In the spirit of Halloween, here is a horror story, for all geeks and used-computer buyers out there.
On the 25th of October, I bought a Dell ultraportable (US company-owned and used) laptop from a certain tipidpc.com member, for only Php 5500 or $139 (cost of item+remittance fees). I gave the seller an option to go for PayPal or Xoom, outlining the advantages and disadvantages of either option. He chose Xoom, despite my fears that the transaction may fall through because as I’ve experienced, Xoom.com just cancels transactions without your clearance, simply because your case falls under their “customer protection policy” no-no.
To my chagrin, at 3AM the next day, as I was tracking the progress of the money transfer, I saw that the transaction was being canceled. So when that happened, of course I panicked, a little bit. Just a little bit, because the laptop wasn’t all that good when I tried it at home. When I had stuck an external drive in there that had been ravaged by Internet Cafe viruses BUT deleted those that I was able to spot before sticking it in the Dell lappie, the Dell won’t boot Windows XP SP1 in normal mode anymore. It can still be used in safe mode, even safe mode with networking, but just not in normal mode.
So later that morning, guy tells me to return his laptop coz the bank says *I* canceled it. Though my first instinct was to get the money someway, somehow, I decided not to put up a fight because it wasn’t worth it. Not only did the FRESH system break at the first sign of a virus invasion, the former owner was such a pain in the butt-tocks to deal with.
Here are the specs:
Dell Latitude L400
PIII 700 MHZ
256 MB SDRAM
10GB Hard Disk
Built in Modem
Built in LAN Card
Parallel Printer Port
PCMCIA Card Slot
It was such a comedic affair, actually. Because, though I had been sick for 3 days already, so sick to the point of not being able to eat, I had still given in to his request for me to hie my butt over to his office on the day I bought the thing. I had to go there to get it and show him I was sending the money, for transparency purposes. And to think his office was a couple of rides away. Pretty near, but because I had that massive infection, I really shouldn’t have done that and exposed my poor respiratory tract to the dust, pollution and germs.
Now when he demanded that I return the laptop, I told him to meet me at Makati Med, one of the most prestigious and trusted hospitals in my country. I was just fresh out of ideas where to meet him, because he was doggedly making excuses not to go to my place.
I was expecting to get admitted into the hospital; I wanted to get admitted, because I didn’t want to deal with roomie’s smoking and the dishes and the mess.
However, the doctor advised that I go home. I was considering staying at a hotel, thinking that the rates would be similar to those the hotels had in my hometown. To my shock, an inn here costs 3 times more than a 3-star hotel in my hometown.
Okay, so I had to go home tired, but at least I had antibiotics already.
Since my charger had blown a fuse and eventually got blown up and charred when, under the advice of my fiance, I wrapped a piece of foil around the fuse, I got me a desktop universal charger. So every time I need to charge, I cannot use my phone. That’s why, when my best friend fetched me and the phone died right at that moment she said she was already on my street, I hadn’t been able to text anyone. Hello, my phone died?
So when I got around to opening my phone… Wow. Wonder of wonders! Dealer already filed a blotter against me, for stealing and estafa (fraud, I think) and giving wrong info… What?!
Okay, here are my defenses for myself:
- It was not I who canceled the order, it was Xoom.
- My phone died because of heavy texting the whole morning long.
- I really was at Makati Med.
- I really lived where I specified I did, which the police had confirmed.
When I called him, he claimed it was his girlfriend who did the filing. Wow! He had to pass the blame on to his girl now! He told me, that for me to not be convicted or anything, I had to send a friend or bring the thing to him by 5 PM that day, the 26th of October. Erm, I actually was feeling better but not better enough to expose myself recklessly to Manila pollution! So I told him that I cannot meet him. Either he send in a messenger or the police. I’m not scared of them.
Then he told me that he wants no trouble, just the laptop. “It would be too bad on my part if I actually got a police record.” Oh whatever. It would be easy to actually look for counter-affidavits.
Honestly, my only concern with a police record was that I might not be able to leave the country when I want to because of it. I want to go on missions trips now and then, you see. But scared of them burly big-bellied beer-guzzling creatures showing up at my door? No. Not really. Why should I be scared of the big, bad, policeman when I did nothing wrong except be the target of some severely crazy circumstances?
So he finally agreed to get the thing from my place the next day, Saturday, October 27th. After another mix-up with the directions, I ended up showing up at where he thought my place would be because he didn’t seem to be reading my texts and emails on the directions to my place. I have several words for him at the top of my head right now. One starts with “M” and ends with “N”. Oh would you love to guess that word.
I mean, though my friends may land on some place near my street because they got confused, it wouldn’t be as far as where he landed! HAH!
Anyway, when I met him, I made him sign a piece of paper saying he received the thing, under the advice of my fiance. I have a good mind to have it notarized next week. He signed it, I turned the laptop over, and I told him I broke the system. Nyahaha.
This monday, the 29th, I texted him and asked if he already recalled the blotter. He claimed he had. I will know when I get my police clearance next week. But he added at the end of the text, that I had “trashed his laptop”. I cattily told him: “If the hard drive were more stable, I doubt that would have happened. Besides, you can always reformat.”
I don’t know how right I was, but all I know is, with my experience with installing, reinstalling, breaking my systems, etc., as long as a hard drive is still stable, it really doesn’t get broken by one idiot user or one particularly bad install.
Bottom line was, good riddance. I doubt I’ll ever deal with him again. And if he dares to make a bad rating on me on tipidpc.com, I am sooo going to tell how he filed a blotter on me just because Xoom.com is such a horror to use. Haha!