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Velocity Micro Tech Support

May 28, 2007

Based on Chris Morley’s (Velocity Micro’s Director of Product Development) dedicated and helpful participation in AVS Forum threads on CableCard PC‘s, and the fact that the company was incredibly gracious in upgrading that purchase in two instances before it was shipped to compensate me for some trouble getting the PC I ordered, I decided not only to order my main PC from Velocity Micro, but to sign up for three years of tech support and warranty as well (a premium of a couple hundred dollars over the minimum tech support/warranty).

Over the past five years or so I had generally come to view Dell and HP tech support as next to useless. If I couldn’t find the answer to my problems myself using Google and Google Groups, then the odds were slim that these companies’ tech support would be able to help me. This isn’t as big a knock as it might seem– I realize that today’s PCs have to deal with incredibly complex interactions from multiple types of hardware and software, and the problems I could have used tech support on tended to be much more complicated than run of the mill user problems.

In contrast, BTW, when I did need support, I would call Microsoft. Until recently they charged $35 per incident and they were MUCH better than any OEM I ever dealt with. They would actually try to solve the problem by escalating it, to engineers if need be, rather than insisting on reformatting and reinstalling the operating system.

I had hopes that Velocity Micro would be different, and they are, but only to a point. I had inflated hopes that they would replicate my experience with Microsoft, which they did not, but they are better than Dell and HP (the last time I dealt with each) and they are actually employees of a relatively small company rather than a service that has been outsourced to India.

I had four problems with my main PC:

  • The system ceased to function with any USB mouse, although it works fine with USB mice plugged into PS2 adapters. There was ultimately no resolution to this issue other than to reinstall the operating system, we tried enough things that I suspect this is probably the way to go (although its not worth it to me to actually try this advice at this point). Two caveats: (i) I suspect there is an alternative to a format and reinstall, that they did not discuss with me (i.e. an equivalent of an inplace upgrade that tries to transfer existing settings and applications to a new version of the operating system; and (ii) their support is markedly worse when calling late at night. Their hours are for non-emergency tech support end at 11pm ET, so people on calls beyond that point tend to act as if they really want to get home. In one instance I waited on hold for 45 minutes until 11:15 ET and then go their answering service for after-hours calls.
  • The LiteOn DVD drive would not read the Velocity Vista DVD. It read other DVDs fine (including another Vista DVD I happened to have) and other DVD drives read the Velocity Vista DVD just fine, but the two did not work together. The problem persisted despite them sending two additional Vista discs and a replacement LiteOn DVD drive. Finally the problem was solved when they sent me another model DVD drive at my suggestion. The better, Plextor DVD drive I received works fine with their Vista DVD.
  • The card reader that was part of the floppy ceased to function. Switching the USB cable to a different connector on the motherboard solved this problem in short order.
  • The sound stopped working. A short troubleshooting session sussed out that the sound had been disabled in the BIOS. In retrospect this was probably caused by new BIOS firmware installed to try to address the DVD and mouse issues above.

At the end of the day, all but one of some somewhat challenging problems were solved. While they aren’t as good as MS support, they are better than the alternatives from Dell and HP.

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One Comment
  1. Chris permalink

    Hey man!  I am sorry you received less than stellar service!  I have forwarded this post over to our tech support department heads to review and see how we can address issues like this better in the future.  Thanks for your business, I hope that we can continue to endeavor to meet your needs…

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