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Matrox has bad customer support?

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Matrox has bad customer support?
on Feb 28, 2005 at 2:36:32 am

I found this on the web. Just curious how many stories there are like this before I shell out all the money for matrox rt 100


Reviewer: An electronics fan (LOS ANGELES, CA)
I have been utilizing Matrox video cards exclusively over the past few years: G450's, 550's and most recently, a Parahelia dual-DVI 256MB. I have always liked their products, but seeking help from Matrox technical/service, however, is analogous to dealing with cell phone companies: Life is wonderful until there's a problem and you have to call them for help. Matrox is just as difficult and frustrating. Let me cite two examples, occurring fourteen months apart.

Last year, I had a Matrox G550 fail; luckily, it was still under warranty. After being transferred from Tech Support to Matrox Customer Service for an RMA, I was informed a replacement would be shipped only AFTER Matrox had received the defective card. When I asked the CS person what I was supposed to do with a PC with no video for two weeks, she didn't seem to care.

Almost all electronic industry manufacturers have a identical return/replacement model: You give them your credit card number, they send the replacement unit, and if you don't return the defective unit in a prescribed period of time, they charge your CC.

When I prompted this to the CS person, she replied they did have such a program. However, Matrox charges the replacement to your CC BEFORE shipment, then credits the charge upon return of the product. I was so bewildered by this, I forgot to ask why she neglected to mention the replacement scheme to begin with. After I got off the phone, it dawned on me: It generates more paperwork; she has to charge off the CC, perform the refund, etc. Lazy, perhaps? You be the judge.

Then, more annoyances: When the replacement card arrived, it had a "refurbished" tag on the circuit board. I can't ever remember any electronics company sending me a refurb'd device for replacement of a retail-value warranty item. I remember thinking, "geez, how cheap can you get?" Then I noticed on the enclosed paperwork that Matrox had charged my CC the full $125 list price of a new G550 card for the replacement, refurbished device! As we like to say here in the U.S., you have to have large, brass ones for that kind of chutzpah...

Fast forward to last week: I just finished building a new PC, utilizing the same G550 card. After working perfectly for days, I powered the unit on; no video. After much back-tracking (and cursing), it finally occurred to me to test the PC on two separate, identical IBM P260 monitors; the analog video port of the G550 would not function on either monitor. The only conclusion I could fathom was that either the card had failed again, or the driver just stopped functioning (and yes, I had diligently downloaded & installed the most current G550 XP driver posted on the Matrox site when I did the SW build). Deleting and re-installing the driver did not correct the problem.

At 10:15amPST Friday, I called Matrox Tech Support. Matrox's TS automated phone attendant requires a unique client ID number before it transfers to a live TS person. I punched mine in, and was informed that no one was in queue and my call would be answered immediately. The attendant paused, then stated there was a problem with my client ID and that it was transferring me. It paused again, then informed me that TS was closed! All the while, I'm staring at my confirmed client ID number (and the model/serial numbers of all the products I had purchased from them over the years) on the Matrox web site on my other, Parahelia-equipped PC, and it's the middle of the business day in Canada. ARGH.

I called back repeatedly, each time re-performing the client ID procedure, but the attendant kept booting me out. DOUBLE ARGHH.

In total frustration, I called Matrox's main line. I dug thru the menu and finally got a receptionist, who informed that, indeed, TS was open and transferred me... right into somebody's voicemail. TRIPLE ARGHHH, I'm thinking: "I want to fix this before Matrox goes home, I don't want to be dead for the whole weekend." So I "zero'd" back to the operator and begged for a live person, but she refused to help me. I ended up leaving a frustrated voicemail message.

That was three business days ago, and I have never received the courtesy of a return call. All those fruitless phone calls from Los Angeles to Quebec, Canada, BTW, were on my nickel: Matrox provides no 800- support telephone numbers.

What happened to the problem? Just for the heck of it, I removed the G550 driver and installed the latest Parhelia driver, then lit up the PC with the G550 installed. IT WORKED. The G550 is a analog/DVI unit, and my Parhelia is a dual-DVI device, so go figure.

To be honest, I had forgotten the G550 return incident last year, but this situation brought it back into sharp recall. I decided to post this because I believe users should have their expectations set appropriately when considering purchasing a Matrox product. This new PC I built is a high-end RAID A/V workstation that I wanted dedicated to Adobe PS/video editing. I had it in mind that the Matrox RT.X100 Xtreme HW/SW bundle was my product of choice to crown this new unit, but now, I going to take a second look at the market. Why would I want to spend this kind of money on a product from a company who treated me this way twice?

To summarize: Matrox builds great stuff, but if you ever have a problem, be aware of what you're likely to face: Matrox is seriously flawed, almost arrogant and uncaring (possibly the "French" in "French-Canadian"???), in their support operations. And long-time loyal customers, like myself, especially don't deserve such treatment.

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John Q
Re: Matrox has bad customer support?
on Mar 1, 2005 at 5:28:49 am

Okay, you've had troubles with the PC's that you've built.

1. Were you wearing your antistatic wriststrap, when you built your system?

2. If you were wearing your antistatic wriststrap, when was the last time you tested it, because they don't last forever?

3. When you plugged the video card in the computer, did you remember to turn the power supply off? I mention this, because newer motherboards have power applied to the bus, even when they're turned off by the power switch on the front.

30 volts of static electricty at a distance of 1 inch from the chip was sufficient to damage an integrated circuit 20 years ago. It doesn't even have to touch the chip to damage it. Chips have much smaller spacing now, and are dramatically more sensitive to static electricty than they used to be. Just as an example, a plastic ID badge rubbed against cotton generates 300 volts of static. It takes 3000 volts of static to create a visible spark.

If you don't follow proper precautions inside your computer case, you may not immediately kill parts of your computer, but you will wound it. Over time, the wound turns into a dead component. Before you blame Matrox for all your problems, you better ask yourself, if you followed proper ESD procedures to prevent damaging the boards.

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I did not have any trouble at all.
on Mar 2, 2005 at 3:42:24 pm

I did not have a problem with there products.

I had a question about how many people had poor customer support.

After I found a few places on the net where people where giving very poor reviews of there customer support.

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John Q
Re: I did not have any trouble at all.
on Mar 3, 2005 at 2:19:22 am

I have also read about some users' problem with the X100. The majority of them built systems with components that either were not tested and approved by Matrox or were actually built with hardware that Matrox had already tested and proved to be incompatible with the RT.X100.

I built my Rainbow Runner, my RT2000 and my RT.X100 systems using components that Matrox had tested, validated, and provided detailed configuration information. They all worked, with one exception. The Audigy sound card had problems with my A7M266-D and X100, so I contacted Matrox via their web support form. They were able to repeat the problem, since my system duplicated one of their tested and approved systems, worked with Creative to resolve the driver problem, and had me beta test the updated driver, which fixed the problem.

Since I bought my X100 (one of the first ones sold by Videoguys), Matrox has updated their video tools/drivers three times, not counting numerous hot fixes. The net cost for these upgrades ... nothing, free downloads for registered users, including providing improved capabilities.

I receive emails, notifying me of updated software, available for free download. I requently view the support forums to see what problems and solutions other users have found, sometimes suggesting solutions, based on my experience.

I'm sorry, but I don't call that BAD support.

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