04 Jan Dealing With Defective Chromebooks? Follow These 5 Tips to Get Replacements
School districts dealing with high repair costs should negotiate with Chromebook manufacturers and dealers to replace defective computers.
Everything on Earth — whether organic or inorganic — breaks down at some point. Electronics are a prime example of products you buy, all the while expecting them to conk out one day at what will seem like the worst possible moment. The only consolation for this endless cycle of dead electronics is the confidence that you’ll be able to enjoy your expensive laptop, flat-screen TV or mp3 player for a reasonable amount of time before it passes on.
When student Chromebooks fall short of these expectations, district administrators shouldn’t hesitate to hold manufacturers and sellers accountable, no matter how frustrating it is to haggle over coverage. Due to tight budgets and slow turnaround for repairs, the stakes are even higher for school districts than individual consumers. A pile-up of broken Chromebooks interferes with classroom learning and overloads district IT departments. Fortunately, your expensive district purchases give you significant leverage over tight-fisted companies, so keep these five tips in mind when negotiating for repairs or replacements.
- Document Everything
From the moment those shiny new Chromebooks arrive, start documenting any unusual problems that arise. IT staff should thoroughly test every device before distributing them to weed out many defective computers right away. Districts that rush to deploy Chromebooks without enough advance planning may skimp on this step and miss out on a chance to replace broken devices before they reach student hands.
Documenting problems also helps your staff pick up on common breakage trends when they aren’t sure whether problems are caused by poor handling or manufacturing defects. Computer companies respond to numbers, so have plenty of data to back up your complaints.
- Gather Outside Evidence
Make it difficult for sellers and manufacturers to deny culpability by scouring the internet for similar complaints. Whenever possible, reach out to other school districts using the same model to find out if they’re experiencing similar breakage patterns. Arm yourself with as much evidence as possible to refute any claims that the problems are purely user-related. You can make an even stronger case if your IT team can physically pinpoint the defect.
- Avoid Buyback Programs
In an effort to retain some assets from a large computer purchase, some Chromebook sellers may try to persuade you to accept a buyback deal. These programs allow you to trade in old Chromebooks to obtain new models at a reduced price. Yet, there’s a glaring problem with this scenario. You shouldn’t have to spend another cent to buy new models to replace defective ones, especially when devices are still under warranty coverage. Both sellers and manufacturers have a responsibility to sell working products, so with or without an extended warranty, you should demand replacements if brand new Chromebooks don’t function as they should.
- Write a Counter-Proposal
Many Chromebook manufacturers will offer to repair the devices, which often requires sending the computers away for several days. This delayed system is challenging when your district has high breakage rates, as you can quickly exhaust your supply of backup Chromebooks while awaiting for broken devices to be returned. If you want a better solution, prepare a proposal with one to three recommendations for how you would like the company to handle the problem.
Keep in mind, Chromebook manufacturers don’t want to lose school districts as customers because one sale can net well over $100,000. Include a clear list of reasons why the manufacturer’s plan of action is detrimental to your district and the actions your administrators intend to take if your conditions aren’t met.
- Get Legal Representation
In most cases, Chromebook manufacturers will work hard to satisfy districts in hopes of gaining future sales. After all, districts that successfully implement Chromebooks plan to buy new devices every two to five years. However, as a last resort, your district can consult a legal professional to hold manufacturers accountable for broken devices. Few manufacturers want to deal with a costly legal battle and lose a cash cow at the same time. Obtaining legal counsel may be enough to scare sellers into fulfilling their obligations.