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Aria Custom PCs - a user's experience



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 24th 05, 05:45 PM
Vittorio Janus
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Default Aria Custom PCs - a user's experience

Back in early November I asked for information from anyone who had
bought a custom PC from Aria. I got a number of helpful responses so I
thought I'd follow it up with the story of how I got on. It's quite a
long one...

Knowing that Aria would debit my credit card when the order was placed
('cos I read their T&Cs), I waited until 23rd November before placing
the order. But all the 939 pin Athlon64 CPUs were out of stock so I
waited until they were showing in stock [Lesson #1 - no point in this
for a custom build].

Several days later, the Athlon64 3200+ was in stock but not my
preferred choice, the 3500+. This forced a rethink - I could save £65
by getting a CPU that is only 11X rather than 12X faster than my
existing one and buy a second 200GB HD for (almost) as much as I saved
- a better use of money for my pattern of usage. But my graphics card
was now out of stock.

Despite my Graphics card being out of stock, I placed an order for a
custom build PC on 27th November - Arianet Midi Tower Case with 420W
PSU, Athlon64 3200+, Asus A8V Deluxe mobo, 1GB RAM, a dual-layer
DVD-RW, a DVD-ROM, 2 x 200GB HDs, ATI Radeon 9800SE AIW, and Windows
XP Home. Aria's confirmation email said it would take 7 working days
to arrive.

The 9800SE AIW was back in stock on Wed 1/12/04 so assuming a 5 day
week, I thought I should get it on the 7th or 8th. Both those days
went by with my Order History still showing "Processing", unchanged
from Day 1 so I used the web mail on the "Contact us" page to ask when
I might get my PC. No response at all so I send another one the next
day. Still no response so on Mon 13/12/04 I sent an email to
(sender of the confirmation email). No response.
Sent the email to " on Tue 14/12/04.
Still no response. Getting desparate now, the telephone is useless - I
got fed up waiting twice, it cut me off twice - so I went through
messages in this group looking for RobD's address. Found
, marked for attention of RobD". Asked him for an
update on Thu 16/12/04.

Got a response from Rob on Friday morning and an update in the
afternoon. The first message told me that the standard 7 days assembly
time wasn't being met because of the Christmas rush, that my PC was
assembled on the 14th and was about to be tested. The second message
told me that the CPU had failed under test, that they were out of
stock, and he didn't know when they would have any.

Aria's web site showed that they had had a delivery over the weekend
so I emailed Rob on Monday morning to ask him to chase his people
along. He replied within 20 minutes to tell me that they were already
fitting it and gave me a telephone number to call at 16:30. I did and
they confirmed that build/testing was complete and that delivery would
take place on Tuesday 21/12/04.

Tuesday, waited all day for City Link to deliver. At 6pm, I checked my
Order History on the Aria site and saw a CityLink logo in place of
"Processing". Clicked on that to see that CityLink claimed that they
had carded me at 17:20!!! I had been in the room directly above the
front door, no music or noise of any kind, nor was there a card. Tried
ringing the depot but no answer. However, at 20:30 my wife heard a
strange, quiet, sound at the front door so she went to investigate to
find a CityLink driver tapping on the door with gloved fingers - why
he couldn't use the door bell, I have no idea [1]. Any way, all is
sweetness and light - I finally have my brand new PC.

However, when I opened it up I could see a big gap under the floppy
drive and a dent in the top of the case. Two stickers over the case
screws saying "Guarantee void if removed" stopped me investigating any
further so I sent an email off to Rob that night asking for help.

Ian Gower, the Technical Systems Manager, replied at 09:40 asking me
to open the case to assess the damage. It looked much worse once the
sides were off! My guess is that it was put on top of a stack of boxes
in the back of the van when he couldn't deliver at 17:30 and it fell
off before he got back to me. Replied to Ian with some photos and he
called my wife while I was out to give her a returns number and to
tell her that CityLink were going to collect it. I called Ian back to
check exactly what he wanted me to return, i.e. PC only or all the
loose bits as well. He told me that he needed the CPU and RAM but that
everything else (including the HDs) was a write off. He also said that
he wasn't happy with the strength of the HD cage in the Arianet case
(it was a mess) and would prefer to substitute a stronger case. I was
quite happy so long as the colour matched the optical drive fronts. He
told me that Aria would receive my PC on Thursday morning and treat it
as an emergency job to get it out that night for CityLink to deliver
to me on the morning of Christmas Eve. Frankly, I didn't fancy my PC
being treated as a rush job so I told him not to bust a gut doing that
because I wouldn't be able to use it until after Christmas anyway.

CityLink collected at 14:20 Wed 22/12/04 and delivered to Aria on
Thursday.

Telling Ian not to bust a gut was a BIG, a VERY BIG mistake. He didn't
bust a gut. Like many others, Ian didn't get back from his Christmas
holiday until January 4th. When I got to talk to him on the 5th, he
told me that my PC had been locked up in Goods Received since
Christmas and that he would make sure it was dealt with that day. The
lad re-building it called me later that day to ask me if I wanted my
HD configured as 2 separate drives or a striped pair or a mirrored
pair. He was very apologetic about the delay saying that he didn't
know about the job so hadn't gone looking for it.

Aria despatched it on the 5th and CityLink tried to deliver at 14:05
on the 6th. I was out and my wife didn't hear the door bell. The card
said they would attempt to deliver next day (Friday 7th) and don't
call CityLink unless I wanted a different delivery day. I didn't call
them and they didn't deliver. I got fed up waiting by about 3pm so I
called to try and find out when it would come. A totally un-apologetic
man told me that it was still sitting in the depot and wouldn't be
delivered until Monday. ("We only do collections on Saturdays" he
lied.) I tried to enlist Rob's help to pressurise CityLink to deliver
on Saturday but he couldn't do anything for me. He told me that Aria
had dumped CityLink for Amtrak a while back but they were worse!

Finally, 10:40 on Mon 10/1/05 my PC was delivered.

Started the process of installing all my software etc. After several
hours I shut it down whilst I tried to clear up some of the mess
around me. I couldn't turn it back on! Tried swapping power leads but
nothing doing. Sent Rob an email. Next morning, everything was fine
but, over the next few days, it happened several more times. Most
times, swapping power leads got it re-started, occasionally not. I
don't think it ever went more than about 6 hours before the power
went, less than ½hour on ne occasion.

I was really, really struggling to get my new PC to talk to my old one
and to the Internet via my ST Lab Broadband Router so the power
problem got pushed back a bit - only room for one problem at a time in
my head these days Finally, on Friday evening, I got round to
checking the rating of the PSU supplied with the 'virgo' case I got in
place of the arianet case I originally ordered - it was 300W. My
pre-buying research had suggested that 400W was a sensible figure for
my set-up and that 300W was, at best, marginal.

Monday morning I called Ian about the PSU. He tried, somewhat
half-heartedly, to convince me that the 300W PSU in the 'virgo' case
was better than than the 420W PSU in the arianet case but agreed to
check further and call me back. No call back so I called him on
Tuesday. Apologised for mislaying my number and passed the phone over
to Dan saying "this is the guy I was talking to you about an hour
ago". I went through the symptoms with him and Dan asked me to take
the side off the PC to check that the fan on the CPU heat sink was
running (it was). [2] Called him back and we discussed the options -
return the PC for Dan to install a new PSU or send one for me to fit.
I opted for the latter as being less hassle for me. Dan told me that
we had missed the Tuesday pickup deadline but it would be picked up by
CityLink on Wednesday and delivered on Thursday.

Is anyone surprised that it didn't come on Thursday? Called Dan on
Friday morning to ask for the CityLink Job No. to find out where it
was. I got the number after rather more than the half hour originally
specified - but then he was arranging for a Saturday delivery!

PSU arrived at 09:30 (apparently the driver first tried at 08:30 but
they are not allowed to card before 09:00) and I fitted it early in
the afternoon. It's been running for much more than 6 hours at a
stretch since then with no problems so I'm pretty hopeful that all is
now well.

Overall - would I buy from Aria again? Yes. The original delay in
delivery was obviously a result of ordering relatively close to
Christmas. The delay in the repair was again directly down to
Christmas (if you include the human nature aspects of Christmas as
well). The cock-up on the PSU rating was undoubtedly because neither
Ian or myself thought about the PSU rating when considering an
alternative case. The delay in sending out the PSU was simple human
error, fixed very quickly after a reminder. For me, the major positive
was that I could talk to Aria staff about my problems and they
responded properly. Compared to the way that DABS dealt with the
failure of a router I bought from them, it was a breath of fresh air.

So long as RobD is monitoring this group, I will continue to buy from
Aria and recommend them to others.

Regards,
vj

[1] The bell worked just fine the next day for the 2 guys delivering a
mattress in the morning and for the CityLink driver collecting my PC
in the afternoon.

[2] The hard drive cage on the 'virgo' is MUCH more robust than on the
arianet case.

Regards
vj
  #2  
Old January 24th 05, 07:49 PM
Mike
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Posts: n/a
Default


"Vittorio Janus" wrote in message
...



Can't read all that. Whats the summary?.
1) Did the pc arrive in full working order as per the spec ?.
2) Have you had to seek any aftersales on it, if so why, and was it
resolved?





  #3  
Old January 25th 05, 07:26 AM
Dave
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Posts: n/a
Default


"Vittorio Janus" wrote
snip........
Overall - would I buy from Aria again? Yes. The original delay in
delivery was obviously a result of ordering relatively close to
Christmas.


Yep something ive tried to point out to the Aria whiners of this group that
had ordered stuff and had to wait a while for any issues that occured over
the xmas period, of course they will say they shouldnt have to wait, what
they dont realise obviously is how busy a company like aria can be over
xmas and that they aint the only customer.

The delay in the repair was again directly down to
Christmas (if you include the human nature aspects of Christmas as
well). The cock-up on the PSU rating was undoubtedly because neither
Ian or myself thought about the PSU rating when considering an
alternative case.


Yeah not something that is top on your mind when you just want a PC that
fully works.

The delay in sending out the PSU was simple human
error, fixed very quickly after a reminder. For me, the major positive
was that I could talk to Aria staff about my problems and they
responded properly. Compared to the way that DABS dealt with the
failure of a router I bought from them, it was a breath of fresh air.


Yep and this is what i have said to many others in this group. Aria may
not be perfect, but compared to some they are saints, like any e-tailor you
have to be patient when making contact, but once your speak to a person at
Aria the communication is good, they seem to have a few really helpful
staff, you just need to make contact with them..


So long as RobD is monitoring this group, I will continue to buy from
Aria and recommend them to others.


You have the exact same opinion as me )) RobD dealt with my returns
issues recently with no real problems sometimes it takes a few weeks.
I get the feeling they are a very busy company and quite often are rushed
off their feet, but the most important thing IMO is communication, reading
through your post it seems the 2 main problems you had were...1. waiting
for stock and 2. Citylink (we all have had nightmares with them ;D).
Where i live their isnt any large independant computer suppliers, and so i
have to mail order, Aria IMO are one of the better companies to deal with,
things sometimes take time, but they get things done ) If i lived in
manchester i think i would be visiting them personally on regular occasions
to order stuff, if things go wrong IME you only need to be polite like you
and i were to the staff and not act like a swearing 5 year old to get staff
at aria to help and listen )
Ive said it before and i say it again, once you make contact with (proper)
staff at aria you get great communication )


Regards,
vj

[1] The bell worked just fine the next day for the 2 guys delivering a
mattress in the morning and for the CityLink driver collecting my PC
in the afternoon.


Good old citylink, sometimes though to be fair i do wonder if there is a
courier out there that is consistantly reliable in all parts of the
country.


[2] The hard drive cage on the 'virgo' is MUCH more robust than on the
arianet case.


Citylink are known to bash PC cases about before they get to you, just look
at some of the case reviews on ebuyers website (they also use citylink) to
see the state some peoples cases arrive in.




  #4  
Old January 25th 05, 12:38 PM
Mike Tomlinson
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

In article , Mike
writes

Can't read all that. Whats the summary?.


You lazy ****. Read it if you want to know what it says!

--
..sigmonster on vacation


  #5  
Old January 25th 05, 09:21 PM
Dave
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Mike Tomlinson" wrote in message
...
In article , Mike
writes

Can't read all that. Whats the summary?.


You lazy ****. Read it if you want to know what it says!


LOL, i have to say i agree, but i wouldnt have put it that strongly



  #6  
Old January 27th 05, 11:14 AM
Vittorio Janus
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Mon, 24 Jan 2005 19:49:37 -0000, "Mike" wrote:


"Vittorio Janus" wrote in message
.. .



Can't read all that. Whats the summary?.
1) Did the pc arrive in full working order as per the spec ?.
2) Have you had to seek any aftersales on it, if so why, and was it
resolved?




The summary:
So long as RobD is monitoring this group, I will continue to buy from
Aria and recommend them to others.

Regards
vj
  #7  
Old January 27th 05, 12:57 PM
Mike
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Vittorio Janus" wrote in message
...
On Mon, 24 Jan 2005 19:49:37 -0000, "Mike" wrote:


"Vittorio Janus" wrote in message
. ..



Can't read all that. Whats the summary?.
1) Did the pc arrive in full working order as per the spec ?.
2) Have you had to seek any aftersales on it, if so why, and was it
resolved?




The summary:
So long as RobD is monitoring this group, I will continue to buy from
Aria and recommend them to others.

Regards
vj


I assume by your long post you had a lot of
problems, i'll stick with Dell then



  #8  
Old January 27th 05, 04:26 PM
Vittorio Janus
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Thu, 27 Jan 2005 12:57:42 -0000, "Mike" wrote:

The summary:
So long as RobD is monitoring this group, I will continue to buy from
Aria and recommend them to others.

Regards
vj


I assume by your long post you had a lot of
problems, i'll stick with Dell then


Good luck

Regards
vj
  #9  
Old January 28th 05, 04:02 AM
Dave
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Vittorio Janus" wrote in message
...
On Thu, 27 Jan 2005 12:57:42 -0000, "Mike" wrote:

The summary:
So long as RobD is monitoring this group, I will continue to buy from
Aria and recommend them to others.

Regards
vj


I assume by your long post you had a lot of
problems, i'll stick with Dell then


Good luck

Regards
vj


LOL



 




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