Customer Support



September 10, 2007

The story below recounts my positive experience with BFG’s customer support. I’ve since had a rather negative experience and will likely not purchase BFG’s products again. To make an informed decision about whether BFG is the company for you I recommend reading my more recent story as well to better equip yourself with the facts to make your own informed decision.

The first thing I remember reading about BFG Technologies was in PC Gamer magazine a few years ago. The review was unfavourable, commending the company for their concept of selling pre-overclocked and warrantied Nvidia video cards but berating their product’s instability. BFG has come a long way, baby; the company quickly became renoun for their creative GPU solutions and now pretty well every third-party video card manufacturer overclocks their products out of the box. What still sets BFG apart, though, is their hitherto unheard-of lifetime warranty, contrasted with most other companies’ one- or three-year offerings.

Unfortunately, I had the opportunity to put BFG’s warranty to the test. My 5-month-old 7900GT began exhibiting odd behaviour in Windows, at the BIOS, and on the WinXP loading screen. Seemingly random white and coloured pixels were toggled in inappropriate places, and some games exhibited serious artifacts like huge polygons connecting to a model vertex and taking up an entire corner of the screen. I didn’t have a second PCI-E video card to test with, but I experienced no graphical corruption while accessing my computer via remote desktop. Flushing the drivers with Driver Cleaner Pro and re-installing the newest ones didn’t help. I was pretty certain the problem was my video card.

I called BFG tech support at about 4:30pm on a weekday. I was placed on hold for 10 or 15 minutes. A technician answered in a rather blase tone, and I got a little nevous. I hadn’t registered my card (BFG’s website insisted this was not necessary to receive tech support) so I surrendered my name and address. I gave a brief description of the symptoms which prompted the technician to insightfully ask me whether the issues were limited to Windows. I said they weren’t, and he told me it sounded like a hardware error and he’d have a replacement sent to me. We’d spoken for about 4 minutes by this time.

I’ve had some crappy customer support and RMA experiences (especially with Linksys – avoid that company at all costs!!) in the past, so I was literally shocked at how incredibly competent and honest BFG portrayed itself.

I was offered the option of simply courioring my card to BFG where they would send me a replacement upon receipt. I asked whether a cross-shipment was possible, but that required my original receipt which I couldn’t find. Incredibly, the ordinary RMA process requires no receipt.

I was instructed to carefully package my card and courier it to BFG in the States. Other than the cost of one-way ground shipping ($20 CAD) the RMA cost me nothing. I scrounged up a static bag and some bubble wrap and sent it on its way.

What was I to do for a week – use my crappy laptop? Heck no! I double- and triple-verified the return policy at Future Library– er — Shop, and , after expressing my great interest coupled with valid trepidation (“I’ve heard this model is louder than others. Can I return or exchange it if I don’t like it?”) I took home a snazzy and highly overpriced (by about 20%) BFG GeForce 7950GT. I installed the card and took special care to preserve the packaging and receipt, which was no small feat considering I moved into a new apartment a few days later.

I’ll briefly mention that the 7950GT is a little faster than the 7900GT, but it the fan is indeed a great deal louder. It’s nigh impossible to find the 7900GT for sale anymore, and where sold it’s been substantially marked up due to low inventory, so the 7950 is the way to go nowadays as it’s far more economical than the superbly beefy 8800GTX or SLI-in-one-card 7950GX2. Still, it yielded better frame rates in MS Flight Simulator X which I greatly miss now.

So anyway, I tracked my outgoing shipment via Purolator’s website and was pleased when it arrived Thursday, a full day ahead of schedule (4 days instead of 5). The following Monday my replacement card arrived. Again, I was in shock. I installed the card and it worked great. Returning the 7950GT to Future Shop was only a small hassle – they accused me of losing a necessary barcode from the box which turned out to be affixed to the card itself.

BFG rules. I’ll certainly not hesitate to give them my business in the future.

By brian

About Brian Damage:

Who is Brian really?
I live in Toronto, Canada, and work for an IT firm. That's about as much real-world info I'm comfortable divulging here. What you read on my blog is the real Brian, but, for the sake of freedom of speech, I feel most comfortable leaving a gulf between my cyberspace and meatspace personae.

Who is Brian at work?
My ridiculous job title is "Marketing Specialist" since I wear so many hats at work. I'm a technical writer, a specialist in enterprise search technologies, an electronic forms designer, a newsletter author, system administrator... but I'm in the Marketing department so for the time being I'm stuck with this inauspicious title.

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8 replies on “BFG RMA FTW!”

i’ve been looking to upgrade my PC because its really old and about to keel over but am uncertain about who to buy my graphics card from. It seems that there are several manufacturers of the Nvidia 8800GTX but I’m not sure the difference. Is BFG one of those manufacturers? and if so, then what is the price difference from say the PNY equivalent?

PS: hope you like your new apartment

I’ve bought video cards by BFG, Sapphire, Asus, Abit, and ATI and I can’t really say that any one was superior. Just about the biggest differentiator in this market is support, and nobody but BFG offers a lifetime warranty. I had to RMA my Abit card and it took nearly 3 weeks until a working replacement was in my hands, though that experience was positive otherwise. BFG was excellent, as you’ve read, but they only make Nvidia cards which alienates those looking for ATI solutions.

As for the 8800GTX, congrats on winning the lottery! That card is too rich for my blood. If cash is a factor, I’d say to wait until a lower model is released (8600GT maybe) and buy two of them. Historically (as long as this second coming of SLI has been around.. 2 years?) this solution is less expensive and nearly as powerful as buying the one card. If cash is no problem, get the 8800GTX and save up for a second one if you so desire.

The 8800GTX will be the very first generation DirectX 10 native card so you may or may not wish to wait for the 8900 series to come around, just to allow Nvidia and Microsoft to work out any kinks. If you’re like me, though, you probably can’t wait that long. :)

yeah my patience and my wallet are always duking it out but I guess it all comes down to what games are coming out and when. hmm we will have to see.

Over the next 6 months we should see the release of Half Life Episode Two, Spore, Crysis (native DX10 game), Hellgate: London, and tons more good stuff. I can’t say I’m looking forward to watching my $300 7900GT buckle under those games.

Just to let you guys know, my radeon X800 PRO died. I bought it used from ATI’s web site 1 year and 9 months ago. I was told by ATI to ship it to them (RMA). The item was shipped on May 16th and I received the replacement card on the 18th. I was completely blown away. The only inconsistency I have noticed is that then sent me a Radeon X800 SE (which seems to be slightly slower than the PRO). I have just opened a ticket to find out why…

That’s a little frustrating. To my knowledge, ATI’s product line goes X800SE, X800, X800 Pro so I think they stiffed you out of a good bit of MHz and possibly even several pixel pipes. I hope they make things right for you soon enough.

I’ve always admired that ATI offers a trade-in deal for their second-newest generation of cards. I wish NVidia had that going. I’d love to trade up for their latest and greatest. I suppose that’s an advantage of ATI making both their chips and circuit boards. I don’t think NVidia does that anymore.

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