On Your Side: Trouble With an Incompatible Laptop Hard Drive

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My laptop needed a roomier hard drive; and on NewEgg.com, I found a great deal on a 256GB solid-state drive from Patriot. After three days or so, I noticed that my laptop intermittently froze. I did some research and found that some SSDs have serious problems that are significantly more prominent when they're installed in certain laptops. NewEgg appears to have a policy of not offering a refund or store credit on this product. This is a $600 product and I cannot use it with my laptop. NewEgg approved a replacement, but if it doesn't work on my laptop, I don't want another!

--Nelson Harris, Oakley, California

OYS responds: A customer support rep from NewEgg got in touch with Harris im­­mediately after we alerted the company about his problem. The rep explained that in certain circumstances, NewEgg's customer service department will make exceptions to the no-refund rule. Harris provided documentation that the drive doesn't work with certain laptops (including his), which helped his case, the rep said. NewEgg agreed to issue Harris a refund and waived the restocking fee.

The customer support rep said that NewEgg products that can't be exchanged or returned for a refund are generally high-priced items, like hard drives. He also asked Harris to send all of the research he had compiled on SSD drive issues in return for a $50 store credit.

Though pleased with NewEgg's re­­sponse to his situation, Harris was baffled as to why the drive wouldn't work with his machine, an HP Custom (built-to-order) Pavilion laptop. We contacted Patriot Memory about the problem. Steve Gaeta, global re­­lations manager at Patriot, said that the stuttering and freezing were the result of a compatibility issue with certain small applications, not with the actual PCs themselves. He said that Patriot has ad­­dressed the problem in its latest series of SSD drives, the Torqx, by adding 64MB of on-board cache to compensate for some of the limitations of the NAND flash technology. The drive Harris purchased wasn't part of the Torqx line.

If you're considering purchasing an SSD drive, be aware of the freezing or stuttering risks involved. We recommend reading reviews across multiple Web sites--not just reviews from the online retailer. And before you purchase a drive, find out whether the retailer will refund your money if you run into problems.

Samsung Jitterbug Recall

Samsung, in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, announced a voluntary recall of SPH-a110 and SPH-a120 Jitterbug cell phones with standard keypads and version BB14 software. Jitterbug sold the phones directly to consumers through advertisements, publications, electronics and drug stores, and on the Web from March 2008 to May 2009. No other Samsung wireless phones or software are included in the recall.

According to the CPSC, the recalled phones may have connectivity bugs in remote areas and could fail to connect to 911 for an emergency call. Jitterbug CEO David Inns argues that the geographic issue affects very few customers. Nevertheless, Samsung and Jitterbug are contacting customers directly to schedule a free software upgrade. Consumers who haven't already been contacted should call Samsung toll-free at 866/304-4980.

Always On Your Side

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