I've had my Acer Ferrari 4000 for four years now, and it has been a great laptop. Yes, I wish I had a dual core. Yes, I wish I had a laptop that had 4 GB or even more. But honestly, the Ferrari was still a quite good little laptop, iwth a great display (1680x1050 on a 14" screen is hard to find!), a perfectly usable keyboard, and the whole thing is a carbon fibre case that looks cool and weighs in at under 6 Lbs. But a few weeks ago, just as we were getting ready to go on vacation, it came up dead. Not a little dead, not limping, but power on, no boot, no BIOS, D E A D. I was totally bummed, and knew I just didn't have the spare $$ floating around to buy anything to replace it that I really wanted. But after I'd had a chance to recover from the shock, I did a quick search on eBay for solutions. First I asked my friend Barb if it were possible to squeeze an Acer 5000 motherboard into the 4000 case, since I know she has both laptops. Nope, not an option. Too bad, I could have used a dual core. Then I searched for a repair solution and came up with this offer: For a flat $175, including return shipping and all taxes, they would fix pretty much anything on the laptop by doing component level repair of the motherboard, etc. And in the small percentage where they couldn't fix it (~5%), they'd ship it back to you for $25 and refund the rest of your PayPal payment. I checked the seller's ratings, and they were 100% good, so I figured I had very little to lose and bought the package.
I pulled the hard drive out (they say right up front they'd prefer NOT to have it), and dropped it off at Pony Express, who packaged it up and sent it off for me, and two days later, on a Friday, I get a call from the seller saying they'd received the Ferrari and were beginning work on it and giving me a work order number.So far, so good. I like communications, it gives me confidence.
Now besides the wouldn't boot, there were a few other little problems that had cropped up over the years. Three of four USB ports were dead, for one. And the PCCard slot was also pretty much dead. I'd been living with both problems. They were an annoyance, but not really more than that, though the PCCard slot was getting to be a real pain, since I couldn't run a second wireless network. And my networking here is a bit "interesting", so that was a nuisance. I'd listed all of these problems on the sheet I'd taped to the top of the laptop, but frankly I was just hoping they'd get me back to the booting stage. Anything beyond was nice, but not essential.
On Wednesday of the next week, I get another call (I'm still on vacation at this point, but I'd given them my cell number). They've repaired several things already, but they're going to have to replace the CPU. Great, I figure this is where they stick it to me and expect more money. Nope. Not even a hint of that. What they're calling about is that they have the 1.6 GHz model CPU in stock, but will have to order the 2.0 GHz one so it will take a couple of extra days, or they can put the 1.6 GHz processor in, my choice. I said I'd prefer the 2.0 GHz,and she said no problem, they should be able to get it locally, and would ship when it was completely repaired.
Well, just when we get home from vacation, there's the email with the tracking number. Great, that will mean an extra trip to the Pony Express office, but we'll deal with it. Well, last night I actually got the Ferrari back in my hands, and I am completely satisfied. All four USB ports are fully working again, the laptop booted right up into 64-bit Windows 7 when I plugged in the hard disk, and even the PCCard slot is working, with my D-Link DWA-652 in it! The one thing they didn't fix (and this is completely disclosed in their flat rate offer, so I have zero complaints) was the broken Del key on the keyboard. It just needs a dab of glue to keep the cap in place, but I haven't bothered since it mostly stays where it's supposed to be anyway.
Now, if you think that a flat rate of $175 for repair is a bad deal, and you'd rather just get a free estimate and go that way, they do that too. http://laptoprescuer.com/ is there main location. But I really liked the confidence of a prix fixe . I knew the Ferrari was worth $175 to me, if it was working. And I had a pretty good idea that they'd have to do quite a bit of work to get it all fixed. I have no idea what they would have charged had I opted for a T&M deal, and frankly I don't care. But however you go about it, I highly recommend them. They did exactly what they promised, they did it in about the time they said, and they communicated clearly and appropriately at every step of the process. And I think at a very fair price.