WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

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WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:35 pm

Hey guys, I'm really sorry I don't know which other forum to post this in, but this is really a serious problem, and I don't want anyone else to be caught off guard.

The TL;DR version of this is: IF YOU PURCHASE MOTHERBOARD FROM ANY RETAIL STORE, open it up in front of an employee, general manager, etc. Inspect the board for ANY defects. Look for bent pins, check the serial number, look for scratches, look for ANY SIGN of tampering with the hardware

Chalk this one up to experience; I should have known better. **** Micro Center and their scams. I'm only ordering from Newegg, even if a new CPU / motherboard costs an extra hundred dollars. In the long run, it'll save me money.

Below text copied from my resellerratings.com review.
http://www.resellerratings.com/store/view/Micro_Center/review/676448#comment676448

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Hello,

Micro Center has scammed me for an Asus motherboard, the P8P67-PRO. I went to Micro Center to purchase a new Intel Sandy Bridge CPU that was just released on 1/9/11, and a new motherboard to go with it. On recommendation from a friend of mine, I went to Micro Center because they had a pretty decent discount on the new processors, as well as package deals with a motherboard. I went ahead and got the Intel Core i5-2500K from them, and the Asus P8P67-PRO motherboard, because it has the Intel Gigabit NIC on it rather than the Realtek one on the non-PRO version. I didn't go for the Deluxe Edition because it cost a lot more and I didn't really need the extra features.

So Micro Center sold me the motherboard and CPU, and I wrestled with getting it to work in my computer for a LONG time (at least 6 hours). The issue was that a red light "CPU LED" kept coming on as soon as I would try to boot the system. I wouldn't get any video signal from the system, and the only indication I had that the system was on, was that the fans came on. Since I'm a computer guy, I know my troubleshooting stuff. I disconnected everything I could from the system, except the bare essentials. I even reseated the CPU, memory (even tried individual sticks), and ATX power connectors. Nothing worked ... same result every time. I also removed the motherboard from the case and tried to run it, in case the computer case was shorting it somehow (read this suggestion via Google). Still nothing.

So finally on Monday I took back the CPU and motherboard and asked for a replacement. The sales guy didn't have any of the "PRO" motherboards in stock, so I agreed to split the cost with the store, for a Deluxe edition, even though I didn't really want to pay the extra money for the unnecessary features. I had to run home while Micro Center handled the exchange to get my wallet, because I had forgotten it at home. On the way to the store, I didn't think I'd need it either, since I originally just wanted to do a flat exchange. The manager promised me that they'd have a solution to my problem by the time I got back, and do the exchange for the Deluxe board.

So I got back to the store with my wallet, ready to exchange that board and pay for the Deluxe, but to my horror, the store manager refused to perform the exchange on the grounds that the motherboard serial number didn't match the serial number on the box! I called for the general manager and while I was waiting for him, the Westmont, IL police department also. By the time Kevin got to me, the police had arrived. I explained the situation to them and they said that they couldn't do anything - it was my word against the general manager's word.

Additionally, my Asus board did not have the CPU socket plastic cover that's supposed to be on all new motherboards. Asus explicitly states in the manual that if that cover is not present, they will NOT honor the manufacturer's warranty. On top of THAT, Micro Center claimed that my board had a bent pin - NOT SURPRISING considering that the board has obviously been tampered with! I'm out of luck with both the retailer AND the manufacturer.

They REALLY need to put seals on motherboard boxes, and if they don't, then they NEED to perform some sort of sanity check at the register, AT THE TIME OF SALE. I'm now holding a $200 paperweight, and some employee at Micro Center is most likely gloating that he got a "free" replacement.

Thanks for your time and consideration to my situation.
pcgeek86
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:43 pm

Things like this happen. Not just at Microcenter, but at newegg as well. I had a mobo with a bent pin shipped to me as a "new" motherboard. I sent it back to them without even putting the PC together. They received it and tested it to see if there were any technical errors. When it would not work, they said it had a bent pin and that they don't warranty against user error. I told them that I didn't even put a CPU in there and they said "you obviously did. there is thermal paste on the CPU socket." She told me this after she told me that they tested it, which means THEY would have to put a CPU in it.

That was right when the i7 920's were released too. I had to halt the entire build as I couldn't afford a new x58 mobo as a student back then.
Image
njenabnit
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:44 pm

Oh man that sucks! But yep, more than likely one of their minimum wage goons has a brand new mobo in his home rig.

Just think, some other poor customer probably can't figure out why their brand new Sandy Bridge CPU won't fit...
"No I don't want the Ask toolbar! No I don't want Bing as my default search! No I don't want to make Chrome my default browser!"
"Good grief, man! WHAT are you trying to install on that poor computer?"
"Antivirus."
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:52 pm

@njenabnit Not that it matters in my case, since mine had been tampered with anyway, but mine had thermal paste on the socket before I even opened my CPU box also!!! It sounds like something fishy is going on with employees that are handling these products in the warehouses.
pcgeek86
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:54 pm

@kvndoom Thanks for the kind words. This situation seriously sucks, but all I can do is publicize it as much as I can, and expose these people. Micro Center needs to investigate their people internally and find out what's going on.

I've already reported the issue to 4 different newspapers, and I've posted it to at least 3 forums.

ALSO, as I mentioned in my OP, the motherboard manufacturers NEED to implement a security measure on their boxes from the factory—on the static bag AND on the box itself.
pcgeek86
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:25 pm

i'm sorry to hear this
try and contact the microcenter main on the webpage
most likely someone returned the product, ask them to check with the store if there was a return on the item
a few years ago in the news I heard about a person who bought a GBA from walmart
someone had returned it previously and it was filled with rocks
walmart was able to take care of the issue though

I also bought a game from walmart, panzer dragoon saga
it was empty when I got home!
the store exchanged it for me without any hassle
I bet they sold me the display box on accident
because that game was running in the demo

I try to support local business when I can so I do try to buy from microcenter here in dallas
but if they typically do stuff like this I may have to reconsider their bad practices
though I've never had any issues or seen any problems with them here before
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:27 pm

Oh god, I'm sorry!

Thanks for the heads up. I'd be fighting mad if that happened to me.
kamikaziechameleon
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:35 pm

Escalate your dispute. Send a written (on paper, through the U.S. Mail, not e-mail) complaint to the general store manager at your location and to the national management at Micro-Center.

While you're at it, dispute the charge through your credit card company. If VISA or Discover lean on the retailer for you, they've got a lot more leverage than you have as an individual.
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:41 pm

Unfortunately I paid most of the transaction in cash because my friend had just given me a bunch to repay some money that I had loaned to her. I wanted to get rid of the cash so I figured I'd just use it to pay for those products. Only about $60 made it onto my credit card :( I should have been smarter about that, too.
pcgeek86
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:47 pm

I always use my Discover card.

Even for $60, it is still worth the effort to ask the credit card company to help you with this problem. Call the number on the back of your card and explain the situation.

Write the complaint letters, print them out, sign them, and get them in the mail. Corporate customer relations may provide a solution that local management was unwilling to do.

Micro Electronics, Inc.
4119 Leap Rd.
Hilliard, OH 43026
OH Tel. 614-850-3000
Toll Free 800-634-3478
Fax 614-850-3001
JustAnEngineer
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:59 pm

I agree; motherboard boxes should have seals on them just like processor boxes do.
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:20 pm

Sorry to hear about this, but as others have alluded to it's really not problem that is exclusive to Microcenter. This sort of thing happens at various other stores and even when you order online; and has happened for years.

Your best course of action is to write their corporate customer relations. Explain the situation, keeping your tone calm and polite, and sticking completely to the facts. Avoid the urge to call names or make threats; just tell them what happened and what you would like them to do.

In the future, buy PC parts with a credit card.
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:20 pm

bdwilcox wrote:I agree; motherboard boxes should have seals on them just like processor boxes do.

Thank you. Someone that's rational. What a rare find.
pcgeek86
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:22 pm

@Engineer: Yeah, I plan on getting a refund for the $60. Thanks again for the idea. I called up my credit card processor and they can't file a dispute until the transaction posts (I would surmise by tomorrow morning).
pcgeek86
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:25 pm

You could still attempt to contact Asus. I have had them be really cool about alot of things in regards to their products and non-warranty fixes.
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Re: WARNING: Micro Center Motherboard Scam

Postposted on Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:25 pm

cphite wrote:Sorry to hear about this, but as others have alluded to it's really not problem that is exclusive to Microcenter. This sort of thing happens at various other stores and even when you order online; and has happened for years.

Your best course of action is to write their corporate customer relations. Explain the situation, keeping your tone calm and polite, and sticking completely to the facts. Avoid the urge to call names or make threats; just tell them what happened and what you would like them to do.

In the future, buy PC parts with a credit card.

Yeah, I'm sure a lot of people hate Fry's, and other places, but each person's experience is unique. In this situation, it was me that got screwed over by Micro Center. It could have just as easily been someone else getting screwed over at Fry's or Tiger Direct. You never know until the problem catches you ... makes it most unpleasant.

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What makes the situation even worse (as if that's possible), is that I was in the process of writing an article last night that talks about converting a legacy BIOS-installed copy of Windows 7 on a Master Boot Record (MBR) disk, to a UEFI + GUID Partition Table (GPT) disk layout. Before I swapped over the hardware from my Yorkfield to Sandy Bridge, I converted my SSD to GPT. So, I can't boot the disk anymore with my old Yorkfield processor / Gigabyte mobo. I did take a full backup of the disk using DriveImage XML, but the better solution is that I'm going to run to Fry's and buy the same P8P67-PRO motherboard that I want (and I know it'll work this time). I'll sort out this situation with Micro Center on the side.
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