College Planning Specialists

July 14, 2008

Beware Before Buying Acer or Gateway Laptop: My Story of WTF?

Beware when buying your computer, what seems like a deal may very well not be a deal at all. My experience with my Gateway laptop has been a hassle. Best Buy, Acer-Gateway’s retailer of choice, ran a super deal for their advertised Gateway MT 3705 March of 2007 in Northern California.

I bit hook line and sinker and purchased the box MT 3705 with the resulting problems described below. What has been even more curious is the fact that I have been contacted by a dozen citizen desperate for answers–none of which I could supply.

Upon Further Inspection

To her credit, Acer rep Nicole gave me a call to “help out.” Granted they are only helping me because If I choose to do so I could write an entire series on their sorry customer service and retail tactics which would show up on Google page one searches for Acer-Gateways most coveted keywords and long tail phraseology.

With that caveat in mind, I described my box problems and Nicole suggested I search for the serial number for the unit.

Surprise or Just What I Could Have Expected?

Upon inspection of the bottom of the laptop I found an interesting problem. The box had an inscribed, in white lettering seared into the plastic, Model Number of “W340UI.”

In the opposite corner resides a grey sticker that gives the Model number as “MT3705.”

What does this mean? Does Gateway or Acer have two Model numbers for the same unit meaning that a W34OUI is also a MT3705? Or did they sell me the wrong computer? Or more sinister: did they advertise the MT3705 and sell me an inferior box?

Where Are We Now?

I want my money back. I do NOT want an Acer product. I do NOT want to deal with Acer or their customer no service tactics. I want a Compaq which I recently purchased for my girlfriend. It is very cool, no problems, and is the same price. What am I going to get? No telling what to expect–more of the same maybe?

Below is the original article about my Acer-Gateway nightmare:

After less than one year of ownership, I am sad to report that my fantastic buy on the Gateway MT 3705 Notebook computer may have been a case of buyer beware. My initial excitement for the Gateway is chronicled in “Best Buy’s Best Deal Of The Year: Gateway Notebook MT 3705 $549!!!” Unfortunately the following problems or events have forced me to write this review–do NOT purchase this Gateway MT 3705 Notebook:

1. Equipment Failure

After 8 1/2 months of moderate usage, my Gateway has gone from valued business tool to doorstop. The screen display goes black after a few minutes. With no way to return my screen, I am often forced to reboot in order to see a display. Anything I was working on is lost or interrupted in the most annoying and costly manner–loss of time.

Follow these links for negative aspects expressed by Gateway MT 3705 users: keyboard, review #6 sticking buttons, and battery issue review “Cons” Middy last on page.

When the unit is left on a desk or table or in my lap it seems to get hot. I believe it may over heat and this may cause the screen to go blank. But I don’t know anything because

2. Gateway No Longer Exists

Gateway, a company that modeled it’s retail stores after Apple stores, is no longer in existence after being bought by Acer. No retail stores, no customer service help, no place to go except

3. Acer Customer No Service

When I followed up to try to find customer service help, I was pushed into the Acer labyrinth for Customer Service. My “tech support” (I USE THIS TERM VERY LOOSELY) agent seemed like a bored high school kid forced to work on her spring break. Here are the options I was presented:

a.) Acer would pay a “portion” of the costs
b.) Acer wants me to send the Notebook to them with a turn around time of 6-8 wks
c.) Acer suggested that without a warranty they are absolved of any responsibility even though their product is defective



  1. Wow! WTF is a great descriptor.

    Comment by dmsteffe4705 — August 3, 2008 @ 9:22 pm | Reply

  2. Acer is simply uncaring, cut throat, and in the business for the “one hit” sale. They have a horrific customer service “help desk” filled with no caring obnoxious kids unworthy of taking a call let alone picking up the phone when it rings.

    One such doofus when attempting to answer my question failed to place me on hold and shouted to her breathren in the “bullpen call center” “I don’t know what he wants he won’t tell me what do I do?”

    It Moe, Larry, and Curly meets the Office when I call this place. Unfuckingbelievable!


    Comment by deansguide — August 4, 2008 @ 10:28 pm | Reply

  3. As a former employee of Gateway (2000-2003 RIP Sioux Falls) yeah the 3rd party support is somewhat lacking, however since i now own an emachine which was owned by Gateway I can still get free technical support through gateway via the website or telephone number. BTW, I learned never to buy a computer from best buy in about 1996 after I purchased the “misery machine” from the now defunct company CTX.

    Comment by Nowhere — August 9, 2008 @ 1:20 am | Reply

  4. I realize this is over a year old, so odds are the laptop is either fixed or trashed, but in case this helps…

    My mom has the same laptop, and recently experienced what is likely the same problem: the display goes dark a couple seconds after starting up. With an external monitor connected, the laptop is functional; using a flashlight I confirmed that the display itself was still working, only the backlight wasn’t.

    Doing a little research, it appears likely that the LCD power inverter is at fault. I will be ordering a replacement shortly. Luckily it is a cheap part (a little over $20 after shipping) and can be replaced after removing just the screen bezel and the 6 screws holding it in place. The part goes by either “MPT N228” or “83-1200000001G”.

    I can post a followup in about a week on whether the LCD power inverter replacement works, if you like.

    (As for heat, this appears to be a common problem for modern laptops. I actually got a mild burn on my leg using my Dell laptop after the air intake on the bottom of the laptop had been covered for a while. In any case, there are laptop cooling pads that may help.)

    Comment by Mike — August 30, 2009 @ 6:59 am | Reply

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