Global Graffiti - aka lying scum

Around June 25, 2002 I ordered a Compaq notebook from Global Graffiti, Inc (they seem to be out of business). They had a very good price on a Compaq notebook. I looked over their web page, and it seemed like a good deal. I spoke to them on the phone before ordering it. Neither the web page, nor the phone person mentioned that the unit was factory refurburished. Now, I have bought lots of factory refurburished stuff, and it is always very clearly marked as such. So the notebook arrives, and very clearly was labeled factory refurburished. After examining it, I discovered that the notebook was incomplete. There was no restore cd (this cd contains the operating system and whatever utilities that come with the computer. The operating system alone generally costs $100 to $200), and there was no 'weight saving device' which is a cover for the optical slot when the cd drive was removed.

I contacted Kenneth Nutt (who seems to run) Global Graffiti, and expressed my surprise at the notebook being refurbished and incomplete. He said he would get the missing parts shipped to me. I never received them. I decided I would return the notebook. I sent him email on July 31 2002, asking how to return the unit, and I received no answer. I shipped the unit back Aug 2 2002. I contacted my credit card company, and told them I wanted the charge reversed. They did so. A few months later I found the charge back on my credit card. I called the credit card company, and asked why. They said that Global Graffiti said they never received the notebook. I gently pointed out the UPS tracking info, which showed someone named Nutt signed for the unit, several days after I shipped it via UPS. The credit card company didn't ask me any more questions after that.

So Global Graffiti did the following to earn the coveted weasel of the month award:

  • Sold a refurburished unit as a new unit.
  • Sold it incomplete.
  • Never sent out the missing parts, though they said they would.
  • When I wanted to return it, ignored my email.
  • Lied to the credit card company about me returning it.

Dealextreme - inexpensive electronics from China

I had heard mixed reports about DealExtreme. I had heard that some of their stuff broke quickly. I had heard that they wanted videos of their broken stuff in order to replace it. I decided to buy some stuff from them, because their prices are very low, and shipping is free. I bought a digital scale that went up to 1kg. It worked flawlessly. I decided to buy two computer fan speed controllers. These go between a fan and where the fan plugs in to. The circuitry is quite simple (an adjustable pulse width modulation controller). Compared to a digital scale, much simpler. I installed the first unit, and it worked fine. I installed the second unit, and it worked fine. Then it broke after about a day and a half.

I sent them email saying it had broke, and asked for another. Here is what they said:

Dear turbo,
Apologize for the trouble!
This is Vicky from Dx to help you.
The true reason why it can't work cannot be checked for you at present.
Would you mind checking it again according to its manual?
But would you please login our website and scan the review and forum, which are written by our kind customers. Maybe you can find something useful for the defective item, maybe just the reason why it does not work.
If it still can't be solved, please contact us soon.
Thanks so much.

[It seems they have some idea it might be broken, but seem unsure somehow.] I replied:

I bought 2. One works. One broke. On the broken one, no matter how I turn the knob, the fan doesn't spin. When I remove it, and hook up the fan directly, the fan works. The unit has failed. It needs to be replaced. I just hope the other one doesn't break as well.

They replied:

Hello, turbo
Thanks for your reply!
Do you mean the item 13913 is defective in this order?
We will solve your trouble soon.
Best regards!

[It seems they are still uncertain that it is defective, as they ask me if it is defective. Perhaps a language issue?] I replied:

Yes it is defective. It has broken. Does not work at all.

They replied:

Apologize for the item being defective.
If your product gets damaged within 30 days of delivery, please mail your item to our USA Defective Product Drop Box via the cheapest way with tracking number (address below). Before sending it back, please send us the total expected shipping cost so that we can record and process a return shipping reimbursement for you. Then, e-mail us your tracking number and the actual postage spent. Upon the delivery of the returned package, a replacement unit and the return shipping reimbursement will be sent to you.
But if the product turns out to be defective after 30 days from delivery, please notice that the return shipping costs (both ways) will be the sole responsibility of you. We will still try to exchange your defective products for a brand new one where possible. (If you have any question, please refer to FAQ to get further detail).
VERY Important: please remember to include a note in your package indicating the following items:
1. Your order number,
2. sku numbers returned and quantity, and
3. a short description of the problem(s) of the defective unit.
This note will help expediting the processing time for you. Thank you.
USA Return Address:
S CHEN | DealExtreme
8345 NW 66TH ST #8247
MIAMI FL 33166-2626
If you have any questions on the return, please feel free to contact us again at anytime.

I replied:

I mailed it. It cost $2.26. The USPS tracking number is 4

They replied:

Hi turbo,
Thanks for your reply!
then we will replace 2 items 13913 for you and there is no need to refund the returning fee, is that ok?
Best regards!

I replied:

No. I only need 2 working units. I have no need for a third. Please refund the shipping costs of 2.26, as you agreed.

They replied:

hello, turbo,
Thanks for your reply!
We will keep the returning fee 2.26 as store credit in your order Z, because refund will cost us 7-14 working days to finish. So it is not convenient.
And we will resend a new item 13913 in your order Z, please kindly wait for it.
Is that ok?

I replied:

No, it is not ok. You said you would pay me for shipping, and I expect you to do so. I can wait 7-14 working days for the money. I will be posting all of these messages to my web page, showing the type of support you have for your products.

You folks need to keep your word.

All of this exchange is over a part that cost under $3.00 shipped from China. They need to learn a lesson about customer support from

They replied:

Hello, turbo
thanks for your kindly understanding!
So we will refund the returning fee 2.26 in your paypal, please kindly wait 4-7 working days.
And you will get an email when the item 13913 is shipped.
Best regards!

Dynasty Express - aka mail order hell

Here is my chronology of dealing with Dynasty Express (they seem to be out of business). I started keeping track of the problems, in order to document true mail order hell.

Oct-07-1999 I decided I wanted a new computer. I decided to order everything (except the modem since they didn't sell it) from one company, Dynasty Express. I had dealt with them before, and they seemed reasonable. I was in for an eye-opening experience.

1) They are open M-F. Call or send email on Saturday or Sunday, and they won't see it until Monday (at the earliest). (Amazon is 24*7)

2) They don't pay return shipping, even if parts are defective. (Amazon pays return shipping)

3) They charge a re-stocking fee if you want to return defective parts.

4) They won't cross ship parts, and only ship UPS ground. (Amazon cross ships)

5) You need to talk to tech support to get RMA numbers and the like, and the wait for tech support is 20-30 minutes. (Amazon had 1 minute hold time)

6) They don't do next day or two day, only UPS ground. (Amazon sent me a replacement item via 2 day).

They say on their web page: We test and support every part we sell, and by selling top name, quality parts, it is very unlikely that you'll have to return a part for replacement. We also have less support problems; therefore, we have happier customers

I'm not sure what 'test and support' means. Perhaps they test one item before deciding to sell it. They certainly don't test each item they sell, or I couldn't have gotten two bad motherboards in a row.

If you look at , you will see they don't have happier customers, but rather lots of problems.

Jul-21-1999 The first P.O. date

@Jul-25-1999 I got the parts in two shipments.

@Jul-28-1999 The motherboard was bad. I knew it. I call dynasty express. They suggest trying a new power supply and other ideas.

@Aug-10-1999 I had to talk to tech support so they could verify it. It typically takes 20-30 minutes on the phone to get a hold of tech support. At least its a toll-free call. I finally got an RMA number. I sent in the motherboard & 2 processors & memory. They wouldn't cross ship me a new motherboard. They wouldn't pay for my shipping.

@Aug-11-1999 I mailed back the parts.

Aug-17-1999 The second P.O. date

@Aug-27-1999 I got back all the parts. They replaced the motherboard, and the pins of the cpu's got bent up. I spent an hour un-bending the 2 cpu pins. The new motherboard was even worse than the old one.

Aug-28-1999 (Saturday when they aren't open) I sent email, describing the problems with the motherboard.

Aug-30-1999 (Monday, when they opened) I called the up to get a new RMA number. Again they wouldn't cross ship me a new one, and they wouldn't pay for postage.

Aug-31-1999 Returned MB.

Sep-13-1999 Got MB back due to no RMA # on outside. The tech support manager 'Jerimiah' would offer no help whatsoever. He said that a package without a RMA number is simply refused. I thought I put the number on the package, but I guess I forgot. They can track my orders by my name, but I guess they don't look at names when mailing stuff back to them, even if it is in their mailing box.

Sep-14-1999 Mailing in MB again, this time with lots of RMA #'s on package.

Sep-21-1999 They get MB at 10:41am (their time).

Sep-24-1999 I call them at @3:30pm (their time). They say they haven't had a chance to look at the MB, nor send me a replacement. It has been 3 days. Perhaps if they sit on it for a few more days, it will hatch...

Sep-27-1999 I spoke to their 'manager' keith at 3pm their time. They had not tested my MB. They won't ship me a new one until they test it. They got it Tuesday morning, a week ago. I am most unimpressed.

Sep-30-1999 They say the MB tested bad. I asked them to ship me a tested MB, as the last two were broken.

Oct-06-1999 Board not shipped yet - keith, but they will try to test it today and get it out today. He say they should not have told me that would ship it on Friday or Monday (Oct 1 or Oct 4).

Oct-07-1999 They say they shipped the MB to me today.

Oct-15-1999 I called them, asking where the MB was. They told me it should be delivered today
It actually arrived today

Oct-17-1999 The mb seems to be working.

The floppy cable as well as the IDE cable (not the ata-66 cable) are missing. Perhaps gremlins took the cables as tribute.

I sent them email, asking for the missing cables. Of course, they are not open Saturday or Sunday, or else I would have sent them email Saturday morning.

Oct-18-1999 They claim to have sent all the cables that I returned.

Oct-19-1999 I tell them I returned all the cables, and asked for the missing cables again.
They say which cables?
I reply, the ones that I asked for in my message. Clearly they do not know how to read.

Oct-25-1999 The missing cables arrive. 3.5 months to get my order.

So what was learned?

They have good prices. They have crap for service. I waited 3.5 months to get working parts from them. I paid for shipping back defective merchandise 3 times. I spent at least 4 or 5 hours on the phone with them. At least they finally delivered what they said they would. So they are not lying thiefs, unless you consider my time.

I would not recommend them under any conditions. There are many professional mail order companies. I have never had such a poor experience of mail order shopping. Having to wait so long for delays at their end is inexcusable. If they had given me a free motherboard after all this hassle, perhaps I could exclude their sloth turn-around time.

Computer Geeks

I bought some stuff from Computer Geeks a few years ago. More recently, I wanted acquired another dual processor Pentium III system with only one processor installed, and I wanted another processor. Now if you read Intel's documentation, basically all steppings of Pentium III 933 cpu's will work with any other in a dual processor system. Not needing some special DP or MP Xeon in order to have a dual processor system is a big advantage of the Pentium III. In fact, some of my useful programs run faster on my 933 mhz Pentium III than my 2.4 ghz Xeon.

So, I ordered two used Pentium III 933 cpu's from Computer Geeks. I wanted one for my second dual processor system, and one spare. I got two. I tested them, and one worked and the other didn't. That it, the computer would not boot with the bad one. Since I started with three good ones, and two good motherboards it was easy to determine the new cpu was bad. I found out that Computer Geeks tests the processors, but does not test them in a dual processor system. (In fact the stepping of the bad one was the stepping of another cpu I had that worked fine). So the procedure is get a RMA number, and return the part. Well, they don't have a toll-free number, so I used email. After not getting an answer, I called. I was on hold for about 20 or 30 minutes, and I eventually got a RMA with no problem. I later got an email with the RMA number. I sent back the bad processor, and I told them I wanted another. I had to pay for return shipping. Since the processor was light, it wasn't so expensive.

After a few weeks, I called to ask where my replacement cpu was. They said they hadn't gotten any in, but should have some real soon. It would have been nice to be told they were out of stock... After a week or so, I got another processor. It didn't work either. I called them and told them I simply wanted to return the processor for credit, since two out of three didn't work. I also got a RMA number, and I paid to ship it back.

A few weeks later, I got another package from Computer Geeks. I opened it, and found another Pentium III 933 processor. I thought they had simply gotten confused, and failed to credit me for the one I returned, and shipped me another replacement. I looked at the paperwork, and I found they had billed me for a third cpu. I never placed an order for a third one, but they charged my credit card for it. I was a bit upset. I know there is a law that if someone sends something to you that you didn't order, you didn't have to pay for it. I considered keeping it, but I really didn't think it was right to take advantage of their foul-up, even if they fraudulently charged my credit card without my permission. I decided to return it the way it came, since I didn't feel like paying for shipping for a third cpu.

I sent Computer Geeks email explaining that they screwed up, and I expected them to credit my credit card for the full amount, and to credit my credit card for one cpu returned. I told them I would return the unordered cpu the same way it was shipped. I never got a reply to that email. I called Fed-Ex and told them I mistakenly got a package, and I wanted to return it. They picked it up in a few days.

I sent Computer Geeks another email to another email address, and got a reply in a few days. They didn't seem to understand what was going on, and referred me to tech support. I replied that the problem had nothing to do with tech support, and I was returning the item, and expected money back. I got another email saying I should get a RMA number. I replied that I didn't need a RMA number, as I didn't place an order from them. I also told them if I didn't get satisfaction within a week, I would contact my credit card company and let them deal with it. I got no reply. I contacted my credit card company and they took my statement. I will let them be on hold for 30 minutes and pay toll charges to deal with Computer Geeks. I have since read several places about the horrible customer support that Computer Geeks has. It is too bad, as they sell some interesting stuff at decent prices. However, they tried to defraud me, and I will never do business with them. - mail order heaven

I ordered an answering machine from Amazon. I ordered it Oct-21-1999. It arrived Oct-25-1999. It didn't work properly. I called them at 8pm. They didn't answer on the first two calls (30 minutes hold time). I tried another option on their phone tree. I got a person is about a minute. They said they were sorry the answering machine was broken.

They said to wrap it up, and they would mail me an UPS return postage sticker. They said they would send me another answering machine via 2nd day air.

Now, this is real service. They will get more of my business. Dynasty express has a ton to learn from them. Also see my review of Amazon for household items.

New Image International - tape drive repair

Well, my Sony SDT-5000 broke again. I called a very friendly guy at New Image International, who fixes and sells tape drives (as well as optical drives). I decided to swap my broken unit for a HP DAT-8 drive (factory reconditioned). I really wanted to do a complete backup before Y2K (and before going to NT service pack 6a).

Since I live nearby, I drove over there and exchanged my drive. I got the new drive, and some new Digital Equipment Corp DDS2 120m tapes.

I tried out the new drive after downloading lotsa info from HP's web site, (which is very poorly organized), and it failed after backing up 30 to 60 megabytes of data. I was not encouraged, and I called New Image International, and was told that it was a factory reconditioned unit, and the quality control on the repairs wasn't very good. He also told me about poor quality control of Sony, Quantum and others with respect to factory reconditioned tape drives. He said bad for the companies reputations, and good for his business.

Now here is the real surprise. He gave me TWO tape drives, another HP DAT-8, as well as a Sony SDT-5000. They were both factory reconditioned, and he wanted to be sure that I could do a backup before Y2K hit. He told me to keep the one that worked, and to mail him back the other one. He also gave me a new Digital 120m tape, to cover the shipping charge. Now he did have my credit card number, but I think few companies would go to such trouble to help their customers out.

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