I'm not a difficult person but is it too much to expect support to do its job? For a few months I've been struggling with my old Acer Travelmate notebook (overheating and randomly shutting down when not plugged in).

Having taken an extended warranty on the thing I finally decided to get in touch with their service center before it expires (not that I use it all that much with my wonderful new MacBook Pro). First challenge was getting hold of them, twice hanging on the line for 15 minutes trying to get through I decided to submit a support ticket via the web.

Slightly annoyed by the length of the form I need to fill in there, with the exact version number of the machine, the serial etc. -- why the heck did I need to register all that information with my extended warranty number? Surely they can just ask for my Acer Advantage number and cross check that with my address details rather than have me fill in all those details again?

Finally the form is submitted... but then, no email confirmation, no support ticket ID. Four days later I get an email stating its something I need to send in the notebook for and they would pick it up the next morning. Good thing I took the time to completely back up my machine that afternoon, because as I expected they did the standard format and reinstall without prior warning (still had some software installed on it).

Today, a week later, I get the notebook back and the report says they simply cleaned the fan and reinstalled the OS. Why the heck do they reinstall the OS for a clogged up fan? Sure it fixed the problem with overheating but did they bother to check if it could now run for 10 minutes straight without being plugged in... nope of course not.

When I booted up the machine had to reconfigure Windows, first thing I did (with the battery fully charged) was disconnect the charger and just leave it on for 10 minutes. Low and behold the machine dies. How difficult was it for that support engineer to give that a test run while getting a cup of coffee?

It looks like anything outside of their routine gets the generic fix treatment, reinstall the OS and it'll be fine - no need to do any additional tests. Needless to say I'm not very pleased and have just had to go through that painful web form again and send it in for a second round of repairs.

Good job Acer, you join the ranks of Apple in my black book of extended warranty support. You're better off going to a third party repair center these days, I am yet to come across any support program that actually does what you pay for.