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Returning2_Linux
July 11th, 2014, 12:35 AM
Dear fellow Ubuntu fans,

I recently purchased a brand new Galago UltraPro from System76, a company based in the United States that sells computer hardware with Ubuntu pre-installed. They have their own section in the Ubuntu Forums. However, "opinions" are forbidden there, so I decided posting here was my next best option for warning the community.

Less than a week after receiving my Galago UltraPro, I encountered a crash issue where it would immediately power off not a controlled shutdown, but going instantly from normal use to power off without warning. The battery had a good charge, and was plugged into reliable wall power anyway. My original post on the issue is here (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2228343).

You will notice in that thread, other Galago UltraPro users are experiencing the same issue. Indeed, despite System76 trying to convince me otherwise, the problem is not limited to the Galago UltraPro model. As mentioned by one person in the thread I started and by another, several months ago here (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2195525), the Bonobo Extreme is also vulnerable. There is another thread, talking about the crash issue on Galago UltraPro and System76's shady business/support practices. Click here (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2233722).

System76 gave me the runaround throughout the entire support process, and insulted my intelligence on several occasions. I sent my laptop to the company for diagnosis with the understanding that no action beyond diagnosis would be taken without my permission. I also made it clear that I reserved the right to use my 30-day refund guarantee if I were not completely satisfied with both the diagnosis and proposed solution.

So what did System76 do? Only two days after receiving my laptop at their California facility, they sent a replacement laptop WITHOUT my permission or knowledge! What was their reasoning? They told me that other Galago UltraPro users were experiencing the same issue, and that System76 has sent replacements to affected customers while the company enters a long term phase for diagnosing the cause and formulating a solution. Odd how System76 never mentioned that fact, until it worked to their advantage to tell me! They claimed that a miscommunication between their California and Colorado facilities led to a replacement being sent against my wishes; I am highly skeptical.

According to staff at two different UPS Stores in my area, System76s shipping materials do not meet UPS guidelines. In fact, System76s own refund shipping instructions make it clear that their packaging is insufficient for insurance purposes. So although System76 did provide complimentary repair/return shipping for both laptops, for UPS to consider the shipping insurance valid, I had to pay for additional materials and professional packaging services each time. System76 refused to compensate me in either instance! I am currently in consultation with my credit card company to see what can be done about this in regards to the replacement laptop.

From crash to refund being issued today (not yet reflected in my credit card account), the support process took over four weeks! Had the company been straightforward with me from the beginning of the process, it could have been resolved within a few days.

There are two good things I can say about System76. The original order process was quick and friendly, with one of their representatives phoning me soon after I placed the order, to make sure that I was satisfied. Technical support reply times were always quick. However, an easy order process does not matter if the product you are selling has a known but unresolved defect. Quick response times in support chats do not mean much without quality customer service within those replies.

As you can imagine, I will NEVER purchase from System76 again. Furthermore, the fact that such an awful company has such a prominent place in these forums has made me question my choice of the Ubuntu OS. Hello Fedora? Best wishes to you all!

QIII
July 11th, 2014, 12:43 AM
None of us has anything to do with System76 and Canonical has no control over their business practices.

UF provides a place for System76 users to get help. We do not endorse System76 nor is it given a "prominent place".

Returning2_Linux
July 11th, 2014, 01:03 AM
None of us has anything to do with System76 and Canonical has no control over their business practices.

UF provides a place for System76 users to get help. We do not endorse System76.

Thank you for that information QIII. Perhaps allowing opinion posts in their section of the Forums and/or a sticky making it clear that no endorsement is implied would be helpful? For me, the existence of a System76 section in the Forums and the existence of System76 "drivers" both factored into my original purchase decision.

QIII
July 11th, 2014, 01:33 AM
It is a support section. The Cafe is as good a place as any for opinions.

Returning2_Linux
July 11th, 2014, 04:45 AM
It is a support section. The Cafe is as good a place as any for opinions.

Although they accurately depict my feelings, the final two sentences of my original post obviously distract the reader from my reasons for creating this thread, which are sharing my System76 experience and giving others a safe place to do the same.

mastablasta
July 11th, 2014, 12:03 PM
They claimed that a miscommunication between their California and Colorado facilities led to a replacement being sent against my wishes; I am highly skeptical.

that is quite possible they were too eagara to help or could be following some internal isntruction




However, an easy order process does not matter if the product you are selling has a known but unresolved defect.

again it seem they are torubled by defect as you are. it is possible they've sent it to their supplier for analysis as soon as they receive it in order to solve issues they saw with other mashcines. it is posisble that not all from their model line have issues. just an increased fail rate.

i have never delt with them so i can't be sure, but what they told you makes sense to me. i work in after sales support. we don't liek to replace whole product but we often replace key components immediatelly and request the faulty ones back sap tosolve problems on all markets. we just had a good appliance failure rate increase to horrible 10 %. we replaced key component, got it back and it took us 3 months to analyse, find and test the solution. after 4 monts we started rolling out our solution. while the original device still has failure rate the model produced after solution does not have it anymore. so it would be straneg to say that the hwole lien is affected.

in thsi case clearly they are clueless abotu the issue. why and when it appears and how to solve it. they probabyl continue to sell it as it doens't happen in large portion of their sold PC's. just my gues..

but the fact that they replaced it fast would indicate good customer service (i am not familiar with US laws in this area)

slooksterpsv
July 11th, 2014, 03:28 PM
Everyone's had bad experiences. With [unnamed highly known company] we would help people with their issues, but if there was a known problem, we weren't allowed to say oh this is a known issue let's get it sent in for repair. We could tell them it needed to be sent in to diagnose the issue, but we weren't allowed to disclose it was a known issue on the suppliers part. Usually after a large quantity that would change, but the general rule of thumb for [unnamed highly known company] was keep the recalls at a minimum, try to resolve the issue, if it's a large number being affected, you can only release certain information.

It happens. Bad experiences? Yes. Always the same? No.

darkcrimson
July 11th, 2014, 04:10 PM
Everyone's had bad experiences. With [unnamed highly known company] we would help people with their issues, but if there was a known problem, we weren't allowed to say oh this is a known issue let's get it sent in for repair. We could tell them it needed to be sent in to diagnose the issue, but we weren't allowed to disclose it was a known issue on the suppliers part. Usually after a large quantity that would change, but the general rule of thumb for [unnamed highly known company] was keep the recalls at a minimum, try to resolve the issue, if it's a large number being affected, you can only release certain information.

It happens. Bad experiences? Yes. Always the same? No.

Pretty sure we work for that same company.

To the OP, I'm sure you did some pretty extensive research and found System76 to be a very reputable company before purchasing. I, myself, can attest to owning two machines purchased from them. It seems like an ironic situation that looks bad from a consumer angle, but from their perspective, they were trying their hardest to get you taken care of. No business wants to lose money, sure, but it's even worse if they lose a customer. It sounds like you ultimately got your money back and System76 lost a customer.

RichardET
July 13th, 2014, 01:28 PM
Moral of the story - buy Lenovo. I have own 4 Lenovos. All are excellent with or without Linux. And the support is 24x7.

Returning2_Linux
July 14th, 2014, 06:33 PM
Thank you all of you for your replies.

As a former technology consultant, I am aware that there are many less than honest business practices that are nonetheless accepted in the technology industry as a whole -- for example, failing to disclose product defects to customers until the problem reaches critical mass. Yet, neither as a consultant nor as a consumer have I ever had as difficult or as aggravating an experience as this. If it had been any one or two of the issues that I had mentioned in my original post, then I would still have been an unhappy customer, but I would not have labeled the experience as outside the tech industry norm.

I count myself as one the luckier System76 customers. There are reports in the Ubuntu Forums of, if accurate, the company assessing bogus repair charges to at least one customer regarding damages caused by the company's own technicians and/or poor packaging for shipping. Based on my own poor experience with System76, I tend to believe the customer version(s) of these reports over the comments of System76 representatives.

I am pleased to report that my product (plus sales tax) refund posted to my credit card today. From an ethical standpoint, I am continuing to pursue compensation by System76 for costs that I incurred in returning the replacement laptop, but even if I fail in that, the financial damage has thankfully been minimal.

Best wishes to you all
(even the folks at System76)

mastablasta
July 15th, 2014, 08:02 AM
I guess it's like Ubuntu - those that do not have issues with the OS won't post them. the only question is if the share of those with issues is bigger than those with no issues. or at leats if it actually has reached some critical mass to declare the product or service as a "poor quality".

slooksterpsv
July 17th, 2014, 10:00 AM
Moral of the story is to buy Lenovo? Odd, I've never owned a Lenovo cause they've been more expensive when I go to purchase, yet I've had: Acer, Asus, Gateway, HP, Toshiba - haven't had Dell, would love Gigabyte.

Asus everything worked out of the box with elementary OS - couldn't ask for more. The rest, with AMD, have had to have some minor configuration adjustment.

Overall point to my post is I'd love to be able to buy from like System76 and have everything just work right out of the box.

KivalliqKid
July 17th, 2014, 06:17 PM
AWESOME Syetem76 experience

My [amazing] wife bought me a Gazelle Pro for Christmas from Syetem76. Everything worked, and was amazing. Then my internal speakers died. I contacted their support and they were extremely helpful, sent it away, and it is in transit back. Would I get more machines from System76? In a heart beat.

aysiu
July 18th, 2014, 06:21 AM
A bit old, but you may want to read this thread:
Please share your experiences with System76 (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=343798)

Returning2_Linux
July 21st, 2014, 02:03 AM
One final piece of information to share with all of you: My credit card company chose to dispute the original shipping charge, which System76 had refused to refund, instead of the UPS return shipping that I mentioned earlier in this thread. To make a long story short, a refund for the original shipping charge has been applied to my credit card account. Thanks to my credit card company for such wonderful customer service!

It's nice to see people continuing to share their System76-related thoughts, good and bad, in this thread.

cpbl
August 7th, 2014, 04:14 PM
I'm glad to see positive stories/experiences posted here.
My first System76 purchase this spring/summer was a fiasco ((blog post here) (http://cpbl.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/review-system76-and-their-sable-touch-desktop-computer/), though I'm still grateful for someone putting together an Ubuntu-friendly piece of hardware.

Despite the terrible experience I had, I wish them luck. It's a tough business, I'd imagine.

Chris