Review Blogs by George

A few years ago I put together a few ranting blogs concerning Dell Computers, Circuit City, Song Airlines and Panamax surge protectors. They are still a fun read, so I thought I would add them to this page.



For support issues, please call New Delli

My wife DeAnna has a home business that requires a solid and dependable computer. After several system failures on our “home-built” PC’s, I decided to invest in a name brand computer for her business. I wanted a quality manufacturer, and I also wanted technical support.

My company has recently started purchasing Dell systems for our desktops and laptops. We also have a direct sales rep, special pricing, and added two year support. I figured this would be a reliable machine, which would best serve my wife’s business.

The machine (a Dell Dimension 3000) arrived soon after the order, and had served my wife for about six months when we decided to add a better video card.  What primarily started as a business machine was becoming a part time gaming system during the off-hours. As this would be a simple upgrade, I decided to use an existing nVida video card that was in storage. Upon opening the machine, I quickly found out that this Dell would not support the AGP standard.

I don’t know why Dell decided to omit what has become an almost universal standard, but this machine had no AGP slot. There were solder holes where an AGP slot could go, but there was no physical slot. A quick call to our sales rep confirmed that the “entry” systems were PCI video only. What do they mean “Entry” level? I paid over $600 for that thing! For that kind of money, they could at least have an empty AGP port. It’s not like I was asking them to fill it with an expensive video card. What’s the cost of some solder traces and a plastic slot, 55 cents?

My Dell rep was nice enough to suggest some PCI video cards, and/or possibly replacing the motherboard with one that supports AGP. Of course motherboard upgrades will void the warranty, so that option was not acceptable. I decided to buy a PCI card from Dell, and hope that it would be sufficient for our needs.

After waiting two weeks for a price quote for out Dell rep, I decided to research PCI video cards myself. I quickly realized that technology had passed by the old PCI standard. These days, the fastest available chipsets for PCI are the GForce FX5500 class cards. It wouldn’t be the fastest machine, but at least it would load the games my wife wanted to play.

After purchasing a nice PNY card from Best Buy, I began my install. The instructions looked simple enough, so I installed the card myself. The new video card sprang to life, and I was elated that the install had gone correctly. Unfortunately, the video soon went blank as the operating system booted up. I realized that this “simple” install was quickly going to become difficult.

Realizing that Windows XP was probably booting to the wrong video card, I moved the monitor over to the motherboard’s video port. Sure enough, the monitor was functional again. Now my only quandary was to figure out how to tell the system to use the new video card.

Changing the BIOS video settings on any PC is a hazardous operation which can be fraught with disaster. The reason is that a wrong setting will leave you with a blank screen. Windows XP is a graphically based operating system; so a blank screen is a “bad” thing. Actually, it’s a very “bad” thing. Done incorrectly, a video setting can be very difficult to change back to the original setting. Sometimes, a whole operating system reload is required to fix the issue; or even worse a bios upgrade.

Since I didn’t want to endanger my wife’s home business machine, I decided the best course of action would be to call Dell. After all, they had built the machine, and would know the best way to support it. Their own sales rep had suggested the new video card, and I had also purchased extended support for the machine. The problem would be an easy task for any experienced Dell tech; since I had already verified that the new card would work. I just required a few simple procedures, and would soon be on my way to happy computing.

Dell PC’s have their support number and service tag on the machine, so it was a simple matter to begin my support call. I waded through the usual badly designed IVR system, and was soon talking to a real human being. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an English speaking technician, but it was a start. I had to verify my address, phone number, and a few hundred other things to someone who had only learned my language six months ago. Finally, my service level was confirmed, and the call was transferred.

The next person on the phone announced himself as “Phunjeen, your Dell non-technical representative”.  I was still trying to figure out why I had been transferred to someone who couldn’t help me, when he began to “reconfirm” the same information that I had already spent 10 minutes confirming with the first “non-technical representative”.

At this point, I was beginning to wonder if Dell has computers at their support centers, or if they just write the info on Post-it notes. The support tags on each Dell are probably only applicable if your support call remains within the United States. After you transfer to India, the system becomes manual.

After I finished my second round of questions, I was anticipating a transfer to a real technical support representative. Unfortunately, this would not be the case. I was asked to explain in detail the reason for my call. I tried to explain the issue to this “non technical” person, but I was sure that I would have to explain it again if my call was transferred. My hope was that the Post-it notes that he was using, would be passed to a real technician.

About 30 seconds into my 5th explanation of the problem, my “non-technical” representative stopped me; and then asked if the new video card was made by Dell.

“Of course not” I replied, “Dell does not make video cards”.

In truth Dell doesn’t really manufacture anything. They just OEM their parts and assemble them. But, I digress.

I immediately sensed danger, because my “non-technical” representative then put me on hold. I had committed the cardinal sin of technical support by my admission of guilt. I had violated the virgin PCI slot of their PC without first asking their blessing. I was now on hold till my punishment could be determined.

To be honest, I did expect some reluctance from Dell’s tech support staff. After all, I was adding a video card to a machine which already had a “built-in” video card. I was going to modify a “pre-built” configuration using a component that had not been certified by Dell.

In my defense, I did call our sales rep first and ask about my upgrade options. I also requested pricing for Dell certified video cards, and explored other upgrade options with their parts department. I had notified Dell of my intentions; so this wasn’t a wanton violation of their machine.

My simple request was for information on how to safety add a new video card to the machine. I would assume all risk for my action. I just required a few simple bits of information, so that I didn’t damage the system. If the information didn’t exist, then I would accept that as my answer.

Many long minutes passed, and my “non-technical representative” returned to the line. He immediately blamed the problem on my “non Dell” video card and suggested I remove the card. I told him that the card was functional, and that the operating system had recognized it. I just needed the procedures to “transfer” my video signal to the new video card. I informed my “non-tech” that I just needed a few minutes with a “real” technician, and my problem would be solved.

“Non-tech” instead transferred me to the “Dell Help Desk Support Center for Special Configurations”. I was told that this was for “special” issues that were outside the range of normal technical support. I tried valiantly to argue that this was a simple request, but NonTech the Wise had already made his decision. Before I could utter another plea, I was whisked off to another call center in India.

At the “Dell Help Desk Support Center for Special Configurations”, my call was answered by another NonTech. This one was female, polite, but also non-English speaking. I was treated to my third round of interrogation regarding my status as a valid Dell PC owner. I answered all her questions, and then explained the reason for my call. I only had to do this twice, which was 3 times fewer than I did with “NonTech the wise”.

I informed her that I was a certified computer technician with over 20 years in the IT industry. I said that I am certified on Cisco network gear, all PC’s, and HP printers to name a few. I explained that although I am not a computer novice; I’ve never installed a secondary video card on a Dell 3000. I told her that my experience has always been to seek guidance before undertaking a new task.

I further explained that this was a simple issue, which would require only a few minutes of technical support. I told her that I had already been on the phone for an hour trying to solve something which should only require a 5 minute answer. I informed her that I assumed all risks of my actions, but just wanted to know if there was an “approved” procedure for what I was attempting. I asked her for just a few moments of time with someone who could look up this info in Dell’s library of technical information.

And she asked me for my credit card information.

I have to admit, it took me a few minutes to process this request.

Why on Earth would she want money from me after I had already spent $600 on this machine?

Why would they charge for support, when my Dell invoice said:” Type 3 Contract – Next Business Day Parts and Labor On-Site Response, 2YR Extended (950-7952)”?

Did they not understand that this was a “business class” support program?

At this point, I didn’t really matter. I had wasted my time. I had spent over an hour trying to get a glimmer of knowledge from a company which had long since forsaken their customers. I had been transferred to some desolate country halfway around the world; where “NonTechs” ruled with absolute power. Without a further outlay of American currency, my request would go no further. Any further communications would be an utter waste of time.

Perhaps I should have said something, but my finger stabbed the “flash” button on the phone. Within seconds I was free from the tyrannical “NonTechs” of India, and once again an American. It actually felt good to break the connection. It was as if the shackles were lifted from my mind and body.

My wife turned on our other computer, and began to search the Internet for “Dell new video card installation”. Within minutes, she found a site for disgruntled Dell owners. Listed on that site were detailed instructions on changing the setting in Windows XP for a new video card. The changes were not made in the Dell bios after all; since you cannot disable their on-board video card.

I made the changes, crossed my fingers, and restarted the operating system. Within a few minutes, the problem was solved. The machine was running perfectly, and I was elated.

I was elated, but yet my insides were boiling. I was truly anger that an “American” company would treat it’s customers in this manner. How can a company which apparently prides itself on “World Class Support” transfer their customers to some “1-900” helpdesk in India. Actually, my question should be “Why would a company which apparently prides itself on “World Class Support” transfer their customers to some “1-900″ helpdesk in India?”

Most Americans know that there is a trend towards outsourcing technical support to countries outside the United States. When the salaries for computer support technicians in America began to escalate in the 1990’s, it become financially necessary for corporations to utilize the cheaper workforce of third world nations. While I can understand the rational of this approach; I can’t see how it applies to today’s IT environment.

Since the “Dot Com Crash” of 2000, salaries within the American IT industry have fallen drastically.  There are more qualified technical people out of jobs than ever before. They are hungry for work, and willing to accept lower salaries. I have met many of these people, so I can verify that they exist. The six figure salary expectations of the past are long gone. Trained technicians are no longer a rare and expensive commodity. In truth, there are many talented people in American who are willing to work, and work cheap.

It may be too late, but I implore Dell to re-evaluate their support strategy. I understand that Michael Dell supports education in India, but this should not come at the expense of American jobs. If their computer components are made in Taiwan, assembled in Texas, and the supported in India; can Dell really call themselves an “American” company?

Can they raise our flag outside their offices, while transferring customer calls across the globe?

I suppose they can.

They can and they will, until we realize that corporate greed has fatally wounded our computer industry. The American consumer will continue to think they are “Buying American” until they realize that they are really just “Supporting India”.

I urge all consumers to call the tech support center of each computer manufacturer. Ask for the location of the tech center. Ask if English is the first language. Ask a simple technical question to see if they can help you. I urge everyone to count how many “NonTechs” it takes before your questions are answered.

If any computer manufacturer cannot provide adequate support for their products, then they do not deserve my business. If they cannot supply even rudimentary support for my questions, then they should refund the cost of my extended warranty. If any American company routes my support call overseas, then I have the right to know. Any goods or services received from overseas should be subject to the tariffs of the United States. If a company wants to “import” their support, then they should pay for it. Tariffs are designed to keep the American workforce from suffering at the hands of foreign competition; and it’s time these were applied to offshore support.

For my part, I’m not going to support Dell. I will seek every opportunity to replace my home machine with a comparable “American” product. I will research companies like Gateway, IBM, Compaq and HP to verify if they outsource their support. When I finally find a truly American computer company; I will fully support them.

I will influence the purchasing power of my employer away from Dell. I will suggest alternatives, while documenting all failures and weaknesses of our existing Dell products. If I can find a financially feasible alternative, I’m sure the company will follow that direction. It will take time, and I must learn to be patient.

I will also publish my story on the internet. Maybe someone will be influenced by this, and change their purchasing direction. If so, then perhaps I have not wasted my time after all.

I truly hope I haven’t wasted your time either. These are complicated issues, but the choices can be quite simple. And just like my original quandary over the video card problem; the answer was really in front of me all the time.

Circuit City must be a town somewhere in India

This month’s recipient of my wrath is Circuit City; for their outsourced phone support and poor inventory control process.  Ready for it?…Here we go…

Last week, I went shopping for a Sony PSP. It’s a Christmas gift, so I didn’t do much research beyond the basics. I know that Sony bundles them in “Packs”, but I wasn’t so sure which one I wanted. Silly me, I decided to stop by Circuit City and get some advice.

First off, Circuit City around the holidays is the last place you want to shop. The store is overcrowded, and the sales clerks are often hiding. After spending 10 minutes of standing around by the video games, I decided to look for someone. A few hard glances towards the clerks over by the cell phones yielded no help. They just glanced away from my eye contact, and pretended to move boxes around.

Three rows over from the PSP games, I was finally able to locate a sales clerk. She was hiding between the rows, and talking on a cordless phone. A few incriminating glances were all it took to get her off the phone.

I asked if they sold the Sony PSP. (I knew darn well they did, but there wasn’t a PSP box evident in the entire store). She responded that “Yes, we do”.

I asked about the various “packs”, and what they included. She said she didn’t know much about them, but she had heard the GigaPack had additional memory. I asked if I could see them and compare features, but she said they weren’t allowed to give customers the actual product. She would have to get the product from the back, and then leave it at the cash register. If I wanted to look at, I would have to do this at the register line.

OK STOP. First off, I’m not some damn criminal who would want to risk incarceration for a $250 toy. I have no intention of running off with it; so why not show me the product? Circuit City has $200 memory sticks just hanging on the display shelves. They are the size of postage stamps. If I wanted to rip them off, I would stuff 3 of those in my pants and leave.

OK NEXT. I don’t want to hold up the register line during the holidays, but I will do it. Circuit City figures the embarrassment factor will keep people from holding up the line. Too bad they don’t know me.

I had other items to purchase, so I told the sales clerk to leave all the various PSP “packs” at the register, and I would make my decision there. I picked up some games, a movie, and then headed over to the register.

Guess what’s waiting at the register? Just the basic PSP pack, with hardly anything in it. Apparently, Circuit City doesn’t stock the world’s most popular handheld at Christmas. I ask if they have the Gigapack, and the checkout clerk says they have none in inventory. I ask about other packs, and she proclaims her ignorance about the entire PSP line. It’s obvious that I’m not getting anywhere, so I just purchase the thing. At this point, I’m assuming that the Gigapack is a difficult commodity to locate. I also assume that this will be the same for all stores which carry the PSP, so I get the stupid thing, and head home.

Awaiting my arrival at home is a Circuit City flyer advertising the PSP GigaPack, along with a 10% off coupon. Naturally, I consider this a formal declaration of war.

I jump on my PC and head over to the Circuit City website. I locate the PSP GigaPack, and add it to my shopping cart. I then proceed to checkout, and apply my 10% off coupon. I’m smiling when I hit the “proceed with checkout” button, but then it hits me.

“Item is only available for in store pickup”.

WHAT THE FU********!!!!!

If the item isn’t available online, then why have it on the website? If I can only get it in the store, then why can I add it to my WEBSITE shopping cart? If I could get it at the store, then I wouldn’t be shopping on your stupid website now, would I?

I decide to calm down, and call the 1-800 number for help. If I can’t get it online, then they can just ship the item to my nearest Circuit City. After all, any major retail store will gladly do that for their customers. Right?

I call the number, wait a few minutes, and wind up talking to some woman in India. Now I’m not 100% sure she was in India, but I couldn’t understand anything she was saying. I also heard foreign voices around her. I also caught the smell of curry.(Ok, that’s a joke to see if you were paying attention)

 I explain my situation slowly using small words. She begins to comprehend, and says they have the product.

I say “Great! Let’s order it”.

She says it’s available only at their stores.

I say “Fine, ship it to my nearest store”.

She says they can’t do that, but it’s available at their Brooksville store.

Brooksville is a 100 mile round trip from my house, so I tell her to try a Tampa store.

She tells me that if I purchase the item from her now; Circuit City will 100% guarantee that they will have it for me.

“Ok”, I say “But where will the item be located?”

“In the Brooksville store” she says happily. “Do you want to order it now?”

“No”, I say “I want it at the Tampa store”

“100% guarantee”, she says “Do you want to order now?”

“Can you ship this item to my local store?” I ask.

“This is a great product”, she says “let me tell you about our extended warranty”

At this point, she launches into a sales pitch for the Circuit City warranty. While she does this, I start searching the Best Buy website. A few clicks later, I find a Best Buy store in my local area. A few more clicks, and their inventory system tells me that they have the PSP GigaPack in stock. I hang up on the Circuit City girl.

I call Best Buy, and ask them to hold the item for me. They are quick, courteous, and efficient.

30 minutes later, I have returned my Circuit City PSP, and I’m heading into Best Buy.

The place is packed, but I see sales clerks everywhere. I head over to the video games area, but a clerk from mobile phones intercepts me along the way. I tell him I’m here to pick up a PSP, so he offers to find someone to assist me. He then personally takes me to the correct area, and introduces me to the correct person. That person then introduces themselves, and HANDS me a PSP GigaPack.

I have to admit, I stood there astounded for a few seconds.

“Is there anything else?” the clerk asked.

“Not at this time”, I replied “But I will definitely be back”

That was it. 30 seconds later, I was heading home. Circuit City lost $250, while Best Buy gained $300 and a happy customer.

I.m not going to beat a dead horse here, so let me just summarize this blog for you.

Circuit City bad

Best Buy good.

Circuit City supports outsourcing to India

Circuit City has terrible inventory control

Circuit City needs better sales clerks

 Ok, I feel better now. Thanks for reading.




Song Airlines…

We cut the fat out of air travel


For those that don’t know, Song is Delta Airlines attempt to stay out of total bankruptcy.

It’s a subsidiary of Delta that specializes in cheap airfares and glitzy marketing. Each seat has a small monitor for your viewing pleasure, along with “gourmet” food which is available for purchase. The airline markets itself, as “hip” and “new”.

To be honest, their service is even worse than the ever decreasing service one receives from their parent company.

And they hate fat luggage.

No I’m serious, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

My wife and were heading to New England in September of 2005. We were scheduled to arrive in Boston on Song airlines. I had purchased the tickets in June, so that we could be seated in the emergency exit row. I’m tall, so I like the extra leg room.

Everything went according to plan, until my wife made one simple request. She asked for a seat belt extension. Now, my wife isn’t really that big, but normal airplane seat belts are just too tight for her. An extension makes it more comfortable for her.  So as usual, she asked for an extension as we sat down. The flight attendant immediately said “then you can’t sit in the emergency exit row”.

“Why not” I asked, “We are perfectly willing and able to perform the required emergency exit procedures”

“It’s a policy of our airline” I was told, “No seat belt extensions in the emergency exit row”

It then became obvious to me that Song hates big people.

They also hate fat luggage, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

There wasn’t much we could do, since I didn’t want my wife to be uncomfortable for the 3 hour flight. I was also concerned that any protests aboard an aircraft would potentially lead to arrest as a “potential terrorist”. In the Post 911 world of air travel, the traveler has almost no rights.

Therefore, we were relegated to the back of the airplane.

It was a long walk of shame.

Somehow, I began to understand how Rosa Parks must have felt.

Fortunately, we were the only two in our row of three seats, so the flight wasn’t too bad. It was just a bit confining for my long legs.

Apparently, Song hates tall people too.

And they hate fat luggage.

I tell you this because of what happened when we arrived at the airport for our return flight.

The annual autumn changing of the leaves was late this year; so instead my wife and I went shopping. We found many bargains in New England, which made for heavy luggage. Not “bulging at the seams” heavy, but just well packed.

It wasn’t too heavy for me to lift, so I figured the airline wouldn’t have an issue with it.

I was wrong as usual.

Upon arriving at the Song Airlines ticket counter, I was greeted with the following words: “Luggage must weigh less than 50 pounds”

No “good morning”, “Hello” or “Destination, please”, just one old crone who eyed my luggage with a suspicious eye.

Upon weighing the luggage, we discovered that one bag weighed 57 pounds and the other was 53 pounds. “The luggage is too heavy” the counter harpy proclaimed, “that will cost an extra $75 per bag”.


The FAA allows you to bring 2 bags per person along on the flight. Each bag can weigh up to 50 pounds. Two people times 4 bags times 50 pounds is 200 pounds. My total luggage weight was 110 pounds. I was 90 pounds under my limit…right?

Actually, no. The baggage handlers don’t like heavy bags, so anything over 50 pounds must carry an “excess weight” fee. Most airlines don’t mind if you fudge the weight by a few pounds. Song Airlines has decided to make a profit out of it.

Or maybe they just hate fat luggage. I’m not sure which, but I wasn’t going to pay $150 for fat luggage.

I carefully asked about my options. I say carefully, since any argument over luggage at today’s airports can result in a full search. I could imagine my luggage strew across the tarmac, while government sniffer dogs searched weapons of mass destruction.  My choices were actually quite simple.

One, pay a $75 per bag fee, and we could be on our way.

Two, buy luggage at a store located conveniently close to the Song counter, than move the excess weight to that bag.

Three, buy a $10 box from Song, and pack it with 10 pounds of stuff.

Four, find a way to carry 10 pounds of luggage as carry on.

Since I’m cheap and lazy, I chose option three.

The counter lady wasn’t happy.

I’m guessing Song Airlines makes a tidy profit from the “excess weight” fee, and that  luggage store next to the counter probably gives kick backs.

I’m also guessing that there isn’t much profit in a cardboard box; and that it’s not a personal favorite for baggage handlers.

I also insisted on opening and transferring my luggage right at the counter, since I didn’t want to wait in line again. The counter lady couldn’t complain, since she was the one who sold me the box. I took my time, and only selected items that couldn’t be harmed if the box became damaged. In the end, I had a 15 pound box that was sure to annoy every baggage handler who saw it.

The flight itself was fairly uneventful. We were allowed to sit in the exit row, since the plane jammed full of people. The attendants were in a hurry, so no one cared about the seat belt extension person in the emergency exit row. Which is a good thing, since at that point I had had enough of Song Airlines.

Here’s some info for you:

In September of 2005, Delta airlines filed chapter 11 for bankruptcy protection.

62% of American adults are overweight.

The number of overweight children in the US has tripled in the last few years.

Carry-on restrictions are forcing traveler to pack heavier check-in luggage.

The FAA mandates luggage weight limits, which forces the airlines to cut weight in other areas. Ever wonder why there are no pillows or blankets on your last flight? What happened to the magazines? Hmmmm

Panamax fried my home entertainment center, and then denied the warranty.

I was going to write a cute title for this bog, but then I decided to just write a one sentence summary.

That’s basically it. Short and simple. If you want to stop reading at this point, then the only thing missing will be the details. Since I believe that “the devil is in the details”, let me offer my story of woe.

Tampa is the lightening capital of the United States. No one told me this, but I could have assumed it before the newspapers began touting our dubious title. We get more strikes and fried golfers than all the other US states. I’m not sure why Tampa gets all the fun, but it’s something we have learned to live with.

When I installed my home entertainment center, I also purchased a Panamax MaxSat unit to protect it from power surges. The unit was designed to protect satellite and audio equipment from lightening strikes and related power spikes. It carries the “Panamax Lifetime Warranty” and a $50,000 connected equipment policy. The unit connects to the power plugs, coax feeds and DC power connects on my home entertainment system. In short, it filters all the wires which connect my system to the rest of the world.

In July of 2005, our property was hit by lightening. I’m not sure if the strike hit our house, the ground, or a power pole. There was a big flash, large boom, and the lights went out.

3 hours later, the technicians at my hillbilly electric company were able to restore power.

Afterwards, I discovered that my TV, A/V receiver, and satellite receiver were damaged.

This perplexed me, since they were all connected to my MaxSat power surge protector.

To make a long story short, Sears fixed the TV under warranty, I sent to satellite box off for repairs, and called Panamax to start a warranty claim.

I spoke with a nice lady named Gala, who told me they would immediately send a “claim pack” to assist me with this issue. The pack would contain a shipping box for my surge protector, along with materials for processing any claim on connected equipment.

She said they would need to test my old MaxSax protector to see if it was damaged in the strike. Since I would be without surge protection during this time, she offered to sell me a new unit at discount. I figured this would help with my claim, so I decided to purchase their super-duper 5 million dollar warranty unit.

A few weeks later, the kit arrived from Panamax. I packed off the old unit, and installed the new one. I also filled out their “Connected Equipment Claims forms”, along with the required diagrams, receipts, repair estimates, and formal affidavits. My claim number was 05083E19686.

I sent the whole thing off expected to receive a quick reply from their claims department.

A few weeks later, my MaxSax unit came back from the shop. The letter inside claimed that there was no damage to the unit, and it was performing perfectly.  To my knowledge, a surge protector is “working perfectly” only if it PROTECTS my equipment. That unit was supposed to intercept the power spike, but it just transferred it right to my equipment. The letter also stated that “Please note that the conditions of the Expanded warranty do not require the surge protector to show signs of damage for a claim to be determined valid”.  This was good news, since the power surge must have come through the Panamax unit. I also had the proof, since the repair estimates showed blown power supplies.

I was going to call about the testing performed on the unit, but the letter was signed by someone named “Testing Agent 1”. Calls to Panamax failed to locate the secret whereabouts of this mysterious “Agent 1”.

I called Gala at Panamax to ask about my connected equipment claim, but received no reply. Two months went by before I could contact Gala at Panamax.

When I was finally able to converse with her, she told me that a “warranty representative” would handle all cases of damaged equipment. When I asked to speak with this person, I was transferred to a voicemail address. Every subsequent call was also transferred to this same bottomless pit.

3 MONTHS after I filed the claim, I received my answer from Panamax. It was a nice letter containing brochures for their products, copies of their “Iron Clad” warranties, and a denial of claim letter. The letter was signed by Wayne Goldston, who didn’t even take the time to sign his name correctly. Apparently, my claim was denied because there was no damage to my MaxSat unit.

My reply to this:

The reason there was no damage to unit is because Panamax surge protectors are useless pieces of crap.

I trusted Panamx to protect my equipment, and they failed me. Their unit did not function as advertised and allowed damage to my components. The final insult is that Panamax denied my claim based on THEIR analysis of THEIR product. I find that just a little too convenient and biased.

I’m not a certified electrician, but since their unit was between the wall outlet and my equipment; how can they say it didn’t fail?

The repair estimates show that my equipment was damaged by a power spike.

The Panamax was the only thing between the power and the equipment.

If it didn’t fail, then why was the equipment damaged? Huh?

Panamax has refused any more phone calls from me.

In April of 2005, they were acquired by the Linear Company, which means they have other things to worry about.

I’m hoping Linear fires all the Panamax employees, dumps the products, and just continues to use the name and customer base.

For me, that would be sweet revenge.

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