter with GovConnection. Repeated attempts to do that have proved unsuccessful. Can you help?

Pons Bautista, Brandon, Mississippi

OYS responds: A GovConnection representative told us that GovConnection had mistakenly given Bautista the wrong price quote for the extended warranties. The rep then made alternative service arrangements, in which Bautista will get the standard Lenovo warranty for the first year, Service Net will provide mail-in service with free shipping for the following three years, and GovConnection will supply two laptops for use as spares. Bautista has received the two laptops, as well as new warranty documentation.

The rep advised that consumers take time to become familiar with any base warranty and the terms and limitations of their extended service plan. We recommend doing so sooner rather than later--don't wait until you need help to find out which services you're entitled to.

Unexpected Rate Increase

Martin Chetlen of Canoga Park, California, contacted us after noticing that the cost of his dial-up Internet service had jumped from $9.95 per month to $25 per month. When he called AT&T, the representatives told him that his account was classified as a business account. Though the AT&T reps he spoke to didn't know how to reclassify the account as residential, one of them did agree to give him a one-time refund of $15.05.

After we contacted AT&T, a company rep made sure that Chetlen's information was corrected in the system and that the rate for his dial-up service was updated. Chetlen's new residential rate--$15.95 per month--still represents an increase, but it's much less than the business rate AT&T had begun to charge him.

We recommend looking over your bills carefully to confirm that a company is billing you correctly. If you find that doing this every month is too time-consuming, try to do it at least every few months.

Tumi Mobile Power Pack Recall

Tumi, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, is recalling about 5000 Mobile Power Packs (devices that receive an AC charge and then give five DC charges to mobile phones, MP3 players, and other small electronic devices). The Mobile Power Pack's lithium ion cells can ignite or explode while charging. This hazard is present only for units that have not been charged.

There have been two reports of consumers experiencing small fires during initial charges, but no reported injuries. Consumers who have not charged the unit should contact Tumi to receive a free replacement. Those who have charged the unit without incident can continue to use it. For more information, call Tumi at 800/530-0069, visit the Tumi Website, or e-mail the firm at customercare@tumi.com.

Do you have a problem with a hardware or software vendor involving customer service, a warranty, a rebate, or the like? E-mail onyourside@pcworld.com. We can't address every issue, but we will try to handle those of greatest interest.

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