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.