My $170 video card is a fake, and the company won't take responsibility.
August 6, 2010 10:22 AM   Subscribe

I've discovered a fraudulent computer part that I've been using in my system for nearly two years. Company refuses to service it, citing expired warranty. What recourse do I have?

While running some updates on my Windows system, I noticed a disparity in the model number of my graphics card. The product that I bought was model A but the two PC systems that I put the card in shows it as model B (with B an older model of A). I had bought it online, from a very popular computer parts seller (, and it came in the mail in a shrinkwrapped box, etc.

So this past week, I've confirmed with the company tech support that it is indeed a fraudulent product, email exchange of photos and receipts. Even the serial number sticker on the card is fake. However the company won't deal with it, on the grounds that my warranty has expired. Newegg advertised it as a so-called "limited-lifetime" warranty, which I had failed to activate via product registration within the first year of purchase. While it was bad on my part for not taking care to research the terms, I think this kind of business tactic is sneaky and rather mean to your customers. I also take this to mean they view this as a product defect, which, I think, is sort of ridiculously overshadowed by the more obvious problem, in that a crime was committed, most certainly somewhere within their company.

I've written a formal letter to their CEO and head of product development, but have yet to hear back from them.

At this point, I'm running out of ideas… Does the warranty apply to circumstances of intentional deception? They get away with it, and I am supposed to just eat this for them?
posted by polymodus to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Submit it to Consumerist.
posted by k8t at 10:36 AM on August 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

Pursuing this beyond the point where you are stonewalled by the company will likely cost more than $170, so your best bet is probably a public shaming. The Consumerist eats this kind of thing up.
posted by thejoshu at 10:38 AM on August 6, 2010

No, of course not. Even if it had zero warranty, it would not be OK to fraudulently missell you something. It is common for businesses to act as if they have no. There will probably be a statute of limitations that applies, though.

I would start by talking to your attorney general. Then small claims court. This is not legal advice, but it's hard to imagine legal advice would be worth it for $170.
posted by grouse at 10:39 AM on August 6, 2010

It is common for businesses to act as if they have no obligations to their customers beyond the warranty. This is not the case.
posted by grouse at 10:44 AM on August 6, 2010

I just wanted to point out that the intentional deception may not have come from Newegg directly. They may have been fooled by a dishonest supplier, as it appears they were with the fake Intel Core i7-920 processor scandal from earlier this year. Newegg tried to play it off as "demo boxes" accidentally being sent out, but there doesn't seem to be any reason to make such accurate "demo" boxes besides to sell as counterfeits, and of course the end users would notice so they must've been duped by someone higher in the food chain.

If your letters to the execs don't work, I'd explore doing a credit card charge back based upon the original merchandise being counterfeit and not what you ordered.
posted by sharkfu at 10:45 AM on August 6, 2010

I third submitting to Consumerist.
They love newegg
posted by KogeLiz at 10:45 AM on August 6, 2010

Your beef is more with Newegg than with the manufacturer. As others have said, the warranty is beside the point. You gave Newegg money. They said they were giving you a thing. They gave you a different thing. That was a breach of contract. They owe you a replacement thing (or enough money to buy a new one). Collecting from the manufacturer is Newegg's problem.

Have you sent Newegg your proof? That's the first thing to try, and I'm guessing it's more likely to work out, because Newegg maybe has a reputation to maintain in customer service.

(Besides breach of contract, someone has an action against someone for fraud here, if they can prove intentional misrepresentation -- but it's not clear to me who that is, or whether there would be any advantage over just proving breach of contract. Also in some states, like Massachusetts, if Newegg refused to fix the problem you could go after them for multiple damages under consumer protection statutes. But try just asking them nicely first.)

(if it's not abundantly clear already, I am not your lawyer.)
posted by jhc at 11:45 AM on August 6, 2010

I would take them to small claims court. If you are willing to do this, contact me, and I'll tell you what you need to do.

Thats total bullshit that newegg sold this to you and now is refusing to take responsibility.

Also, make sure that any communication you send has a receipt/signature required so you can definitely say "yes...they received it, your honor"
posted by hal_c_on at 12:46 PM on August 6, 2010

Report them to the Better Business Bureau. Companies do not like getting dinged by the BBB. Tell them you are doing this, they may ante up.

Small claims court, good idea.

When you correspond, do it via USPS, not email. Keep copies of all your correspondence. Get the names of managers and directors, send the mail to them.

Not sure how much the part is worth, so it may not be worth too much effort. But I would report them to the BBB no matter what else you do.
posted by fifilaru at 12:56 PM on August 6, 2010

Do reports on a bad-publicity site like Consumerist really effect a huge distributor like NewEgg? I doubt it will resolve the submitter's problem.
posted by carlh at 7:53 PM on August 6, 2010

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