Poor support experience at your Westbury, NY store


A year ago, actually on Sunday, tomorrow, I purchased an Asus laptop at your Westbury, NY store. One of thousands of dollars worth of purchases I've made from Micro Center since it opened here 24 years ago. And, generally up until today, your staff has been helpful, solving the occasional hiccups in a accommodating manner, and on at least one occasion going above and beyond to solve an issue I had.

But earlier this evening I looked to solve a very minor annoyance with the laptop before the warranty ran out. I had been told previously that Micro Center is an authorized Asus repair location, so I brought the laptop with me early this evening. I thought I had a few Warranty days left but they determined that in fact today was the last day as far as they could determine. The issue: the labels on several of the keyboard keytops has worn off. A bit annoying, particularly when entering things like serial numbers a character at a time. Now, I'll admit I had procrastinated on getting this resolved; I did try calling Asus Service once a few months ago, getting a message that the wait time was like over a half hour, and bailing out.

When I arrived, I took the laptop to your service counter, and after waiting in line for probably 30 minutes, was told that I'd have to leave the laptop there for probably four or five days, as they had a backlog. I asked if the service counter individual couldn't just create a repair ticket, note the keytops needed, I'd take the laptop back home with me, and they'd call me to bring it in when they arrived. They said "No, that's not how our arrangement with Asus worked". Really?? My auto dealer doesn't make me leave my car there for a week while they obtain the part they need for a minor repair, they call me when the part arrives. It happens that I'm having a medical procedure early next week. I'll be laid up in bed at home for several days and will need the laptop to communicate. Leaving it at Micro Center until they get around to looking at it, and quite possibly until the parts arrived is a non-starter. But they claimed if I didn't leave the laptop there the warranty would expire and I'd have to pay for the repair. Additionally, frankly I'm unhappy with the thought of leaving the laptop there, with a lot of my personal, financial and medical information accessible to someone there who might want to go snooping. I have no idea how secure their storage of equipment needing repair is, and the thought of wiping the machine clean to repair some bad keytops, then having to reload everything boggles the mind.

Before I go any further, I'm almost 80 years old, a (retired) electrical engineer, a licensed (but again retired) Professional Engineer. I've been involved with computers since 1964, in my first job out of college, I wrote software (in Fortran) for the space program. I later worked for a major broadcast TV network for well over 30 years designing, supervising of construction of and yes repairing many millions of dollars of radio and TV facilities before I retired. I've built all my own desktop computers, mostly from parts purchased at Micro Center. I think you get the picture.

When I asked about just obtaining some keytops, the person at the service counter, and later a manager, said, no, they would probably have to replace the whole keyboard. I questioned that, as I knew from experience that most keytops are removable, they are easily pried off and pop back on, but they persisted in claiming that not to be the case. And they had no solution if I wanted this to be a warranty repair except for me to leave the laptop there right then, or else to contact Asus today, which was now impossible as I had wasted so much time there that by then the Asus service line was closed for the day. So I left, a very unsatisfied customer.

Now the next part: When I got home, I decided to follow up. I googled "Asus Laptop Keytops". There were several other links to individuals complaining about the issue I had, the keytop labeling wearing away, mostly on Asus's own forums. There was a link to a business that sells sets of what they claim are OEM Asus keytops (yes they are replaceable) for about $10.00 a whole set (with I'd suspect some undetermined shipping cost.) You give them the model number of the laptop, they ship the correct keytops. And there are even a couple of YouTube videos on Asus keyboard self-repair, one posted by Asus itself.

All of this makes me wonder how knowledgeable and well trained the people now at Micro Center really are. In the past I've always felt their staff was more knowledgeable than most of the retail electronics businesses I've dealt with, but perhaps in this COVID great resign era, this is no longer (or really possibly never was) the case. Certainly the guy at the service counter not knowing that Asus keytops were user replaceable and not taking the time to google the question as I did after I got home is an issue.

The upsetting thing for me now is that Micro Center was willing to spoil a customer relationship that brought them thousands of dollars of sales over what turns out to be about $9.95 worth of parts. I find that very sad.

John S.

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