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BFG RMA FTL!

Customer Support | Monday, September 10th, 2007 | 10 years, 3 months ago

8 months ago my prized BFG 7900GT OC video card began to fail after only 5 months of use. I blogged about the details of the support call. It was satisfactory.

7 months after installing BFG’s replacement card it began to fail in a similar fashion. Games would only work for a few minutes before random polygons appeared all over the screen, and random off-coloured pixels would appear and persist onscreen in Windows, Linux, and at the BIOS. I diligently kept an eye on the GPU and other system temperatures but they were not abnormal – even cool. I put up with this for about 3 weeks, hoping the problem would go away. It didn’t.

I used a web form on BFG’s support website to report my issue. Along with a thorough description of the problem and my troubleshooting procedures I mentioned that I’d already paid to obtain a working replacement and I would accept no less than a free replacement, shipped entirely at BFG’s cost. A few days later I received a reply stating that BFG would in fact pay shipping both ways and accept all costs. As I was writing a thank-you reply I received another email saying that this offer was erroneous and BFG was in fact unwilling to pay the return shipping.

I replied to this email, reiterating that the defective card I was using was issued to me by BFG and I was not willing to pay to remedy their mistake in quality control. The last RMA cost $20 and left me without a working computer for 2 weeks and I was not about to make a semiannual habit of this. I asked BFG whether they stand by their lifetime warranty or not. Their reply was terse and marginally apologetic but unwavering.

I replied again, reiterating my entire story in case they’d misunderstood it. I gave them my contact information as requested and repeated my desire for BFG to cover all shipping. Erica P, the BFG customer support rep, replied tersely again, stating:

“We cannot cover the cost of shipping each RMA that fails, I am sorry. If you
ever have a problem with a replacement card within 30 days we will cover the cost of shipping the card.”

She also said that my return RMA “MAY” (her emphesis) provide me an upgraded model since mine had been discontinued. She then set up an ordinary RMA, for which I would have to pay return shipping. I refused it, reminder her that I was unwilling to suffer any downtime and I would not compensate BFG for their poorly performing replacement card. Erica P’s response was very telling about this company’s concept of quality products:

Brian,

The card worked for 7 months, it was not a defective replacement.

Thank you,
Erica P
BFG Support

And there you have it. BFG considers 7 months to be a reasonable lifespan for a $340 video card. Had I known this initially, I told her, I’d never ever have purchased their products. I’ll have this quote in mind the next time I buy.

When I told Erica I was not interested in this RMA, she replied, telling me it was worth the money since I “WOULD” be getting a higher model in return.

I was starting to get fed up with corporate policies and mixed messages. I knew I’d get nowhere with Erica. I planned to prepare a concise summary for the Better Business Bureau.

Please tell me, yes or no, will BFG arrange for em a cross-shipment RMA AND cover all costs?

If your answer is no I will engage the Better Business Bureau.

Thank you in advance for your answer of yes or no.

Apparently this wasn’t enough indication that I’d like a one-word answer:

An advanced replacement cannot be processed with an address outside of the United States. In order for you to receive a replacement of your card, you will have to pay for the cost of shipping the card to us. If anything happens to the card, outside of physical damage, within 30 days, we will cover your cost of shipping.

She then reminded me that an ordinary RMA had been set up to grant me the convenience of paying to ship my card to them. It’d been 5 days since I submitted my support request and I was fed up at this point. I concluded:

Thank you for failing to answer my yes or no question as requested. I will note this in my BBB complaint.

I then made my complaint to their local BBB. I submitted my complaint on a Friday and on Monday I had a message on my office phone from Jeff at BFG asking to call to discuss. I’d previously asked Erica to only allow BFG to communicate with me by email so that I could retain textual proof of their claims. She dutifully communicated this to Jeff who obliged.

Speaking with Jeff was nothing but a pleasure. He explained to me that “advance RMAs” (where they ship the replacement before receiving my defective card) were potentially subject to taxes by the recipient on arrival. I didn’t understand how customs knows whether I’d sent my card before or after, but I said I was willing to take this chance. Jeff offered to perform a burn-in test personally on the card he’d be sending me which I really appreciated. He even gave me some non-BFG-endorsed advice (which I won’t share here) regarding nonstandard cooling and BFG’s warranty.

In the end I received a BFG 7950GT OC video card which worked perfectly upon installation of the hardware and drivers. They’d even sent it in a retail box complete with cables, connectors, a disc, and a manual. In fact, the package was plastic-wrapped and the card looked pristine so I wondered whether it had even been tested. Just the same, it was more than I’d expected to be sent and I was grateful for that.

Shortly after I received a prepaid shipping label for DHL shipping. I sent my old card off without a hitch.

I concluded, emailing Jeff to say what a shame it was that I had to get the BBB involved. If BFG employed better customer service policies and trained their staff to communicate more tactfully my formal complaint might never have been necessary. I now regret telling them about my blog because I probably tainted the “Joe Blow customer experience.” If $340 weren’t so much money for me I’d have kept quiet and let them find out the hard way that my previous BFG RMA article currently ranks at #7 when searching Google for “BFG RMA”.
However, I was forced to go over BFG’s head and threaten them just to get fair service. Had I limited myself to the option BFG presented to me I’d be $20 poorer and would have been without a computer for another 2 weeks. That’d mean the total cost of ownership of my BFG product would have included $40 of shipping and a month of downtime per year. For reference, the only other video card I’ve owned in 20+ years that’s given me trouble didn’t fail until I’d used it for 2 years, and the replacement lasted me another 2 years until I simply retired it and put it on my shelf. BFG’s card cost me 5x as much and was operational for 1/4 as long. Pathetic.

I don’t think my situation is typical. BFG is a well known, mostly well respected company. However, we as consumers are forced to judge companies by our own experiences with them. Some things, like being presented unsatisfactory dead ends, are unacceptable and insulting. This is such an experience.

I cannot recommend BFG’s products anymore. I bought their card because of the advertised lifetime warranty, but this warranty puts its customers at the mercy of indifferent and tactless support personnel (which was true of my first experience which was quick and easy only because I agreed to pay shipping).

Caveat emptor. Shop around. FYI, XFX also offers lifetime warranties on their overclocked video cards. I’ll likely be trying their products next.

>> ATH0 -- NO CARRIER <<



28 Comments

  1. Brian

    Thanks for posting the information. My wife’s BFG card is also marginal, and like you, we are in Canada.

    Her initial calls with BFG Tech support were like yours; ship us a card and we will ship one back. Requests for Cross Shipping were met with a “No.. We can;t do that to Canada”, even when we said we’d cover any / all of the brokerage fees. This morning she was told they were considering a change in policy, but no indication when.

    On a long shot, I submited feedback through the BFG web site. Less than 45 minutes later IO heard back from Jeff… WOW… A much more productive experience dealing with him. Yep… He will have a card tested and shipped out tomorrow..

    So thanks for the blog posting, and to others in Canada with BFG RMA issues… be polite, and persistent…

    Comment by PeterT — February 26, 2008 @ 2:50 pm

  2. I’m really glad to hear you and your wife were able to solve your problem by acting like Canadians. :)

    I’ve heard so much praise of BFG I’m still convinced experiences like yours and mine are not the norm, but just the same, one’s own story is the only one that matters in the end.

    Peter, thanks so much for sharing your story. Searching Google for “BFG RMA” shows links to both my BFG stories (one good, one bad) on the front page and every comment I get will come to the attention of their customers. I recommend you do as I do and, before making a major purchase, search for the company name along with “RMA” or “returns” or “sucks” and see whether the same articles come up for all 3 queries.

    Buyer beware! The customer is always right, despite the assertions of the companies who need them.

    Comment by brian — February 27, 2008 @ 9:24 am

  3. I JUST came across this, but I would like to point out that in your blog you admit to purchasing something from Future Shop to keep you running, but try to argue that you had ‘two months of downtime’ from the failed product. Your argument is the typical whiney customer trying to get more than he is entitled to argument and you even admit to everyone that you didn’t actually suffer these things. Good job fabricating an inconvenience in order to get your way.

    In addition to this, you use failed logic such as “BFG considers 7 months to be a reasonable lifespan for a $340 video card.” No, they don’t consider it to be a reasonable lifespan. They are in no way claiming that after 7 months, you have recieved fair use of the card. What they are saying is that they did not include the cost of shipping the unit back to them in the original purchase price as it was not statistically worth charging for and their business is modelled around you paying for return shipping. You ‘pay’ for the warranty within the products price. Certain costs – such as the odds of a replacment or two or even three – are an intrinsic cost that is built in to the price. The cost of paying return shipping is not factored in, except for the ’30 day’ policy they outline, as a means of a courtesy. In the end, you still get a replacement card (and, given your means, you don’t actually have ‘downtime’ despite your fraudulent claims).

    What IS built in to the price, is the statistical liklihood that people like you are going to throw a hissy fit. Because of people like you, the rest of us have to pay more for these cards. It’s all built in to the price.

    Also you do realize that the BBB is just a complaints organization and has no means of actually forcing a company to do anything. What you got was standard corporate ‘backline’ support that almost every large organization has. You get there by being whiney and intolerable. Congratulations, you won the prize of the “team that deals with assholes”.

    Comment by Dave — April 4, 2008 @ 12:42 am

  4. Are you really arguing that purchasing a second $340 video card is reasonable preventive maintenance for every BFG customer? That’s ridiculous. I argue the very opposite.

    You obviously didn’t read my companion article stating that this was my second replacement BFG 7900GT in just over a year. This was the most expensive computer part I’d ever bought in over 20 years, and also the most short-lived and unreliable. That’s totally unacceptable. I decided to pay a premium to avoid this kind of trouble and BFG let me down not only twice when their hardware failed, but a third time when their poor service sullied my opinion of the company forever.

    You appear to be of the same mindset as BFG – that I got more than my money’s worth. That’s just fine. It’s a free market and BFG is welcome to alienate its highest-paying customers if that is their wish. As a result of this arrogance I’ve posted 2 blog articles on the topic, they’re amongst my most read articles, and at least one of them shows up on the front page of Google results pages when someone types “BFG RMA”. It’s thanks to people like me that prospective customers may read the real experiences of the company’s customers and base their buying decisions on something other than marketing copy.

    Thanks for sharing your taunts and low opinions of customer rights.

    Comment by brian — April 4, 2008 @ 7:45 am

  5. “And there you have it. BFG considers 7 months to be a reasonable lifespan for a $340 video card. Had I known this initially, I told her, I’d never ever have purchased their products. I’ll have this quote in mind the next time I buy.”

    Patently false.

    This is a pathetic attempt to take something out of context. The only problem is, YOU GAVE US THE CONTEXT TOO.

    The issues you describe are not possible by some fault in the manufacturing process. The issues you describe are direct results of overheating. It is a textbook case. The cards are rated all the way to 70C/80C and the coolers on them will keep them under 65C in full load. What is clearly happening hear is misuse. Allow me to speculate. You decided to go budget when selecting the case, opting for a storebrand model heavy in plastic. Your computer is stored where there is improper ventilation and no circulation. You don’t clean the inside of your case and you probably have never used a can of Dust-Off ever.

    You are complaining to BFG about a faulty card that only failed after the extreme conditions you forced it to endure.

    It worked for 7 months. 7 months of full load, idle, full load, idle, full load, idle. That is enough to tell you the card was never faulty. You had it under the exact same conditions as the previous, original, card. I wonder why it failed in just about the same amount of time.

    You are a non-expert speculating to a company that require their products to be tested for quality control and are upset that you have to fit the bill for a replacement you don’t even deserve, since YOU are damaging the cards yourself. You, sir, fail.

    Feel free to email me, I am the editor of Computor Edge magazine.

    Comment by Meeeh — April 23, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

  6. You call my conclusion based on a literal quote to be “patently false”? BFG told me that a card that dies in 7 months is not faulty. From this I inferred that the company considers this to be a reasonable lifespan for a video card – that there’s nothing wrong with a card that lasts 7 months. I’ve owned and built a lot of computers in my day and that card, by far, had the shortest lifespan of any other I’d used in over 20 years. For example, 2 cards before the 7900GT I had a silent, FANLESS Sapphire Atlantis 9800pro which lasted me over 4 times as long as either of my replacement BFG cards, and Sapphire is the Yugo of cheap video cards.

    As for your speculations, well, speculate all you like. When you speculate it makes a spec out of u and late.

    My case was the Antec Sonata – a well-ventilated case with a washable dust filter. I dust every 3 or 4 months, and more often in the spring when the cat’s shedding. My wife and I buy compressed air in 3-packs. When the rear 120mm exhaust fan gave out I immediately replaced it. My PC is situated less than one foot from my 8th floor balcony door which is ideal for circulation, and when it’s hot outside I close the door and use the AC.

    Do you honestly assert that a video card going from load to idle and back again is abnormal? Have I perhaps mistreated my PC by failing to keep games paused overnight instead of quitting to the desktop? Come right out and say it — do you consider 7 months to be an adequate lifespan for a nearly top-end video card?

    I’ve seen similar graphical artifacting related to heat but it’s highly unlikely that my video card overheated while idling at the desktop and even at the BIOS screen during POST even while sitting next to my open door in September at midnight. I’d wager the manufacturing process was precisely the culprit, either by fault of shoddy workmanship or poor parts. I bet something simply shook loose.

    Now here’s my turn for speculation. You’re the prestigious editor of “Computor Edge” magazine, and obviously a meticulous one. You’ve worked in the publishing industry long enough that you’ve been building PCs using review models and corporate spiffs, with a stockpile of shelved parts standing at the ready in case you need a replacement. You are sufficiently buddy-buddy with these companies, and out of touch with what it means to be a consumer, that you cannot fathom what we lowly hobbyist enthusiasts could possibly fuss over. You base reviews of hardware on a few hours of full load testing on an immaculate, ventilated test bench. The last game you played was SimAnt.

    Meeeh, if that is your real name, get over yourself. There’s a world out there where customer satisfaction is based on longevity and customer service, not just a happy meal’s worth of analysis. My experience is one of millions and I encourage people to research this and every company before buying a luxury item from them. I conclude my article saying that I doubt my experience is typical since I bought my BFG card after reading largely positive customer experiences.

    Thanks for honouring me with your guest editorial, Meeeh. Please wish the Computor Edge webmaster a happy 1996 from me.

    p.s., Mr. Editor, you might want to inform your contributor Jack Dunning that if he’s having trouble with “Window Vista” (session ID stripped from the URL for your convenience, with a nofollow at no extra charge) he might ask his editor to check the specs of his computor for him.

    Don’t throw glass eyes at stone houses.

    Grammatically yours,
    Brian
    Editor in Chief, defraudulated “magazine”

    Comment by brian — April 23, 2008 @ 6:37 pm

  7. “Allow me to speculate. You decided to go budget when selecting the case, opting for a storebrand model heavy in plastic. Your computer is stored where there is improper ventilation and no circulation. You don’t clean the inside of your case and you probably have never used a can of Dust-Off ever.”

    Now that you”re done speculating Meeeh, allow me to piss on your corn flakes and say this: it’s baseless conjecture. Really, do you enjoy seeing the world from 20,000 leagues up the darkest corner of your ass? Because it must be lonely to be an elitist who thinks every schlub who bemoans his/her plight with a dysfunctional computer part is nothing more than a loud-mouth malcontent.

    This isn’t the era of frames when the average smoe was still blissfully unaware of a domain belonging only to the hopeless nerdy and sexually-deprived perverted. Computers have grown more efficient, so even the stupidest can use a computer, which explains why you’re doing so. Congratulations, there’s one part that separates you from the monkeys; the rest leaves a lot to be desired.

    But that aside, I have seen the computer of this blogger and I even set it up so that it sits directly beside our computer table away from the wall. It was also constructed from individually acquired parts and came with a specialised case, designed to reduce the sound as the fan motors were louder than before as there was a CPU as well as a case fan.

    Looking at the date of this post and today’s, I include this: the computer that got that replacement that is mentioned in this post had since been transferred into my custody and there hasn’t been an issue since this post. Storage is not an issue when you keep the computer in a location that is well ventilated.

    The inside has been cleansed of dust previously on several occasions, and frankly has less dust on it than my television does. Which is really a pathetic thought but I digress.

    For someone who claims to be an editor, perhaps you shouldn’t be so shy as to not leave your email address on this site if you’re inviting the blogger to email you on this. From this, one can merely deduce that you’re not actually as you claim. If you were, you wouldn’t have shied away from leaving a name. Pity this cowardice.

    Comment by Bianca — April 23, 2008 @ 7:15 pm

  8. Note to Bianca and to all, if you choose to leave your email address in the corresponding field when you leave a comment only I will see it. It is completely obscured from the web and you have nothing to fear by leaving it. That being said, as a general rule on the internet, if giving personal information is optional then you should choose to withhold it. I’ve edited my blog template to advise my users thusly.

    Comment by brian — April 24, 2008 @ 8:00 am

  9. p.p.s., while I take exception (though not much) to what Meeeh says, I simply cannot allow his thoughtless hot-headedness to sully my opinion of ComputorEdge magazine. I checked it out on Wikipedia and it appears to be a very long-running former magazine, circulated free for nearly a quarter-century, centring on personal computing. However uppity the helmsman may be, he’s lucked into an honourable publication.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ComputorEdge_Magazine

    Comment by brian — April 24, 2008 @ 8:21 am

  10. It’s not preventative and I’m not saying it’s reasonable. It’s exactly the opposite – you argue that you ‘lost usability of your system’ yet you also simultaneously brag about committing fraud towards another retailer in order to mitigate the effects of said downtime. You incurred very little downtime (the amount of time it takes to remove/insert an expansion card) and a trip to the store.

    You paid a premium to REDUCE the CHANCE of device failure occuring. There is no way to avoid it. You can buy 4 top of the line graphics cards and have the first one fail, and then have the 3 subsequent ones fail on their own (not counting the fact that after ~2 you usually blame other factors or at least investigate them, I’m saying that the 4 cards actually do fail) and it’s still just a chance. It’s unlikely, and it’s an anomaly of sorts – but it HAPPENS. I have owned probably 20 top of their time graphics card and only ever had an ASUS-made ATi card fail. You can find a thousand people who swear by ASUS and have never had a problem. It’s all chance.

    ” … BFG is welcome to alienate its highest-paying customers if that is their wish.”

    You pay the highest for premium hardware to cover the cost of the R&D towards said hardware and the higher quality fabrication that has to go in producing it at the time, not for “please cator to my every need” -type support.

    “It’s thanks to people like me that prospective customers may read the real experiences of the company’s customers and base their buying decisions on something other than marketing copy.”

    They might. They might also base their decisions on the millions of other cards sold, and fully functioning – of which there are plenty of testimonials and reviews. Anybody who reads JUST your article and has their opinion influenced is the type of person that companies do not bother catoring to. As a business entity, you have a certain low-class of consumer who will inevitably drift between different businesses with no REAL loyalty, just a facade to try to get what they want. By this I mean that you can call up BFG and scream about ow you were a loyal customer and how you will ‘never buy from them again’, and they hear you, and they may deploy some rudimentary retention mechanism to keep you as a customer. But there’s a point – and it’s not too far in – where they cut loose. I used to work for Hewlett-Packard as part of their team that handles extremely escalated customers who are demanding all sorts of things. Our job wasn’t to give it to them, it was to explain to them that their sitution is only partly our fault and part of it is just par for the course. They may get some sort of compensation, but the kind of outlandish demands such as “I want all my money back” or “I want compensation for the $15,000 I ‘lost’ while my product wasn’t functioning!” never go answered. You know why? Because anybody who is naive enough to switch brands and abandon a company at the drop of a hat like that, is just going to bounce around anyway. You can swear off BFG, and only buy MSI cards or ASUS cards or whomever you choose, and as a customer you are gone from BFG. But at that very same moment, there are other people who are having similar experiences with every other product in the same class.. and they’re telling ASUS “screw you, I’m never going to buy from you again!” and they go to BFG. It all balances out in the end, and that’s why you – honestly – don’t matter. I know you want to feel important and you want that 1-on-1 style interaction but these are corporations. The people you call are just people sitting at desks who want to go home and see their families. They are just doing a job wanting to get through the day. Nothing more.

    Comment by Dave — April 29, 2008 @ 12:57 pm

  11. I agree with your comments completely, Dave. I’m just one guy who has had one unfortunate experience. If people read only my review and base their entire opinion of the company on that, then that’s just the kinds of consumers they are. Also, I’m not trying to be important or to cry for attention – this is my blog and I write whatever I’m interested in whether or not that attracts readers.

    In the end my wish is to be given the services I pay for and for the company to give me support, not to hold my money ransom. The fact that I had to “defraud” Future Shop (a term I disagree with – I acted fully within their rules) goes to show what desperate measures I needed to take in order to prevent weeks of downtime.

    It’s not the consumer’s job to go out of his way to find a company to be loyal to, it’s every company’s job to retain that customer they were so lucky to attract. I understand that the priority of companies is to do as much as they can with as little overhead as possible, but when that scrimping cuts into the customer experience that customer’s satisfaction is at risk. I don’t care or sympathize one bit with a company’s profitability – I just want the product I bought with a reasonable working lifespan. BFG front line support did not empathize with me and tried to make me go away instead of nurturing my business so henceforth I’ll be taking my business elsewhere.

    Let me say this loud and clear – nowhere do I advise people not to buy BFG products. I was just as fast and thorough in praising my good BFG customer service experience as I was to decry the bad one (note the second sentence of this story).

    I have no obligation to any company. They’re lucky to have me as a customer and they’d better give me my money’s worth or they’re going to hear about it.

    Comment by brian — April 29, 2008 @ 2:12 pm

  12. “It’s not the consumer’s job to go out of his way to find a company to be loyal to”

    I disagree to – it’s very much the consumers.. er, you’re right, it’s not the JOB of the consumer, and the vast majority of the population forego what I will call this an opportunity. Not every company offers the same thing, and what you’re advocating here is better marketing campaigns. Shopping around is the biggest weapon we, as consumers, have against corporations. Not loyalty. When I spoke before I was speaking from the perspective of the bigs, not the buyers. As a consumer, I have absolutely no loyalty to any company whatsoever. I have been through every brand of computer component save for the cheap ones and I literally change up on a whim of whoever has the best overclocking and so on. I’m any businesses worst nightmare because I come in fully researched, merely looking for a hands on approach and nothing a salesperson can say can sway me. Most people are not like this. I realize you are talking more about after the ‘attraction’ part in to the retention – but that’s precisely my earlier point, the retention is very lightweight. They have your cash, and you will either stay, or you’ll go, and you’ll either be back, or someone else will take your place. It’s just letting chaos do it’s work.

    “when that scrimping cuts into the customer experience that customer’s satisfaction is at risk.”

    But what experience are we using here as a benchmark? You’re dissatisfied with their refusal to pay shipping costs on a replacement card. I don’t give a damn. I’m satisfied you’re not. Someone else is mad because when the card no longer plays the LATEST games, they want a FREE upgrade. Where do you draw the line? From your position it seems that you are being reasonable and the person demanding something free is not – a matter of perspective.

    “I don’t care or sympathize one bit with a company’s profitability”

    And this is why they don’t care or sympathize with the ‘transitional’ consumer. They care about large scale contracts they care about reseller interaction, they do not care about John Doe on the phone. You expect them to sympathize with you and cator to you to ‘retain’ you, but you don’t care about sustaining them – which is their #1 priority. Not to mention your actions, both towards BFG and Future Shop, are against the sustainability of the company. You used Future Shop (You refuse the term ‘fraud,’ so…) to make your life less inconvenienced. This did not give them any profit, and in fact, they now have to sell an opened box for a discount. Thus you actually cost them money – or, we’ll say for aguments sake, you cost them profit. Yet I bet when you go to buy a portable audio player, and Best Buy has it for $10 cheaper, you don’t sit there and say “Hmm, but Future Shop really helped me out when I was without a computer, I’ll just spent the money there.” You expect them to treat you as a person with compassion would, but you don’t – and reasonably so – treat them as a person or a ‘buddy’ that may have helped you out. BFG is the same.

    “I have no obligation to any company. They’re lucky to have me as a customer and they’d better give me my money’s worth or they’re going to hear about it.”

    Let me say this loud and clear – they don’t. The people that handle your complaints do not pass the message on. They take their headsets off, go “What a dick..” and they walk to the lunch room with people who are representing tonnes of other companies with more people screaming at them about Pay Per View and what have you and pass the day on.

    Comment by Dave — April 30, 2008 @ 10:29 am

  13. You’re a smart guy, Dave, and you’ve given me some valuable insight into how I as a consumer am perceived by companies and the front-line staff who represent them. You’re correct on so many points, and you pretty accurately define my role as a consumer. Our conversation is starting to get long in the tooth so I’ll summarize my conclusion as such:

    As a consumer I’ve been served well by many companies, large and small, but have been seriously screwed by others. I used to be a much more trusting and naive person but have been forced by my environment to adapt and become defensive. Now when I deal with a company I assume the worst but play my cards close to my chest, revealing little bits as is required.

    As familiar I am today with this process, I still get screwed occasionally. I have to work a long time to afford a $340 video card so I’m willing to invest further time if necessary to protect that investment. I know from experience that you usually have to get 3 or 4 people in to find someone that, A, gives a damn, and B, has the authority to do anything about it. My patience to reach that 4th person runs shorter every time, but my blog is always within arm’s reach whether I have something nice or nasty to report, and my blog is instant, permanent, and public.

    I’m one blogger of a billion. Anyone can blog or otherwise report their consumer experiences online these days. Corporations must soon learn that, just as our phone conversations may be recorded on their end, so shall bloggers be reporting on their experiences. Corporations have a responsibility to be cordial, and when their actions are made public that responsibility is to themselves. That’s the pressure I wish to put on companies that earn my ire; even if I don’t intend to do business with them I want them to consider the ramifications of negative “press” if they continue along that route.

    And P.s., I gave my real contact information when I bought and returned that video card to Future Shop. They know me as a very loyal and frequent customer so I’m sure my patronage has kept my account in the black in the long run. I was their back, they wash mine. Positive reciprocity is what keeps one coming back to a company and I commend Future Shop for this.

    Comment by brian — April 30, 2008 @ 11:31 am

  14. I had same card, same problem, awaiting my card to be re-sent to me at the moment infact.

    Would never buy from BFG again, even though their warranty policy does not really bother me.

    I did not know they would send an updated card if mine has failed twice(or not being made anymore), and if I get another 7900 GT and it fails again, I will be quite displeased with BFG in general for knowing this issue persists, and handling other clients such as yourself with upgraded versions of cards, then giving me a faulty card again.

    At this point I’d even rather a slightly slower card provided I didn’t get the random shooting spikes of death, color bleeding, miscolored pixels bleeding through everything, and mangled boot up lettering/colors, textures not being clamped, etc.

    From what I have heard it is a voltage regulation problem with the cards, and it will be a shame for myself and BFG if they send me another faulty one. The evidence of their pre-existing knowledge of the cards being failures as well as them issuing better models to “shut people up” who know that these cards are failures, would provide a much better BBB report, as it shows a general disregard for customers and a premeditated motive to send a defective product to a customer.

    Comment by DirtyML — May 20, 2008 @ 1:51 am

  15. I’m back with an update to my struggle… (This site is 2nd now on google when searching for “BFG Rma”)

    They have miraculously shipped my card from their new center in Kahnawake, Quebec through the states via UPS, even when I have used Canada Post originally as my courier and have used express shipping which they did not.

    What reason did they have to delay my shipment by nearly a week and send it to a different country?

    The only logical reason I can come up with is a self serving UPS contract and I cannot fathom as to why they’d inconvenience their customers like this.

    Why even open a place in Quebec to accept RMAs from if you are going to just ship it back through Illinois?

    I thought this situation couldn’t get any worse with 2 card failures of the 7900 GT/OC in 1 year, but yet it can get even worse with the complicated stupidity and endless efforts to turn a one dollar profit at a two dollar expense.

    In short, BFG fails miserably. It will be no surprise when they go out of business and the only thing that makes me mad at this point is my small monetary contribution might delay that for even a minute.

    Comment by DirtyML — May 27, 2008 @ 6:35 pm

  16. I had the same problem, 7900 GTOC worked fine for a coupe months, died, shipped it back, they sent me another with 2 broken capacitors, I had to send back again, then they send me a 7950 and it lasted about 7 or 8 months, and am waiting for a replacement…hope it’s an 8 series card, heard lots of problems and that they discontinued the 79 series chips…we’ll see…so far$380, + $20 bucks x 3 = $60 for S&H.

    Comment by Arrowhite — September 7, 2008 @ 12:29 am

  17. They made you pay to ship back a broken replacement card? That’s pretty shifty.

    By the way, NVidia just admitted to there being defects in nearly every single 8xxxx and 9xxx series card they’ve ever made, resulting in an extremely high rate of breakage. I’ve been happily been using my XFX 8800GT for nearly 9 months with no serious issues (a few hard reboots during very hot summer days), so since you’re still waiting for a replacement now would be a great time to dust out your case with some compressed air.

    Good luck to you, Arrowhite, and don’t be afraid to draw the line somewhere. You bought that video card; you’re not subscribing to it.

    Comment by brian — September 7, 2008 @ 7:34 am

  18. Just going through the rma process on an 8800 GTX. It made it almost two years before packing it, with pretty much the same symptoms: weird textures at first and then funny lines (even in the bios).
    I suspect the only reason it lived as long as it did was the fact I had 4 X 120mm fans (Coolermaster Stacker 830) pointed at it.

    Shipped it on Tuesday from Calgary and it arrived there this morning. Not really sure what prompted me to drop $750 on a video card, but it was fun while it lasted. Made a decent space heater in the winter as well.

    Comment by Unexploded — October 16, 2008 @ 11:50 pm

  19. Hi… I was reading this post and just got back from Calgary, we live in Kimberley BC. While I was there I bought two BFG 8800 oc 512 cards… I was running a single asus card the exact same and thought I would upgrade to sli and since these are overclocked cards i thought why not buy two and sell the old one on ebay… now is where the fun starts. tried the first card to and guess what? Dead on arrival.. so tried the second.. works as it should… called future shop.. let them know i needed to send the card back that was bought a couple days earlier.. they said I could not ship the card.. its not allowed even with insurance etc.. they said i need to jump in my tacoma.. drive 4 hours each way to exchange the 200 dollar card.. Crazy…

    Contacted BFG and explained it was DOA.. they said they would replace it im pretty sure with some other broken card that they fixed but i need to pay the shipping, keep in mind that i bought this card less than a week ago… anyway off to the post office to get a box cas the box they sell it to you in is not suitable for shipping… Ill send it today.. I bet it will be the third week in Nov when I get the used fixed card back that they pulled the dog hair out of and bench test for me…At any rate it would cost me 400 for one card in our little community so I guess its the price i have to pay.. Ill keep you posted

    Comment by Steve — October 30, 2008 @ 10:59 am

  20. I’m pretty surprised you couldn’t return the DOA card to a local Future Shop store, assuming you have one. You might want to go that route before you shell out $25 to BFG.

    Comment by brian — October 30, 2008 @ 5:15 pm

  21. well.. as I said above…I need to “drive 4 hours each way to exchange ” cas that is our nearest future shop , we live in Kimberley BC and Calgary Alberta is the closest one to us… I tried everything to send the cards back to them.. now my wife and I are thinking of driving there and giving them back their cards… But I will never buy anything from futureshop again.

    I have a asus 8800 gts 512 which would sli with the bfg but I wanted matching cards and both new.. now im gonna get back someone elses junk if i dont return them :(

    Comment by Steve — November 3, 2008 @ 11:34 am

  22. I’m sorry to ask a question like this in your Blog, but I can’t find the info anywhere. I’m in need of a card RMA but I’m not sure where to send it to. my box has this address (BFG Technologies, INC 28690 Ballard Drive. Lake Forest, IL 60045) But I’m curious what address you all are using.

    Thank you

    Comment by Daz — November 11, 2008 @ 7:29 pm

  23. I had a similar issue with BFG on the same model card. I was actually told by the person setting up the RMA that memory overheating was a common problem with this card. Free cross-shipping immediately.

    That replacement card lasted about three months. Same situation, artifacts everywhere and I called again. This time it was going to cost me to RMA it. Unacceptable. I spoke with the next level up I suppose and was told that there was no way I was getting this card cross shipped again. It had to be a cooling problem on my end. I pointed out that I was looking at my warranty and it stated free lifetime replacement. They told me they had changed their policy since my purchase. I pointed out that my warranty is my warranty and I had my bill of sale with it and the warranty said nothing about being able to change with or without notifying me. That had no effect and I refused the RMA offer.

    It wasn’t a cooling problem, my warranty was clear and they were going to violate it.

    I ended up contacting the BBB and within a few days of filing the complaint I was also contacted and an upgraded card was cross-shipped with a personal 24hour burn test prior to shipping. That card failed upon arrival. I contacted my guy at BFG and told him of the snafu and was disappointed that he didn’t actually burn it in at his desk as he said. I also told him my BBB complaint stood until I received a working RMA card. Another cross-ship with a new 7950GT and all was well with that card. It’s still running strong.

    I since moved on to EVGA and have never had a problem with any of their cards. I’ll spend $400 a year on a video card because I have a problem… but I won’t spend that and then be required to continue sending it back over and over at the cost of $20 each time.

    Shady customer support practices. I’ll never do business with that company again.

    Comment by RMAhole — February 5, 2009 @ 4:09 am

  24. I sympathize with your situation. I really do.
    Unlike some others I feel you acted accordingly.
    However this is just my opinion. If your “Warranty” is going to give you an updated card for just the cost of shipping that is an awesome deal.
    Personally I would think that is great. I guess that is just me though.
    Just my two cents worth.

    Comment by Dratkin — February 18, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

  25. it seems to me that your particular issue (bfg refusing to pay your shipment) is not a reason to get away from bfg.
    This is not a problem with the video card itself , every product can fail or be defective.
    BFG was going to replace your card but YOU decided they had to pay for the shipment.

    i totally understand that you wanted written proof of the support they give you , but being on the phone will save you alot of time and solve whatever issue you have faster and live.

    i have done rma for my video card and power supply (xfx and thermaltake) and i didnt care at all to pay for the shipping , as long as i get my product taken care of .

    if i were in your shoes i would probably tried to make them pay my shipping and even an upgrade , but seriously if they CANT pay your shipment , they will not do so.

    i have owned bfg and xfx , and i will go back to bfg anyday , they have upgrade program , lifetime warranty and i heard about their free upgrade.
    no i dont work for bfg

    Comment by juanj — April 12, 2009 @ 5:06 pm

  26. Thanks for writing, juanj. Your points are valid and as I’ve cooled off over time I think maybe I agree with you. In the end BFG did the right thing, and I have heard much more good than bad about their products overall. It’s their front line support that really turned me off on this occasion, but if their products are competitively priced the next time I need a card I probably won’t dismiss them by default.

    Comment by Brian — April 12, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

  27. I really like this blog good job.

    Comment by Wayne O. — August 30, 2009 @ 6:17 pm

  28. On December 18th, 2009 I was explaining a problem to a BFG customer service representative when I was abruptly hung up on. After waiting 30 minutes after calling back I was asked my telephone number. When I told the gentleman my number he replied, “Can you hold for a minute?” To which I replied, “yes”. Of course I was put on hold again without anyone ever coming back on the line. After calling back again I was asked my telephone number. I told the person from BFG Customer Support that I had been hung up on twice already and that I supposed that by giving my telephone number again that I’d be hung up on yet again. He replied, “maybe”. I asked him, “you just hang up on your customers?” at which point he hung up on me. Imagine finding out that a company who you thought highly of would lie, cheat you and laugh at you. The only thing allowing me to type this is an ATI x1650 video card. They sent me a remanufactured card that broke down right away. The BFG representative on the phone accused my PC of being the problem yet this old ATI card is running flawlessly. This is the 3rd card I’ve had from them. They’ve agreed to RMA my 8800 yet again and I hope they don’t send me another card that’s defective. I just mailed it out a few hours ago.

    Comment by Tee — December 19, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

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