This file is filled with individuals' opinions and experiences with the Comtrade computer mail-order company, which sells a wide line of computers and products. The most recent experiences are at the beginning of this file.
If you have bought from them and have not yet made your contribution to this list, simply fill out this form about your experiences with Comtrade and they will be added to the beginning of this file. Thank you and Good luck!
Carl Gibilaro from
Orlando, FL USA
Date - Tuesday, December 31, 1996 at 13:36:12 (EST)
I purchased a so-called Pentium 166 in August 1996. I did not have any
problems until November when my Monitor lost it's sync rate. Because
I had the computer for over three months the monitor had to be shipped
back to the manufactuer (Goldstar) and not Comtrade. I finally received
it back three weeks later and everything was fine until I learned about
overclocking. I removed my processor to check if I had the correct one.
After finding the Heatsink glued on I wrote Intel to see if there was another
way to check. He told me the numbers to look for on the bottom and after
scraping an inventory tag (with really good glue) off the bottom I learned
that I had been ripped off. My Pentium 166 is nothing more than a souped
up Pentium 100. I thought I had been one of the luckey few not to be
screwed by this company, but I guess not.
Paul Heglund from
Date - Monday, December 30, 1996 at 01:48:00 (EST)
bought a Comtrade system 23 months ago.
Very very good service they replaced my cd-rom drive for free I
thought it was too noisy. Replaced a bad Seagate drive no problem.
Reasonable tech support promptness too.
Otherwise the system has been first rate.
Tom Countryman from
San Antonio, TN USA
Date - Sunday, December 29, 1996 at 23:16:02 (EST)
I recently bought a 12x Dream Machine. It arrived with a disconnected A drive, which was no big deal to repair, since I'd
done similar work before. Tech support is weak, but mainly because they're so hard to get hold of. Now, they use local company for service,
so I'll call them if necessary. There were a few "same but equal or better" product switches when system was received, but none were
objectionable, as they were actually in my favor. Overall, I'd second the thought that this is a great deal for someone with some
experience or some experienced friends, but not for a beginner. Certainly, the speed of my system is everything promised, and I could not
beat the price anywhere, 'tho I spent several months shopping the system.
Sara-Jane Haven from
Reading, MA USA
Date - Sunday, December 29, 1996 at 19:49:54 (EST)
I purchased a Comtrade 486 three years ago. Although it is still
functioning and I have yet to have any serious problems with it,
the standard monitor issued with the machine, a CTX, died after
Also, in upgrading the CD-ROM which came with the machine, it was
discovered that the wiring from the sound card to the adapter
connecting CD to sound was 'Mickey-Moused.' A piece of the
connector at the end of the wires had actually been broken off so
it would fit properly onto the card and the wires were taped
up with black electrical tape. Kind of scarey!
This year I purchased a Micron.
Kenny Howard from
Frankfort, KY USA
Date - Saturday, December 28, 1996 at 21:28:02 (EST)
To start off with my name is Kenneth Howard. I am a proud owner of a piece of shit that I purchased from Comtrade December 23, 1995.
I had one problem after another from this notebook from the very beginning. After 3 days of calling this company trying to get my problem resolved, after no one would call me back after leaving several messages, I decided since I had a 30 day satisfaction guarantee I would just get my money back. On the 31st day of calling and being told they would have someone call me back, I was told the 30 days were up so I couldn’t get my money back. I was also told if I wanted my problem resolved I would have to send my notebook back to Comtrade. He gave me a RMA number and I sent it back to them. After about a week I called them to check the status of my notebook and was told they didn’t have it yet. After getting off the phone with Comtrade I called UPS to find out what was going on. I was given a tracking number and was told a Mr. Rong signed for it. I called Comtrade back and gave them information UPS gave me. I was told they don’t have it nor do they have a person by this name. I called UPS back and told them this and they told me they would take care of this. After 3 months I called UPS again and told the lady I talked to since I insured my package and haven’t heard anything from anyone I wanted my money.
UPS sent a gentleman to Comtrade and told them, Well pay this guy but we will be forced to sue Comtrade. Low and behold Comtrade found it and had it back in two days.
This is just one example of many experiences I have had with this company and none has been good. Unfortunately I finally done what I should have done in the first place. I purchased a notebook from a respectable company “IBM”. I would be happy to discourage anyone from dealing with Comtrade unless you like dealing with people and you have money to throw out the window.
For those that want it:
Invoice Number: 9520237
S/N of notebook 750T-SB06930
Comtrade (818) 961-6688
The 2 phone numbers are located in California
Chaplet (408) 732-6159
Technical Support (800) 899-4508
Timothy Platt from
Southampton, NY USA
Date - Thursday, December 26, 1996 at 14:50:36 (EST)
I purchased my 486/33 EISA/VLB system from Comtrade in March of '94.
I have only had one need for tech support, when the EISA config got
screwed up, and I was actually helped promptly. For those of you
wondering about the processor upgrade, I installed the Pentium 83
upgrade with no problems. The mobo had "H486GVL" on it. I'm trying
to upgrade ram (filling 2 of the free 30 pin slots with 4 meg chips
in addition to the 2/4 meg chips in the 72 pin slots), and now it
only recognizes 4 of the 16 megs currently installed, not to mention
the 8 which were in there and working before ;) Guess I'll call up
Comtrade and see what happens. Email support is welcome too =)
My parents purchased both a desktop (pent166) and laptop (pent100)
system from them. The desktop had a defective speaker-- Comtrade
shipped out a new pair immediately, even before the defective ones
were returned (they were very specific about charging my parent's CC
if the old pair was not returned). My father wanted to purchase a
laptop which was out of stock. Comtrade gave him the same laptop
with better video (active color vs. whatever (lcd?)) for the same
price. All in all, not a bad company for those who don't need to
have their hand held.
Scott Hurst from
Eagle Point, OR USA
Date - Wednesday, December 25, 1996 at 01:46:55 (EST)
I bought a system from comtrade about 2 years ago. The system is good, but the Tech support is very weak.
D Kevin from
Date - Tuesday, December 24, 1996 at 17:01:03 (EST)
I recently purchased a "Dream Machine 8x" from Comtrade, my second purchase from Comtrade. Although I never had cause to use their tech support on the first machine, I had experienced both software and hardware pronblems with the second machine.
Comtrade is most prompt in accepting my explanation of having gotten a failing 2.5 GB Hard Driveand their sending a replacement was appreciated. I had some difficulty with the mechanics of removing teh failing drive and called Comtrade Tech Support for assistance. They help me through the procedure.
My second problem occured when my Windows 95 registry became corrupted and my monitor went black. Repeated reboots failed to effect any change and I, in my ignorance, reinstaalled Windows 95 from CD ROM. This created a multitude of conflicts within the system which were beyond my ability to resolve. I called Comtrade again and was ably assisted in solving the problem.
My purpose in relating this to you is to express both my satisfaction and gratitute for their help I courteously received and the fine service that I received from their technician
Thanks for being there when I needed you!
Jay Lee from
Nanuet, NY USA
Date - Tuesday, December 24, 1996 at 01:27:26 (EST)
DO NOT BUY FROM THIS COMPANY! At first I thought that people
were paranoid about this company. NOT TRUE! Hearing rumors
that Comtrade was selling overclocked systems, I decided to check
for my self. Guess what? My P166 CPU was actually a P120! The
heatsink was glued to the top preventing anyone from seeing the
top markings. The bottom markings were blocked by a VERY hard to
remove bar-code sticker. Upon removing the sticker it read
Any idiot can then go onto the Intel website and see that this
marking corresponds to a Pentium 120.
Bottom Line: YOU DON'T GET WHAT YOU PAID FOR!
ps: Can I bring legal action against this company?
Jeff Woody from
Chattanooga, TN USA
Prelude to Chaos
Date - Monday, December 23, 1996 at 16:09:38 (EST)
About 8 months ago I bought one of Comtrade's systems.
It's a Pentium 120, 16mb RAM, 1.6gig HD, Supra 28.8 modem, and a Diamond Stealth 3D video card.
After buying this system I found out you get what you pay for.
I had the system 2 weeks and the sound card in it went. Trying to get ahold of their nonexistant
tech support was useless. I replaced the card out of my pocket.
When I bought the system I asked if the cache was upgradeable to 512k they said yes.
When I went to upgrade it wasn't. I got ahold of tech support the guy told me that I obviously didn't
know what I was doing. Come to find out they had put in the wrong Motherboard. Well I finally convinced them of this.
They told me to ship it back and they would replace it. I DON'T THINK SO!! I work for an ISP and I can't do without a system.
Not to mention the fact that no one has the chance to play with my Hard Drive and programs.
They finally sent me a new Mother board after three weeks. The wrong one! This one did have 512k cache built into it though.
It was still the wrong one though. Then after 7 months my HD failed. I mean fast too. I barely got my important data backed up
and it was gone. I tryed to get ahold of Tech support again. No go. 10 calls to them leaving my number each time and no one called back.
I wound up replacing my HD out of my pocket. I would never buy from them again. I'm also telling everyone I meet not to either. This is quite a few
considering I work for a Internet Service Provider.
Bill Meacham from
Aliso Viejo, CA USA
ADG Productions - Music Education Into the 21st Century
Date - Sunday, December 22, 1996 at 05:36:59 (EST)
I am happy to have found this web page.
I was seriously considering Comtrade for my next computer purchase but
have just been convinced otherwise aftering reading this page.
I will have to look elsewhere( I just took back a Packard-Bell system
due to all kinds of miscellaneous problems) for my next
computer system. Maybe Dell, my company has purchased hundreds
of Dell 166's and they appear to perform well.
I bought a 100mhtz Pentium from Comtrade August 1995. I bought it from them as their prices were very competitive and are 45 minutes from my home so that if anything went wrong I could physically take it back for repairs. I have had to take the machine back 3 times since I bought it for various problems:
1. faulty CD-ROM
2. faulty sound card
3. blown power supply
Each time they have fixed the problem while I wait generally 45 minutes. I have found their tech. support to be knowledgeable. When I first got my computer I like many other people had to wait forever to speak to a tech. support guy. Over the last few months they seem to have got better and I have found it easier to talk to someone.
I have just ordered a new computer from them, however after reading all the comments on this web site I hopw I have made the right decision.
I suppose with the amount of computers they sell there are going to be a handful of problems. I have been to their offices and their service center (both in the same building) numerous times and they all seem hardworking people.
Dr. Daniel C. Harris from
Piqua, OH USA
Date - Friday, December 20, 1996 at 15:35:01 (EST)
Thank you for the information regarding Comtrade & Midwest
Micro. I will be purchasing five computers to network in
my office. I had considered Comtrade & Midwest Micro until
I saw what poor service & quality many of their customers
experienced. Now I'm scared of all computer companies. I
am suspicious that Comtrade submits systems with higher
quality motherboards for PC review than what they actually
sell to their customers (they use FIC for their HX systems &
ATC for VX motherboards). I am on a budget, however, I do
want a reliable system.
Do you have any information on these companies:
I am considering these as well, but am unable to find
further information. Can you help me?
Daniel C. Harris, O.D.
Sue Allen Smith from
Date - Wednesday, December 18, 1996 at 03:01:42 (EST)
My Experience with Comtrade:
1. Order a computer early (11/25/96) for Christmas. I wanted to be assured that I will get the system by Christmas as a Christmas gift for my teenage daughter.
2. I was promised delivery within two weeks. My sales person assured me that I will have ample time to get it before Christmas.
3. Call one week (12/2/96) later to check status. Talked to "Kim" who is very courteous and helpful. She told me that my system will ship on that day and I should call late in the afternoon or early the next morning for a tracking numbers. She volunteer to call me back with the numbers but, I told her that I will call her back.
4. Call on 12/3 for my tracking number. Got my number! Call UPS and they told me that I shoul get my system anywhere from 4 - 7 working days.
5. Wait patiently for my computer. I called UPS again on 12/9/96. Unfortunately, the UPS 's customer service rep told me that she can't track my order and that she will check it out and call me back. Two days went by and no body call.
6. I was getting very anxious and a little angry. I called Comtrade and asked about my order. Again, I talked to "Kim" which assures me not to worry. She will check it out and call me by the end of the day. I told her that I am not satisfied with her respond because that was exactly what UPS told me. Again she apologized (which is not her fault) and assured me that I will get a call back. She called before the end of the day. Unfortunately, she said that she has not receive any answer from UPS. I was really getting impatient and demanded to talk to a Supervisor. No supervisor was available at that hour and she promised me that she will consult a supervisor and get back to me the next day.
7. Received a call fro "Kim" early in the morning. Apparently, UPS has not respond to the trace. However, she informed me that Comtrade will start building me a new system immediately and overnight the system to me as soon as the system passes Quality Control. As promised I received my machine 4 working days later.
8. I turn on the machine, nothing comes up. I was really mad and furious. Call Comtrade again and wanted to talk to a Technician,. None was avaialble. However, the receptionist took a message for me.Within 20 minutes, a technician called. He went over the problem with me and apparently the video card got loose during shipment. The machine is up and running now. I wish you could see my girl's reaction with this early Christmas present.
9. I like to thank Comtrade's sales staff as well as their tech staff for their courteous and excellent service. The machine is fast, I got it a lilttle late (not Comtrade's fault), the price is good and I think I will buy me a notebook for myself early next month.
Matt Thode from
Willow Springs, IL USA
Date - Monday, December 09, 1996 at 00:02:09 (EST)
The computer can as promised, but after 6-months the
computer keep locking up. It is next to impossible to get
thru tech support line. They say they will call back but
do not.It took them 2 months to admit it was a defective
motherboard. I received the new MB and am still waiting
(2-weeks so far) to get the technician to install the new
MB so I can get a refund for the old motherboard that I
prepaid. I am still w/o a computer, and would never
recommed them to anyone.
Peter Harlan from
Eugene, OR USA
Date - Friday, December 06, 1996 at 17:14:08 (EST)
I bought a 486 DX2/66 about four years ago. The system
seemed to work fine initially, but within a couple days
it began to behave erratically. There were freeze-ups
and crashes. I worked with technical support to try to
fix this, including sending the harddrive back (they
said they replaced it, but I found files on it I had
created earlier), replacing the L2 cache, and so on.
Finally, I shipped the whole system back for replacement.
They sent me the same one back with no changes. That
was when I made up my mind to deal with another company.
I sent the PC back, having spent probably $150 on
shipping, and several weeks of my time on this. Next
PC I bought was from ZEOS, and I've been happy with it
Karen & Ed Heck from
Duluth, GA USA
Date - Thursday, December 05, 1996 at 18:39:49 (EST)
This is the worst co. in business! I purchased 2/$2500.systems.
Got no tech. support. CD-rom would open & close for no reson.
after only 10 days of operation. Another month went by & hard drive went.
Both were sent to me through my salesperson(ben)& installed by me at there
at their insistance(even though I had 1 year on site service)They just refused to fax service
this company will probally open under another name just to rip more of us off
Also, we were told there was a modem supported speakerphone(lie#1),& EDO was new kind of 3D(lie#2)
Hard drive was smaller than they quoted(lie#3)
Diamond was no help with their cheapo soundcard or with their subsid.supra fax modem!
It was like I didn't exist!
Rich Fengler from
Acworth, GA USA
Date - Wednesday, December 04, 1996 at 02:39:03 (EST)
How timely Steve Faulkner's message was (dated 12/3/96).
"COMTRADE P90 SYSTEM OWNERS BEWARE!!!!!!!
COMTRADE HAS FRADULENTLY SOLD P75's AS P90's
Here's the scenario"
"The lady that answered the phone at this
3rd party place asked what kind of laptop it was and
I told her it was a P90. She then asked me if it was
a real 90 or an overclocked 75...I did not know and I
asked her why she would ask. She told me that there
had been numerous problems with Comtrade Pentium 90
systems where Comtrade would sell an overclocked P75
as a P90, knowingly, and without telling the customer.
I told her I would check on the CPU and call her back."
I removed the sticker carefully and these are the
numbers I got off of the
INTEL M 92,93
I looked up the information in the table on Intel's website
and it says that the last numbers SX969 belong to a
75 MHZ CPU."
"Hope this helps everyone! Let's kick some Comtrade ass, eh?
(sounds like Comtrade is more fraudulent that Packard Bell
Guess what, I ordered a system from Comtrade in January '96.
The system model was the "HyperSpeed MultiMedia", with a
120 MHz Pentium processor. I really have had one problem
with it (CPU fan burned out, and they sent me a new one).
I must mention that when I received the system, I was not
enthused with the add-on boards in the system; to my suprise,
Comtrade allowed me to return the Sound card, Modem card,
and Display adapters for a refund of those components only
(I did this within their 30-day return policy). They
credited my Credit Card I had used to purchase the system;
I was pleasantly suprised that they would allow me to return
just components, rather than the entire system.
Anyway, back to Steve Faulkner's comments I mentioned at
the beggining of this saga. Based on Steve's comments,
I pulled out the Pentium processor, which also had the heat
sink "glued" on. The bottom of the Pentium also had a sticker
on it; however, I could not "peel" back the sticker... I had
to gently scrape it off (they must have used super glue!).
Guess what!!! Mine had the same "SX969" that Steve's laptop
had. This means they ripped me off even more than Steve!!!
Mine is a 75 MHz Pentium overclocked to 120 MHz!!!
I'm beggining to steam!!!
This week I plan on contacting Comtrade's corporate offices
and ask for the original price difference between the 75 MHz
and 90 MHz Pentium (I still have the Dec'95 add from
Computer Shopper magazine)... this is a $200 dollar difference
between a 75 MHz and 120 MHz Pentium!!!
I'm almost sure I won't be able to reach anyone of authority
at Comtrade, who will make the refund, so I will also make
a secondary proposal... that I return the 75 MHz CPU chip
they put in my system, for the price of a 120 MHz Pentium
ala January '96 (I'd guess around, which looks to be around
$600, according to adds in the same Computer Shopper mag.
Any ideas how I can be effective at getting a reimbursement
for the dis-honest practice Comtrade is doing!?
Steve Faulkner from
Worcester, MA USA
Date - Tuesday, December 03, 1996 at 05:35:12 (EST)
COMTARDE P90 SYSTEM OWNERS BEWARE!!!!!!!
COMTRADE HAS FRADULENTLY SOLD P75's AS P90's
Here's the scenario
Recently, I called the company I purchased my home PC
and laptop from (Comtrade) because I was inquiring about
a problem I was having with my laptop. They gave me a
number to call to have the computer sent back so that it
could be fixed. The lady that answered the phone at this
3rd party place asked what kind of laptop it was and I told
her it was a P90. She then asked me if it was a real 90 or
an overclocked 75...I did not know and I asked her why she
would ask. She told me that there had been numerous
problems with Comtrade Pentium 90 systems where Comtrade
would sell an overclocked P75 as a P90, knowingly, and
without telling the customer. I told her I would check
on the CPU and call her back. I cannot get at any type of
information on my laptop's CPU but I was interested in
my home CPU. I opened the case and removed the cpu from
it's ZIF socket. The heatsink was glued on so I couldn't
get any info off of the top of the CPU. The bottom of the
cpu had a sticker with a barcode on it covering the cpu
identification information. I removed the sticker
carefully and these are the numbers I got off of the
INTEL M 92,93
I looked up the information in the table on Intel's website
and it says that the last numbers SX969 belong to a
75 MHZ CPU. When the system boots up it says Pentium 90 MHZ
but I know now that this does not actually tell you the REAL
speed of the CPU, and an overclocked 75 will come up as a 90
Sound like fraud to anyone? My father owns a business, and
it sounds like a clear case of fraud to his lawyer. I
would advise ALL Comtrade computer owners to check their
CPU's for correct clock speeds. The numbers that identify
the cpu can be found on the bottom side of the chip. Compare
these numbers to the table on Intel's web page (I am not
sure of the exact address, sorry) www.intel.com
Hope this helps everyone! Let's kick some Comtrade ass, eh?
(sounds like Comtrade is more fraudulent that Packard Bell
Denver, CO USA
Date - Sunday, December 01, 1996 at 20:34:03 (EST)
I bought a Pent 166 - 32mb RAM - 2gig etc machine. Reading
the remarks below I guess I have been lucky because my
computer works fine. I did have some minor problems which
I ended up solving with the help of the companies that made
the parts. Thank god for the good people at Diamond and
My only grievance with Comptrade (but it's a big one), is
that their tech support is non-existant. If you can get through to
them, consider yourself most fortunate. But don't get too excited
when (if ! ) they answer, it's not as if you'll be talking to anyone
who I would class as an expert.
To sum up. If you are not too experienced with computers, your
probably taking a chance with this lot. It's one thing to build a
bad machine now and again, it's criminal not to care or do
anything about it.
Silverio Silva from
Ossining, NY USA
Date - Saturday, November 30, 1996 at 17:39:03 (EST)
I brought two computers from Comtrade, one in 12/94
the second 9/94 both hi priced computers.
I have very good oppinion about Comtrade Computers.
M. Kelley from
Date - Wednesday, November 20, 1996 at 22:02:53 (EST)
I, like many others wish I had found this site BEFORE I bought from Comtrade.
I purchased a P166 with 32 meg ram, Diamond 2000 video card, 2 gig ultra scsi HD, Commwav modem, Diamond sound card, and Samsung 8X cd drive.
So far, I've experienced the infamous fan noise on bootup, the earlier reported Commwav disconnects, a sound card that doesn't work in dos, and a CD drive that skips when playing musical cd's.
The system was poorly configured upon delivery. The modem would not work so I called tech support. After an hour on hold, I finally talked to an inept support representative.
After an hour or so of tinkering and trying every canned routine in the book, the modem was working properly. I left it at that and decided to worry about the sound card and CD drive problems at another time.
I've had nonstop problems with the modem disconnecting so I decided to just replace the cheap, low grade modem with a US Robotics Sportster, problem solved.
I ended up calling tech support at Diamond for help on the sound card. They recommended that I download and install the drivers from their web site which I did. The problem still exists.
I've come to the conclusion that this system is filled with low grade components and I have elected to replace them rather than bother with Comtrades crappy tech support.
I will be installing a Soundblaster AWE32 and new CD drive next.
When I add the cost of putting in quality parts, Comtrade doesn't seem like such a good deal afterall.
I did get lucky in one way. I had told a friend about my new purchase and made the mistake of recommending she buy from Comtrade also based on "more bang per buck."
She purchased a similar system a week after I did. So far hers has worked fine which is a blessing as she is totally new to computers.
My feelings on the matter? I feel that Comtrade is a ripoff and I will not EVER buy from them again. I just hope that my friend will continue to be satisfied with her system...I'm sure not satisfied with mine!
Date - Friday, November 15, 1996 at 20:33:04 (EST)
I purchased a laptop, pentium 90 with sound and 8 Meg RAM.
I had problems after 4 months. I returned it at great expense. My
job relied on it, not to mention the shipping. Six weeks later I
received it back. It took about six hours of phone time to
get it shipped to me. When I received it, it had the same
problems as before - more often than not it did NOT boot.
They never found the problem. I sent it to them less the
hard drive and they sent me a RECONDITIONED one in
exchange - not a new one!!! After two months without a
computer I finally had a working unit.
In addition, my hard drive is now making strange noises. I
am very happy that I purchased the four year warranty. I
have a feeling that I will be using it again. I will not buy
another computer from these people unless they were the
only computer manufacturer on earth (must have a computer).
One other item to mention about these laptops. The fans are
very audible. I did not notice until it was next to a DELL (great
computers - this will be my next purchase!!). Also, I had to repair
a bad solder joint in my RECONDITIONED Comtrade - I
wasn't about to send it back to them for a bad slider on the
Please ----- spare yourself the agony. Buy a DELL!!!!!
David Vowels from
Date - Thursday, November 14, 1996 at 23:44:30 (EST)
I purchased a Pentium 166 from these guys in June. The price
seemed good ($2995), it arrived in time, (about 8 working days, I
believe) and it's worked pretty well.
From time to time it loses the CMOS settings when I haven't
started it up in a while. I've purchased a new battery, but
it doesn't seem to make any difference. I've learned to live
with it. There are many more horrible aspect to PCs (Windows
95 comes to mind)to worry about.
I'd buy another one. In fact, I came across this web page
because I was looking for Comtrade's home page. I'm considering
buying one for my mom. And I love her.
Peter Gettys from
Tulsa, OK USA
Date - Tuesday, November 12, 1996 at 21:24:04 (EST)
My computer is a Comtrade with 16mb RAM and a 1.2gig HD
and a 1.44mb floppy with a 4x Goldstar CD-Rom Drive
and a P75 with Easy SCSI and SoundBlaster Your basic Dream
Machine or the one they sold June 95 and a 17" KFC monitor.
Okay I have had one minor problem with my Comtrade in the
sound system which acted up because of missing and invalid
drivers which was all fixed without TECH SUPPORT!!!!!!
SO I WENT TO THEIR WEBPAGE WENT TO DRIVER UPDATES AND DOWNLOADED
ALL THE MISSING DRIVERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I LOVE MY MISFIT COMTRADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry about you all whitch got the short end of it
but mine worked fine until i got the Anti-EXE virus which
wiped the backup files on the computer so I lost vital
Date - Saturday, November 09, 1996 at 21:59:01 (EST)
Read a lot of the neg. comments but bought a P120 laptop
from them because of the value. It came a little late after
several calls but has worked flawlessly and had a lot more
features than they had advertised. So far I'm very pleased
B Patten from
Date - Saturday, November 02, 1996 at 03:08:45 (EST)
Hello fellow Com(unist)trade owners! Regarding the comments
I have seen about Comtrade, I could't agree more. It amazes
me that a company this lacking in truth in advertising and
customer support is still in business.
I bought my 486/66 from Comtrade 1/94. At first the system
worked fine. Then the monitor started acting up (3 mo.).
So I called Comtrade for repairs. Their solution was to
have me send the monitor to the manufacturer for
repairs(at my expense).
4 1/2 weeks later I was able to use my computer again. Next
the CPU fan went out. Of course I had to send the defective
part (worth less than what it cost me to ship it)back to
Comtrade before they would send me a new one.
As far as quality is concerned, The mouse that came with this
system was a total piece of s--t, and had to be replaced
after about 6 mo. I recently tried to upgrade the CPU for
my father-in-law. GOOD LUCK!, the motherboard is some off-
the-wall brand that has no technical (or BIOS) support.
Each time I had a problem, I had to deal with the lack of
customer service this company provides to ALL it's customers.
Trying to get through to a tech is impossible at best
(unless you have 1-2 hours to burn).
When all is said and done, this is NOT the company you should
buy your next computer from. The best thing that could happen
to this company, is to go belly up like most of the B.S.
computer companies do. Judging by the contents of this web
site, I'm not alone in this belief.
Erwin Veres from
Holliston, MA USA
Date - Friday, November 01, 1996 at 17:03:16 (EST)
I purchased a P133 from Comtrade in June of 1996 after a friend purchased a P120 a few months earlier. Neither he nor I have had any problems with the machines. I did think that the mouse and keyboard were rather cheap (and have since replaced them), but have otherwise been satisfied. I read the comments on this site (or a similar one) prior to deciding on my purchase but thought that they probably represented only a fraction of buyers, so I went ahead with my purchase. The lack of documentation did not bother me and I have not had to use tech support. To this date, I have been very satisfied.
Chris Murray from
Atlanta, GA USA
Date - Sunday, October 27, 1996 at 20:13:56 (EST)
DO NOT DEAL WITH THIS COMPANY. The system came missing a
mouse, microphone, and voicemail software. I eventually
received the microphone, but it has been downhill from
there. My floppy drive and modem have both failed, and my
CD-ROM stops working after being on about an hour. I have
called dozens of times, sent ten faxes and three letters,
and I have yet to get a single reply. The only people I can
talk to are in sales. I was mislead by false advertising,
treated unfairly, and ignored. The worst experience I have
ever had with any company of any kind.
P. Gardner from
Pompano Beach, FL USA
Date - Thursday, October 24, 1996 at 21:39:38 (EDT)
COMTRADE: My Computer from Hell Gone Bad.
It has been over a year now, the time it has taken me to
recover from the trauma associated with my Comtrade experience.
I was literally on the verge of a nervous breakdown for months
on end. The chronology might not be exact, my recollection
is a bit hazy after 15 months, but the message should be
Based on the recommendation of my nephew and thinking that
I was computer literate enough to overcome any problems that
might arise, I made the decision to go to Comtrade after considering
Dell and Gateway among a few other more expensive mail order
firms. I configured as follows:
Windows 3.11 (Windows95 not yet available)
Memory - 16 mb
ATI Graphics Pro Turbo Video Card - 4 mb vram
Sound Blaster Audio Card 32
Cache: settled for what they offered at the time (wanted Triton chip set)
1 MB HD +
CD ROM X 4
5-1/2 Drive (thrown in which I had to fight for)
17” Mag Monitor
250 MB Jumbo Colorado
Bottom Line: $4,990 plus Tax (Declared in FL)
“Ask for Robert” I was told, “he’s pretty flexible”. And so
I did. I haggled a bit, after all I was spending five grand
and wanted something special for my money. Asking if they’d
throw in a 5-1/4” floppy drive you'd have thought I had asked
for the Shroud of Turin. Hold- boss says “no way”. Hold-
boss says “no”. Hold- boss says “ok”. What a charade!
All for $35 second rate drive.
My “TORNADO” (doesn’t the name tell you something?) was ordered
on June 1, 1995 and arrived on June 12th, about as promised. However,
the monitor did not! I called customer service, the first of many
calls and precursor of things to come. I needn’t go into how
responsive they were, the testimony of others on this page will more
than suffice. When I did get through I was told that the monitor
was backordered and expected any day. I lugged the computer home
from work and set it up with the monitor from my old system. I
turned it on and Great!!!! Well, for about 10 minutes it was,
then crash! First of many. I thought I had done something wrong
when trying to configure my old monitor, an NEC. A dozen crashes
later I called Technical Support. Again, for the reason stated
above I wont go into detail about how many attempted calls I made
and how the calls were treated, but I did get through. Most of
the time when I did get contact it was through a prearranged
call back to me at home. The other way around was to impossible.
I spoke to Jonathan first. “No monitor”?! He was astounded, muttered
something under his breath, then proceeded as if nothing unusual
was at hand. Well, he took me through the canned troubleshooting
routine, changing, copying files, etc, etc. At the end of
this first of many sessions, nothing was concluded and I was
told to call back the next day as it was quitting time in California.
And so I did. The conclusion eventually reached was bad memory,
a problem they admitted to having with some Chinese chips of
late. A replacement set was Fedexed arriving two days later.
Now was my first venture under the hood, a moment I had both
looked forward to and dreaded.
I shouldn’t have been surprised. Most of the “harnesses”
were unsecured. I thought for a moment I had finally located
the main problem when pressing in connections here and there
upon finding the HD cable gave a good ¼ inch when pressured.
I thought to myself that this should have been the first thing
to tell me to do. Wouldn’t have helped though. The problem
persisted, however there was more time between crashes I must
admit and a whole new set of system warning messages too. The
look inside did afford me the opportunity to see what was making
the strange vibrating intermittent sound. It turned out to be
the fan which was wobbling on its bearings. I took the fan off
which revealed a set of markings on the heat sink where a different
fan had been screwed on previously. The fan reattached improved
the sound level but was still intermittent.
A second replacement set of memory was sent via Fedex and the
old chips returned at my. Still the same problems. I let
things cool off for a while, seventeen days in fact, when
the monitor finally arrived at which time I started in again
with Technical Support. I was getting nervous as the 30 day
guarantee was getting closer to expiration.
I will interject at this point about the overall quality of
components. The first thing I noticed when unpacking the computer
was a missing spindle which kept part of the built-in stand in
its track. When found it appeared badly chewed up in a previous
attempt to reinstall it. The mouse was a joke. It didn’t work
from the beginning. The speakers weren’t much better, one of
them having a dent in the front grille and sounded little better
than the built-in speakers of my notebook. The keyboard was
so cheezy and small that I feared I would have had to relearn
how to type if I continued to use it . I abandoned all of these
one after the other, again robbing from my old system whose
components were beginning to give me a feeling of nostalgia for
the old 486DX x 33. These issues were never brought up as I was
desperately concerned with just getting the system running, period!
The sound card and video cards were installed as ordered and
proved later to be as good as expected. The monitor is just ok.
All documentation and software were there, though loosely packaged,
with the exception of missing Windows and DOS manuals. The Windows
and DOS software was compressed on the HD behooving me to invest in
a couple of dozen cassettes with which to make urgently needed backups
as software issues were addressed by reloading Windows and DOS
innumerable times at the instructions of “Technical Assistance”.
With every attempt to solve the problem failing this far, the
motherboard (muddabowwed) drew the attention of the “tech”.
I spent a Saturday, yes we arranged a Saturday session.
My first prearranged call was answered “Dentist’s office”.
Oh, my God, I thought, they’re pulling teeth on weekends or
else I got a wrong number. I called one of the regular
numbers and got through to Jonathan one of few techs with
a discernible name. Most of the time was spent poking around
changing jumpers, where accessible, from one position to
another with no improvement.
A motherboard replacement was arranged. It was warrantee time
now - yes the 30 day return policy (at my expense) had expired.
I was committed now. NWC Service Corp. was to do the swap out.
Same deal - return the old board at my expense on order to
get credit for the new one. The new board was not an exact
replacement as it was shy one PCI but had and additional memory
slot. The system was returned to my office from where once again
I lugged it home. The system seemed fine at this point, though
a little slow, so I thought I’d upgrade to 32 meg. Thinking,
like a fool, if went to Comtrade for the upgrade I would be
assured the chips would be most compatible with my system that
they knew so well. I installed these (back when memory wasn't cheap)
but there was no improvement. Multitasking was still very slow
at best. I ran utilities which confirmed memory but the processor
speed showed up at 90 not 120 Hz. I called NWC. We went over
the jumper settings whereupon NWC concluded the new board would
not support my 120 processor assuming that’s what it was. Its
impossible to tell by inspection as the heat-sink is epoxied
onto the processor where it should be indicated. NWC had a chat
with Comtrade trying to explain to them that it was impossible
for the board to support a P120 processor. Comtrade insisted
the board could be “tweaked” but decided to send a second
motherboard rather than argue further. They sent the board
all right, the same damned board as before!
That did it! The final fray with Comtrade occurred when they
said nothing more was to be done but send the machine back
to them at my expense in order to fix the thing once and for
all. I was beside myself, though keeping calm and not exactly
knowing what to say next, I asked who was in charge. I was
answered that nobody was in charge and the owner was not available.
He gave me a name and it wasn’t Christopher Luke. The manager,
Mark Sun, was out. There must be someone I can talk to I asked.
No one, we’re all here together in a big “bull pit”, his exact words.
I gave it up at that point. In order to save my sanity and catch
up on hundreds of lost man hours of work I upgraded the motherboard
and processor to a 133 at my own expense. I keep my fingers crossed
about the memory.
NWC did as well as could be expected under the circumstances
and were downright helpful.
Whenever reading reviews and comparing the benchmarks of any
Comtrade computer, whatever the publication, READ BETWEEN
THE LINES. An undefined motherboard or vague component thereof
is prime example. They call it proprietary. I call it trash.
Faint praise is always there; a lightning fast machine is usually
qualified in some way. Is it odd that publications that don’t
advertise Comtrade don’t even bother to review their computers?
In summation the term “cesspool mountebank” has taken on
new meaning to include unprofessional, shoddy and kloogy....
Russ McTyre from
Alpharetta, GA USA
Date - Thursday, October 24, 1996 at 09:51:41 (EDT)
I purchased a 120 MHz Pentium Comtrade system for my parents in June of 1996. This system is faster than many 166 MHz systems I've seen, and I've yet to have a single problem with anything. I purchased a 486/66 machine from Comtrade a couple of years ago as well, and so far, not a thing has gone wrong with it. After reading these posts, I think it is hit or miss with this company. If you get a machine that was put together properly, you will more than likely be happy with the computer. If, on the other hand, you don't, you will be out of luck with the Tech and Customer Support. Overall, I would recommend Comtrade if you know a lot about troubleshooting computers and you want a lot of speed for your money.
Carole DeBell from
Napa, CA USA
Date - Monday, October 21, 1996 at 16:32:26 (EDT)
I bought a Comtrade, after I plugged in, I could not locate
the CD Drive, Called tech suppot, what a waste, no answer,
all day long. But the day got worse, I continued to test our
all the features, the speakers were a total waste, static or
no sound. After an hour and a half the monitor went out.
I have tried to call technical support mutiple times, and
I plan on returning the whole system as soon as I can get
the authorization to return number. I do plan on holding
them to their agreement. And yes,I did buy based on an
article I saw in PC Magazine stating this was a best buy.
Brian Cowan from
My Demogroups Current Homepage (Oct, 1996)
Date - Sunday, October 20, 1996 at 14:02:20 (EDT)
D O N T B U Y C O M T R A D E
I am an advanced games programmer, who bought a Comtrade on
October of last year, before access to the internet, so all
I could see from the company was the flashy add with the
When I called sales, a guy called Peter (?) answered, and
said that he had awards from PC magazine, and the company
had been in Bussiness for at 8 years. And that their tech
support was excellent. Anyways to get to the meat of this
article, DON'T BUY COMTRADE!
I made the mistake of telling them I needed the puter fast
because I was moving soon, so they did loads of Crap to the
1) The wavetable soundcard they sold me had been taken out
of production from ADAPTEC. about 6 months after purchase
it just sorta Burned out and stopped working. I tried
calling Comtrade, for 6 HOURS STRAIGHT to get through to
their tech support, but only got the Dumbass recording.
so then I had to call adaptec up on their tech support
line (Not toll free), to get a replacement. Adaptec was
great and explained that the card was out of production
way before it was sold to me, but sent me a new card
super fast. (I sold it and Got a wonderfull GUS)
2) The HD just completely went wacko, and all the sectors
started being corrupted. This was hardware, because I
tried EVERY single way to fix it, Low Level formatting,
everything. Comptrade promised a great 12ms access HD
and Instead gave me a Sh%#y samsung Drive (Piece of crud,
dont buy from them. No tech support like adaptec) with 20
ms Access time. (Other samsung drives I know have fried,
dont buy from them Either). I just bought a new, super
cool Seagate drive, and Windows went from booting up in
about a minute, to 18 seconds!
3) WORST of all, the didnt give me what they told me. In
lots of ways. (Yes, illegal. I would sue them if I was in
the US. And I hate suing, but they are worth it. Could
someone PLEASE take this company down? JUST read the rest
of this WEB!) They told me they where giving me a P120,
and charged for it, but actually gave me a P75, wich they
jumped up to a clock speed of P120. So everything tells
me its a P120, but the Chip Isnt. I should be getting
around a 24-25 in Norton95 Sysinfo, but get around 18-19.
They actually SUPERGLUED the FAN to the chip, so you had
to take the chip out of the socket to see it. Also the
fan was crap (More on that later). The HD was not what
they told me. They told me the VID card had HARDWARE
mpg support, and it didnt, only a socket for it. They
also told me the CDROM had 210ms access, while it has
over 450ms!!! Hd has over 20ms, while they told me 12.
I dont know, but I think they sold me NON EDO mem when
they charged for EDO (I dont know exactly how to tell so
this is not on my craplist yet ;)
4) Numerous smaller things. THe fan was by far 2nd rate, and
is now making a loud Buzzing noise when I turn the
computer on. Since they superglued it to the chip, I cant
replace it. Nor can I sell the computer in its Present
state, Im no Comtrade.
In short, someone please report how bad comtrade really is,
I hate looking every time in Computer shopper, and seeing
their add there. Im not even one of the people with the
worst experiences with them!
Some people have not had problems with them yet, the lucky
ones. Be proud, for angels must be shining on you =)
But they are by far one of the worst Companies.
D O N T B U Y C O M T R A D E
John Barney from
Houston, TX USA
Date - Sunday, October 20, 1996 at 12:49:52 (EDT)
I work for a medium size law firm in Houston, TX. For about the last year our company has been purchasing computers from Comtrade. So far we have had not had any major problem with any of their computers. Just the other day we had one CPU fan go out, but that is very minor in my opinion. It sounds like most of the complaints posted here are about dealings with their tech support. If you are a first time buyer this may not be the company for you. We do most of our repairs in house so I don't think we have ever had to contact their tech support. Sorry you have had so much trouble.
Roger Davis from
Greeneville, TN USA
Date - Tuesday, October 15, 1996 at 02:39:26 (EDT)
Well my computer came dead on arrival well almost it died
two hours after it was turned on. Got on the phone after
about 30 min. got a tech. that told me to re-sit my CPU
lucky for me I had so knowedge or I would have been in
for a two week wait + shipping cost. Three weeks later
the first CD-Rom went out wouldn't read any disk. After
hour long press the redial button I got through to an not
so nice of a tech. that had a bad attitude. After paying for
shiping to send the first piece of junk back, two weeks
later I got to do it all over again with the replacement piece
of junk. No more problems for one year and three months
then my power supply blows up killing my mother board and
itself. Called for one week for up to two hours a day without
getting to talk to a tech. . So I said have a tech. call me
back the next day did not get any reply at all. Called and
finaly got through a week and three days later , and sure
enough there was that friendy helpfull service tech, what?
sorry I must have been dreaming. All I wanted was some
info on my mother board I asked for the cost of getting it
repaired I got "your system is out of warrenty sir" . So I
say can I get a diagram of it so that I can repair it myself?
No he replyed they dont have diagrams "skematics".
Every thing has a plan right? Bottom line please dont buy
from Comtrade unless you like getting talked to bad and
feel that all these people are wrong. I would be thankfull
to anyone that could help me get a skematic on the follow
ing mother board the PCI54PL. e-mail me at roger@greene
Marieta Hent from
Simi Valley, CA USA
Date - Sunday, October 13, 1996 at 21:16:07 (EDT)
I purchased my comtrade computer Jan or Feb of 1996. I can't
say that I have had any major problems with it. The only weird
thing it does is, it makes a funny noise when i boot it up.
I figure it's the fan, and I'm not too worried about it. I
am a student and I didn't have the $3,000 it would have cost me
to get a similar system. I paid $2,300 for a P120, 16meg,
28.8 modem, diamond stealth etc... I don't know much about
computers, and i knew from the begining that i wouldn't want
to call their cust support lines. I have friends with computers
and try to get help form them. most of them have had major
problems with their systems. i have not and mine is faster
when they play the games on my computer they are impressed with
the speed. i would recommend it to others.
Jim Zisfein from
New York, NY USA
Date - Thursday, October 10, 1996 at 11:00:45 (EDT)
My Comtrade 486/66 VLB, purchased in March, 1994, is still up and running, although it has had its share of weirdness.
At power-up, it fails memory-check or the HIMEM high-memory check when the room is cold (68 degress or less) but then boots fine after leaving it on to warm up for 10 minutes. It also sometimes gives hard drive controller errors at startup, and makes a godawful noise (which I think is coming from the fan, not the hard drive) at startup which quiets down after several minutes.
I bought it with the optional Viewsonic 15 monitor, which is still the best monitor I have seen (clearer than the Trinitron or Vivitron). I bought the modem (Zoom 14.4), sound card (Sound Blaster Pro 8-bit), and CD-ROM drive (Sony double-speed) separately (not from Comtrade), and they all work well together. Video problems when running certain programs were fixed with a driver update from Cirrus.
Last month I replaced the original Conner 400 Mb drive with a Maxtor 2 Gb - no problems except that I had to use a kludge called "MaxBlast" to use more than about 1/4 of the drive. Windows 95 installed without complaining.
I have had no problems with Comtrade tech support, probably because I never called tech support .
Jim Hapenney from
Temple, TX USA
Date - Wednesday, October 09, 1996 at 01:55:17 (EDT)
April, 96 - After reading review in Computer Shopper, I Purchased P133 WinNote w/ 4X CD, 16MB RAM 800X600 Display 810MG HD-- $3250
Great Price!, I thought.
Laptop worked great for a very productive two weeks. Then any programmers worst nightmare occur. Complete system lock-up, all I could access was the CMOS. In an instant I lost two weeks work ARRRGGHHHH!
Comtrade replaced the PC and I was back on my way. Since then I've had some problems, but none I couldn't figure out. However, this is the 8th or 9th computer I've purchased, so I knew a little about 'em.
I feel very sorry for any poor first-time computer buyers who would get suckerd into buying from these guys...
P.S. I just got back from a convention where a bell-boy managed to smash up my baby pretty bad...cracked case, lost display, PCMCIA cards are suck. It's still under warrenty, so I wonder what Comtrade will do with me now...I'm not expecting much.
Solomon White from
Aurora, CO USA
Date - Thursday, September 26, 1996 at 20:31:22 (EDT)
I bought a Comtrade 3-D Game machine in November of '95.
Upon receiving the system, I found that some of the CD software
packages were missing. The company sent me new copies of
the missing software, so that in itself wasn't such a big deal.
It worked fine for a while, then began to develop what would be a
long series of problems. The first thing to go out was the sound
card. After many fruitless tries, I got technical support on the
phone, and after wasting the greater part of an afternoon, the
technician told me that it was a faulty modem and that the
company would send me a new one. Again, I understand that
once in a while, you will get bad equipment, so I didn't think too
much of this problem. The next thing to go out was the modem.
I was in the process of moving at the time, so I waited until I got
to my new location before taking any action. I tried calling tech.
support for several days before finally getting through. When I
finally did get through, the technician walked me through all the
things I had already tried (which mostly consisted of using the
Windows 95 troubleshooter!!!), but to no avail. I was told that
it was a faulty modem, and another one would be sent to me.
This modem, by the way, was advertised as a modem/fax/voice
mail/speakerphone system. I was never able (even with the help
of technical support) to get the voice mail or the speakerphone to
work. Anyway, after I got the second modem in the mail, I tried it
out, and it did exactly the same thing as the original modem --
nothing! I ended up buying a modem from a local computer store.
Most recently, I installed a second hard drive purchased locally.
It worked fine for about a week and a half. At that time, it started
to make a clicking noise. I again spent many long frustrated hours
trying to contact technical support. They had me disconnect the
second drive (data cable and power supply cable), and my system
booted just fine. While this could be a problem with the second
drive, it could also be a power supply not supplying enough current
to run two drives at once. The technician said, "I don't know.
Problem with drive. "
I think there are two main problems with the Comtrade company:
1) Technical Support (or lack thereof) The technicians do not
appear to know much more than an experienced user, they
are hard to understand, the technical support department is
very hard to reach, and there is no waiting queue on the toll-
free line. You must hang up when you hear the recording
and redial the number. This seems like a very unfair way to
do tech. support business, as one person could be trying over
and over again to get through, but others could be getting
through first just by happening to get the calls timed correctly.
2) Quality of Products. I can understand one piece of faulty hard-
ware in a system. But a sound card, two modems, and (maybe)
a power supply? That's ridiculous!
Linda Sorensen from
Iselin, NJ USA
Date - Wednesday, September 25, 1996 at 15:45:31 (EDT)
COMTRADE IS THE WORST!!! My computer is a piece of sh**!
Save yourself the aggravation and shop elsewhere. The
customer service as well as the tech support are nasty
and evil people and did not help me at all!
Gary Totten from
Columbus, IN USA
Date - Tuesday, September 24, 1996 at 17:10:47 (EDT)
I have a comtrade computer and have reccomended the purchase
to three of my friends. I have not had any serious problems
with my unit, nor have my friends. The only problem we have
encountered is a screw up by trying to install Win 3.1 over
Win95. My unit had a loose board on delivery that was
easily fixed by reseating the board. We range from user to
novice in the skills category. I would not recommed that
first time buyers purchase one of these system, but if you
have a knowledgable friend Comtrade is an excellent value
for a computer system. Bottom line....you get what you pay
for. If you need service, then pay an extra $500 to $1,500
more for a Dell or Micron. If you want a lot of "bang for
your money" buy a Comtrade computer.
Ethan J. Pinkert from
Amherst, MA USA
Date - Monday, September 23, 1996 at 15:44:54 (EDT)
Overall, my experience with Comtrade was BAD BAD BAD!
Here's the story:
Recently, I realized that my Amiga was dead...so I
decided to purchace a PC...but I had a serious budget (I
am a student) so I found a sweet deal from Comtrade. I am
not a PC person...but I did not think that I needed hard
core help or customer support. I am running under Win NT 3.51
and when I heard about 4.0, I told Comtrade to hold my order
until they could ship with 4.0. Robert (my sales rep) told
me that I could get a free upgrade to 4.0 from Microsoft.
Recently I called customer service and they told me that I
couldn't because I have an OEM version of Win NT. I immeadiately
got flustered with them and they said that it wasn't their
problem and that I should take it up with my sales rep. He told
me the exact opposite and that I should talk to cust support.
In addition, my computer was put together very poorly. I just bought
an HP LaserJet 5L. It didn't work. I called their tech support and they
were very helpful. He helped me through every step and
eventually they senty me a new printer the next day (HP's
customer support is the best I've ever dealt with) and the new
one didn't work. So I opened my computer up and the serial
plug on the motherboard was not inserted properly.
So, if you buy a Comtrade, expect them to sell you a computer
based on misinformation, don't expect customer support, and
take your computer apart, piece by piece and put it
back together the way you want it...the right way!
Isaac Cammann from
Fayetteville, AR USA
Date - Saturday, September 21, 1996 at 09:48:28 (EDT)
In January of 1994 I bought a "Dream Machine". Since then
Parts have been breaking constantly, and Comtrade has lied
to me, on the rare occasions I could get through on their
tech support line. This is NOT a good company.
Tim Bolt from
Mandeville, LA USA
Date - Friday, September 20, 1996 at 23:19:11 (EDT)
I recently gave my fine Dell desktop system to my secretary and decided to buy
and decided to buy a Notebook for myself. I decided on a
Comtrade model since it offered the most features for my
$2,500 price range. I ordered it 9/3/96 and CS tells me it
is to be shipped Monday. But then I find this Web site and
rapidly come to the conclusion that maybe I should cancel
my order while I still have time and order a Gateway model
or maybe another Dell. Thanks for providing this service!
Tim Bolt from
Mandeville, LA USA
Date - Friday, September 20, 1996 at 23:13:21 (EDT)
I recently gave my fine Dell desktop system to my secretary and decided to buy
Bought a P100 Hypermedia system in Sep 1995 and have had relatively few problems compared to the rest of
the nightmare stories I have read - had WIN95 installed, but they sent me WIN3.1 video drivers. OVerall I am happy
with the system, but it has really poor performance compared with my P100 GATEWAY equivalent at work. Had to replace
the CPU fan that failed after 4 months...Thanks goodness I never bought the added warrenty - now that would have been
a waste. Next computer I buy won't be from them becuase of the horror stories of crappy tech service....Had I not been
computer literate, then most of the minor problems I faced could have been nightmarish for the un-initiated....
Rick Choi from
Boulder, CO USA
Date - Wednesday, September 18, 1996 at 21:24:53 (EDT)
I bought a 586 60MHZ a year ago and I found Comtrade to have
the lousiest tech support and service. I recommend not
buying from them. Also, the motherboard I received really
is horrible. Win 95 crashes all the time on mine.
DON'T BUY FROM COMTRADE!
Beau Suthard from
St. Petersburg, FL USA
Date - Tuesday, September 17, 1996 at 01:46:24 (EDT)
I purchased the P120 Game Machine from Comtrade last February. I too took the opinion of computer shopper magazine instead of
trying to find web pages like these. So far I have had several problems. When I first purchased my system, the monitor and
system were not configured to work together and we were unable to figure it out. I ended up sending the entore system back for
a replacment system. My replacment system had the Stealth virus as did someone elses I read on this page. My modem stopped
workingwithin 2 weeks and after many attempts I was sent a replacment modem. My modem broke again last month and after a full
week of phone calls and faxes another was sent to me. Just this week I started getting various error messages that completly
closed down the system. After one fax Comtrade respomded that my CPU fan had probably stopped spinning. After I opened the
cover, I needed to coax it to start again and it solved the problems. I feel that for the age of this computer I have had too
many problems and far too little technical support. I believe that the main problem with Comtrade is that they lack a
technical support department. As a student, I purchased this system for the price vs. hardware it came with, thinking I got
a good deal. Had I known this would have happened, I would have purchased a different companies' system!
Jason Brooks from
Date - Monday, September 16, 1996 at 21:37:11 (EDT)
I bought my Comtrade system at the end of July 1996. I chose
to buy from them because I was on a budget and yet I wanted to
get a system with some cool specs. Mine's the Multimedia Dream
Machine (P133, 16Mb Ram, 1.6 gig hd,Diamond Stealth 3D, 15"
Princeton Monitor, 33.6 Voice modem)
Many of your complaints seem to be about service. I guess I don't
identify too well with those since being all the way in the
Caribbean I knew that I would vertually be on my own with T-support
reguardless who I bought from.
Once I thought I had problems with my modem and tried to get tech-support
however all my attempts were futile since I could never get through on the phone
and they wouldn't reply to my faxes. (They were so fast in the Sales Dpt.!?)
I got the problem resolved on my own eventually. (I wasn't installing it properly)
My system works well, It's very fast, my only real problems were with my
Diamond display adapter which went crazy after a windows crash.
It turns out that I had the wrong drivers and the drivers on
the CD were outdated. This time I did not wase my time with them
but went about fixing the problem with the help of a more knowledgeable
Basicly what I'm saying is that my experience so far has been pleasant because
(1)The system works well.
(2)Where I'm from, the price I paid for it couldn't get me a Packard Bell P100 with 8MB Ram 1 gig
(3)I never expected any tech support anyway because of my location.
I don't think they rob you, and you get what you pay for (no software, no mouse pad etc.)
For the beginer I guess you should'nt buy from them cause thay won't hold you in the hand and carry you
PS. I didn't even know they had a web page till I read the guy's article a few spots down from mine, I must email him
S. Hale from
Date - Monday, September 09, 1996 at 18:18:43 (EDT)
I have been reading some of these articles and it really disturbs me that so many people are have so many problems! Not to say that I haven't had some myself. I bought my computer in June 1996, The machine I purchased was the 3D game machine,which is a p120, 16mb ram, 1.6gb hd,edo dram,and pipeline burst cache.I also had the video card upgraded to Vram. So far my machine has not given me a great deal of problems, most of them are win95 problems(application errors). The only hardware problem I have had so far is that the computer makes a funny noise sometimes on bootup, I haven't figured out where it is coming from yet but when I do I might have more to write next time. One thing that may be giving some people some problems is hardware conflicts, such as monitor going blank, no sound, and so on. If you are currently having problems like these or if you think that it mught be a hardware conflict, go into SAFE MODE in win95 and use HELP in the start menu, and find TROUBLESHOOTER and goto hardware conflicts and it will walk you step by step through the process. I am by no means taking up fo Comtrade in any way. I think they have poor customer support and they can be very rude at times, when you finally do get ahold of them. These systems were by no means built for the first time buyer in mind. They have little or no literature sent with the system. You may want to check out all the readme files & text file that came with win95 and all your other programs. I myself am very dissapointed in Comtrade as a whole and feel very sorry for those who have been burned by them. Comtrade has a web page at www.comtrade-pc.com where they offer updated device drivers an so on. Personally I would not suggest that anyone buy one of these systems unless you are halfway familier with a computers components and generally how they work. Until next time I'll keep my fingers crossed and I'll also keep all of you in my prayers!
If I can assist you in any way you can e-mail me
Sincerely your fellow Comtrade owner?
Lydia Wheeler from
Wilmington, NC USA
Date - Monday, September 09, 1996 at 17:26:27 (EDT)
A sound card was installed which the maker (Adaptec) says
is not compatible with Win95 and never will be. I have not
been able to get it replaced. The case is flimsy. When
the computer first arrived, the monitor would not display
anything. I opened up the case and reseated the video
card, and it sprang to life. I often get a "memory check
failed" message on boot-up. Techs have advised me to open
up the case and reseat the memory chips. All in all, I
would say they keep their prices low by using very cheap
materials to house the chips and cards. They
also seem to use outdated hardware such as the obsolete
sound card included with my Win95 computer. If their prices
are lower than other makers', it is because the overall
quality of their computers is lower.
Adam Sifre from
Date - Wednesday, September 04, 1996 at 00:28:20 (EDT)
Three weeks ago I purchased the Artists 3D Dream
Machine. P166 32MB, 2.5 Gig. 8x CD (Acer)
Diamond Stealth 2000 2MB, MAG 17 Inch Monitor.
Premier Speakers w/Subwoofer.
It works like a charm. Extremely fast. Sound system
is excellent. The only problems I've had are the
occassional "Windows 95" problems with certain
Dos software. I use it exclusively for games and
am not disappointed. I was very nervous when I
read all the negative reviews here, but so far
so good. I paid $2,525.00 and it came with
Descent II and Destruction Derby. Both 3D
games. Oh yeah, and a 3.2 v modem.
I could not be happier.
Robert Price from
Anchorage, AK USA
Date - Wednesday, September 04, 1996 at 00:05:06 (EDT)
God I wish I had read this VAST list of dissatisfied Comtrade
customers. I too am one!!
I bought this $3000,P133/24meg ram/1.3gig HD/17lb "notebook"
that took 2 weeks to get. Out of the box the hard drive has
made very loud noises. After many tries "Larry" said he
would send me a replacement HD. Having to travel frequently,
I find it very handy to track any UPS or FedEx shipments I
am due to receive. My problem with COMTRADE is with their
Customer Support Dept. and the switchboard operator that
refuses to be much help in routing my call to anyone that
can or is willing to help me to just get the tracking number
of my replacement hard drive.
After reading some of the problems others have had with
COMTRADE I don't feel as bad about my inability to get any
satisfaction from them about a tracking number. My main
complaint so far is the discourtious uncareing attitude of
"Kim" who seems to be a part time switchboard operator/sales
In any event I wish I had known that COMTRADE was such a
blight on the Computer mail order business. Me, I hold
Magazines such as PC Magazine and Computer Shopper Magazine
at fault for doing business with an outfit that has as many
complaints as it appears COMTRADE has. The power of the
dollar at work and to hell with the consumer.
I just hope that I can get satisfaction or value from this,
very heavy (17lb!), notebook computer.
Ezat Yosafi from
Bristol, CT USA
Date - Tuesday, September 03, 1996 at 21:43:32 (EDT)
My problem with Comtrade started when I bought my p166 computer from tham, but it had the Stealth_C virus. I got an anti-virus program and the first time it scanned the memory it said that I have this virus. I have no idea at all how it got in there. Then I called Comtrade's technical support, which took forever!!! When I got to them they took a long time to help me. But that was nothing. Problem 2, I was playing a dos game and my computer wouldn't go back to Windows 95. I had no idea why. I tried everything. Then I called Comtrade technical support, and called, and called, and called, and called. I got to them and they were no help at all. So I tried everything but nothing worked. So I had to format my hard drive and reinstall everything. After a while I got it working okay but there were no drivers for the sound card. I have no sound at all. I called and called and called but I couldn't even get a hold of them. So I called their sales phone number and yelled at them and told them to have a tech support representative call me. I waited all day, but no call. So now I have a computer with no sound. And I have no idea what kind of sound card I have because the manual didn't even come with the computer, and no driver disks for the card either. This company is the worst I have ever dealt with.
NEVER BUY FROM COMTRADE.
If you have any trouble with Comtrade complain it to the Better Business Beurau (BBB), right now they can't do anything about it but if there is enough complaints they will do something about it.
I took a rather large risk when I bought this system, you see I am stationed in Japan and have no real
recourse when it comes to complaining to Comtrade. I like other buyers of Comtrade systems wish we had
shopped and did our home work before jumping at the attractively low price of Comtrade systems. I have had minor
problems with my P90. I purchased the system in May of 95, A p90 w/16 meg, Mitsumi quad CD-rom, Diamond Stelth 64
2 meg DRAM, and a 14.4 modem. When running diagnostics on the computer I am continuely told that the system is a 486
66 hertz, don't quite understand that. The sound card hasnever worked right and I can not determine who the maker is.
Running windows 95 the program will not recognize my sound card no matter what driver I use, although I get sound.
I am able to run programs that are said not to be run with 95, this computer seems to be able to run these and again
I don't understand why. Over all I have no had any major problem with this system other then the sound card and the
strange operations the system will run. I don't suggest this system to anyone, the company seems losely organized
and unable to fully support it's customers. Again I wish I had looked closer at Comtrade before I jumped at the low
cost. I would sell this system and buy another but the wife would kill me.
Paul Soto from
Atlanta, GA USA
Date - Sunday, September 01, 1996 at 20:34:15 (EDT)
p.s. in my haste to complain about Comtrade I forgot
to mention that when I received the pentium 90
system the sound card
did not work. That was my first encounter w/ customer
service. The only way to get through is to redial repeatedly
sometimes for over an hour. After making me run the ispinit
and change setting numerous times and re-installin Win 3.11
(this occurred over a 3 day period) they agreed to send
me a new sound card. Funny they didn't send me the media
magic that came w/ the system, they sent me a diamond sound
card (didn't even know they made 'em). I also had to
request a manual to go w/ it which they refused to send me
b/c the crystal chip in the diamond card is the same as
the media magic therefore "just use the media magic manual"
which incidentally is a photocopy (gee, do you think the
first sound card may have been used? ha).
A few months later the hard drive began to make awfully loud grinding
noises and the computer stopped working altogether except
for the protesting noises made when trying to turn it on.
They had to send me a new hard drive which they did only
after I send the piece of crap dead hard drive back so my
computer was down for approximately 2 weeks. Then the
CD-ROM stopped responding and after numerous hours redialing
customer service they told me to send it back (shipping on
me of course). Another 3 weeks w/out my 6 month old
computer. They said the the cables were not connected
properly however I checked the cables countless times
before sending it and could find no problem. THe past 9
months the computer has worked but the power source fan
is beginning to make its own loud groaning noises...
I can only say that I wish I had known what I was doing
when I bought my Comtrade. It is my first computer
and in retrospect I should have done much more research.
I really had no idea how bad a computer company could be
and I picked the absolute worst one! Cusotmer service
is a joke -- they can't even put you on hold, a recording
tells you to call back. If you ever get a hold of someone
they are rude and just about as helpful as my grandmother.
They have lost paperwork. They never respond to faxes nor
do they call back when they promise to. Bottomline: DO
NOT BUY A COMTRADE!!
Michael Hibbs from
Westford, VT USA
Date - Friday, August 30, 1996 at 16:50:16 (EDT)
I got my Comtrade Lightning P90 in December, 1994. Like most of the other
contributors to this FAQ, I found it pretty cheaply made, but not unreasonably so
considering the rock-bottom price. The mouse did not work at first, due to the
PC/MS switch on the bottom of the mouse being in the wrong position. This prompted
my only attempt to reach technical support. It was just as hard to get through as
everyone else has reported -- five or six calls and 30 minutes on hold. But the
support guy was friendly and knowledgeable, once I reached him. I never tried
tech support again -- not enough patience. Here are some other highlights of my
experience as a Comtrade owner:
1. CPU fan got noisier and noiser and finally stopped dead. I bought a new fan from a
local store, but the old one was epoxied on and I didn't dare use power tools to get
it off. Inspiration struck: I called Intel and asked for a new P90 without the floating-
point divide error. They very politely and efficiently sent me a replacement with a
really nice fan already attached. No problems with the fan since then.
2. The Sceptre monitor and/or the Diamond 2M DRAM card were somewhat flakey
from the start. About every third time I would power up the system, the display would
remain blank. I asked about this during my one successful call to tech support, and
they told me to reseat the video card. That didn't fix it. The display would also die
frequently during video clips in games like Millenium Auction. After I had the system
for about a year, I heard that Diamond software drivers were susceptible to just
this problem. I downloaded a new driver from the Diamond web site, and voila!, there
was never another problem with a video clip. The black screen on power-up still
occurs, but it is down to about 1 time in 10, so I just live with it.
3. The Orchid Gamewave sound card had two or three whacked-out instruments in the
MIDI section. It took me six months to figure out that something was wrong -- I just
assumed that computer music was always written with clanky, squealing sounds in the
background. Then I contacted Orchid directly and they immediately sent me a
replacement card. What an improvement!
4. I recently got another 16M of memory (WOW is it cheap these days!). I had to pull
the power supply to get access to the free memory slots, but the whole job took less
than 10 minutes. It booted right up and worked fine.
5. The Mitsumi 4x CDROM often make grinding noises and sometimes refuses to eject
the CDROM disk, but it continues to work OK. The 3.5" floppy occasionally can't read
a diskette that my IBM office PC reads just fine, and it also occasionally writes a
diskette that nobody else's PC can read. I figure this is the price one pays for being
a cheapskate (I paid 50 cents for the diskettes, also).
I consider all of these problems to be minor, and the natural results of paying bottom
prices. In the mean time, I have a system that my family runs about 4 hours a day
on everything from word processing to book-keeping to full-video action games. I am
even running OS2 Warp!
I expect a forum like this to be heavily populated by people who are really pissed off
and want to vent some spleen. My own experience hasn't been bad, probably because
my expectations were low to start with. I am considering whether to take another
chance and buy a Comtrade for my wife's office.
Peter Roberts from
Date - Thursday, August 29, 1996 at 17:58:01 (EDT)
I bought my Comtrade 486 DX2-66 in March, 1993. I bought it
based on price as I am computer literate and do not need a
lot of handholding. My only experience with Comtrade tech
support was when my 3.5 inch floppy drive died. They sent a
replacement immediately. My only problem with that was they
did not send the jumper configurations for the drive and told
me I did not need them when I called up to request them. That
is the only problem I have had.
Since then I have upgraded my computer in many ways (RAM, CD-
ROM, modem, video card) and had no problems. That compares
with friends who bought from Gateway, Zeos and Dell and had
problems. The bottom line is that all these companies
cut corners, some are just less blatant than others.
John Grohol from
Columbus, OH USA
Date - Wednesday, August 28, 1996 at 10:20:20 (EDT)
Welcome to the NEW Comtrade archive! Leave your experiences and opinions about Comtrade here.
Date - 21 Aug 96
From - Salem Spitz (70573.3620@CompuServe.COM)
COMTRADE Experience: 8/21/96 from 70573.3620@ compuserve.com (Sal Spitz) Bought PCI Best Buy with 486-66DX2, extra 5 1/4 floppy, 14.4 modem, & 3 Year Parts/Labor Guarantee, otherwise as advertised MSRP on 9/16/94 was $1950
I picked up at warehouse (1/2 hour drive)
System worked perfectly when plugged together and plugged in.
Sometime down the road there was some sort of problem (I can't remember exactly what) which required Tech Support. No question-- Comtrade tech support access left much to be desired, but once reached it was excellent. We determined that the problem was an obsolete driver for the Diamond Stealth card. He went onto their Bulletin Board and helped me download the later version the same evening (yes, evening!) Problem solved.
Mouse quit on me. Delivered it to Comtrade and was handed a new replacement (which has also since quit). Their mice are not very good-- but then, who expects a $60 mouse with a minimum cost system. I Bought a $12 Mouse Systems mouse instead.
I added a Zip Drive-- no problems
I added 8 MB SIMM-- problem! But whether it was the added memory or my ham handed working inside the case or whatever, we will never know. Delivered system to service dept on Tuesday, got call the next day-- HD failure, would be ready to pick up on Friday. Had them install CD Rom (6X NEC) and sound card (Prosonic 16) and, of course replace the HD(last was free under the 3 year guarantee). Picked up system Friday-- total cost (CD Rom & Sound) $170. System worked fine (all 16 Meg).
Replaced GVC 14.4 modem (which worked fairly well) with US Robotics 28.8 Winmodem. System works fine.
Recommended my daughter's fiance get latest version-- for $300 LESS than I paid he got Pentium 120 (instead of 486-66DX2), Diamond Stealth with 2MB (I have only 1MB), 1.28 Gig Quantum HD (I have 540 Meg), 28.8 Supra Modem (instead of 14.4 GVC), Intel/Intel CPU & chipset, 104 key Mitsumi keyboard, Princeton EO15 Monitor (I have the CTX), preloaded Windows 95 with backup CD Rom (I have DOS 6.22 & Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and made my own backup), 4 year service contract. Seems to be working fine except for monitor flicker in Windows 95. She contacted COMTRADE yesterday and again today (twice). They did call back (they say) but they had the wrong phone number (transposed two digits) so dont know exactly what the outcome will be as the phone number was corrected on the last call this afternoon. Since the flicker is only in Windows I suspect a problem with the loading or with Windows itself-- something which, I understand, would not be unheard of!
Now for some facts. Anecdotal evidence is a pain! And when you are dealing with a product made in thousands of units, isolated examples are of little help in determining quality of the product. Perfection is only a goal to be strived for and unlikely to be achieved. Of the 59 messages, 18 were negative, 19 were positive, and 15 were neutral to OK. Personally I would consider that overall picture to be a pretty good one. Unfortunately, Comtrade appears to have a tech support access problem. On the other hand, would the complainants prefer a much more accessible tech support team which was incompetent? The way it sounded, those who got through got good tech support, I know I did. My keyboard is not the greatest, but for my two-finger typing its fine. The mouse business is simply how long do you think a $10 item should last? And the one who paid $40 for a replacement of a $10 mouse sounds to be pretty dumb. The objection to using an imitation of a 3 1/2 drive instead of a blank plate is simply silly! Blaming Comtrade for problems with CTX monitors doesn't seem completely fair, nor does blaming them for hard drive failure.
Perhaps several of your communicants had the best idea-- if you need your hand held all of the time, then stay clear of Comtrade. But I suspect the same could be said of Gateway, and Dell, and all of the small assembly shops. Stick to IBM, its only money!
Date - Fri, 09 Aug 1996
From - Paul Overbey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I purchased a p166 from Comtrade in June of 1996. Although I have been pleased on the whole with my purchase, I have a couple of small complaints.
Comtrade computers are good computers, ranking up with Micron and Dell in benchmarks. They do, however, use some less expensive parts (like the sound card) most likely to allow their more than competitive prices.
The fact that Comtrade does not have a web site is a little bothersome. Any prominent manufacturer this day and age should have a web page with the ability to email support.
Technical support is highly lacking. I have had experience with other tech support in which you have to wait, but at least you can be on hold and be "in line", so to speak. At Comtrade, if all the support engineers are on with other customers (which they most often are), then you just have to call back. It's a little unnerving. Also, their hours are from 7am to 7pm PST, with a lunch break at 11:30 or so. If you have problems late at night you are just out of luck.
Comtrade does have a 24 hour fax service, but it's a long distance call. Still yet, I use it preferentially over the 800 number. I had a problem with my hard drive and faxed a description to them late on night. I received a reply the next day around 7pm. I considered that a reasonably expeditious reply.
Would I buy another computer through Comtrade? Probably not. I prefer to have someone else do repairs on my computer, and if you need to have something repaired they just send you the part. I assume installation is at my expense if I choose not to do it myself. They do have an in-home warranty if you are within 50 miles of certified repair centers. How one finds out where a certified Comtrade repair center is, unfortunately, beyond me.
Date - Fri, 09 Aug 1996
From - "Larry R. Baker" (email@example.com)
I recently received a Pent 166 from Comtrade. The internal MODEM (Commwave) kept dropping my connection while on the NET. Called tech support and finally got through after about four or five calls. Asked to have it replaced, but with a better MODEM. The rep agreed and I suggested a "trans shipping" where I would sent the old MODEM and Comtrade would send the replacement, a Supra. They had my VISA number, so there should have been no problem. It's pushing two weeks, and I still do not have the replacement MODEM. While this might be a delay due to typical shipping problems, I am concerned about the inability to contact the company. I have aclled the tech support number 800-899-4508 at least a dozen times, and all I get is a recording stating that the tech support people are all busy and to call back later. I tried to FAX them. No response. I finally called the sales number today. Strange, got through on the first try. I told the woman my plight. She took my number and said a tech person would call me. Still nothing. I may still get the new modem. But I am utterly dismayed with this outfit's very, very poor communication responses. I will NOT buy from them again, I'm afraid. I have dealt with NorthGate and TC Computers in the past. Both have been top notch in responding to problems. Well, you live and learn.
Date - Fri, 9 Aug 1996
From - SOCK17DAD@aol.com
Recent Comtrade customer. Dream Machine 8X P-5 / 120 3-D Diamond 64 16 mb EDO 1.7 Gb 15" Max 1280x1024 33.6 Fx/Voice Std spkrs.....
Tech support is basically non existent and if you're lucky and get through you'll receive your share of arrogance and distain.
This is my first Comtrade (and last) but my sixth system. I know the PC life quite well enough to get by. When I said my system was assembled on a bent frame and contained used parts they accused UPS of damaging the system!!!
"Send it back.." after I paid $ 110.00 to get it here, I had to pay to ship it back before they would consider sending a replacement system four to six weeks later. I would, of course pay the freight for the replacement system as well.
Video was blank on arrival. The system was packed up-side-down so most of the cards had shaken loose inside the case. The case was improperly assembled and didn't even fit properly. The interior frame was bent and the system was put together poorly. How could you blame damage on shipping when the interior frame was bent but the outer matching panel was untouched ??
Modem didn't work...CMOS was improperly set......Casing shakes from fan noise.......and if I didn't get a used hard drive, why are there programs on it that weren't supposed to come with the system??? With strangers names on the high score list ???
Computer Shopper apparently will run the ad of any crooked mail order scam assembler. And if they spend enough money, write kind reviews about their product. Well, if Computer Shopper tells us they have technical support, and they don"t, (let's face it Comtrade doesn't) then Computer Shopper should be liable for their review and back it up by throwing Comtrade out of their magazine. If they don't, then Computer Shopper should back up the claim and provide it themselves.
It's a den of thieves...Computer Shopper and Comtrade...the more advertising you buy...the better your product will look in the reviews.
Meanwhile, I ran out of paper printing the complaints from this file about Comtrade. Sure wish I would have bought a printer with a larger paper supply. That's two things I learned today.
Date - 1 Aug 96
Bummer ... I wish I would have found you're ComTrade FAQ about a year ago when I purchased my P100/16MB. Here's my story, it's not all bad but it may be getting worse as I try to upgrade.
I purchased my system in September 1995, based solely on "most bang for you're buck". When I received my system, Windows95 was supposed to have been pre-installed, low and behold no operating system was installed. No biggie, Win95 installed like a champ. The next day I had some trouble configuring the Sound Card (IRQ conflict). ComTrad's tech support was unacceptable, so I called Adaptec (mfg. of the sound card). I was informed by the Adaptec that my particular card was had been discontinued for over a year. The next day I removed the offending sound card and returned it to Comtrade, my credit card was promptly credited. Unfortunately, I sliced my finger on the cheaply manufactured mini tower case and had to spend the credit from Comtrade on 14 stitches in my hand.
After taping up the jagged edge on my PC case I installed a Soundblaster AWE32 and the thing has been working like a champ, no thanks to ComTrade.
Just yesterday I attempted to upgrade the memory and add another 16 MB of RAM. I called ComTrade and hung on hold for 1/2 hour. (PS: If you tell the bitch that originally answers your call that you are a "New Customer", you get right through.) Their 16 MB will cost me $275, PNY memory from Best Buys will cost $149, however I not the tech at Best Buys could get the memory to work. I really want to add some more memory, but I don't want to deal with ComTrade any more, if anyone has any suggestions on who to buy memory from, that will work in a ComTrade (PNY memory does not), please e-mail me. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Date - Wed, 31 Jul 1996
From - firstname.lastname@example.org
I bought a COMTRADE in summer of '91 and it has been relatively well behaved although there were a few issues. I got a reasonably good deal for a 486-25 at the time ($2500) yet the motherboard was an excessively large model, which I hear slows down the computer. There was something wrong with whatever circuits handle the speaker, because anytime it attempted to emulate digital sound it would start a loud incredibly high pitched whine that would never stop until rebooted.
When it was time to upgrade, I contacted the company and identified myself as a previous customer who would like to upgrade - the price they quoted me for the motherboard upgrade (parts only) was not only not competitive, it was 80% higher than the competition! I explained that I would like to stay with the company but thought the price was a bit much, especially for a repeat customer. They wouldn't budge, so I went somewhere else and never looked back.
Date - Fri, 2 Aug 1996
From - Mike Madsen (email@example.com)
Thanks for posting this list on your web space. I received some very helpful information to back my claim to the credit card company.
My story is long, much like those posted here...probably worse. I come from a not-so-rich family, so buying a computer system was probably stupid to begin with, but I wanted to get into computers and get-ahead in the technology scene.
The positive side of my story is that I now have a job with a technological firm. But, the negative circumstances resulting from correspondence with Comtrade has left me hating a technology that I once loved. I don't want this to happen to any other newbies out there. I cannot afford a lawyer, but it may come to the point where I'll need one. I happened to meet a techie guy a couple of weeks ago, AND he happened to be a lawyer. I told him my story with Comtrade and asked him to take a look at your page. After reading the various comments, he said that I would have a VERY good chance in a federal court if I had enough of these people backing me up. I want my email address posted on your page, so those who feel they were unjustly dealt with, could give me the OK to use their words and how much they spent/lost on their Comtrade purchase.
Thanks for your firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. I am normally a very passive fellow that dismisses arguments by accepting the losses as a learning experience. But, the individuals that run Comtrade were unbelievably rude, not only to me, but to my wife.
Date - Sun, 28 Jul 1996
From - Pat668@aol.com
I could tell the 4 month long fight with these crooks, but I'll try and make it as short as possible.
I bought it over the phone after seeing it in Computer Shopper. The fact that they claimed in their ad that General Electric repaired their computers is what convinced me to buy their clone junk. By the way I recently found out from Gen. Electric that they don't repair Comtrade computers they sold that division to IBM. I have been on the phone and written to Mr Gerstner, the president of IBM--they are looking into the problem.
The horror- Memory Test Fail right out of the box.
Has had 3 junk motherboards replaced.
Has had 3 sets of 32MB Ram installed.
Bracket for monitor and mouse was loose-couldn't plug them in-thank God I didn't buy their monitor too.
They said my cable inside the computer to the monitor and mouse was bad--they sent me the cable and every cable inside the computer to fix myself. I've been on the phone with just about every Tech they employ-they are rude and every one of them tells you something different.
They threaten you.
They refuse to do anything about the problems telling you that you did something to the computer.
I've been insulted, scolded, and treated like dirt--after they got their money or course.
As of 2 weeks ago Mid July, 1996 Comtrade stated "we don't have to do anything with the computer. We can just let it sit." Their have been many other remarks too numerous to mention.
Let's tell the whloe world about Comtrade computes and their junk computers and parts.
They are crooks.
Steps to help put them out of business:
Call or write to the BBB in California about your bad computer, parts and treatment.
Write to every Charge Card Service: Visa - Master Card - Discover etc. and tell your story and request they cancel Comtrade's contract. Tell your horror story.
Write to the California Attorney Generals Office and tell your Comtrade story in detail. Also send them a copy of your invoice, any shipping charges, additional charges Comtrade charged you, and your total phone bills to them regarding their junk computers.
I have already filed a written complaint with the Attorney General's office in California and have sent all of the above items. I am also sending them a copy of the tons of complaints I have found on the www. They tell me their is strength in numbers and everyone that has been taken by Comtrade should file a written complaint as soon as possible. The address for the Attorney General's Office in California:
Attorney General Attention PIU PO Box 944255 1300 I Street ( The "I" is a capitol i ) Suite 1101 Sacramento, California 94244-2550I trying to get all of my money from these crooks. And, close them down if possible. We can do it if everyone involved writes to the Attorney General, BBB in CA, all charge services that they have an account with. Let's Get Them Stopped for Good.
I am also writting and sending all of the tons of info I've collected to Computer Shopper and every Computer magazine on the market.
Date - Fri, 26 Jul 1996
From - Bill Lackey (email@example.com)
My Comtrade experience has been nothing but problems. I purchased my system in August of 1995. Comtrade sold my system as a P5/100 Mutimedia Hyperspeed. I bought this system on price, that was my big mistake. When I received the system, the modem's IRQ conflicted with the sound card. After Installing this correctly, the system seemed to work fine. There were a few noticable cost cutting procedures Comtrade had taken with this machine. The modem is a no name brand (no brand what so ever actually). The keyboard, mouse, case and speakers all are very very cheap. These things bothered me a little, but the price was great. After about 4 months the motherboard went out. It took no less than fifteen tries, and a lot of yelling, I was ready to sue them, to get to a technical support. To their credit, they sent me a motherboard within two days. About four months later the motherboard went out again.
At this point I tossed the motherboard in the trash and bought a new one from a local store. To my amazement Comtrade shipped out the computer with only 1 16Meg simm installed (instead of two eights). This memory was proprietary to this system and will not mix with other ram. A standard motherboard will not acccept the one simm chip either. After buying 16 meg of ram as well, I was back up and running. Comtrade will not swap the 16meg of ram for two eights either, I tried. Other minor gripes include thier Adaptec sound card will not run in dos mode in Windows 95, and their system ran about 1/2 the speed it does now with the new motherboard. If your willing to replace the motherboard, soundcard, ram, hardrive, and speakers this system is great.
Date - Mon, 15 Jul 1996
From - Tim Edmonson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
June 22, 1996- I ordered my new computer from ComTrade...
July 2, 1996- I decided to check the Internet for anything I could find about ComTrade. When I found this file, I began to read it, and read the entire thing. My computer wasn't supposed to come for a few more days, so I was having a hard time sleeping since I was thinking about my $2000 nightmare that would be arriving in the next few days. This file is actually kind of disturbing for buyers since almost the only experiences that are given here are the bad ones.
July 8, 1996- I received my new computer. Everything well packaged, I opened it up, set it up, turned it on making sure that I had an 8x CD-Rom, a 2.5GB Hard drive, 32 EDO DRAM, 512KB of pipeline burst cache, and a Pentium 166. (all for $1945!!! No monitor, sound, modem, I used my own.) Everything was there, the setup CD's for Win95, everything preinstalled (which I always delete and reinstall just to make sure it all works)... The system is very fast, at a very good price... When I first used the 8x CD-Rom drive, I listened to it, and noticed that it seemed to change pitch meaning that it would change rotational speed. For a week, I was assuming that it was one of those 4x CD-Rom drives with an 8x motor. So... I decided to test it myself!!! I decided to copy everything from a single 100 MB file to several files making 350 MB to my 2.5GB Quantum Bigfoot HD (it's a nice hard drive! Fast and quiet!) I timed the time that it took myself, and figured the Data Transfer Rate out to be about 1085 KB/s. This is above average for 8x CD-Rom drives. This is probably even a little slow since it did have to take time to record to the HD. So far, my experience with ComTrade has been excellent! The computer is great, fast, and well built. I have 4 memory slots, which 2 are filled with 16MB simms in each one ($200 to upgrade from 16MB to 32MB!).
Even from reading all this, I believe that ComTrade has become a great company since the past years. They have received many awards from PC Magazine as well lately. I highly recommend them to anyone who is looking for a new Computer at a great price. Everything that I have installed myself has worked great (which includes a Creative Labs SB 16, USR 33.6 Modem, and an Iomega Jaz Drive (very nice!!!) If your someone that does have to call techy support often, it sounds like you should avoid this company, but I haven't ever had to try it, so what would I know! You must remember, the computer age is coming fast, and most people don't need as much tech support anyhow anymore. Most people can get help from friends, or relatives...
Date - Thu, 04 Jul 1996
From - Howard Ackerman (email@example.com)
Stumbled on your FAQ and thought I'd add my own experience. I bought a P150 machine from Comtrade at the beginning of April. The price I got was excellent - even a couple of hundred dollars less than the currently advertised price. It actually let me get the P150 instead of the P120!
The machine shipped when they said it would. It arrived a few days later and has not had any problems whatsoever. I had no reason to call them back for anything. They pre-installed it with Win95 and configured it so everything worked fine. My only complaint, which is minor, is that in my machine, the 16MB RAM was supplied as 4-4MB SIMMS and not 2-8MB SIMMS - and there's only 4 slots. Too bad I didn't think to ask about it when I ordered. It does make a difference when it's time to upgrade.
Since receiving the machine, it's been upgraded with more (new) RAM, PCI SCSI controller, external SCSI hard drive and tape drive, V.Everything modem, PCI network card and WinNT. Still running flawlessly. I just have to say that I'm extremely pleased with it.
Date - Wed, 3 Jul 1996
From - firstname.lastname@example.org
I bought a Comtrade 486DX2-66 in mid-1993. First of all, neither the invoice nor any other documentation inside the box told me what brand of modem or CD-ROM player I had. This caused me problems when trying to configure software.
Later, I found out that the14.4 kbaud modem that they put in my machine was a very cheap one that utilized the infamous "Rochester" chip. This chip made it next to impossible to use any of the file compression routines required by online services (e.g., AOL, Prodigy) and BBS's.
Within a few weeks of receiving my machine, the clock started running slow. It turned out that Comtrade had installed an old battery that was probably lying on the shelf for a few years. I had to go out and buy a new one and have it installed.
Within 3 months, one of my 8 Mb simm chips died. Since the machine was under warranty I was able to send it back to Comtrade and get a new one -- but the hassle of contacting them and arranging to have it done was terrible. The person at Comtrade that answered my phone call discussed my problem with me for a few minutes. She seemed to not understand much about my problem or about computer hardware in general. When I complained to her about this she told me that she's only the receptionist and really can't explain anything technical to me. Why was the receptionist taking tech support calls? She said because the guy who usually does it was out to lunch.
Out to lunch indeed.
The monitor blew up 2 years after I bought the machine. I called Comtrade to find out about service for it. They said that, although they did, indeed, sell the monitor to me, they did not service it or support it since it was a peripheral device from another company.
I called the monitor company, CTX, and they fixed it immediately. They had UPS come and pick it up and they returned it to me in 8 days. All at no cost to me. This was great, but I did have to find CTX myself. Comtrade couldn't help me.
Date - Sat, 25 June 1996
From - Joe Wolfe (email@example.com)
I stumbled upon your page during one of my late night cyber-ramblings. Below is my own personal experience with Comtrade:
I bought a 3D Game station, 16 megs of Ram, from Comtrade and right now my only regret is not upgrading to an 8X CD-Rom. This was my second computer as I own an old 286, with an awesome 640k of ram. While I am no computer whiz, I do know my way around a motherboard, and the fact that I hope to receive my Ph.D. in Economics means I am really cheap!!!! I began shopping for a PC in mid Jan of 1996. I was originally looking for a notebook, however, I soon realized that a powerful notebook is still very expensive, and I couldn't justify its cost in the margin. Next I bought one of those large computer magazines and began looking for powerful PC, and Comtrade had the lowest prices. I made a list of everything that they could short change me on, for example, acess time on the hard drive, Ram acces time; whether or not a keyboard was included, how much Ram I could upgrade, you get the idea. The sales rep was patient as I read through my long list. After reassuring me that he wasn't going to rip me off, I placed my order.
The next week my PC came, I hooked it up and haven't had any problems; yet! I hope I never do. Since then I have added an fm/am tuner card, a US robotics 28.8 modem, and an additional 16 megs of Ram. Had I been aware of this board before I purchased from Comtrade, I can honestly say I would not have made the purchase from them.
While the econometrician in me is suggesting that the authors on this board are the minority and that only the ticked off would search for a board like this. The consumer in me is frightened by reading these messages, and because of this web page, I would not recommend a Comtrade PC to my friends.
Date - Tue, 25 Jun 1996
From - Chris Murray (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The following is a letter I sent to Comtrade over two months ago. I have had no response. Unfortunately, when I ordered, I didn't know there was a list like this. Guess I didn't do my homework...
April 24, 1996
1215 Bixby Drive
City of Industry, CA 91745
To whom it may concern:
Last December I ordered a Pentium 120 system from your company. I decided to purchase from ComTrade because it seemeed to have a small price advantage over the other companies I was looking at.
The day I received it, I was unable to use it because it came with no mouse. My sales representative said he would give me a credit because I could not wait for one to be shipped. I went out and purchased a mouse, although the credit did not nearly cover the cost of even the cheapest mouse.
I upgraded the sound card that came with the system to a Sound Blaster AWE32. The microphone that comes with the card was missing. After calling, I received that about a month later.
I decided to purchase a 14,400 baud modem. I already have one, but I decided to purchase a new one because of the voicemail option. Again, the voicemail software did not come with the computer. A month later, after three telephone calls, I finally recieved the software. I immediately began to install the software, when the installation program told me the second disk was bad. I bought an answering machine.
The speakers that came with the system were advertised as 60-watt speakers. I found that hard to believe, as the speakers I received included a 4-watt power supply. Even at 4 watts, the sound quality is horrible and distortion evident. I can not see how they could possibly be rated at 60 watts, but my sales representative assured me I had received the correct speakers and they were, in fact, 60 watts.
The performance of the system in Windows 95 is terrible. Any time I click on the "Start" button, or at seemingly random times, the floppy drive makes a loud knocking sound for about two seconds, during which time I can do nothing. As Windows 95 was preinstalled, I would expect this problem to have been solved before shipping the computer.
Often, the six-speed CD-ROM will not eject the disk when I press the button. I must perform a hard reset to switch disks.
The ergonomics of the case are terrible. Two of the 3.5" drive bays can not be accessed without taking out the entire motherboard. I had to "gently shove" my new Seagate hard drive into the one accessible drive bay.
Unfortunately, any price advantage I gained by ordering from your company was lost long ago. This is the fourth computer system I have owned, and this has been by far the worst experience I have gone through. I feel I have been mislead in your advertising, treated unfairly, and ignored. I can only imagine how a first-time computer buyer would feel.
Date - Mon, 17 Jun 1996
From - Robert Madden (email@example.com)
I purchased a P5/120 SVGA Stereo CD-Note from Comtrade in January of 1996. Everything worked great for about 3 months and then... I sent it back to Comtrade on 5/6/96 to repair the monitor. This is where the fun begins. It took me several attempts to reach customer service. Each time they told me to fax a problem description to technical services and a rep would call me back. I gave explicit instructions as to where and when I could be contacted so as not to miss their call. The instructions were ignored which resulted in many more attempts to contact technical services. I finally spoke with a rep two weeks after the initial call. In techno-speak, he told me the monitor was bad and I should send it in for repair. I already knew that! They promised a two week turnaround on the repair. I figured it was two weeks just to talk to someone, no way they would fix it in two weeks. After two weeks I called to inquire as to repair status. I got passed to more people on the phone than should be legal. They would take my name and promise to call back, they never did. Also, when calling technical service at any company, I've never been told to call back because all the technicians are at lunch!!!!! I am writing this today because they sent my notebook back without the hard drive and battery! I called and they said their records indicate that it was received by them without those components. That is absolutely untrue!!!! When I spoke with the Customer Service Manager he said that there was nothing he could do for me. He suggested I call FedEx(shipper)and ask them. Also, this guy is the rudest Customer Service Manager (Mark - if that is his real name)I have ever dealt with. I would never recommend purchasing anything from Comtrade. I should have known the price was too good to be true. I learned a very expensive lesson from this and it hurt!!!!!!!! Bottom line: quality - not good, technical/customer service - piss poor!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will be filing a report with the Better Business Bureau.
Date - Thu, 13 Jun 1996
From - Banu@aol.com
Here is my account of the Comtrade Debacle. I could write a symphony in the key of hell for this but here's the Cliff's note version. It's as ugly as they get. I purchased the laptop computer (Comtrade's P90 sound-win note w/8mb RAM) after the salesperson told me that it would be suitable for running Windows 95 when it came out. -after installing Windows95 the computer locked every 5-10 minutes. When I called Comtrade, Jesse in tech support was rude and told me that since I had changed the OS, Comtrade no longer supported the machine. On a subsequent call, Jack told me that the problem was that the BIOS needed to be upgraded, and that I should send the machine back for an update.
The machine returned two weeks later and ran a little better. However, they had neglected to include the internal battery clip that allows the machine to run on battery power. When I called Comtrade (no small feat, average time spent trying to get through was about 45 minutes) on this they denied that they had anything to do with this and accused me of removing it myself. Begrudgingly, they issued me an RMA# and told me that they would replace the clip.
Two weeks later, Al from notebook repairs called me at home and told me that he believed once again that I had removed the internal battery clip. I asked him to imagine a scenario in which I might benefit from these actions and he thought for a minute and said that he could not. Al then asked me why I had not mentioned the damaged LCD screen to him. I asked him what he was talking about. He informed me that the screen of the laptop had been scratched from the upper left to the lower right with what looked like a sharp instrument. I informed him that I had sent the computer back in perfect order and that it had been packed professionally. Al still accused me of sending a scratched screen back and offered to replace it as cheaply as possible - around $600.00. I told him that I would not pay for the screen until I saw it. I asked him to just please replace the battery clip and send the machine back.
I felt like I had gone to the hospital with a hang-nail and had my leg amputated.
The machine arrived two weeks later. The hard drive had been erased, all my files and programs were gone and the operating system was back to DOS 6.2 and Win 3.1 I called tech support and asked them why they had removed my Windows95 and all my Windows95 software they replied that this machine was not designed to run Windows95. I told them that I had sent it back to them just to have the battery clip replaced and that it had been running windows95 perfectly. I explained that the whole reason for sending it back in the first place was that Jack told me the BIOS needed to be upgraded.
This is when they started hanging up on me. From here on out, every call I made to Comtrade ended in them hanging up on me.
I tried installing Windows 95 on my own and began receiving errors that no one, including the MIS director of my company could figure out. All signs pointed to a faulty machine. Then, on closer inspection I compared the serial # on the original invoice to the serial # on the machine in my possession and discovered that they were different! They had switched my working machine for a lemon. More calls to Comtrade ended in hang-ups while they told me that the 1st time the laptop was sent back they had replaced the machine. This is not true. They asked me what serial # I had and I told them to tell me what they had first. Guess what, she had the wrong serial #.
I sent a letter via certified mail to Chris Luk, the president of Comtrade (at least that's what they told me...) 6 weeks ago which remains unanswered.
I called , the credit card company that issued my Visa Gold card and was transferred to Gail in customer service. After explaining the story to Gail we conference-called Comtrade and asked them to help us. Tina, the customer service rep was very nervous having Visa on the phone and put us on hold for long periods of time. Eventually she said that she would call back. I told her that no one from Comtrade had EVER called back. The next day, after Comtrade had failed to call back, I called Gail at Visa again and we again talked to Tina in customer support. This time Tina was rude and obnoxious to both Gail and me and at one point ended the conversation by saying "Whatever!". Then Tina accused Gail of not understanding customer service to which Gail responded that she was in customer service. Tina then told Gail that she needed more training and hung up on the two of us.
The laptop, by the way is still under warranty and at no point in the conversation did Tina every try to solve our problem by having us send the computer back in for further repair. I now have a $2,500.00 paper-weight and Comtrade refuses to give me any satisfaction. I have lost countless hours of productivity to this debacle.
At this point I am pursuing every angle I can to get a full refund. I have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, I have written to PC magazine and Computer Shopper and am going to call the Attorney General's office in California. I want this company and I want them bad. I have never, in my life, had so much aggravation and so much stress from a company. NEVER BUY ANYTHING FROM COMTRADE. They are crooked, evil, cantakerous, rude, obnoxious, horrible bottom dwelling scum suckers who need to be caught on the end of a large hook and dangled until the last drop of life oozes from malformed lips. I hate them.
Thank you very much for your patience in reading this. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions or need further clarification on the proceedings.
Date - 5 Jun 96
From - Bob_Saunders/CIS/CSC.CSC@cscmail.csc.com
I am soo glad to find this list. I purchased a 100MZ Pentium in July of 1995. I have not had significant problems with the system but I WILL NEVER BUY FROM THEM AGAIN. There service is abismal.
I have been trying for 2 weeks to get thru on their "technical support" line. All I ever get is a recording telling me to call back later. So:
Monday: By going through the switchboard I got a service guy. He promised me a call back in 1 hour. I waited 2 hours, no call back.
Tuesday: Called again, was told that I had given them the wrong invoice number. I asked "Is it your policy to just not call people back if you can't find the invoice number?" Response: 'Yes" I asked to talk to the Customer Service Manager. A guy named "Mark" came on the line. I explained my issues and ....he hung up on me. I called back, he said " oh I thought you were done" I asked to speak to his boss, he said he didn't have one, he reported directly to the owner. I asked for the owners name, he refused to give it to me. DO NOT BUT FROM THIS COMPANY
Date - Tue, 14 May 96
In August of last year I purchased a P90 from Comtrade. After many excuses why the equipment was shipping late (ie: Labor Day Weekend, assemble the system together properly etc.) the computer arrived. Upon examination of the packing slip, it appeared that Comtrade shorted me on Video RAM (1meg vs 2Meg). This RAM upgrade was agreed upon and was part of the price. Luckily, because of this discrepance, I did not agree to the Comtrade terms and conditions on the packing slip.
Upon assembly and power up, the system displayed a hard disk failure. So I would not void the warranty, I tried to report the problem to Comtrade customer service. What a joke. If lucky, I got a recording that they are too busy serving other customers. Funny that sales (Robert) was never busy to pick up the phone, however, when Robert heard of a problem, I was put on infinite hold. I covered myself by reporting the problem to Comtrade by fax and proceeded to troubleshoot. After several hours, of connecting and reconnecting cables the hard drive problem seemed to diminish.
After about two hours of operation, the monitor failed. I again tried to contact Comtrade to no avail. No matter what time of day or night I called, the recording stated that they were too busy supporting other customers. Again, to cover myself, I identified the problem in writing and faxed it to Comtrade. Since the monitor was over my capability of troubleshooting, I requested a Return Material Authorization (RMA). Since my correspondence went unanswered and a RMA was not provided, I proceeded to return the equipment. The equipment was returned UPS ground, insured, in the original packaging. A letter was faxed to Comtrade stating the means of return. A way bill number was provided. Comtrade refused acceptance and returned the equipment to sender.
After contacting Comtrade, Robert in Sales, since this is the only department that picks up the phone, I was told that the equipment was not accepted because a RMA number was not identified. I informed Robert that I put a hold on the Credit Card payment and Comtrade will not get paid for their product.
A RMA number was provided and the equipment was returned to Comtrade. This time it was accepted. I only wonder who Comtrade sold the equipment to after it crossed the Country (California-Virginia) three times.
A credit to the credit card was provided by Comtrade. However, it was short by $175. It was explained that Comtrade would not refund for the software (Windows95 and Microsoft Bundle). By the way, the software was never opened, and returned with the equipment in its original packaging. I'm sure that Comtrade being the reputable supplier it claims to be would never resell it.
Since I was out of $175 along with a three time shipping fee, I decided to call Comtrade one more time. After being put on infinite hold three times, I informed the lovely lady at the reception desk that I will not go away. She transferred me to a Mr. Sun?, Customer service manager. Mr. Sun practically laughed and stated that there are many more that will buy from him. He is not worried about my problems or the likes of me.
At this point I entered into a new relationship with Comtrade. The issue was not money anymore but business relations and Ethics. I contacted Computer Shopper Magazine, since this is where I was introduced to Comtrade. Also letters were written to the Better Business Bureau of California, Federal Trade Commission in Washington DC, and the US Postal Inspection Service in Chicago, Illinois.
Computer Shopper is investigating the incident. The FTC provided points of contact for further complaints and investigations. The US Postal Inspector assigned a case number. I'm still waiting for the Better Business Bureau. I would suggest that anyone with similar problems or complaints write to:
L.M.Byam, Manager U.S Postal Inspection Service Operation Support Group 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1250 Chicago, Illinois 60606-6100 Reference case: C/ISO985/034/S0212354/C0643567Oh by the way, Lazarous, its true Comtrade is underhanded. I've sent a demand letter from my attorney and will soon file in small claims court in Fairfax County, Virginia. Since I fully documented my transactions with Comtrade from the first moment, including receipts, fax acknowledgments, registered letter receipts, equipment and software serial numbers and like, I have an excellent case. The likes of Comtrade hurt the business and need to be reported and stopped.
Date - Mon, 06 May 1996
From - Russ Dewey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Actually, my experience with Comtrade is similar to yours...no real problems after 5 machines (mine, the college radio station's, and computers ordered by several colleagues). But the last of these was purchased three years ago; they seem to have deteriorated in service, judging from reports. Those stories people tell could eat paint right off the monitor. Whew!
I called the Better Business Bureaus for every single low-priced mail order vendor in Computer Shopper. Almost every report was devastating! CyberMax, Tangent, EPS, Royal... you name it. The only one with a satisfactory rating was Quantex. I'm thinking of getting a P166 from them....
Date - Sun, 12 May 1996
From - Ken Garland (email@example.com)
My experience with Comtrade has been generally acceptible. I decided to sacrifice quality for price. And I did. My only real problem was a memory chip that went bad after 6 months, and they replaced it. Phone support is real bad, but persistance paid off. I bought a 486 -33DX vlb/eisa in Jan 94. I'm happy with everything except maybe the harddrive card, which wouldn't run in 32 bit mode in windows. Would I buy from them again? No! I'll stick to quality and pay the slightly higher price.
Date - Wed, 01 May 1996
From - Clifton Hairston (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I was kind of hoping I wouldn't have any problems with this system, but, like they all say, if it wasn't for bad luck... :) Anyways, I've had problems since the first week I had the computer. First off, I bought a Professional 6X MPEG system from them with a 17" Princeton Graphics Ultra 17 monitor, a Diamond 2MB EDO video card, and some other niceities (it's a P166). What I recieved was close to what I ordered. I got a Goldstar 17" monitor and a Diamond 2200 vid card (with 2MB straight DRAM) and all of the other nice things that come with the system. Unfortunately, I like more than Windows 95 on my system. :-) I went ahead and wiped everything off of the system and started partitioning the drive. To my surprise, it couldn't hold more than one partition for any length of time with any notion of stability. 95 would install ok most of the time but NT, since it wants its loader on the first partition, had to install a little on that drive also. Everytime I tried it NT said the C: partition was corrupt. BTW, the drive is a Maxtor 1.6GB EIDE dirve. Anyways, back to the complaining, I decided to leave that drive as one partition and hook up a second drive for NT, Linux, and OS/2. Well, wouldn't you know it, it wouldn't share a drive on the same channel as any other drive. I tried a WD Caviar, a Seagate, and a Quantum to no avail. The wouldn't work as either a master or slave with another drive.
That's just the beginning of my problems though.. :(
The next problem is with my CD-ROM drive. I've heard Aztechs were decent so I'm just figuring this is a bad one, so , here it goes. The system came with a 6X Aztech CD-ROM drive. Well, it worked for a day or two, then that was it. Ever since it has been rejecting more and more CDs. It's to the point now where I can't play any music CD's on this thing. Thta's not too cool IMO.
The worst part of all of this is, I have not been able to get ahold of Tech Support. I have called, left messages on their BBS, and faxed them. Now, it's too late to return the whole system (just past the 30day point) but I do want to get these bad pieces of hardware replaced. It's getting pretty frustrating when my previous system (a homebuilt AMD 5x86 133 with 20MB) is more reliable and more stable than my new system (P166 with 32MB).
My opinion is, if you don't live near them or are within yelling distance just in case anything goes wrong, I would seriously take a look through this whole file and read what people have to say. If this system would work (and it will eventually), I'm more than confident it would be a fast system. I've already benchmarked it and found it to be on or above par with what P166 results I can get my hands on.
Clifton Hairston [Team OS/2] email@example.com http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/3583... P.S. Thank you very much Mr. Grohol for putting this all together. Hopefully more people will read and share their experiences with you and all of us concerning Comtrade......
Date - Wed, 24 Apr 1996
From - chris townend (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I bought a Comtrade computer in July of 1992, 486DX-33. I have installed 32 Meg. of Ram, CD-ROM, sound card, internal modem, scsi adapter with cd-rom, hard drive, and tape drive. I have successfully run DOS, Win 3.x, Win95, Win NT 3.51, Linux, OS/2, LanServer, Netware 3.x,4.x, and just about every application available. It is my "Test Machine", I use it to test hardware and software that I am afraid to put into any other machine. I have a Tecra 700CT notebook and XPS 200 also, so this machine is really a dinosaur - but it has never missed a beat. This machine is like a tank. It has been moved by moving companies all over the U.S. since I bought it. They have managed to destroy almost everything but this PC. I was going to contact Comtrade to see if I could install a P83 overdrive processor, but after reading the other stories - I won't waste my time. I guess that after reading all of the other stories I probably won't buy from them again. I have been watching their ads, they use to be competitive. Not anymore, new ads seem to high in price. I can't recommend any brand. I am a network consultant and see flaws, problems, and have seen almost every one fry at one time or another. You always take a chance with silicon!
Date - Wed, 17 Apr 1996
From - JMoran1156@aol.com
Re: your newsgroup on Comtrade, first, thanks for offering this service to people.
Second, under no situation should anyone consider purchasing a system from this company. Their customer service is absolutely atrocious.
On reading comments from others, I wanted to point out that when you purchase a clone product from such a company, all you're getting an assemblage of components. Comtrade tells you to contact a subsystem vendor if problems occur -- and you'll likely have problems the moment you start loading applications.
When Comtrade ships a system, it may have worked when it left their back door, but after that you're on your own. Among other things, my fully loaded Pentium 90 PCI system was shipped without I/O card software, fixed disk overlay software, and several subsystem documentation items. These oversights have become apparent only as time has progresses and problems have surfaced.
From Comtrade's absolute refusal to answer and return phone calls, as problems have occurred I've had to become a PC hardware expert or, when completely stumped, paid hundreds of dollars to diagnose system problems.
I would appreciate others' opinions. It seems to me that I could have gotten the same system from my local computer shop for maybe only a couple hundred dollars more (I paid $3,400 initially) and had someone I could go directly to if I had a problem. These clowns are in LA and I'm in New York -- HELLO, what was I thinking?!?!?
Date - Tue, 09 Apr 96
From - email@example.com
I too had a dreadful experience with Comtrade. I hope I can tell it all and yet be brief.
I chose Comtrade for it's favorable features-to-price "ratio." I'm not a computer nut but I had shopped around and thought I was choosing carefully. Right out of the box I had problems -- no sound card, said the error messages. Hours of dialing and waiting got me through to people who told me to re-install and reconfigure drivers. I already had but they made me do it again and then directed me, a non-mechanical technophobic who doesn't even go to the hardware store for her beloved husband's projects, to open the box. I hate to open the box. They made me open the box. And reseat the sound card. I did. It didn't work, but they said they'd send a new one (for ME to install). BUT minutes later -- I still had had the thing less than 12 hours -- the computer told me it had no modem and that the disk drive was failing. I had seen and verified the connections on the modem when I had the box open earlier. Knowing I couldn't spare hours to get through to them again, I faxed their 24-hour fax line. I didn't have a response in 24 hours, or 48, or 72; so I faxed again. After a few more days and a few faxes, Comtrade decided I needed a motherboard in my brand new, supposedly 72-hour tested computer. The CD seemed buggy too but I kept telling myself it was just the software and the other problems; I wanted there to be something on the machine that worked.
Comtrade's foul-ups in making the contacts they were supposed to make to get the technician here to install the motherboard made it days before he arrived. All this time I'm eating up my 30-day return deadline.
An interesting note -- when the technician arrived to put in the new board(s), I got to make my first trip to the emergency room. When he got the case open, he saw a "thread" or "wire?" and wrapped it under his finger to snap it off. It was a very thin but jagged piece of metal partially machined off the case. It cut his finger and the poor fellow bled so that he had to keep holding pressure on it. He couldn't do that and drive -- and it was looking like it might need a stitch -- so I drove him to the local hospital where his attention included "the best tetanus shot anyone ever gave me." Once he was no longer bleeding and was taped back together, he fixed my machine and it seemed to work. The CD rom was still buggy and eventually, just a few days before I'd had it 30 days, completely stopped making sense or being able to read anything. Then the battle really started. I wanted to return it under the terms described in their ad. They said I had to pay a huge re-stocking fee. I said they surely weren't going to re-stock a defective machine. Etc. This fight went on for months. I called upon the consumer columnists at computer magazines, the Better Business Bureau, my credit card company, everyone I could think of. Comtrade wouldn't talk to me except to make threats. They had their defective machine back AND my money and were still being unpleasant people. It was my credit card company that made the difference in getting it all over with. In fact, my credit card company felt I shouldn't have to pay the original shipping either because they did't ship me a working machine. I had sent the beastly thing back in July and Comtrade fought 'til about Thanksgiving. I feel badly for the next computer company I dealt with -- Quantex -- they got a very suspicious, damaged, paranoid customer. Fortunately I got from them a computer that works.
Date - Sun, 7 Apr 1996
From - Randy Cummings (firstname.lastname@example.org)
After reading your FAQ on Comtrade I just had to relate my experience. If only I had known...I would not recommend Comtrade to anyone. The following is a chronicled list of my experience with this company.
12/12/94 - Ordered Comtrade Pentium P90 Multi Media Dream Machine. Upgraded to a 4x CD-ROM drive and a digital monitor. Also had them upgrade serial port to a 16550 UART. Total cost, including shipping: $2665.00. Talked with Becky, phone# 800-9692123 ext 126. Order # B85183. Becky says the system should ship on 12/23/94 and arrive on 12/28/94.
12/28/94 - Received system, invoice number 9426460F, System came up without any problems.
1/2/95 - While attempting to use modem via a DOS version of Procomm Plus, I had a problem where the modem would not respond. I had a problem earlier with getting a program to register on-line but attributed it to a software glitch. I used the modem with another computer and had no problems with it. I tried several times to contact Comtrade for assistance, but I was unable to reach anyone via their 800 number.
1/6/95 - I faxed a problem inquiry to Comtrade regarding the problems I was having with the modem. I also noted that the monitor ( a Sceptre 15") display seemed to rock from side to side intermittently. Although Comtrade stated a 24 hour response to any faxed inquiries, I received no resonse whatsoever.
1/8/95 - The problem with the modem seems to have corrected itself. I am not sure what I did to correct it.
1/9/95 - I faxed another problem inquiry concerning display problems. I noted the display rocking slightly from side to side. I also noted that the display would go blank intermittently while in DOS or Windows. I noted that there were no screen savers active. I asked if I should send the monitor back for repacement.
1/10/95 - I received a faxed response from Comtrade's technical support. They offered a solution where I was to disable a power management routine initiated in the systems autoexec.bat file. This solution was ineffective since I had no such routine initiated in my startup file. I noted that when the screen blanked, the power light on the monitor stayed lit. Also when the display would come back on its own, the display was often garbled. I wrote a leter to Visa regarding payment for the system. I stated the problems I was having and my unsuccesful attempts at getting them resolved. I stated my refusal to pay until the problems were resolved.
1/11/95 - I faxed another problem inquiry into Comtrade. I stated that their response didn't help resolve the problem. I included copies of my autoexec.bat and config.sys files for their review and to prove that there were no screen saver routines active. I requested another solution and asked if I should return the moitor for replacement.
1/12/95 - I received no response from my faxed inquiry. The problem with the monitor continues to get worse. When the display goes blank, the system will freeze up. This can happen while in an application or on boot up. This freeze up requires me to power off while in Windows, causing posible corruption in the file system. I continued trying to reach Comtrade via their 800 tech support number, without success.
1/14/95 - I faxed in another inquiry. I stated that I believed the problem with the display blanking to be caused by the video card (a Diamond Stealth 64 DRAM ). I again stated the symptoms and my inability to reach their support personel. I requested a replacement monitor and video card. I stated my refusal to pay for the equipment until the problems were resolved. On the afternoon of the 14th I was able to contact a person at Comtrade's technical support. I talked with Oliver, and described the problems I was having with the display blanking and the display rocking from side to side. I suggested that the problem was caused by the video card, but he suggested that we try a new monitor first. He said a new monitor would be shipped by UPS 2 day, and that I sould receive the monitor on the 17th. The RMA number is 48275CR.
1/18/95 - UPS picked up the old monitor. The new monitor hasn't arrived yet. I tried persistently to reach someone at Comtrade's technical support and finally talked to a Maria. She said the monitor shipped on the 16th and was sent via UPS 3-day, and it should arrive on the 19th. She gave me the UPS tracking number: 1Z2447971202340723.
1/19/95 - New monitor arrived. Same problem!!! Tried all evening to reach Comtrade's technical support, without success.
1/20/95 - I tried all morning to reach Comtrade's technical support. Finally around 12pm I tallked with Saul and he agreed to send a new video card. RMA number 48917CR. Saul suggested I open up the computer and reseat everything. I had done this previously, but it didn't help. I stated that I would try again. The problem with the display blanking is causing the system to be unuseable.
1/21/95 - I opened up the computer and reseated all the pluggable chips on the video card. This procedure did not correct the problem.
1/25/95 - New video card arrived via Federal Express. Installed card. Problem fixed!!!???
1/26/95 - Returned old video card via UPS ground, pick up record number: 681081333. On the evening of the 26th, I heard a "snap" from within the monitor and the screen went blank for approximately 1 second then returned imediately. The screen continues to shake and the severity of this problem will vary. At this point I am speculating that it is caused by EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference), since the previous monitor did this also. Although the present monitor seems to be worse. I guess I won't know until I move the computer to a different location.
1/28/95 - Received a "Keyboard Error or No Keyboard Present" message when I booted up the computer. I checked the key lock and it was unlocked. I checked the keyboard connection and it was ok. I reseated the keyboard connection and then the computer came up ok.
1/30/95 - I got another "Keyboard Error or No Keyboard Present" message again while booting up. I had removed the key lock, so it couldn't be that. I reseated the keyboard connection and had no success. I wiggled the keyboard connection several times, rebooted several times and finally it came up.
1/31/95 - I purchased a different keyboard locally to see if it resolves the Keyboard error problem. Cost of the keyboard, including tax: $52.54. I am also experiencing an intermittent problem where Windows will lock up after the opening screen is displayed. Instead of the wallpaper screen coming up, all I get is a blank screen with a flashing cursor. I have started to execute windows with the "B" switch on, to see if this will isolate the cause of the hang.
2/2/95 - Talked with a Steve at Comtrade today. He will send out another keyboard, RMA# is 50614. So far with the new keyboard, I have not had any more errors. I have had Windows hang since incorporating the "B" switch, but it seems that Windows doesn't initialize far enough to implement this switch and I have therfore disabled it. I purchased a mini - micriphone to use on my sound card. So far I have not been able to get it to work. I returned the mic thinking it was defective, but the new one did't work either. I am not sure if the problem is caused by the mic, setup or the sound card.
2/4/95 - I purchased another microphone, this time from Radio Shack, and I was able to get it to work! It seems that the other microphone wasn't compatible with my sound card.
2/17/96 - I has been over a year since my last entry in this log. Unfortunately many things have occured which weren't documented. I have since added more memory for a total of 16 meg. I also installed a Colorado T1000 tape back up. both of these operations occured without problems. I have also installed another disk drive, an 850 meg, bringing my total storage capacity to 1.4 gig. This was again done without problems. The microphone listed on 2/4/95 was replaced by a Labtec Microphone which works fine.
4/7/96 - Current problems not affecting performance (so far): 1. The power supply cooling fan makes an annoying noise. 2. The Mitsumi 4X CD-ROM Drive makes a terrible noise when doing large seeks.
Date - Wed, 3 Apr 1996
From - Alchemist (email@example.com)
Oh man am I ever glad I found this list. I wondered whether these problems were just on my machine or not. Well, I didn't read the whole list, but the basic implication was that I wasn't alone.
I bought a pentium 90, 16 mb ram, 15 inch monitor, the works. I think it was the Lightning something. Anyway, I buy it and it seems fine. No real problems.
I would notice that if I touch it, or keep my hand against it for awhile, it would make a humming noise. If a wire was touching it at all or anything, it would do this. Sometimes it would make a rumbling noise. Very scary. Sometimes it just makes noises by itself. Hmm. Not too big of a deal.
One day. All the sudden in windows I get something of a fatal hard drive error. I rebooted and everything on the hard drive was quite weird. The filenames were all symbols. It was as if I had a virus. I don't know. I sent them back the hdd and they sent me a new one. No problems there.
I find out that my system only supports 8250. Because I want to get the most out of my 28.8 v.34 modem, I want to put in 16550. I look down to see if I'll be able to replace the UART chip easily or not. Turns out they really made a mess in there (literally as well; it was very hard to see anything). Turns out the controller doesn't have the UART. My UART is on the I/O Card. And there is no chip. This really peeves me off that there's no 16550. I bought this computer in March of 1995. I thought 16550's were standard. So I bought a High Speed Serial Port and put it in.
Next thing I know, my controller sucks. I need drivers for it, for one thing. And I want to put Linux on. Linux doesn't load DOS, Windows, or OS/2 drivers as you know. From this more recent experience I learn that I have an outdated motherboard. I should have ports and everything on the motherboard. They should have sold me that sort of motherboard by March of 1995.
Comtrade cuts corners. I bought the computer because it was the same as other brands, but with a lower cost. I'm still using this computer, but I hope for a new Micron soon. What's the moral of this whole story? You get what you pay for. It couldn't be simpler than that.
If you're in the market for a computer, you'll regret dealing with Comtrade.
Oh, and before I forget: the tech support is the worst. That 800 number rings indefinitely. Two lines led to the same place. Apparently the tech support person (I suspect there's only one) can take off for three days. Two lines lead to the same, rude woman. You don't have to deal with any of it.
Date - Wed, 03 Apr 1996
From - firstname.lastname@example.org
Called Comtrade three weeks ago to get some detailed information on one of their high end systems. The answering operator was rude and hurried sounding. After I was connected to sales the line was somehow cut-off midway thru the conversation. Called back again only to get a recording. That cinced it....they were off the list..
Date - Fri, 22 Mar 1996
From - email@example.com
> So: I have some burning questions for other Comtrade users? > 1) Has anyone successfully upgraded to Windows 95? How did you do it?
Yes, but I have a slightly different setup... I don't have any SCSI adapters. My only suggestion is this: If you have the Actix ProStar VL video card, DO NOT NOT NOT NOT *NOT* attempt to use the "Actix ProStar" driver that comes with Win95. (I'm pretty sure this is the driver for the NON-vesa-local version of the ProStar). Use the generic Cirrus Logic driver instead. It's a bit slow, but amazingly enough it seems to function nearly flawlessly.
For some reason, Win95 recognized the EISA setup on my system right from the start. I've had no trouble with that portion of it.
> 2) Does anyone know how to get a manual for the GIT Companion G486HVL EISA & VESA Local Bus mother board?
Assuming you have the same motherboard I do (mine says G486HVL and it is EISA/VESA-local, but it does not mention GIT Companion), I would be glad to send you a photocopy of my manual. Anything to help a fellow Comtrade victim!! Note, however, that the manual is obviously translated from Chinese. Good luck. One piece of advice I did get from the manual is that you cannot use 2MB SIMMs in this motherboard. Your smallest, cheapest possible memory upgrade is to buy four 4MB SIMMs.
Date - Sun, 31 Mar 1996
From - Don 'Doc Don' Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My background includes 20 years in the computer business, ranging from programming in strange assembly languages to being sales manager and buyer for a computer store to writing software development plans for $50 million dollar proposals. But to tell you the truth, buying a computer or even getting inside the box is just not my idea of fun any more.
I've owned my Comtrade Express 486/33 for around 4 years now and I it generally just "keeps on ticking". During that time I've lived in three locations, carried it to numerous trade shows and office demonstrations with no trouble except when I try to add things to it. I originally bought it after calling several companies in some mag, maybe Compute Shopper, and getting the best feeling from the guys at Comtrade. Tech spt has never been great the few times I called but I'll explain that in a minute.
This is not my first. I have also owned Atari, Chameleon, Northgate, Dell and one or two others. The Dell lasted less than 24 hours--had trouble displaying MS Word fonts and tech spt just kept saying 'you have the latest drivers'. Like the system I had before Northgate (can't remember their name) didn't run some common package I had, so it went back. When I bought from Northgate the sales rep was the pres and the tech spt was the later VP of Customer Service.
I have noticed that one of the trade mags reported that Comtrade has definitely slipped during at least the last year. Most likely to arrive DOA, least likely to get satisfaction from customer service. The only real problem I have is probably my own fault--their system is proprietary for higher performance. When we tried to add an internal modem, we finally had to use theirs (I know it sounds dumb, but believe me--theirs worked as quickly as we installed it; others wouldn't work with hours of fiddling). Come to think of it, I never did get my refund from mailing that back to them, and I don't even remember why I did that.
Yesterday we tried to add an enhanced IO card with 62550 chips. Disabled everything else on the card. Wound up with HDD failure. Tried every possible combination of jumper settings with no luck. Wound up by going back to the original low speed UART they originally provided (not too cool with a 28.8 modem).
As to the future, I don't think I'll buy another of theirs, but that may partially be impacted by the fact that Gateway is opening a plant here in a few months. I don't believe 'big' means good (look at Packard Bell) but I also don't buy 'off the rack' or in paying premium prices for support since I don't need a lot of handholding; just someone there in the case of something so bizarre I can't handle it. My firm position these days is to buy a system with as extensively and easily expandable a system as possible. Look at what it costs you now and what it will cost you in two years (based on current prices) to upgrade to the top of today's line (who knows what will be tops then). If you can't upgrade that far, you have the wrong system. This still applies even if you plan to turn the PC into a hand-me-down.
Date - Thu, 21 Mar 1996
From - email@example.com
I bought a Comtrade 486/66 8M 500M "Dream Machine" a few years back. The machine is fast, faster than I pentium I recently saw, but although I may be "powered by lightening" I'm mired in after-sales service and support that's "slower than molasses." I called the Better Business Bureau and their report listed Comtrade as "unsatisfactory" on all accounts. My experience has been mixed: they did not provide the proper documentation on purchase and their installation of a SoundBlaster 16 SCSI never did work right. My calls are usually greeted with hour-long holds, waiting for unreturned calls, occasional rudeness, and even more occasional friendly quasi-information. No wonder they have a security guard outside their installation.
I bought Windows 95 (CD-ROM version) in November and have been struggling to install it ever since. It installed with the DCI 590 SCSI controller supplied by Comtrade, but windows downgraded hard-drive access to MS-DOS compatibility mode paging (very slow). After hours trying to reach Comtrade they advised me that the card manufacturer was out of business, that there was no Windows 95 driver for it, and that I had to buy a new SCSI controller card. So I bought an Adaptec 2842. After four hours on the phone to Microsoft and two hours on the phone to Adaptec I finally got W95 running again by disabling the SB-16 CD-ROM and loading it from a newly purchased copy of W95 on floppy. Disk access was fast but there were new problems. There was apparently a conflict althought according to the Device Manager and the jumpers on the boards there was none. Microsoft Office installed without a hitch, but everytime I tried to install anything else (the printer, CD-ROM W95, and UCLA ! B ruin-On-Line) the system would hang. Furthermore, the old SCSI adapter card kept appearing on the device list even though it was no longer in the machine and even though I had removed its driver through the EISA configuration utility. So it seemed to me that something was wrong with t he motherboard BIOS or EISA configuration.
I got through to a friendly technician at Comtrade and we discussed the problem for about 40 minutes, and he slowly came around to my view that the problem was with BIOS or EISA, confirming that when Comtrade upgraded their own machines to W95 they put in new motherboards. A few weeks ago another technician told me that they had upgraded to W95 by replacing the DCI card with an Adaptec 1742 SCSI Controller. The friendly tech consulted with his supervisors when I asked if they would configure the upgrade if I brought the machine into their shop. He relayed to me that it was their policy NOT to upgrade these machines to W95, and that they would not do so even if they were paid for the work. It wasn't worth it to them, he said. He gave me a few more suggestions, and then I thanked him and signed off.
Date - Thu, 29 Feb 1996
From - Darin Reed (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I found your growing file about customer experiences with Comtrade and decided I owed it to everyone else to add this. Comtrade computers has the WORST support I have ever heard of. I have owned my Comtrade computer since August 1995. Since then I have NEVER been able to reach customer support by calling their number. And I did have need to call also. I am not pleased with my computer and extremely unhappy with Comtrade computers as a whole and specifically with their technical support department. They keep telling me they are in the process of upgrading their phones but they have said that for months now. The only way I can get any support is to call the sales line and ask to speak with my salesman then tell him to have tech support call me back. About half the time they call me back within a reasonable amount of time. Also, one of the cd's that was supposed to come with my computer has been on back order since I bought it. They STILL owe me a cd. I check on it about once a month or so and I get the same story everytime. Yes, it is still on back order and they have no idea when they will ever get it in. A letter to the better business bureau is definately in the works.
Date - Thu, 15 Feb 1996
From - Jeff Curry (email@example.com)
I purchased my Comtrade Dx/2 66 in the summer of '94.
Errors were: "Cannot load user.exe must re-install Windows" "Disk i/o error please insert system disk" (even though there wasn't a floppy in the drive!) "x.dll not found in system directory" "even though it's there"Although these could be some bugs in Win '95, my Dell machine at work has NEVER had these problems.
Overall, I'd give Comtrade ONE star for cheap prices and I'll leave it at that.
ps: It's funny how their not advertised in PC Magazine anymore, Hmmmm...
Date - Mon, 12 Feb 1996
From - Bruce Frederick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here's another Comtrade report. Bear in mind that most of the details are from almost 4 years ago:
We bought our Comtrade 486-33 in the spring of 1992, and are still using it. This is a pre-VESA, proprietary local bus system and I bought from Comtrade because they were one of the few companies delivering local bus systems back then.
Summary: We had some troubles, we weren't real thrilled with their Customer Support, and I won't buy our next system from them.
Details: Our main problem was with our CTX monitor: it initially exhibited a noticeable a pincushion bulge across the center of the screen. Later, it began to flicker after a 20 minute warm-up, and then the screen would stabilize in a shruken state.
We also have a bad real-time clock which gains about 2 seconds per second. This means that file datestamps are always wrong, and (if I don't remember to reset the date regularly) my Netscape Beta browsers stop working three weeks early :-)
I had a great deal of trouble getting into the Customer Support line (busy/no answer/put-on-hold), and when I finally talked to a rep they appeared relatively knowledgeable but disinterested -- "Yeah, ship it back, we'll look at it".
I anticipated from my experience to that point (and apparently correctly, based on other reports) that if I shipped components back, it would be weeks before I had a working system again. We couldn't be down that long, so decided to live with the bad clock, and fixed the monitor myself.
The final indication of their corporate attitude, at least back then, was that they didn't even acknowledge a letter I sent them detailing my experiences. The letter was not a flame: I objectively reported what they had done well as well as what they had not done so well. I never received a reply or a phone call.
I feel like I got what I paid for: a technically advanced machine, using inexpensive components, hastily assembled, at a relatively cheap price, with relatively poor support.
Next time, I'll pay a little more -- some place else.
Date - Thu, 8 Feb 1996
From - JGShep@aol.com
Here's the Comtrade horror story I promised you. Unfortunately, it's far from over I'm afraid.
About 15 months ago, my sister asked me for help in purchasing a laptop. After reading various computer related magazines,(obviously I would have saved my sister and I a lot of grief if I had read PC World) and checking by world of mouth, I decided to go for the most powerful laptop I could get for around $2,500.00..
On December 2, 1994, on my sister's behalf, I purchased a 80486DX4 75 mhz laptop computer directly from Comtrade. From the moment I placed the order we have been confronted with one problem after another. When I called Comtrade to make the purchase I was connected to Becky in sales. I believe we spoke initially and then I called Becky back to make the purchase. Becky took down all the information necessary to close the sale including my credit card information and assured me that the laptop would be shipped the following Friday. On the following Friday, December 9th, Becky called my house and left a message stating that she had misquoted the price for a second AC adapter, advising me that if I wanted the item included in the shipment, I would have to pay the additional amount. We had a heated discussion the following week. Since she took my credit card when I placed the order, I felt that Comtrade was obligated to honor the misquoted price. I told Becky that I would cancel the entire order if she did not honor the misquote on the adapter. She said she would rather lose the sale than honor the price. I asked to speak to her supervisor. After leaving me on hold for a few minutes, Becky had an amazing change of heart. She honored the misquote and promised to send the order for the price that we originally agreed upon. I wish she never did.
Unfortunately, my problems with Comtrade go way beyond the sales office. When I finally received the laptop, image my delight in finding that the second battery I ordered was missing the plastic sliding piece that attaches to the front of the battery acting as the door which locks it into the laptop. The computer's manual states that this piece should never be removed from the battery, so undoubtedly, it was never attached in the first place. I also found that while my computer came with a Windows manual included, it was supposed to come with a combination Windows 3.1/DOS 6.22 manual which I received after finally getting through Comtrade technical support.
Comtrade's technical support only adds to the nightmare. I have outlined my dealings with technical support below.
Whether using AC power or the one remaining battery that worked, when I booted the laptop it either froze completely before the hard drive symbol ever displayed on the LCD or the keyboard froze at the C\: prompt. This was not a software conflict as most often the boot process never even got as far as accessing the hard drive. I got the same result (or lack of) when trying to boot from a floppy.
On the occasions when I got completely through the boot process, the computer froze unexpectedly soon afterward. Upon further examination I found that the right side hinge that connects the top half of the laptop (monitor) to the bottom half (keyboard) was splitting at the seam.
We had never dropped the computer. In fact, it was kept in a padded case at all times when not in use. We never picked up the laptop by the monitor half. We very seldom changed the angle of the monitor after opening the laptop and when we did, we used two hands. Yet somehow, the circuitry connecting the two halves of the laptop broke down.
At this point, we had had enough. I faxed a letter to Mark Sun, Manager of Comtrade technical support on April 18, 1995 asking for a complete refund. Mr Sun refused to give my sister a refund. He stated that since the laptop was still under warranty, my sister could return it to Comtrade for repair only!
I contacted the California and Massachusetts Attorney's General, two local television consumer reporters, PC World, Computer Shopper and various mail order consumer protection organizations in an attempt to pressure Sun into issuing a refund for the defective laptop. Sun wouldn't budge! He had my sister's money. Add our names to the long list of suckers who were screwed by Comtrade.
My sister returned the laptop at her own expense to Comtrade on July 18, 1995, with a letter explaining the latest problem. She also asked that the broken plastic battery cap be replaced again. (I mention this because Mr. Sun now claims that we returned the laptop without ac adapter or battery.) About 10 days later, I faxed Comtrade advising them that they should have received the laptop and power cord. I received a hand written response from Comtrade acknowledging that they had received the laptop AND AC ADAPTER!
When we hadn't heard from Comtrade by the beginning of the school year (September 1995) I faxed them again for a progress report. Comtrade sent us a fax stating that the laptop had been sent to my sister via FEDEX in August. Comtrade gave us a FEDEX tracking number and told us to check with them. Another remarkable example of customer service!
We were not home during the week the package was delivered. FEDEX left it with a neighbor who left it on our front porch. Who knows if Comtrade ever fixed the laptop because nobody knows where it is.
A call to FEDEX taught me that we must persue the matter through Comtrade. Since Comtrade did not provide delivery instructions to the contrary, FEDEX had the option of leaving it with a neighbor.
Two more faxes to Mr "CUSTOMER SERVICE" Mark Sun went unanswered. We decided to try the Massachusetts Attorney General's office again after another call to FEDEX informed us that Comtrade collected $100.00 for the missing parcel. (Whoever shipped the laptop from Comtrade was either too cheap or too stupid to purchase insurance from FEDEX equal to the value of the laptop.) The AG's representative confronted Sun with the fact that Comtrade was quick to file and collect a claim from FEDEX while he never responded to our repeated faxes. Sun, knowing that he had been caught, agreed to send my sister a replacement laptop.
My sister received a replacement laptop without a battery or ac adapter. Sun claims that we never returned the peripherals with the laptop. However, someone sent me a hand written fax acknowledging receipt of the laptop and power cord. While I failed to mention the battery in my fax, the letter enclosed with the laptop references the battery, so obviously it was included in the package. Last but not least, the replacement laptop that my sister received has the same split in the casing on the hinge that attaches the two halves of the computer that I decribed in situation #4 above. Mr Sun told the Attorney General's representative that he wants my sister to return the new laptop so that he can examine it before deciding what to do.
It's obvious that Mr Sun's strategy is to keep stalling hoping that we'll grow weary of the battle. This company is the worst that I've ever dealt with in any industry. We're not ready to give up, but I don't know where to turn next. It seems to me that the Attorney's General are very little help with companies such as Comtrade that care little about the quality of their product and reputation. There seems to be little point in persuing the matter in small claims court because Comtrade would never honor a judgement.
Date - Thu, 1 Feb 1996
From - MSUSPLN1.SHAMP@eds.com
My experience with the Comtrade has been great. It was purchased in April 1992. It's a Comtrade Express DX 486-33. It originally had 8 meg of memory which was upgraded to 16 a couple of years ago. Also the original 200 meg hardrive was replaced with a 500 meg Conner. The Conner quit working after about 6 months and was replaced under warranty.
Actually we had several Conner drives all quit in the same week. Bad Batch I guess. I have since added a CD ROM and Modem to the machine. I also attempted to add a second hard drive, but the BIOS chip is too old to handle the 1.2 gig drive. I have never had to call Comtrade so I don't know what their customer service is like. In defense of their products, my machine is now also four years old and has been altered and added on several times and keeps on running. I plan to get a new one soon, but it's hard to justify the expense when the old one keeps on going. After reading some of the negative experiences with Comtrade, I don't know if this is any better or worse than other mail order places.
I have heard first hand of several horror stories from some of the biggest in the business.
Date - Fri, 2 Feb 1996
From - "D. Pennington" (email@example.com)
I may regret writing this, but I ordered a P100 w/16mg ram, 1.27G hd, 4x CD Rom ( I believe it was called the Multimedia Dream Machine) in August 1995, and Have had NO PROBLEMS with the system whatsoever. I use my system mostly for Architectural CAD drawings, and it has worked like a dream. Well, it will probably go out tommorrow!
Date - Mon, 15 Jan 1996
From - "Christian A. Mayer" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I am a user of a Comtrade p-75 Multimredia Dream Machine 4x. I bought it in May of 1995 for $2095. I have to admit that it was nicely loaded for the price, HOWEVER, the harddrive(Quantum 540 Magnum) went bad after 1 month (bad sector errors left and right). The Tech support was very hard to reach as though they were all sleeping at the phones, but after great persistence, I finally reached them (2 hrs. average time for me to get to them). I spoke with a Tech and he had me format the Hard Drive and then reinstall my OS... after that it worked fine for about a week. Then I had them send me a new one and it arrived fairly quick. I opened the new drive and to my surprise it was USED and it had software already installed on it !! (I think they ripped it from another system) This drive worked for about 2 weeks and finally made this *grinding* noise that sounded like a water faucet turned on slightly. Finally I ended up just buying myself a Western Digital 1.6 gig and had no problems at all with the compatability, as a matter of fact it made my system seem to run alot smoother!! Transforming from Win 3.11 to 95 was not a problem either and I run apps like TrueSpace 2 just fine. But all in all I will never ever suggest Comtrade to anyone at all. If you want a constant worry or headache over a machine then this would be the way to go. So far, nothing serious like my motherboard has fried, or my monitor started to flicker... KNOCK ON WOOD. Anyone who wants to share their info about this company can reach me at:
Date - Tue, 02 Jan 1996
From - Mark Ryan (email@example.com)
I bought a P90 with 16 megs of RAM etc. etc. from them last year. I'd like to go through the entire opera that defines my experience with comtrade in just one year, but it would be as long as your entire file so far. Briefly, I have never been so angry with a company I have ever dealt with in the past. I've had a faulty mouse, monitor, video card, fan and CD-Rom, and all for just under $3000. The expense of shipping, lost time and phone bills (you'll never get through on the toll-free line) is miniscule in comparison to the frustration you'll experience with the absolutely asinine secretaries, sales reps and tech support individuals they employ there. In the about 20 calls that did get through to them I had the pleasure of dealing with ONE nice, helpful person.
This company has nice ads and seems O.K. until your check passes, but after that watch out! Two opposible digits down and I hope that Satan has a nice corner of Hell reserved for them. firstname.lastname@example.org