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!
Joe Steffes from
Date - Tuesday, December 30, 1997 at 15:40:22 (EST)
!!!DON'T BUY COMTRADE!!!
Their computers suck for air! My crashed three times in the first two monthes of ownership. Their tch support made things even worse. I had to do a crash course on how to do it myself with computers. I am still waiting for over 6 monthes for software promiosed to be sent to me that was backordered. Problems! Problems! Problems! If I could only get a tech that spoke English, I would be happy. I just could not understand a word they uttered and they always talked over my head. And even then they were wrong most of the time. They suck! Never again!!!
Bryon Smith from
Date - Monday, December 29, 1997 at 14:29:51 (EST)
Hindsight is always 20/20.
Since purchasing a computer from COMTRADE, the tray of the CD-ROM,
which is the flimsiest I have seen, has fallen out. I have since
been attempting to contact their so-called tech support for over a
Every time I make it through, I either get a patronizing
recording, or a rude operator who abruptly hangs up after saying
"someone will call you back" (I have figured out that they always
ask for your invoice number so they can have the person who sold
you the machine call you back; that's how they avoid having a
dedicated tech support department).
There is no way I would EVER recommend this company to anyone, in
fact I have steered several people away from them.
COMTRADE is in my opinion, nothing more than the a "boiler room"
computer sales operation.
Date - Thursday, December 18, 1997 at 14:02:43 (EST)
Update: After sending two faxes a day to tech support I got a call on the second day. The tech was real pert over the phone to the point of being nasty. but he helped to clear up my driver problems. Never again.
Patrick Anderson from
Memphis, TN USA
Date - Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 23:09:11 (EST)
I bought a So screamer machine about 8 months ego, my video card
was loose, opened up the computer and fixed, did not call support
I have dealing with computers before. I choose comtrade because
their price, but as you know YOU GET WHAT YOU PAID FOR. Cheap
components, had probems with Windows 95, I was lucky, got through
Tech Support, they refresh my registry with a program called
ERD, I liked it anyway, because it fixed my problem, When I read
this Bulleting Board, went quickly and check my cpu and it did not
have a stick, so I immediately told me self: God! it means is the
real one, I checked it anyway and it was the 200Mhz. I called my
friend who purchased his comtrade in march 96, we opened the
computer and BINGO, it was an overclocked CPU, called comtrade
several times, left several messages, finally someone got back to
us and made a good deal, we won this time, but between the time
we tried to get in touch with comtrade, we had a lawyer and he
said that this was a good case to win, but in order to win we had
to prove that they did this intentionally and if they don't want
to refund or replace machine for what we paid for we would have
a case to our side. We wrote to COMPUTER SHOPPER, PC WORLD,
PC MAGAZINE in tyring to shut
down their bussines, COMPUTER SHOPPER did not do that much, they
said that they were only the advertiser and were not responsible
for what the companies were selling, but they would investigate
the case and would responde us back. After a week we received a
call from COMPUTER SHOPPER where they stated that COMTRADE had
some problems with the company that sells them the Mainboard,
and that my friend had the option to get full refund or up to date
machine, but they would not stop advertising COMTRADE, Shit; we
felt like no power, COMTRADE pays them MILLION of DOLLARS for
advertisement, they would not stop getting those millions.
Now; my advise to everyone is this; DON'T buy MAIL ORDER
COMPANY, Get a computer locally. and What I heard is that in
California almost all of the Computer Companies, knows each other
closely and my be owned by the same guy. If this COMTRADE shuts
down, if..most likely not. THey will startup their bussines under
a new Company name, and WE the customers, are in the loop again.
DON'T BUY MAIL ORDER COMPANY.
Date - Tuesday, December 16, 1997 at 01:32:55 (EST)
I purchased a Comtrade pc in May of '95. As of the summer of '97,
the power supply and the CTX monitor have died on me. Calling
the Comtrade tech support number not only left me on hold an
outrageous amount of time but introduced me to a surly non-english
speaking representative who seemed to be in an awful rush to brush
me off. Cheap components and dreadful tech support have soured me
on Comtrade. Never again.
Date - Sunday, November 30, 1997 at 23:12:05 (EST)
I bought a pentium 150 in May of 1996. When it arrived the modem
was dead and had to be replaced, which they did with no problem,
without trying to pawn off a cheap model on me. Other than that I have had no problems that Tech support has been unable to fix
,BUT I would never buy from Comtrade again due to their crap they
call technical support. Every time I have tried to call I get a
message saying its busy and to please call back again. After spending hours trying to get through, I get some guy who speaks
about three words of english. I have no problem with foreigners,
but they should at least be halfway fluent in English.
The computer has been good, but tech support was SOOOO BAD I would
not, could not,ever recommend it to anyone.
Darrell Dyer from
Allen, TX USA
Date - Friday, November 28, 1997 at 20:45:10 (EST)
The follow letter is self explanatory and I would urge others having Comtrade problems to file formal complaints as I have done with the California Department of Justice at this link.
Here is a copy of formal complaints that have been filed with the Public
Inquiry office of the California Department of Justice.
A computer was purchased by me from the Comtrade corporation on 12-2-96
and shipped UPS to my address in Texas. I began having problems with the
computer and found it difficult to get the warranty service as stated in
the ad I responded to.
I did some reasearch on the Internet and found a site dedicated to
people with similar problems and all out fraud being conducted from the
State of California on a nation wide basis. The main issue being the
shipment of central processing units far inferior and cheaper than those
clearly advertised. The CPU markings are disguised to hide the true
identity of the chip and the CPU clock rates have been skewed to make it
appear as if you are getting what you paid for. The internet site with
other witnesses testifying to the fraudulent practices of this
California based company can be found at
I have unsucessfuly tried to resolve this issue with the company in
question and can get no response from them.
Your cooperation in stopping this company from continuing its deceptive
practices is appreciated.
Date - Thursday, November 27, 1997 at 11:47:03 (EST)
Thinking of getting a Comtrade computer for Christmas?
Do yourself a big, big favor.
DON'T DO IT!!!
Eric J. Fleming from
Date - Friday, November 21, 1997 at 19:13:50 (EST)
Honestly, I wouldn't recomend a Comtrade to my worst enemy.
I bought a Comtrade P5/166 M/M Dream Machine on 5/24/96 because I thought it was a good deal.
I figured that I knew enough about computers that I could put the extra $ into keeping it going.
Well, first off the cheepo piece of crap 33.6 modem they shipped me never worked correctly, the second was tha same way.
I finally gave up threw that modem away and spent $100 for a good modem.
Things were good up until about three months ago (8/97) I started to have all kinds of problems - Invalid page faults,
OE exception faults, etc. I decided not to fight my way through tech support and to just bite the bullet and take my
memory to a local computer shop to be tested - two bad 8M SIMMS & testing fee $100.
After a few more weeks of reloading windows while having my morning coffee, I decided to lood deeper into the problems
so I spent another $50 for some good diagnostic software. I checked everything but cant seem to find the cause of the random problems
Thats when I examined the CPU and found that they were over clocking a P120 to make it look like a P166 ! They put a sticker
over the bottom of the CPU that I had to scrape off with a knife to see what it was.
Anyway to make a long story short, I faxed our friends at Comtrade and accused them of fraud and told them if they didn't send me a P200
to replace the processor I have now I'm going to sue for the full cost plus damages. I also threatened to call Intel and tell them whats
been going on. They called me back the same night and said a P200 was on its way.
So I spent ~$250 and a few man-months screwwing around to get an upgrade to 200Mhz - Trust me just spend the extra $ and get something real.
I suggest if you want a great machine at a very good price, english speaking tech support that answers the phone check out Nova Computers
I buy all of the computers for my company from them now. Call them @ 1-800-461-5535 compare price warranty and tech support - they have everything
that Comtrade promises but they deliver.
Walter Heinz from
Date - Wednesday, November 12, 1997 at 02:01:29 (EST)
I purchased a P5/120 Thunder Winstone System on 12/7/95. Recently I've had considerable difficulty with crashes and
difficulty in re-booting the system without it hanging in the process. After
much time attempting to fix the problem, I discovered that it was caused by
an intermittent CPU fan resulting in an over-heated CPU. Upon further
investigation, I found out by examining the CPU that it was not a 120MHz
processor, but a 75MHz, as indicated by the marking beneath the label on the
pin side of the chip: A80502-75 SX 969/SSS. I am extremely upset that
Comtrade would sell me a fraudelently marked 75MHz which was over-clocked to
operate at 120MHz. I am sure Comtrade is aware of the reliability issues
concerning CPU overclocking, I am experiencing them first-hand. Of far more
concern are Comtrade's deceptive business practices. I consider this a case
of fraud. I believed that I was dealing with a reputable company. I paid a
considerable amount of money for a 120MHz system, not a 75MHz system which
was converted to 120MHz by re-arranging a couple of jumpers on the
motherboard. Unless Comtrade proposes an acceptable solution to rectify this
mis-representation, I will most certainly take further action to resolve
this matter to my satisfaction.
Michael Hatfield from
Columbus, MS USA
Date - Tuesday, November 11, 1997 at 13:09:51 (EST)
I heard rumors about Comtrade after I bought one of their computers. I would still have bought this computer, but I would certainly have been more careful. After a thorough check of my system, I am still absolutely happy with my decision. I, however, decided on a Quantex when my mother needed help buying and a Dell for my sis. Here is a comparison:
Quantex: Ordered on a Monday, parts on back order, arrived after 3 weeks. Lots of long distance w/ mom to resolve and explain petty software installation problems, etc. No serious difficulties.
Dell: Waited 2 weeks, no problems in the first week (so far).
Comtrade: Ordered on a Monday, monitor on backorder, replaced with a higher quality ViewSonic, entire computer arrived on Friday! NO PROBLEMS. Everything has worked as advertised for over a year, despite my multiple OS configuration and extra/upgraded hardware. My computer is faster, cheaper, and more reliable so far.
I have the opportunity to help quite a few friends with their personal computer woes and am always glad I bought a Comtrade. I hear some pretty ridiculous stories about all types, from frankenPC's to Gateways. Micron, Gateway, and Dell may have the best support for the uneducated computer user and even can help with some pretty difficult-to-solve problems, but they charge some serious bucks for it and often put cheaper components in to make their prices look more reasonable. I may just be lucky with my Comtrade, but I'd be willing to bet that their product is quite a bit better than this site makes it out to be. I imagine also that they got screwed by a supplier with the CPU swaps. Comtrade could stand to learn from their competetors, whose slow, expensive computers have all of the same problems. A happy voice on the phone that can make a novice feel OK will generate all sorts of warm-fuzzy email and such about their computers, which is apparently more important than performance and price these days.
Comtrade makes a quality product. I pity them for the enemies they have made (many of whom don't know the first thing about a computer) and hope they continue to make their great computers. I hope they don't tack $300 on to the price of their computers and become another Gateway or Midwest.
Buy a Comtrade and just ship it back to them if it doesn't work. Very simple. Use a credit card, and cancel payment if you aren't happy. Don't be an uneducated buyer. You have a 99% chance of being completely happy, so don't worry.
W. Kelley from
Date - Monday, November 10, 1997 at 21:58:56 (EST)
I purchased an "upgradeable" Comtrade Pentium 75 in April of 95.
Although I was occasionally annoyed by typical errors and conflicts
I was somewhat pleased with the computer. The problem really started
when I tried to upgrade from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. I recently
bought a 12x24 cd rom, 32 meg more ram memory, 2x modem, awe 32 sound
card, Windows 95 & MS-Office. Alot of money. Well..... the computer
does not want to run on Windows 95. I called Comtrade Tech support
and was told "my" motherboard, the PCI54PL did not perform to
design. There was a lot of problems with it so Comtrade
discontinued its use after about 5 months. I asked if they would
replace the motherboard. I was told my computer was out of warrenty.
I suggested they sell me one at their cost as a "win-win" situation.
Comtrade would not do this. I assume their attitude is "we got your
money, tough luck !" I was also told my bios would not support
Windows 95. Fooling around, I accidently dumped my bios set-up
memory. I called Comtrade Tech support and was told, "we do not
keep records on bios setup". I should think they would for every
model of computer sold! Comtrade, in my opinion, LOUSY TECH SUPPORT
and LOUSY ATTITUDE TOWARDS CUSTOMERS once your money is in their pocket !!!
YORBA LINDA , CA USA
Date - Wednesday, November 05, 1997 at 15:56:48 (EST)
I got my p5/200 m/m screamer in march of 97, and I have had the freeze up problem, the stuck on/off button. but now I have another problem, certian buttons on the screen are jumbled with past screens, the problem will remedy if refreshed only to come back if I change windows. The tech support( sorry, dont laugh) will not call me back either from e-mail, fax, or phone. Like right now I have a 1/2 inch souare over my AOL mail button that is a multicolored mess. but the button still works. It does this in all programs. good luck.
Michael J. Brennan, CPA from
fAIRFIELD, CA USA
Date - Wednesday, October 29, 1997 at 19:12:33 (EST)
I wish I had read this page before purchasing from Comtrade. I too was sucked in by the prices. They are unbeatable. I received my system with the wrong modem. I took delivery 3 weeks ago. I still have not received the upgraded one. After two days my mouse did not work. They sent me a new one, some noname junky mouse. It does however, work, but is not the same quality that was shipped with the system. I have called and e-mailed 12-15 times regarding these issues. I have heard back twice, both times after I left my office for home. I provided them with dual numbers but they never seemed to call the second number. I wonder why?, why spend time with a live angry customer when you can leave a message.
Their "customer service" is without a doubt the worst I have ever dealth with. based on this bulletin board and my own experience, I am going to eat my shipping and return the system.
Don't buy Comtrade, spend an extra $200.00 and get a GW2000 or Dell.
If you've reached this site and are still under the 30day MBG, get an RMA and return your system!!
Alexander Karnauskas from
Chicago, IL USA
Date - Wednesday, October 29, 1997 at 14:40:07 (EST)
For all those owning a Comtrade computer, there is a good chance
that you microprocessor have been substituted with a slower chip.
For example, my 120 MHz computer came with a 75 MHz chip. I have
filed a lawsuit here in Chicago against Comtrade. If you find
that you also have been sold a chip that is slower than what you paid
for, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you
can also join in the suit against Comtrade.
Luis Constantino from
Date - Tuesday, October 28, 1997 at 14:27:43 (EST)
I can agreed that comtrade uses good components in their systems
for the most part, but I have had a very very bad experience with
their tech support and what they call "customer service", which is
just someone that takes a message for tech support.
Well, i bought a computer from them last year in october and i
worked and all but the cd-rom drive, a samsung didn't play audio
cd's correctly, aka it sounded very scratchy. So i called them
and told the the problem, and they sent me a new cd-rom drive...
to my dismay it wasn't the samsung i had previously but rather a
NONAME (actually it's IMES) el cheapo cd-rom that didn't run native
in win95. But it did work. So i called them and told them they
sent me the wrong drive. reluctantly they sent me another samsung,
guess what...same problem. So they sent me yet another and lo
and behold the same problem. This was getting rediculus so i
decided to stay with the el cheapo cd-drive that atleast
So my advice to you is to stay away from Comtrade especially if
you are new to computers! Go with a more popular and more
respectable company like GW2000, Dell, or Quantex.
matthew wecksell from
Valhall, NY USA
Date - Friday, October 24, 1997 at 17:13:36 (EDT)
I've been a mac user at home for years and an IS employee for a few summers.
This summer, I decided to purchase a PC. Comrade had the best prices. But I realized that, since it wasn't a mac, I'd have to lower my expectations.
The machine came as promised (P200MMX and even Norton thinks so. How can I tell if it's overclocked without poppingthe chip?) and shipped quickly, during the UPS strike. I ordered two days after a friend ordered a Gateway, and his machine arrived a week after mine.
The only problems I had were that
1. the included Comptons Encyclopedia didn't work, and the games CD sucked. No big deal. If I wanted a decent software bundle, I'd have paid for one.
2. The network card was unseated during shipping. Their tech support quickyl talked me through popping the hood and reseating the card. Four summers of working as tech support rep to me to call their tech support *before* buying the machine. They picked up in 28 seconds. When I had a problem on day one, they picked up in 38. I really clocked this.
This was also a blessing in disguise - while I had the case off, I dropped in a Diamond Monster 3D. (The OEM version doesn't come with the software bundle, so I installed my own.)
3. They installed the wrong video drivers. They usually sell the Diamond Stealth 3d, which I didn't want becuase the Monster is better, and that's the drivers they installed. But I didn't call them, I called Diamond. I had the install CDs for the Monster and the Stealth 2500, was having problems with both, and when you don't buy Apple, then you deal with having to call the manufactures of each component, rather than what mac users call "the mothership." Diamond has good tech support and good products. And the tech and I were happy that the same company made both video cards, as it made fixing them both at the same time easier.
That's it. No other problems. I expected shipping to jostle the cards. I called diamond twice and Comtrade twice, and only had a problem once, with and idiot at Comtrade. So I hung up and called back :)
It's a good, solid, machine. Nothing sexy, but I didn't want to pay for sexy.
How can I complain about the quality of an Intel motherboard, Intel ethernet, Mag monitor, Diamond video card, and yamaha sound cards? All Comtrade does is hire monkeys to put the pieces into a box.
ps - If this system dies before the warranty, or I find out that they sent me incorrect parts, then my attitude will change. Till then, I'm happy.
pps- they nocked $80 off the price and tossed in the one year on site warranty for free just because I know how to talk to salesmen. So I got a better price, and if I have a real problem, I'm not going to Comtrade for support, I'm having NWC Service Corp come here to my house and fix the damn thing.
I have bought three computers from Comtrade, and all have been nothing short of great. Much better than my friends who have purchaces from Dell, Compact, etc.
Having reviewed the other comments, I noticed that plenty of the problems mentioned likely came from the box being shaken during shipping (loose plugs, etc), power corruption (motherboard failures, etc), screwing around with the files (programs which won't run, etc) improper file management (disk drives that won't work, etc.)
Computer manufacturer's rely on their suppliers. With a few exceptions, no one actually makes their own computers, they just assemble them from parts puchased from others, and can't be held totally responsible for the performance of those items. A bad monitor has nothing to do with Comtrade. A bad drive likely had nothing to do with Comtrade. And Comtrade isn't buying "off brand" stuff. Usually they buy to quality items.
Regarding tech support, like anywhere else, just get the guys name you first talk to, his direct number or extension, and ALWAYS talk to him. Then you can get some things done.
My machines haven't been perfect, but Comtrade's reaction has ALWAYS be extreemly good.
The only valid complaint I can credit is the reported switch of processors, and I don't know if Comtrade was the one doing the switching, or if they were purchasing the motherboards loaded. If they were doing the switching, then they deserve to be horse-whipped, but my machines have always been what they said they were, worked well, and they have responded with speed and precision on every request.
In addition, with I wanted to redo my old 286 machine to use as a gift, I called Comtrade, they looked up the file and could give me all the data I needed. NO OTHER MANUFACTURER will do that for your.
Comtrade's damn good. Give 'em a try.
Bill & Shonna Richardson from
Date - Friday, October 10, 1997 at 21:46:53 (EDT)
Don't take our word for it.......search for yourselves at PC World Press Release and you will see that Comtrade was the worst in all three categories. Overall.....Reliability.....and of course......Service!!! I wish I
had read about them before I bought from them!!
Bill & Shonna Richardson from
Date - Friday, October 10, 1997 at 21:16:13 (EDT)
DON'T BUY COMTRADE!!! DON'T BUY COMTRADE!!!
Please do not buy Comtrade products. Most of the comments on this page should be enough to warn you. It all began like this. We bought
a Pentium 120 from Comtrade September 18, 1996. First, my modem quit
working. At that time, they were easy enough to get a hold of and I got it
fixed. (I will give them that little bit.) After my system was only 4 months
old, I started getting a Signal Cable Error on my monitor. I tested it with
another monitor and then a sound card, but the same problem. It comes
up with this error and will not boot up and many, many times will not reboot
at all!! I called in January and complained and they wanted me to send them the tower. I knew then that it was probably the motherboard. Because I am in college as a computer science major, I needed my
computer to write program assignments. Finally, I called again in July,
to request a technician locally. By this time, my mouse was no longer
COMTRADE HAS THE WORST TECHNICAL SUPPORT AND
ANSWERING SERVICE I HAVE EVER DEALT WITH!!!!!!!!!!!!
I called at least, and I am not exaggerating when I say 6 to 10 times a
day. The only response I got was from a recorded message saying
that Comtrade was getting too many calls and could I please call back.
You know why they are getting too many calls? Because they have a
lousy product and terrible support!! I was trying frantically to reach them,
knowing that my 1 year warranty expired in September. While I have
been trying to call Comtrade EVERY day, I also emailed them 5 times.
NEVER getting a response. Finally, in September I got through 5 or 6
times to an operator who took my information and said a technician would
call me back. Well guess what?? Yep! No technician has ever made
contact with me. I got a hold of another operator today, Oct. 10, 1997.
She said there was only a record of an operator responding to me 3
times!! I then knew, they weren't even recording all my calls. No wonder
noone was returning my calls. I asked for a supervisor, I got the run-
around. Customer service would only give me a name to write a letter
too. Why should I??? They aren't responding to my calls. Anyway,
finally today I told her no way was I leaving my name and phone number
and that I wanted to speak to a technician. I was on hold for 15 minutes,
but I finally reached one and guess what he said. He could not help
me because my warranty was out!!!!!!!! I explained how I had been
trying to reach him while my warranty was in, but got nowhere. He couldn't
THIS is just the tip of the iceberg of how we've been treated by Comtrade.
As a computer science major, I vowed to tell all my college friends and
computer science colleagues not to buy Comtrade.
Please don't think that you are computer literate enough to deal with the
bad and the good and that their price is worth it. It's not!!
FINAL WARNING--------------DON'T BUY COMTRADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Date - Monday, October 06, 1997 at 22:57:28 (EDT)
In April of this year I purchased a Comtrade Lightning PC P166. It was my first real computer purchase, and I have learned a great deal about the system since my purchase. When I first turned it on, I had problems with the Video Card. After finally getting a hold at someone at Tech Support, I receded the card, and it worked fine. Since then, any time I move my computer in any way, the video card gets thrown out of its slot, and I 'm left with a monitor that doesn't work. I also had a falty keyboard which Comtrade did replace promptly. In the mean time I have found that my sound cards microphone jack is damaged, and I have sent off an E-mail to the company demanding a new video card and sound card. I still haven't heard back from them, and it's been a week now. I am disturbed to know that so many people have had their chips replaced with lower performing ones, and I will be checking the bar code on the back of mine.
Even though I have had some problems with the PC, I do love my computer. I have learned the hard way about how my system works, but I am greatful for the knowledge. I probably would purchase from a more reputable company next time and the price tag that goes along with it.
San Jose, CA USA
Date - Monday, October 06, 1997 at 14:28:51 (EDT)
I bought a Lightning PC system from them in Nov, 1996. After reading some of the comments in the archive page, curiosity got the better of me and I carefully scratched off the barcode sticker on the bottom of the CPU chip to reveal SY046. According to Intel web site this is a 100mhz chip and I paid for a 166. I didn't see any others that had this overclocking on the web page, but this is an obvious case of fraud and I do not understand how
these guys can stay in business. One of my colleagues also bought a system from them about the same time, but has
not had the courage to peel off the sticker.
Jack Bellig from
Date - Sunday, October 05, 1997 at 20:14:40 (EDT)
I recently bought a 266 Screamer from Comtrade. First of all, I ordered USB ports and it did not arrive with any. Worse as so many others have experienced, I could never reach anyone to work out the problems. I tied 3 times by EMail and never got a response. Finally I called the regular toll number and got a RMA number . They did refund my money promptly (within 2 weeks).
I was very disappointed since I bougtht 2 486 66s from them and the friends I sold them to are still friends. I had its power supply replaced but no big deal.
I have since bought a Dell 300. Love it so far!
Date - Friday, October 03, 1997 at 22:16:45 (EDT)
Just had to make one more quick comment for some of the more vocal
Comtrade defenders posting here recently. Since when do you consider
it "bashing" a vendor who takes your money under the guise of selling
you a P120 based PC and proceeds to give you a 75MHz chip overclocked
to 120? You have to remember, at the time I bought my PC (June '96),
there was at least a couple hundred bucks difference between what you
paid for a P75 or a P120 system. Like I said before, I have no problems
with any of the rest of the system I got from Comtrade, I am just like
anyone else though - I expect to get what I PAID for. If that constitutes
"bashing" then I guess I'm bashing them. BTW, call up the technical
support folks at Intel sometime and get their opinion on running a
P75 as if it were a P120. And as far as Microsoft goes, at least when you
buy crap from them you know up front you are going to get crap!
It appears to me that the "accidental" overclocking by Comtrade happened
far too many times (you wouldn't believe the number of other Comtrade owners
I've heard from since I posted the news about my discovery that have discovered
they too were sold overclocked chips), I suggest that ANYONE who bought a PC
from them (in mid 1996 anyway) check their Pentium chips out to see just what you
Date - Wednesday, October 01, 1997 at 20:35:50 (EDT)
After reading this site I have decided to take the plunge and
purchase a Comtrade computer system. I am armed with a friend who
knows about computers, and an available lawyer. While I have
ordered the computer just today, I have decided to leave a post
so people could hear about my experiences as they happen. I have
never purchased a PC before, although I am very familiar with them
through my friends, and through using them at work. I have never
dealt with Comtrade in any way before this. I just want people
to know that I haven't formed my opinion of this company ahead of
time. Hopefully I can present an unbiased report, from
beginning to end, of what it is like to buy from Comtrade.
While I was researching different companies I sent Comtrade
an E-mail requesting the exact specs. of the components I was
getting. I received information the next day that gave me a very
detailed summary of the system.
I decided to order the "Screamer XC5/233." I am asking for
the exact same configuration shown in their ads, with the
exception of a Microsoft Mouse, and an IOmega 100MEG Zip Drive.
Total cost (without shipping) will be $1989.00. I ordered through
Comtrade's WEB site using a Credit Card. I will call them
tomorrow to verify the order.
I bought mine around July 96.
I have had few problems thus far. The problems I have had are normal
though. Since I bought it I have upgraded every part of it. Now I
either run with my new system and the original Comtrade or with one
monster system that has most of the old parts in with the new.
I have never had problems I needed to call tech support over.
The two things I was taken back by:
1 The heatsink/fan combo was glued on so I am unable to check if it
is a P5-166 under there. Also I am unable to use it in my thermal
2 The AD said that I would get a 2 gig HD. I received a 2.5 gig.
Bigfoot instead. A cheaper slower drive yes. Within 6 months I
filled it up though so I was glad for the extra storage. Now I
have a Maxtor 7.0 gig DMA/33 so having a slow drive is no problem.
I would reccomend them if you have a remote sense of how to fix PC
Donna Moore from
Clemmons, NC USA
Date - Tuesday, September 30, 1997 at 09:54:08 (EDT)
re: Earlier post: I have since found that Comtrade sold me a Pentium 166 multimedia computer with an overclocked chip. The chip in the system is a P120, I called and verified the number with Intel. Intel informed me this is illegal and constitutes fraud. They also suggested I not use this computer with an overclocked chip. This system has already cost me over $600 above and beyond the purchase price. I had to replace the hard drive, unfortunately the new hard drive is effected by the newly discovered overclocked chip and I still don't have a system that works. I will proceed with my rights as a consumer that has been defrauded. Please think twice before buying a Comtrade computer!
central, CO USA
Date - Tuesday, September 30, 1997 at 08:03:41 (EDT)
I don't know why all the Comtrade bashing...
My family purchased a Intel MMX 200 in jan 97.
-yes, when we got our computer, the Microsoft Natural Keyboard
was actually a Liteon...(Replaced within the week with the authentic.)
-the Diamond Cd-rom game pakage wasn't sent...
(another call, it was on backorder,arrived promptly.)
-only problem was a non-existent PCIbus conflict in the
system control panel!
(call to tech support, handled promptly and courteously, NO
Our computer is on 12-16 hours a day and it runs just fine,
minus Win95's buggy operating system.
If you guy's feel like bashing, you should bash Microsoft
for wasting too much valuble hard drive space for such a
clunky, half-rate operating system!
As far as Comtrade is concerned, I'll do 'em again....
Alex Karnauskas from
Date - Wednesday, September 24, 1997 at 20:25:19 (EDT)
If anyone has experienced a switch of a 120Mhz CPU with a lower
speed 75MHz CPU on a Comtrade system, please contact me at
"email@example.com". I have contact the Chicago
Attorney General for legal action against Comtrade. You help
can result in monetary compensation.
BATTLE CREEK, MI USA
Date - Tuesday, September 23, 1997 at 21:12:07 (EDT)
I've bought a desktop and laptop from Comtrade. I have had good luck
with the desktop but the laptop is a different story. As soon as I received
the laptop it started having problems. It appeared that the processor was
overheating and the computer would lock up and not function appropriat-
ely. I sent the computer back the said that they had fixed it and it ran
fine for another two months. Then the problems started again. They
said that they would sell me another more powerfull unit and better
unit but for a new price! They said that if I was to get the old laptop fixed
that they wouldn't mess around with it but would replace the whole
motherboard at a cost of a minimum of $650 to $750 dollars and no
guarentees. Now I am stuck with a $2700 computer that worked for 1 year and now I can't even get a local store to look at the unit. They tell me
that if a manufacturer will not put their name on the computer they
they will not service it at all. I will not buy from COMTRADE again.
I will buy a reputable name brand such as IBM, COMPAQ or so on.
Rod Strabala from
Date - Thursday, September 18, 1997 at 20:29:42 (EDT)
Re my previous comments about being a "lucky" Comtrade owner; I guess I
didn't realize how lucky I have been these past 15 months, as my curiosity
finally got the better of me and I decided to pop out my P120 cpu to see if it
was what it was supposed to be. After finding a "conveniently" applied bar code
label covering the underside of my Pentium chip, I proceeded to carefully remove
the VERY sticky label to find the Pentium code 8050275. Guess what the good
folks at Intel told me - that's right folks, the last two digits of the code
refer to the speed rating of the Pentium chip. So, it looks like I was taken
by the good people at Comtrade as well, by assuming that when I ordered a P120
Pentium I was actually going to get a PC with a P120 in it!! After calling
up Comtrade I was assured by James in Customer Service that I will be receiving a
a replacement P120 (or P133) in 2-3 working days. Hmm, why am I not going to be
holding my breath until I see the chip arrive....
john dooner from
nashville, TN USA
Date - Monday, September 15, 1997 at 13:22:01 (EDT)
I bought a tornado p120 from them in '95. The PC worked fine for
about 7 months. Then the power supply went out...It took them two
tries to get me the correct power supply. Then my harddrive died.
They didnt get me a new harddrive until I had called them 4 times
on it..."It should have been sent..." they kept telling me. And
when I called them they said they would return my call...which
they never would..thus all the repeat calls I had to make.
NEVER will I buy from Comtrade again...they have a terrible
support desk...PS..I was also having msdos compatability mode
error with 95 which their support desk was unable to solve..
Kevin Cox from
Mesa, AZ USA
Date - Tuesday, September 09, 1997 at 01:54:02 (EDT)
I received my Screamer 233Mhz two weeks ago and the computer itself
works fine. The Subwoofer/speakers had a bad power supply on arrival
and I'm having to send them back for replacements. My only complaint
is that I received no response from my emails to them, no one to answer
the customer service 1-800 number and no answer from the fax machines.
Once I finally got ahold of a warm body, they were helpful and did
not give me any grief about replacing the bad subwoofer.
Rick Swanson from
Bothell, WA USA
Date - Wednesday, September 03, 1997 at 08:25:35 (EDT)
Over the last 3 years I have purchased 15 computers from Comtrade for our business from a 486 up to several Pentium 166's purchased recently. With this many computers we have had some problems but only a couple that I would blame on Comtrade. Problems we experienced were:
1. Problem: Power supply going out in several of the P60's.
Resolution: Replaced under warranty by Comtrade
2. Problem: Several monitors that went out. These were from a manufacturer no longer used by Comtrade.
Resolution: Replaced under warranty by monitor manufacturer.
3. Problem: Network board or video board not seated properly.
Resolution: Opened case and reseated board.
4. Problem: One computer did not come with the amount of
memory that was ordered.
Resolution: Comtrade supplied the correct memory
Our computers get very heavy use and are on 24 hours a day. Overall I am very pleased with the computers. The reason we went with Comtrade is that their systems are built with high quality components (Mag Monitors and Diamond Stealth Video for example) at very reasonable prices. I think it helps to not be a novice when buying from Comtrade, as their support is not instantaneous to say the least. You won't get the hand holding that you might get with another more expensive company. Other than upgrading some of the earlier systems we have not spent any money on repairs for any of the 15 systems, as the problems we encountered occurred in the 1st year. For the most part a computer company is really an assembler of parts from other manufacturers. Our experience has been that Comtrade does a reasonable job of assembling those parts.
Date - Monday, August 25, 1997 at 14:40:04 (EDT)
Looks like we have some mad people, I am sorry to hear that so many are unsatisfied with their Comtrade purchase. I myself purchased a machine a year and a half ago. I purchased a P120 3D Game Machine with 256k pipeline cache, 16mb edo ram, 1.6GB HDD, 8x cd-rom, Diamond Edge 3D video card with 2mb vram and have been very satisfied with itís performance so far. I have benchmarked the machine and it performs to the specs of the machine and actually outperforms some newer more recent machines with larger processors. It has also handled the upgrades very well, I have upgraded to 32mb ram, added another 1.6GB HDD and have successfully overclocked the 120mhz processor to 166mhz! I have a 3000$ 166 Compaq deskpro at work and my cheap ass Comtrade machine will run circles around it.
I am in no way taking up for Comtrade as I have had some problems with tech support myself, you would be better of if you called up your local town fool to fix your machine! The only problems I have had have been mainly with Win95 (The ever annoying illegal operations) and some software conflicts with my video card. Fixed the illegal operations with some registry tinkering and just donít use the programs that conflict with my video card, mainly games.
Allot of what I have read in these articles are more than likely simple software / hardware conflicts that could be simply fixed with the right tech support (Not Comtradeís), you can try Microsoft tech support, they seem to know a little something about what they are saying, and you can even try the tech support for the specific device you are having a problem with.
As for the hardware failures, well I guess you know by now you get what you paid for, If you donít know, what you bought was a CLONE, GENERIC, AFTERMARKET, BRANDX computer that is made up of the cheapest parts that can be bought. The only thing that they do well on as far as hardware is their graphics cards which in turn is one of the reasons the can reach such a high benchmark.
As for advice, you can pretty much read for yourself and see the poll results on this page, the majority are very unsatisfied, and in some cases good reason to be. I will not say either way being that I might just be one of the lucky ones that didnít get a LEMON! I will say this, these computers are not for the first time buyer or the amateur computee, you need some working knowledge of a computer if you do buy one being that there is little or no manuals that come with your PC, there is practically no tech support and you will probably be stuck like some of these others have been, trying to tear down and reassemble your own PC. If you donít feel comfortable with any of this then you need to look elsewhere for your new PC.
There are many sources in books and on the internet that you can get to further your computer skills and knowledge. I strongly suggest that you do one of these before you purchase any new product so as to know what the best products are and so that you get the most bang for your dollar! Donít get sucked in by fancy ads and pitches, do your homework, these things arenít exactly cheap you know.
Again I am truly sorry for the ones that have been reamed by these JERKS and hope that you may learn something from what they and I have said, and if by any chance you still go and buy one after you have read this page and by some chance it blows up and burns your house down, you canít say that you werenít WARNED!
Thanks for you time and attention, E-mail me if you must
garry burman from
Date - Thursday, August 21, 1997 at 11:30:22 (EDT)
Best price, working great so far, as an expeienced buyer I knew there is some risk from buying from "a Comtrade".
there is a reason they are cheaper and you take a chance for the savings. If you are an experienced buyer and looking for the most computer for the money they are great! (so Far)
Rod Strabala from
Date - Sunday, August 17, 1997 at 02:59:59 (EDT)
Based on some of the comments I have read here, I must be one of
the lucky ones. I purchased a Comtrade Pentium 120 for my own
PC in June of 1996 and HAVE NOT experienced any problems with it
at all, outside of having to replace the Lithium battery on the
motherboard. I guess I'll keep my fingers crossed, when it comes
time to buy my next PC I think I'll be looking elsewhere.
Donna Moore from
Clemmons, CA USA
Date - Sunday, August 10, 1997 at 20:19:38 (EDT)
If you haven't bought from Comtrade, DON"T DO IT! I bought a Pentium 166 multimedia and had nothing but problems from the beginning. After seven months of talking with tech support they finally asked that I send the system back, this was after I lost my hard drive and everything on it. It was supposedly repaired and returned and within a month after getting it back it began having problems again. I again talked with tech support, by the way, they are really no help! Again, my hard drive died, 2 days after my year warranty ran out and you guessed it, no help, and no replacement of the second hard drive that was only 4 1/2 months old. After spending over $2000 and losing all data twice I had to go buy another computer so I could keep my business going. These people are disreputable and I am sorry that Computer Shopper continues to accept their misleading adds.
Jim Billner from
Date - Thursday, July 31, 1997 at 13:40:24 (EDT)
I was 'this' close to purchasing a Comtrade when I found this
page with a seemingly unlimited number of complaints about the
company. So now I'm looking at others such as Gateway and Progen.
Any comments on these producers? Let me know.
Date - Tuesday, July 29, 1997 at 14:13:54 (EDT)
I received Comtrade's 3D Screamer 200 Pentium Pro back in May
1997. They promised it would arive within 5 days - It arrived
in 4. Worked fine right out of the box. I have no complants.
A friend at worked ordered the 180 Pentium Pro from Comtrade in
Nov. 1996 and has also reports no problems or complaints.
We do have a Comtrade Pentium 166 at work that does give us some
headaches but I'm not sure if it is the PC's fault or our fine
M.I.S. department's fault.
Maybe we have been lucky but I can find no fault with Comtrade
Date - Thursday, July 03, 1997 at 05:58:20 (EDT)
Think twice before buying at Comtrade. Their prices are low but there's a reason for that. I ordered a notebook computer in May 1997. What I got was an unusable machine, rude technical support, and Mr. James Xu who was no help at all. They forgot to send an AC adapter with my computer. Then the modem didn't work. I was really irked when they billed me for a replacement modem until the broken one arrived back to them in the mail. The charging system didn't work. My messages to technical support went unanswered. When I got through, I was treated rudely by the technician. When I demanded to speak his supervisor I was told there were none in the office. I wanted to send the thing back (within the 30 return guarantee) but was told only a supervisor could authorize that, but of couse there were none in the office. After I returned the machine, Comtrade tried to bill my credit card without any explanation. When I disputed it, they admitted the billed me for tax, the modem that I already sent back and their shipping of the broken computer to me. They have dropped the billing for tax and the modem but still want payment for shipping of a defective product.
Dallas, TX USA
Date - Thursday, June 26, 1997 at 17:35:09 (EDT)
I wish this comtrade list exist back in 1992 when I bought my system
form Comtrade. It would save me so much hassle and money. I ordered
a 486/66 eisa bus system with scsi controller, what I got was a FAKE
EISA motherboard with a very low quality scsi controller. The system
had several failures after short use: dead cach and dead power supply,
dead CTX monitor. My system was unusable form many month at a time.
As many of you already point out, the service from
Comtrade is worse than their product. Because of the poor quality
system, the tech support department is overloaded and they simply
won't anwer the phone.
If you considering buying a system from them, do youself a big favor,
DON'T! Buy from a more credible source.
Brad Goldman P.T. from
Boca Raton, FL USA
Date - Thursday, June 26, 1997 at 15:49:48 (EDT)
To James Xu and his personal assistant at Comtrade;
I'm writing to tell you how truly sorry I feel for you both. Really!
Having to go to work every morn for a company that cares not for it's customers or staff. I once dated a girl who hated smoking and was well aware of it's terrible harmful effects. Unfortunately she was unable to find any other job and she was forced to go to work for Phillip Morris in the Virginia Slims division mostly sending free samples of cigarettes to teenage woman. See the analogy.
How terribly tiresome it must be to know that every time Comtrade sells another computer it's another potential and highly probable customer service disaster. Having to lie on a daily basis and contribute to other peoples misery each and every day.
I myself have fallen for your flashy advertising and low pricing. Only to receive a $3000.00 word processor.
Day 1 No video signal- Video board had come loose in shipping
Day 2 7 of 8 programs won't run. No explanation from cust support- "This is a software problem"
Day 3 Tech Support won't give me his name and then hangs up
Day 4 Try to return computer when the modem stopped working and was told I would be responsible for reeturn shipping expense
and Win 95 software i opened to attempt repairs at tech supports request.
Mr. Xu; I hope you sleep well at night.
Advice to others -Buy a Dell. I'm using it to send this E-mail. Great computer.
dr bond from
Pen Argyl, PA USA
Date - Thursday, June 26, 1997 at 12:05:50 (EDT)
Well, I have order and received two computers from Comtrade. One was a P166 multimedia screamer and the other was a P200.
All I can say is that both have been running perfectly for the past 4 months. The one runs 24 hours a day, never gets turned off.
The other gets turned on and off several times a day, and gets much abuse from
non PC users.
Both are running W95 with no problems and everything is just running great. Even called support and after 2 days
they got back and was more than willing to help out with the software problem.
Don't know why all the problems, maybe I'm just lucky. When's the lottery drawing?
I should have known the Big Black Mark on the side of the case,
and the crocked logo sticker were a bad sign, but we were excited
to finally have a "real" computer. That excitement turned to disgust
embarassment, and a feeling of being turned over and reamed 2
days later when we attempted to start our home business with
MS office. Thats when I got to find out all about IRQ, FAT, INI, KRNL
386, GDI, USER, Scandisk, and a long list of other windows
components as we attempted to ressurrect $2500 beast.
Comtrade did replace our hardrive, but that was the tip of the
iceberg. Less than 5% of our software actually works with the
comtrade Express computer: I have gone through 3 copies of
win3.11 and DOS backup disks. Which I will admit Comtrade
did provide when we pleaded with them to send us new backups
because all the other ones were no longer usable.
Most recently, and most annoyingly, we finally got win95, but
guess what? Yep, not compatible with the Express, I am now
back to using a worn copy of win3.11. My message to anyone
out there is for GODS SAKE, don't buy a Comtrade "computer":
our home business was snuffed out before it even began,
and now we can't even run a half decent browser- we get frequent
carrier loss and the beast freezes up right in the middle of just
about any application.
I have a large pile of programs, disks, manuals, an Uninstaller,
most of which collects dust as we play Solitare, which only works
for a little while...
(screwed by Comtrade)
joe kowis from
philadelphia, NY USA
Date - Tuesday, June 24, 1997 at 18:04:17 (EDT)
Comtrade called me at work today. They finally agreed to send me a new CPU. It's supposed to be coming in about 3 days. We'll see what happens. I'm just glad that someone is actually doing something. It's a surprise to me that they actually are calling me back. I guess after all the faxes I sent them they're finally starting to realize that I exist. The Tech Support dude was very nice. Hopefully they're cleaning up their act.
P. Gardner from
Pompano Beach, FL USA
Date - Monday, June 23, 1997 at 23:44:45 (EDT)
An update of my prvious long tirade....
At the advice of some contributors from this forum and
news groups I sought recompense for substituting a
P75 for the P120 ordered. I demanded at least a P133
upgrade chip. I received a P166 complete with mother
board. I returned my old motherboard with P75 and
waited for charges. None came. Payables is still on the
lookout. Though the bios is faulty and not upgradeable
at this point, I am limping along, nonetheless.
From what I read of the latest messages left here it's a
crapshoot.... a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde situation as to
whether you'll get any satisfaction from COMTRADE.
Persistence seems to pay off, but at what price?
joe kowis (again) from
philadelphia, NY USA
Date - Monday, June 23, 1997 at 18:25:11 (EDT)
Well, Comtrade finally got back to me. After a few days, anyways. And this only happened because I faxed them, and bitched them out a little bit. I recommend this method to anyone trying to speak to a Tech. For some reason they need to see a piece of paper. They don't call back if you call them. Just give them your home, and work phone, and they'll probably call you the next day. When the Tech called me at work I asked for a new motherboard. He said to send my system to him to get worked on. We'll see what happens.
joe kowis from
philadelphia, NY USA
Date - Sunday, June 22, 1997 at 10:13:28 (EDT)
I called Tech Support 2 days ago. Let's see when they get back to me. My computer crashes almost every time I use it.
Date - Saturday, June 21, 1997 at 23:20:23 (EDT)
First off -- Thank you for supporting and maintaining this page.
Comtrade and I went a round or two. I won ..I think?..
The ad that I purchased the pc from stated that the system was
equipped with a Stealth s3 video graphics card.
It didn't say Diamond Stealth BUT is there any other?
... So after getting the MAJOR run around from Comtrade
Support. I filed a small claims suit against them. I also got the
venu set for my home town not theirs.
I filed for the card and punitive damages up to the limit of small
claims but gave them the option to send me the video card they
promised plus $100 for my phone charges and filing expenses
and... At any rate, I was surprised when they showed up in court.
They lost !!! But the judge didn't allow the punitive damages.
They did send me a check for a new video card. I hope that
next time the judge will allow the punitive damages.
Good luck ! I hope this helps someone......
Steven Abt from
Outside of Philadelphia, PA USA
Date - Saturday, June 21, 1997 at 22:53:12 (EDT)
Wow! At least I'm not alone. I'll start with the day I received my Comtrade. When I plugged everything, my CD-ROM drive didn't work. This is because the power cord plugging in to the back of the drive was out. I figured this out on my own, which is lucky because I couldn't get into the tech support number.
Second, my computer stopped having picture, and I thought it was dead. After a week of the run around (on toll calls, because the tech support 800 number never works) I sent my computer back. A week after that, they said it was a virus and they needed to charge me $50 to fix it. The next day, they called and said they needed to replace my CD-ROM drive because it was broken. They broke it. because it worked before I sent them my computer.
Two months later, someone on AOL told me that it was possible Comtrade gave me a 120 instead of a Pentium 166 that I paid for. I checked, and they did. I called them yelling like mad, and told them to send me a Pentium MMX 166 and a new motherboard that was MMX compatible. They sent me the wrong motherboard and an MMX overdrive! I called again, and they sent out a new motherboard and a non-overdrive MMX. Since then, I've been problem free, but never happy.
I now also use my grandfather's Gateway 2000 Pentium 100, and I can hardly notice a speed difference. I guess Gateway 2000 makes better computer than Comtrade, "the problem pc."
BY THE WAY AS SHOCKING AS MY ESCAPADES HAVE BEEN, THEY ARE THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH, WITH SOME OTHER PROBLEMS EVEN LEFT OUT.
Eddie Sugar from
Date - Saturday, June 21, 1997 at 10:37:20 (EDT)
You want to talk about getting screwed, talk to me. I just purchase the (so called) "Lightning PC" from Comtrade back in April of 1997. If I only would of listened to some of the people that warned me about mail-order. I have had nothing but problems with the computer and the customer service dept. I was very disatisfied with the computer and decided that I wanted to return it within the 30 days they give you. So, I call the customer service #, around the 25th day and there was no way of getting through. What a coincedence, they call me the 31st day, so I can not return my computer w/o a 15% restocking fee that they were charging me. I finally get through and tell them my problems, I have no other choices but to take there offer on receiving a new hard drive. Did I ever receive the hard drive, NO! But somehow they had the nerve to bill my credit card $285.00!!
I immediately called and wanted to speak with the supervisor, James. I got a hold of his assistant Christy. This Chrisy (James' assistant) was one of the rudest people, she had the nerve to hang up on me after I told her that I was fed up and tired of getting the run around by Comtrade. She than responded by saying "that was uncalled for and this is the end of our conversation, click!!". I highly recommend NOT buying from Comtrade if you do not want any problems and headaches. This is a very unprofessional company that do not care about the people they sold to, just the people that are intrested in buying. Try calling the Customer service # and than try calling the Sales #, you can write me back and tell me which one you got a hold of first!
I have to finish this letter by saying "BEWARE"!!!!
Feel free to email me, if anyone has any questions about this crummy company, COMTRADE!
Omaha, NE USA
Date - Thursday, June 19, 1997 at 23:29:07 (EDT)
Well, the simpIest way to tell you about my experience with Comtrade is to let you read some of my letters to them and their responses.
- Email sent to them on 6/13/97
I purchased my "Artist Dream Machine" back in October 1996. I immediately noticed that I couldn't get a higher resolution than 1,024 x 768. So I talked to different tech support people different occassions and tried reloading certain drivers and changing certain settings, yet nothing seemed to work. I also called ViewSonic (who's monitor I purchased from you) as well as Diamond Multimedia, but they couldn't solve the problem either and referred me back to you. Because it was soooo, soooo difficult at that time to get through to tech support, I let it drop for the moment.
Well, now I'm working on an audio tape cover and need to do some critical color corrections and design work in Adobe Photoshop. Unfortunately, the resolution is too course for some of the detailed work I need to do. I really, really need to up my display's resolution.
I checked again tonight on both Diamond's and ViewSonic's web pages for the specifications of my video driver and monitor. I understand from their information that I should be able to get at maximum of 1280 x 1024 resolution from both. Yet the highest resolution available to me in the control panel/display/settings dialog box is 1024 x 768.
Help! I have to get this problem solved!
Finally today, I received a condesending email telling me to make the same setting changes that all the other techs had told me to make. Here's my response:
Not on my computer it doesn't. I've tried it exactly how you have it described. I've had a tech on the phone walking me through exactly what you described.
Sorry, but it doesn't work! I sure wish it did!
And this is an excerpt of the response I received later today:
there's no other tricks to this, I really don't know what you are doing wrong. perhaps, you should reinstall your video drivers.
And so this an excerpt of my response, also sent today:
Okay, now I'm really venting, but this is frustrating! I truly don't think I'm doing anything wrong. Yet, because these changes haven't worked, I've been treated as if I'm slow and stupid. And believe me, I'm not! While I admit I'm not a genius and certainly not perfect, I've been using computers for more than 15 years and these are simple changes we're talking about. Several different Comtrade technical people have personally walked me through these changes step by step, and they have not worked.
By the way, I have reinstalled both the video driver and some other monitor files with the help of Diamond's and ViewSonic's technical staffs. Both staffs were as stumped as everyone at Comtrade has been. All they could say in the end was that perhaps there is something wrong with the way this computer was originally set up. Almost everyone I've talked to at Comtrade fails to even consider that possibility. I have always blatantly been told that I MUST be doing something wrong.
I have been absolutely amazed at how rudely and unprofessionally I have been treated. Go back and read that last e-mail sent to me. I'm sorry, but even if I am doing something wrong, what was written there is curt, unsympathetic, and clearly unprofessional. As another example, at least two different techs have told me on the phone that I don't even need that high of a resolution, to just live with it how it is. In fact, one even said with strong sarcasm, "What - you don't want to be able to see any of the icons on your screen?" Try changing the color of someone's eyes in Photoshop and you begin to understand why a very high resolution is sometimes critical!
In addition to the poor attitudes and unprofessional behavior I have witnessed, Comtrade's methods of operation seem to also be lacking in the following areas:
- It is extremely difficult to get through to technical support. More than once I have spent a half an hour a day, for days at a time, at all different times of day, and still been unable to get through. It seems absolutely archaic that there is no system in place for putting people on hold until a tech is available. I would gladly hold for 15 minutes, a half an hour, or even 45 minutes if I knew I would eventually be helped. Having to redial and redial and redial and redial is ridiculous! (In your defense, however, I've appreciated the calls I've received after leaving e-mail messages. Yet this attitude of "when it's a good time for Comtrade" instead of "when it's a good time for the customer" is just one more example of poor customer service.)
- No one seemed to be familiar with what type of hardware and software my system went out with. Why isn't this useful information accessible through my invoice number so they can have it at hand?
- Starting from scratch with each new technical person I speak with wastes a great deal of both our time. No one seems to have any information regarding the conversations I've had with previous techs, or any of the solutions we've attempted. Each person would walk me through the same steps and we would get the same lack of results. So the conversation would end with something like, "Well, try reloading the video drivers. If that doesn't work, well, I don't know." So I would follow their suggestion, and it wouldn't work, and I would call back, and have to go through the whole thing again -- the same sarcastic comments about wanting a higher resolution, the same impatient attitudes because they couldn't believe the simple changes didn't work, and the rude comments like, "Are you sure you did it exactly how I told you?" If only one or two people at Comtrade had acted in this way I could have understood -- everyone has a bad day. But this is the attitude I have received from at least six or seven people, not to mention whoever has been sending me e-mail. I seriously have a complex about dealing with anyone at Comtrade. It's not a pleasant experience!
I have had many chances to refer friends, co-workers, and companies to Comtrade. But with the treatment I've received so far, I always recommend they consider some other company who will provide them with quality service after the sale. I'm certain you have lost countless sales, from me and any of your other customers who have been treated the same way I have. Comtrade may sell their computers at an excellent price, but, you know what they say, you get what you pay for! And I wish I had paid more!
To end on a more positive note, I did finally talk to another tech person yesterday. After giving me the same attitude and walking me through all the same simple setting changes everyone else has walked me through, he admitted he couldn't figure out what was wrong. I admired his honesty. He said he would send me a new video card, that perhaps the one originally installed can't handle the resolution I'm trying to achieve. I'm grateful that someone is trying a different solution and I pray that it is successful.
So, that's my story so far. We'll see what happens from here. It's such a drag that such a little problem has turned into such a big deal!
Although the machine runs quickly and smoothly, there have been other little problems, like the cd doesn't always work the first time and the on/off button on the tower always sticks and is hard to use. But these are things that I will gladly blow off for the sake of an inexpensive, screamin' computer.
But the customer and technical service is THE WORST I have EVER experienced in any industry. I dread the day if something were to go truly wrong with my system.
Please, please, please, Comtrade! Straighten up! Get it together!
But until that day, I will tell anyone who will listen -- DON'T BUY FROM COMTRADE -- IT'S NOT WORTH THE HEADACHES!!!!
Gary Smiley from
Date - Monday, June 16, 1997 at 13:22:43 (EDT)
Bought an alleged P100 in May 95. Mouse didn't work.
Sound card was not SB compatible, and no microphone input.
When WIN95 came out, the BIOS couldn't handle it.
After desperately trying everything I finally learned from
Compuserve that Comtrade offered a fix on their bulletin board,
which I downloaded and which finally worked. This all took me 2
months. Also, the Maxtor drive is the NOISIEST drive - you can
hear the machine whining from the next room.
But, after all this, the machine has worked consistently ok.
My question is this: How do I find out the actual speed of my
P100 chip without removing the back of the machine?
Is there a shareware test anywhere? Please email me if
there is. Thanks - Gary
Greg Chubaryan from
College Station , TX USA
Date - Saturday, June 14, 1997 at 19:21:47 (EDT)
Pentium Pro. Dual. 200MHz/64Mb/Stelth 3D-4Mb/MAG-700T,17",.25/
Adaptec 2490 UW-SCSI3/X12-CD/HD IDE 2.7Gb Quantum/
SCSI Extern. Quantum 4.3Gb/Kingston PCI Ethernet/ESS-1286 Sound.
6 months of grate work. When I got the computer fan was of and
HD cable was disconnected. But that was UPS problem.
NT 4.0 was preinstalled, but I like to install the system from
scratch. Here I had some problems. All included drivers were
for Win95. But who cares, I got all of them in about 30 min from
Internet. My advice to all who is going to by a computer. Guys,
Computer is not a toaster, you have to learn some, and try to
understand what the hell is going in that damn machine. Then
you'll reduce your problems drastically. Don't count on tech
Date - Thursday, June 12, 1997 at 19:49:12 (EDT)
I bought an 8 X Screamer from Comtrade in Nov 96. It has many problems. It worked fine out of the box, but over the past 6 months it's been a piece of s%^&W#^it. It constantly has fatal exceptions OE, and the sound card doesn't work at all. It's supposed to be a Intell P166MHz, but when I took it apart I couldn't tell what was in it. There was nothing written or engraved on the processor. Is there any way to tell what is in it? I would appreciate it if anyone could let me know. Thanks.
joe kowis from
Philadelphia, NY USA
Date - Wednesday, June 11, 1997 at 19:27:50 (EDT)
Well, everytime I do anything on my Comtrade computer it wants to crash. I thought that I'd screwed it up, but I know now that I didn't. If I wasn't running First Aid 97, I think that I wouldn't get anything accomplished. It doesn't stop it from screwing up, but it stops it from terminating my work. I wish I would have read this web-site before I bought my Comtrade. I've been screwed by the company. Like someone said before "I've got a $2,500 word processor. Because that's all it does." And I ain't shittin about that.
Date - Wednesday, June 11, 1997 at 00:40:31 (EDT)
After being charged $100.00 (to my credit card without my knowledge or approval) to replace the P75 CPU (they mistakenly placed in my machine) for the one I ordered and paid for, a P120, I e-mailed Comtrade at their web site. To my surprise they answered the next day stating I would receive a $100.00 credit that day. We will see.
For the Comtrade people who monitor this site. And I'm sure they must or they are more stupid then we all imagined. I (sort of, kind of, maybe) congratulate you for your response. We'll see if I get my refund.
Bill E. from
Seattle, AL USA
Date - Thursday, June 05, 1997 at 23:24:54 (EDT)
I have just negotiated a refund on my computer from comtrade.
This could be another smoke screen but I can say that the attitude of the company has turned around sence my first dealings two weeks ago. This ordeal started about mid may and
ended with me sending this computer back for a full refund. I wonder if this is going to be another stone wall. Like I said the attitude has changed to one of helpfullness. And I wasn't hung up on once! This pentium 75 thing could have been innocent but the fact that it happened at all frosts my cookies.
As soon as two weeks ago I was dealing with snotty people and
now every time I called to take care of business I am talking to
some one who new what was going on. I explained to comtrade that I did not want another product from them because of their track record with customer service. Up to this point I had a
$3000 word processor because that is all I could use this computer for.
If this is an attempt to turn comtrade around then I would
concider buying another product from them. I will spend more
time researching companies befor buying again. When I return
from Japan in August I will check this site again and see if others
have had a turn of heart tward this company and if customer
service has remainded as it was for me. That would be a mark
of good intention to improve comtrade as a company....
Bill E. from
Seattle , WA USA
Date - Sunday, June 01, 1997 at 05:05:54 (EDT)
I liked bashing Comtrade on the net so much that I'll continue.
It's very therapeudic. A friend also bought a comtrade and called the company because one of the advertised items he paid for was not installed in the computer. The responce he was given was, "that was a missprint" Thats some kahunas if you ask me.
At least he got a warm body to talk to that answered his question.
My most recent encounter was with a technician. Loose term
when talking about comtrade. I was trying to explain to him that my sound card did not work with win 95 and was asking for help
on the compatability of a adapt 1510 sound card and win 95. My hidden amo was I had talked to adaptec and they no longer
made drivers for this card. So I was trying to get one from comtrade or at least some advice on what direction I could take
upgrading this fabulous computing marval. He was doging the
question and finale said, I'll take your name and number and a
technicial will call you back. Sound familiar? Well it has been a quarter moon ago and no responce from the comtrade tech support dungeon. I don't think that any one at tech support has
a clue about computers. They answer the phone to man a 1-800
number so the illusion is there that comtrade cares. I think that working for Mc Donald's is a step on the ladder rung to getting hired at comtrade tech support. The skills seem to be similiar any
way. Lots of talking and sweeping around your feet while forgetting the customer might want some service. I am glad to
read that the treatment that I have been receiving is typical of most comtrade customers. I was begining to feel picked on. I certainlly hope that this matter is resolved to the best interest of all concerned. Comtrade has been getting away with murder for
longer than I realized. In closing I would like to pass on the explaination that was given to me reguarding how pentium 75 chips found their way onto pentium 90 motherboards. This is a direct quote. "We purchased the boards with the chips on them and we did not catch our mistake untill one of customers pointed it out to us" I would like to thank that knight in shinning armor who saved us liliputions from the wicked witch of the East. It just seems to me that a recall of the P-90 computers that had those P-75 chips in them would have been the correct thing to do. My guess is that comtrade has been doing this practice for so long they really didn't have a clue to which computers needed to be recalled. I rest my case for now.
After having problems that computer literate friends of mind could not fix. Never getting a responce from Comtrade Tech Support. I gave up and decided to upgrade this computer so it worked as advertised. I then got on the internet and got to the business of
searching for solutions to making my pentium 90 work with Win
95. Imagine a pentium 90 not running with win 95 installed.
I came across a grumpy customer who had purchased 4 computers from comptrade and none of them worked properly. His problems were the same problems I had been experiencing for the time I had this comtrade piece of bat gwano. I bought a pentium 90 with a pentium 75 chip in it. Imagine my surprize. I took this computer apart and found a sticker on the chip which hid the number that told it all. Sence this sticker is on all the parts in the computer I assume it is the way these computers are put together, by the numbers. I am in the process of getting a refund if it is authorized.
The person to contact is Tina Garcia at Comtrade tech support. You need to ask for her by name and will most likely have to try a couple of time because they like to hang up on customers alot. Be persistent in your endevors and you will be rewarded in your next life. May the force be with you.
Kevin Otolski from
Evansville, IN USA
Date - Saturday, May 31, 1997 at 10:55:59 (EDT)
I bought a P-90 from Comtrade 2yrs ago and have had no trouble
with it at all. I have sent them E-mail on some upgrade questions
and they have always gotten back to me very soon.
Jon Thompson from
Date - Thursday, May 08, 1997 at 02:27:40 (EDT)
I purchased a MultiMedia Screamer after reading the Computer Shopper review which, which more or less, illustrated the PC as a landmark in modern computing. It arrived on time and worked fine out of the box.
Then I find this site late night on the web.
Oh no, I thought. I probably bought a piece of trash... better
send it back. After packing it all up again, and shipping it for
$100, I was spent (literally). I called Comtrade a few days later to
ask if they'd received it yet. My customer service rep, "Rex",
told me they had in fact received it on April 18th. I would
receive my refund WITHIN TWO WEEKS.
Well guess what? Almost three weeks have gone by. NO
MONEY. Where's my $2400? Repeated calls, faxes, emails...
all to no avail.
I WILL GET MY MONEY. I DON'T KNOW HOW, BUT I WILL
GET MY MONEY.
COMTRADE IS THE SOURCE OF MY NIGHTMARES.
Stephen Phillips from
Stone Mountain, GA USA
Date - Thursday, April 24, 1997 at 10:07:25 (EDT)
I purchased a VESA LOCAL BUS PROFESSIONAL SYSTEM (486/66) from
COMTRADE back in February of 1994 and I experienced problems right
out of the box. The CTX monitor was DOA. The DTC SCSI host adapter
I first tried to get in touch with COMTRADE's Tech
Support via voice phone. I started calling on a Monday and
continued calling through Friday of that week. I must have spent
ten hours listening to busy signals. I sent two faxes;
they were ignored. When I finally got through, I explained my
plight to the representative and was promised a prompt call back.
The return call never came.
Fortunately the company I work for had a large account with
COMTRADE. Our IS manager had to exert his influence in order to
get some action. Soon after, I received a call from a SALES
Rep (!!??) who said he would pass my info onto Tech Support and
facilitate the process. Three weeks, two montiors (the CTX finally
settled upon was flaky and failed completely a few days ago.)and
a SCSI adapter later, I was finally up and running.
If I were simply just another end user(without the considerable
clout of working for a large software company) I'm not sure
if/when/how my problems would have been resolved. Sadly, after all
is said and done, the system is a mediocre performer. I would
not receive another COMTRADE even as a gift much less purchase one.
If one was offerred to me free of charge it would still be
expensive at half the price!
Next battle: the overclocked CPU!
Tom Forrest from
Date - Monday, April 21, 1997 at 17:06:43 (EDT)
I am curious if Comtrade ever took care of the processor problem.
They told me that they got a bad batch of mother boards and
processors and were contacting and taking care of those people that
got screwed. True or False?. I'm planing to buy from them unless I
hear that this is all BS.
Kevin Hsu from
McLean, VA USA
Date - Monday, April 21, 1997 at 09:26:11 (EDT)
Okay, I'm a wimp. I'm bailing out on Comtrade and cancelling
my order with them. I've read dozens of other Comtrade
pages and have come to the conclusion that the 80/20 ratio of
bad comments versus MEDIOCRE/BORDERLINE comments must mean
something about the company.I really haven't seen too many
positive comments about the company and simply cannot afford
the fear, uncertainty, and doubt associated with buying AND
owning from them. Most companies have trouble with the latter
in terms of support, but never in terms of fraudulent misconduct.
Plus, I've visited Gateway's site and found a configuration
which will be 95% as good as theirs for just $80 more. Since
I've bought from GW2K, I've been extremely satisfied with their
quality, and is well worth the extra money. Oh, one thing. The
GW2K I'm interested in only comes with a 12X CDROM. NOT a big
deal at all since I really only ever use the drive to install
My god, its 1997 and we should expect chintzy computer support
to be a thing of the past. Gateway left most of their support
woes in the dust years ago and have become a reliable choice
for consumers. Comtrade, in my opinion, has ruined any chance
of making amends to consumers by creating a bad BBB file and
lying to customers by overclocking chips.
We're not talking just a few chips, either. Apparently, (only
from what I;ve researched), they have overclocked:
Pentium 75 -> Pentium 90
Pentium 90 -> Pentium 100
Pentium 90 -> Pentium 120
Pentium 120 -> Pentium 166
There are unsubstantiated claims that they have overclocked the
Pentium 166 -> Pentium 200
With their track record, I'm pretty willing to believe this.
I need to know that the computer I'm spending LOTS of hard-earned
money on is EQUAL or BETTER than what I have requested, and
Comtrade seems to come up short on almost all accounts I have
Since I'm probably going with Gateway 2000 now, I'll switch over
to their message board and post my comments there. I'm almost
positive 80% of my comments will be very positive as I have
bought 2 computers from them before (1991, 1994) and have been
extremely satisfied both times. Plus, I continue to receive their
I'm glad I agreed to pay Comtrade by COD! They will not be able
to get my money.
Andrew Black from
Milwaukee, WI USA
Date - Monday, April 21, 1997 at 01:56:41 (EDT)
The following letter is the response to the challenge I gave Comtrade:
I really don't see how one can just read responses from a limited numbers of disgruntled customers and come to a conclusion. I can assure you that we are perfect. We tried our best to meet the satisfaction of all our customers. Unfortunately, I will say we are unlucky because we have some very disgruntled customers who make it their mission to flood the internet with bad stuff about our company. We also have a lot of people that are very satisfied, in fact, 30% of our customers are repeat customers. Go Figure!!
I will sign anything that you draw up!
(the sales rep that I deal with)
Well, it will require some thought to decide on what to do, but I might just draw up that contract. I like what I see in Comtrade's ads, and if I can get the machine I want at those unbeleivable prices, I'm gonna go for it. But, if anyone knows anything that I should, PLEASE e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wish me luck!
Andrew Black from
Milwaukee, WI USA
Date - Saturday, April 19, 1997 at 07:50:13 (EDT)
After researching Comtrade, I decided to go with Dell, although I
haven't bought my pc yet. I wrote this letter to Comtrade just to
see what they would do. I haven't received a response as of yet,
but I will let you all know as soon as I do. Truthfully, I would very
much like to buy a Comtrade, but only with reassurance that I'm
getting what I ask for.
Comtrade's e-mail address: email@example.com
To whom it may concern:
I would just like to inform Comtrade that although I was
excited to become a new customer, I have now decided to take
my business elsewhere. Through various channels of research, I
have found your company to be unreliable, dishonest, and overall
less than mediocre. I do not wish to be plagued with problems
such as shipping delays, faulty hardware, order list/component
discrepancies, missing software, short-life monitors, unexpected
surcharges, and nonexistant customer service and tech support.
In truth, I fail to see any way for Comtrade to regain face, except
for one possibility. If Comtrade would agree to compile a signed
contract stating that I would receive the exact machine that I
order when promised, including no surcharges for extra shipping
and handling or for any other reason through fault of your
comany, and with absolutely no fine print, I might consider giving
you my business. If Comtrade declines such a proposal, then I
will have no qualms about bad-mouthing your name, and
discouraging everyone I know from considering to give you
money. I do have numerous connections, so I wouldn't be
surprised if you would have a substantial decline in sales in the
Andrew T. Black
Kevin Hsu from
McLean, VA USA
Date - Friday, April 18, 1997 at 09:32:07 (EDT)
Well, i just placed my order with them after doing 2 few weeks of
price shopping. I called in, and placed an order with the sales
representative who pitched me a Multimedia 3d Dream Machine P200MMX
without monitor for a mere $1625, with a 16X CDROM and everything
else intact. The closest price I could find with another company
was $1750 (Progen, I think) while the really good companies
fetched me about $1850-$2000 for a comparable configuration.
The sales rep was friendly and eager to do business and called
me back to verify my order and to notify of changes. I was surprised
to hear from the sales rep that she had incorrectly computed my final
price because she forgot to deduct the price of not shipping the
monitor. A savings of $30, but notable nonetheless. I was gratified
at the rep's honesty here.
What truly sold me, however, was the very good review in Computer
Shopper in that same issue I was browsing. I was going to wait
a week before buying, and feel that maybe I should have. But I'm
pretty impulsive, so I went ahead with the order.
Now, two days later, I've come across this message board and am
having doubts with the company's ability to ship me what I ordered
and fix any random problems. I've read at least 3 messages
concerning or _from_ the BBB, while others are struggles with
their service. Still, there are a couple of good messages in this
board, which keeps hope alive that I'll get what I paid for and
that Comtrade is in the process of cleaning up their act.
Anyways, as a new Comtrade customer, I'll let you know how the
deal goes from this point on. I an expecting the machine Wednesday
upon receipt, giving the delivery agent a certified check for
the above amount plus shipping. I can, at this point, deal with
up to 4 days of shipping delay as I've had worse with Gateway 2K
and Micron. My main concern is how the system smokes the other
systems, and yet costs so much less. I'm hoping that this is due
to their far skimpier support structure.
I'd like to hear from you in the meanwhile. My email is
firstname.lastname@example.org. Please don't mail any "You are a sucker"
comments, though. If I get taken, I get taken.
As for the shady CPU overclocking, I'll be checking the CPU
as soon as I get the machine. Will anyone here pray for me?
BIRMINGHAM, AL USA
Date - Wednesday, April 16, 1997 at 17:39:58 (EDT)
I am sending a 3d screamer back to Comtrade. The Tech support is terrible. I have called on 3 occasions to get help, 1st occasion took 4 days and threats to get a call back. Very knowledgable and helpful, but 4 days. 2nd occasion, 2 days, 3 rd , 3days and had already given up and ask for a return order. Customer service argued with me that tech called me back on ever 9 or 10 phone calls. I told them to believe what they wished to believe. Wish me luck on refund. Good price, good machine, terrible tech service, customer service, etc. PRICE IS NOT EVERYTHING.
Date - Tuesday, April 15, 1997 at 23:49:39 (EDT)
I wrote some time ago about my bad experiences with Comtrade, which included, among many other things, being cheated on my CPU. I, like many, ordered a certain speed machine (in my case a P120) and found, after spending some checking and trouble, I had a P75. Well, after informing Comtrade of this they sent me the P120 CPU, but now, about two months later I find a $100.00 charge from Comtrade on my credit card.
Looks like another round of fighting with these cheats which I'm sick of and shouldn't have to be doing.
Don't these folks have any morals?
Dave Clark from
Kalamazoo, MI USA
Date - Monday, April 14, 1997 at 15:58:25 (EDT)
Ordered a Comtrade Multi-Media machine on Thursday 4/10/97 with the promise of shipment on 4/14/97. comtrade billed my accout on the 10th prior to shipment...not legal. When I attempted to cancel the order on 4/10/97 the sales rep. from Comtrade hung up on me. Not good!
Date - Sunday, April 13, 1997 at 03:38:42 (EDT)
If you have problems with Comtrade system, the followings are a few ways to get better respond from them:
∑Try calling their tech support, and be sure to ask the technician's name. The tech support manager is James Xu.
∑No respond? Send them a fax, but not to the tech support fax line. To the sales fax line at (818) 369-1479.
∑Still no repond, write a certify mail to the sales person or fax.
∑Yet no respond, try faxing or write to the general manager, Jonathan.
∑Again, no respond then I guess you must be on your own.
Once a victim.
Jerry Sturdivant from
Vancouver, WA USA
Date - Thursday, April 10, 1997 at 12:11:13 (EDT)
I'm tired of screwing with you people and your lousy
computer. I want my money back.
I have had nothing but trouble with your computer.
After a year of errors, crashes, corrupting the e-prom,
having to reformat the HD twice, a CD and sound that didn't work,
calling your toll-free number that is never answered, paying for
phone calls, being ignored and insulted, being refused the "local
service;" you advertized, you finally had me send it back (at my
cost) for work.
Two weeks later, you admitted it had needed a new mother
board, but tried to cheat me, telling me you didn't have one in
stock. That I would have to pay for an upgrade, or wait two
months while Taiwan made a new one. I said no and immediately
began writing Better Business Bureaus and computer stores,
sending you copies. In less than a week, I received my computer
by Fed-ex Air. But it STILL didn't work! You never even checked it. Windows
came up corrupted. I told you the CPU fan still wasn't running
all the time. Your fix was, "make sure it's running." With your
worthless "extended" warranty, you made me install equipment
myself. It still didn't work. Finally you told me I had to send
it back AGAIN (at my cost again).
Not only had you left out some of the software in the
original sale, you put in the WRONG software for a correction.
Which you would have caught, had you just checked the computer
before returning it.
I've spent over $3400 on it. It's still bad. It still locks
up. Files corrupt. At any time it will suddenly reset itself, as
if pushing the Reset button. Most new CD programs will not work.
You lied and told one Better Business Bureau I wrote, that my
problem had been a virus, yet your repair order stated it was
missing software. (Software you didn't put in the first time).
You and your machine are worthless and I want you to send me
an RMA number and a letter with instructing on returning the
computer for a refund with you paying the shipping.
After making weekly mailings of this statement to ten different Netnews areas
and sending copies to COMTRADE's e-mail address, they finally gave up and sent
me all my money back $2,800.
Jerry Sturdivant email@example.com
voltaire bondoc from
Pensacola, FL USA
Date - Tuesday, April 08, 1997 at 21:50:26 (EDT)
I got ripped off. I purchased a P90, September 8, 1995.
I recently checked my cpu to see if it was what I've been reading
about posted on the net... overclocked. It was an Intel P75 cpu!!!
At first, I was skeptic about the idea when I first read about it.
But if you have a comtrade p90, in my most honest opinion, I
believe you should have your cpu checked out by a competent tech
to verify the cpu type!
Overall, past tech support was ok, they have always returned my
calls by the next day, but what really irks me is that Comtrade
sold me a product that was a P75 (had a sticker on top with P90
written on it), and knew it was not a P90.
Is there a class-action suit going on now?
K. H. from
Date - Monday, April 07, 1997 at 20:00:46 (EDT)
This is an explanation to letter I sent to Comtrade which
is shown in the next post.. Sorry for confusing anyone
I am not defending the company's behavior with other people, but in my case,
I got exactly what I paid for..everything was the exact same brand as
I have been told:
- I had a Supra Express fax modem 33.6.. The fact that it went bad
after 6 months is not their fault..
- I had a Mitsumi floppy drive which was bad
- I had a Samsung CD-rom which couldn't read recordable CD's.. This
is something that I have seen with many brands, and they actually
agreed to take it back and refund my money (The drive was working
fine with all other types of CD's) and I went on my own and bought
an NEC drive..
- They made a mistake and sent my monitor to a wrong address (the
one I paid for was a Princeton E070 which cost about $550.00) but
they sent me a replacement ( which is a Trintron Viewsonic GT770,
which cost about $700.00 ) ..
The important thing for me was that in all four cases they solved the
problem promptly when I called them..I got the replacement with 2 days
Fedex and then sent them the defective part..It's a hassle to get through
their phone number but the last time I called, an operator answered the
phone, took my number and a technician called me back an hour later which
is not perfect but not bad either.. Their customer service is not for someone
who would have questions or need help with installation or setup and if
anyone would think that a small mail order company would give such support
then he made a big mistake..
So, again, everything I had in my computer was exactly the same brand and
model as when I placed my order.. Of course, I had to check that I actually
got a pentium pro 200 not 150 or 180 after I heard about the overclocking
scheme that they had but my processor was correct, although I got the computer
at a period where prices for the PPro 200 were increasing up to $200.00
and many other vendors had 2 to 6 weeks wait before getting the chip but I got
mine in one week..
I am not commenting on other people experience or saying the company is a
top class rated, but I was fortunate enough with them and this homepage is for
people to express their experience with the company.. (Of course if you were happy
with what you bought and didn't have problems why would you put your review
here.. check how small is Dell's page)
Khaled Hussain from
Houston, TX USA
Date - Wednesday, April 02, 1997 at 15:59:51 (EST)
This is a copy of a letter I sent to Comtrade last week..
I just wanted to tell you that I liked doing service with you..
I bought a Pentium Pro 200 from you in October 96 .. The system
worked fine and arrived almost exactly as expected (except for the
monitor that was sent to a wrong address in California instead of coming
to me in Texas, but you sent me a replacement one promptly)..
I had to call you customer service for some minor
problems (bad floppy drive 4 months ago,CD-drives that don't read
recordable CD's 4 months ago, and a bad modem today) and
every time your tech guys were knowledgeable enough and issued an RMA
without any hassle and I got the replacement part on time..
I'm quite experienced with hardware and software so I don't need
tech support for those, I would just need it when some part fails
which I hope won't happen since almost all the parts are quality
Today I felt that you were trying to improve your service as an operator
answered my call and took my name and number and then a technician called
me an hour later.. This is much better than having to keep redialing
till the phone is answered.. I heard a lot of bad comments about the
company but so far I have been satisfied with the computer and with the
service I received from you and I am recommending Comtrade to my
friends and colleagues if they are knowledgeable to a small degree
with hardware and setup problems and can troubleshoot their computers..
My feeling is that I got a good bang for the money , and It was nice
doing business with you..
Tony Marfil from
Elizabeth, NJ USA
Date - Wednesday, April 02, 1997 at 03:14:00 (EST)
I bought a supposed p-120 for Christmas, 1995. After hearing of
overclocked cpu horror stories, I took out my p-120 and peeled off
some sticker underneath the chip to reveal an engraved 'i75' I've
been flat out ripped off and I'm pissed!!! This was an overclocked
p=75!For a year and a half my system was flooded with error
messages stating "illegal operation"and "fatal exception oe..blah,
blah. Sometimes it won't boot for a whole day and I come back the
next and it's booting fine. I will be contacting the Better
Business Bureau today, 4-2-97 and then Comtrade. Also, my system
shipped with a supposed 'Wavetable' sound card that is really
equipped with an FM synthesizer. Don't get ripped off like me!!
Don't buy from Comtrade.
Olen R Goodwin from
Highlands Ranch, CO USA
Date - Saturday, March 29, 1997 at 10:44:22 (EST)
I bought a P120 (supposedly) from Comtrade in Nov. of '96.
Much of the hardware was installed incorrectly or not at all.
I spent hours on the phone listening to robots or getting advice
to call back. I finally called the main office number, long dis-
tance. The receptionist promised a call right back. No call.
This went on for some days. Finally I corrected the problems
A few weeks passed, and my computer refused to boot. The mother-
board had failed. My experience was better this time since I
bypassed the 800 number entirely and asked for a tech by name.
A M/B was shipped, and I installed it. Since then, my modem
failed and was replaced. The computer has been prone to periods
of instability and unexplainable bugs.
Yesterday I discovered the possible explaination. Checking the
codes on my processor, I discovered that instead of a p120, I
actually had a p75 processor overclocked to 120.
I intend to contact Comtrade today.
Olen R. Goodwin
Media, PA USA
Date - Friday, March 28, 1997 at 21:56:44 (EST)
I purchased a computer from Comtrade in June 1996. The
delivery date was delayed a week or two, I don't remember the
exact time length. I had called about the order and was told it
had been shipped that day, and it later turned out that it
wasn't. But when it was finally shipped, it was shipped FedEx at
no additional charge to me. Some minor things went wrong: they
shipped a new mouse and a new battery quickly and without any
hassle. Eventually I realized the Samsung cd-rom drive was
defective. Again, replaced without hassle. It does take some
doing to get thru by phone, but I'd read this was a problem
with almost all companies in the computer industry. My technique:
keep dialing and hanging up and dialing. I had to call about some
software issues also (this is my first pc). Usually I got through in
an hour. My faxes were responded to within 24 hours. I was
upset when a few weeks ago I encountered the postings in the
newsgroups about the re-labeled cpus and this web site. I
checked my chip, and it had a white generic upc label on the chip
and a green label with the chip speed written in ball-point ink on it.
I tried to remove the white label, but doing so began to scrape
the markings underneath, so I stopped. Eventually I faxed a letter
to Comtrade and requested a replacement. They called me and
wanted me to read off the markings. I explained that removing the
label was destroying the markings underneath, and asked why
should there even be a label if the cpu was exactly as it had been
represented. The rep relayed my reasoning to her supervisor,
and a replacement was immediately fed-exed to me. The rep
explained to me that one of Comtrade's suppliers had furnished
them with a batch of motherboards with the re-labeled cpus
pre-installed and that Comtrade had tested each for the clock
speed indicated before shipping them out. I had been attracted to
Comtrade by their ads in Computer Shopper and reviews in that
mag and others along with the great prices. I felt the inexpensive
mouse, speakers and keyboard were acceptable in exchange for
the good price. I don't believe I would have any problem buying
from Comtrade again.
stephen tenberg from
e stroudsburg, PA USA
Date - Friday, March 28, 1997 at 16:32:26 (EST)
I bought a 133 notebook from Comtrade about 8 months ago,
I am very happy with it ; it is rock solid with NT 4.0 and 40 meg.
It did break after about 7 months, though, and I contacted
Comtrade through EMAIL and FAX. They issued an RMA,
and, to my surprise, fedexed a replacement within 2 days of
receiving my unit. (which worked fine), although I was a little
annoyed it had 3 burned out pixels (Dell does the same thing).
This machine saved me about $1,200 at the time vs. any
of the "name" brands, so I think buying from Comtrade was well
Their tech support people (person?) was polite (but brief!) in
EMAIL and phone reponses. Just dont try to call them, though,
they dont or wont answer the phone...
Barry Smith from
Colorado Springs, CO USA
Date - Wednesday, March 26, 1997 at 23:21:12 (EST)
I've been VERY pleased with my Comtrade Multimedia Dream
Machine 8x (P5-166) system, but after reading the SOS article
on page 66 of the April issue of Computer Shopper, I was concerned to find out if my 166 was really an "overclocked" 133
I attempted to check the markings on the CPU but couldn't
because of the heat sink glued to the top and a paper label glued
to the bottom.
I then E-mailed Comtrade tech support who, after a days consternation, referred me to customer service. The C.S. rep who called me offered me two options. 1)ship my system back so they could determine if I had a "real" 166 or 2) They would ship me a new 166 MMX CPU, along with a new motherboard since
the voltages on my original board aren't compatible with the MMX
CPU. I gladly accepted option 2 since the 166 MMX is a better CPU than I had originally paid for.
I still plan to recommend Comtrade to friends. I guess I am willing to live with some minor problems as long as the vendor is willing to step up and correct their mistake without a fuss. Of course I still don't know for sure if I even had a real problem. I only know that I was unable to verify which CPU I really had. Its my understanding that an overclocked 133 would be indistinguisable from a 166 until it started to overheat.
Overall, I still would recommend Comtrad. Made a mistake? Possibly, but took steps to fix it wothout complaint.
Jay D. Campbell from
Yuma, AZ USA
Date - Tuesday, March 25, 1997 at 16:41:13 (EST)
I purchased a Comtrade Artist's Dream Machine in December of 1996
of January of 1997. So far this machine as been excellent. I researched
for 2 months as to which computer to buy. I just started up my own CAD drafting
business. So far it has been great. The worst part of the whole
computer was the time it took to get here. It took 3 weeks!!! Who
could wait that long for a new computer. Other than that the computer has outperformed
even the limitations of a Cad machine. AutoCad puts a lot of stress
on a computer, as many of you well know. So far this machine has not had hardly any promblems.
Hopefully, Comtrade has worked some of it's buggs out. I am now in the market to buy a laptop
for my new business and have decided to go with either Comtrade or with an IBM Thinkpad. If I
was going to buy another desktop, I would re-purchase a Comtrade, due to the outstanding
product I am still using, with no promblems. Thank you Comtrade.
Dennis Rodrigues from
Gaithersburg, MD USA
Date - Tuesday, March 25, 1997 at 11:04:09 (EST)
My wife and I just bought a Comtrade 200 MHz MMX Dream Machine.
We've had it for about 1 week. Overall, we are very happy with
our purchase--the machine is very fast. I've run a number
of benchmarks against it and it turned in impressive numbers.
I did an inventory of the components and all seemed in order.
It was suppost to come with a 2.7 gig hard drive but instead was
shipped with a Quantum 4.33 Bigfoot--kinda nice. I was miffed
with the motherboard as the L-2 socket and DIMM sockets were
not included--there was a sticker on the MB manual noting that
these features were not included. The modem was a US Robotics
PnP works well, the soundcard was made by some unkown firm in Tiawan
DSC? The speakers and Keyboard are tacky but the MAG 17 inch monitor
is very nice. The WIN 95 CDROM was there as were the drivers
for the sound card and modem but the drivers and manual for
the Diamond 3D 2000 stealth card were not in the box, more was the
Microsoft Works. We called and they promised to ship the missing
software to us. To sum it up--this machine is a "dream machine"
in the sense that you get a P 200 MHz MMX class machine for about
$2200, not a bad price. Naturally, you'll see where they
cut a few corners but the core components are solid.
David Freeman from
Columbia, MO USA
Date - Monday, March 24, 1997 at 22:20:38 (EST)
Due to popular demand, and someone sending me the URL to
this page, I have some information regarding the 486 BIOS. Here's the email that I sent to Comtrade regarding the BIOS. Hope this helps.
From: David Freeman
Subject: Motherboard and BIOS
Date: Thursday, February 06, 1997 3:55 PM
I purchased a PC from you about 2.5 years ago and need a quick bit of
additional information. FYI: It is a "486-66DX2 EISA DreamMachine" per
your invoice. The motherboard manual states it as a G486HVL EISA
& VESA motherboard and an AMI BIOS.
First, who makes the motherboard? I would like to see if there is a BIOS
upgrade to support HDD's larger than 540MB.
1. the motherboard manufacturer for this motherboard no longer in
Second, do you have the BIOS upgrade for this PC? I did not find it on
your www site nor have I seen it on your BBS.
2. the motherboard does not have a bios ugrade for this.
3. if you want to use more than 540mb, you would need to:
a. get a eide controller with bios built-in, that support more that
b. use the software drivers to enable your hard drive to more that 540mb.
Thirdly, do you still have copies of the EISA setup utility as well as
instructions regarding it's setup and use?
4. the eisa drivers, yes we do have that, you could download that from our
**if you don't have any eisa device, then don't worry about it, it will
not affect your system.
Hope that answers your question, have a nice day
Thank you for including your INVOICE NUMBER
home page: www.comtrade-pc.com
tech support: 800-899-4508 818-961-6688
fax number: 818-330-1829
Darryl Mark from
Yigo, Guam, USA
Date - Monday, March 24, 1997 at 10:50:12 (EST)
I have unfortunately purchased a computer from comtrade. I bought the
MMX Pentium 200mhz 3D screamer with all the trimmings. The sales rep
was very helpful and polite. I received the computer in 8 days (I live
in Guam, USA). Everything looked fine coming out of the box, however,
when I booted it up i discovered they had shipped me an MMX Pentium
166. I immediately telephoned my sales rep and informed him of the
problem. he told me he would ship out the correct chip the same day.
it is now three weeks and seven phone calls later and I still haven't
received my chip. Now the sales rep isn't friendly anymore and he is
claiming i already received the chip and sent him back the 166. I
thought he must have me confused with another customer. I gave him my
invoice number and everything. he told me that is what his computer
said. I told him I had not received the chip yet so how could I have
shipped the old one. I was satisfied with my computer. it runs very
well. i am a computer technician, so I have managed to fix any problem
that has arisen (which so far is not many). I am very disappointed with
comtrade's customer service. If they would have shipped the correct
chip in the first place this would never have happened. please send me
some feedback or suggestions on how I should proceed. I am in the
military and my hands are somewhat tied as far as trying to get back to
the states to confront this company. I am contacting a lawyer, the
Better Business Bureau and a California state Congressman. Thanks.
Rick Wall from
Memphis, TN USA
Date - Friday, March 21, 1997 at 15:17:43 (EST)
Finally a chance for some justice! I bought a Comtrade P90
Multimedia Dream Machine about 2-3 years ago and it was the worst
experience I've had with computers. And it wasn't really the
computer. It was a decent product. It was the support I got
and the company in general. First, they sent me the wrong machine
- wrong monitor and wrong hard drive. Then the sales rep added
insult to injury by giving me a hard time about it and trying to
make it out to be my fault. It was like pulling teeth to get him
to come down on the price to what was reasonable for what they
sent me. They would have just as soon let me pay for the system
I wanted and leave me with what they sent me. I won't go into a
lot of the details, but bottom line is I own an AST now and
although the Comtrade was an adequate machine, I found the
whole affair distasteful and would not recommend any of their
products to anyone until they get their customer skills right!
Leon Cardenas from
San Jose, CA USA
Date - Thursday, March 13, 1997 at 19:47:01 (EST)
I have owned my Comtrade pentium for 16-17 months. I also have not been satisfied with its reliability. Initially, it was constantly freezing up. The software package that came with the computer included several games. It would lock up almost every time I played a game. Every time that I phoned their tech support line, it was either busy or no one would answer. This did not change until the warranty had run out and then they called me to see if I wanted to buy an extended warranty. To this day, when I boot up, I never know what error message is going to appear...this driver or that file does not load or can't be found. And this without me having done anything to the system.
My advice to any would-be customers is.....DON'T BECOME ONE OF COMTRADE'S!!!
J Jung from
Philadelphia, PA USA
Date - Tuesday, March 11, 1997 at 10:14:21 (EST)
Last June I purchased a p120 w/ MAG 15" minitor and 1.2Gb Conner
harddisk drive. It arrived within four days. Everything ran correctly out of the
box. Since then, I have added a Soundblaster sound card, Western Digital
2.1Gb hd drive and additional 16Mb of RAM. Two months ago, the Acer
6x cd-rom drive failed. I reached a tech support within 20 minutes. They
promptly sent a replacement. So far the computer has been working flawlessly. Having read all the complaints about Comtrade's deplorable
behavior to so many of its customers, I will not buy from Comtrade again.
After reading this board, I am going to cancel my order with
Comtrade! I ordered the ULTRA SCSI with P200(mmx), 64 meg
ram, 4mb Diamond Stealth, 3.2 scsi drive, etc, for $2875, sounds
like a great price, eh? After reviewing this (and other articles)
who knows what I would actually get inside?!
I should have known when I talked to the sales dept. I called
and the salesman immediately offered a discount of $85 off the
price listed in the ComputerShopper. The fine print (yes, it is in
the ad) says shipping is xtra--found out that would be $100 for
Fed-Ex. I didn't buy right away, and the salesman invited me
to call back, and he would give me "another special".
I did, and he told me that he would give me a Toshiba 16x CD
rom instead of a no name. I ordered.
After thinking, I called back, and talked to a different rep--who
told me that the price was $2795, already $85 less than the
advertised price, and that he would give me a better deal,
another $50 off. I asked him what brand CD-ROM was standard
==he told me that it was a Toshiba. So, the first salesman was
just blowing smoke--imagine. Shipping was $85 and not $100, but that was UPS.
After reading all of the articles in this BB, and after my exp. w/
sales--I am no longer willing to risk my $! As soon as I can, I am
cancelling my order. Even with a 30day return.
Jonathan A. Broadwell from
Richmond, IN USA
Date - Friday, March 07, 1997 at 15:19:22 (EST)
Last August I purchased a p133 from Comtrade. The machiene has more than lived up to my expectations. The only thing which I was somewhat disappointed with was the fact that a windows-only modem was included, prohibiting my using some modem games on my new PC. However, I was able to get a system with a 17" monitor (love it) for what other systems with 15's were running. I have called tech support a couple times, and have had no problems getting through, although I had to wait about 30 minutes on hold. My next computer will be a Comtrade.
Andrea Schweim from
Enterprise, AL USA
Date - Thursday, March 06, 1997 at 02:34:35 (EST)
I ordered a P5/150 DreamMachine July 22, 1996 with 24MB,
33.6 modem with speaker phone, mic, and windows/dos capability,
high quality speakers with woofer, 3D video card with 4MB, and one
year on-site service.
Paying next day air shipping, I received my computer "only"
four days later instead of the next day. Once I unpacked it, it
turned out to be equiped with only 16MB, 33.6 modem with speaker
phone UPGRADE-ABILITY, no mic, and only windows capability along
with the cheap quality speakers without woofer, a 3D video card
with 2MB and the soundcard turned out to be the cheaper version as
I called them back right away, trying to get through to a customer
service rep which is close to impossible, only to find out that
they would be more than happy to upgrade everything for an additional
After about three weeks of having the computer, my monitor died
on me. After about four days of trying to call them back, I was
told I am over my 30 days and it wasn't their responsibility any-
To make a long story short, I am on my third monitor, second
modem, and no access to my computer whatsoever since the computer
won't operate properly (I can't get beyond the Windows 95 screen
without a fatal error message and computer lock up.) And I haven't
received any on-site service whatsoever.
I was told in September that I would get my money back as soon as
as my credit card company would get in touch with them and also
receive a RMA number to return the merchandise. In October, I still
hadn't heard from them, I called them back only to find out that
they would NOT refund my money but exchange the system for a new
one since I was over my warranty.
After one of their sales reps said, "You don't have the capability
to understand a complex system like that," I decided it is time to
hand it over to a lawyer. Further actions are pending.
!!!DO NOT BUY ANY MERCHANDISE FROM COMTRADE!!!
DELCOR DESIGNS from
Eagle River, AK USA
Date - Tuesday, March 04, 1997 at 15:22:08 (EST)
Comtrade gave me the best price they could. Every time I called to
order, the staff was very helpful. I would recomend Comtrade to
anyone interested in a computer purchase.
When my computer arrived, it was hook up and play. No hassles.
I am very pleased with Comtrade.
Eagle River, Alaska
Rick Slater from
Slidell, LA USA
Date - Wednesday, February 26, 1997 at 12:13:18 (EST)
This is a followup to a story you'll find later on in this
page. It turns out that the certified mail to Comtrade did
get someone's attention, and they called my wife to say that
the final $96 would be refunded to my MasterCard.
They have now done that and, after four months of hassle
with both Comtrade and MasterCard, the episode is now resolved.
Dean Berres from
Marshfield, WI USA
Date - Tuesday, February 25, 1997 at 00:29:12 (EST)
I purchased a Comtrade Computer in June of 1996. When buying it I
was told by the rep that they had revamped the tech support and had
a answering machine and you can now leave a message and someone will
get back to you in a hour of your call. I was also told of the onsite
warranty. Everything was going well untill last month. I had a hard
drive crash and the frustration started. Getting through to the tech
support was impossible. I would continue to call the rep and was
told someone will call you back. I sent faxes to there 24 hour fax
line. I usually got a call back from there tech support, but only
after a 5 or more hour wait. I was told that it would be impossible to
get back to us in one hour. The tech support people are also the
customer service people. The onsite warranty is a joke. You need to
be within 50 miles of the service area or pay more to get someone
there or drive there yourself.
I was sent a new harddrive, but had to pay for the otherone to be
returned. I got it in two days and it was bad. Sent that one back and
received another one in two days and that one was bad. I ended up
sending the whole machine back to them. It took three weeks before
I saw that back and I had to set things up to make it work right.
I have a good friend who has owned a Comtrade for 2 months and going
through the same problems. This has been a expensive learning lesson
for me. The price is right but the service sucks. They mis-represent
themselves when they sell the machines, with no recourse on our end.
Thanks for letting me vent.
Michael Waldhier from
State College, PA USA
Date - Tuesday, February 18, 1997 at 12:29:57 (EST)
I bought my Comtrade computer about 3 years ago. I got a P-100
with a SCSI Hard drive and CD-ROM, and all the goodies included.
I was quite pleased with the system, and had no problems with it
for a long time. About a year ago though, I wanted to upgrade
it to a P-133. Pulling out the P-100 chip, I noticed stickers
covering the chip. Removing the stickers, I found myself with a
P-75, not the P-100 I paid for. Needless to say, I was furious.
I immediately called Comtrade to see what they would do about it
(I had paid for the extra year of warrantee and the system was
still covered)and tried to get ahold of tech support to no avail.
I tried email, sales, service, every department of the company
and -never- got a response. In the end, I got sick of it and ate
I'll never recommend Comtrade because of this....
Rick Slater from
Slidell, LA USA
Date - Tuesday, February 11, 1997 at 09:07:01 (EST)
I saw a Comtrade computer happily running Linux at a government
lab, and after the people there told me it was a fine machine, I
purchased a 166 MHz pentium machine. It had been ordered with a
parity checking chipset, but was shipped with nonparity ram.
Comtrade offered to make an upgrade for $96, on condition that I
return the old ram, and I went for the deal. In the meantime, the
hard drive started to fail (a Quantum Bigfoot), and Comtrade sent
out a replacement. On the day the replacement arrived, the cdrom
drive went so far out of balance that the machine would "walk"
across the desktop. I decided to bail out under the 30 day clause,
and I returned both the machine and the upgrade memory.
However, Comtrade only credited my MasterCard with part of the
price of the computer, and it has never returned the $96 that
was spent for the parity memory.
Comtrade's customer reps do not return phone calls, and email
inquiries go unanswered.
I have therefore sent them certified mail which gives them 30
days to refund my money or face a suit in small claims court.
I fully intend to file that suit if Comtrade doesn't respond,
partly because the government will not purchase equipment from
vendors who have judgements against them.
Needless to say, I can't recommend Comtrade to anyone.
Paul Fishwick from
Gainesville, FL USA
Date - Saturday, February 08, 1997 at 21:26:13 (EST)
Contrary to many experiences on this list, I had no problems
with my COMTRADE 120Mhz Pentium system that I bought from them
about 2 years ago. I have used the machine continuously, on
a daily basis and added several add-on cards. The machine is
very reliable and so I've not had the need to contact anyone
at Comtrade. The machine was touted as a good multimedia machine
and it came with multimedia hardware at the right price. At that
time, companies such as Dell were way overpriced. Now, I think
Dell's prices are more in line with the rest of the industry,
thanks in part to other companies such as Comtrade and Gateway
eating into their market. Ahh- free enterprise!
William S. Wallace from
Jonesboro, AR USA
Date - Friday, February 07, 1997 at 23:30:23 (EST)
I have owned a Multimedia P90 "Dream Machine for about 2 1/2 years now.
Out of the box it would not run. After finally reaching a service tech.,
we spent the better part of two hours working through the problem.
Seems the hard drive cable was loose, and then the bios had lost its memory.
When finally running, it worked great. There is a conflict between the drivers
for their Vibra 16 sound card and the Mitsumi 4x cd; however, this can be worked around
by moving stuff on the config.sys file.
As others have said, customer service is extremely hard to reach.
Compared to Dell, there is no comparison.
Price is good; if you can do your own troubleshooting and technical work; buy one.
If not, avoid a Comtrade like the plague.
Benjamin Cabell from
Date - Friday, February 07, 1997 at 18:02:03 (EST)
I hate Comtrade. I purchased a $2800 laptop from them and I
might as well have burned the money. The laptop began having
problems almost as soon as I got it. I made numerous tries
to get in touch with tech support for several of a dozen
problems and to give you some idea as to how unavailable they
were, I tried for 12 days in a row (excluding Sunday when they
are closed), calling many, many times each day (when they first
opened in the middle of the day late in the day before they closed,
etc.). On the 12th day I finally got through. They were of no
hope. The tech support person said, "I don't have any laptops
here to try that out on to try and reproduce the problem. I will
get one and call you back." Needless to say, he never called
back, so I tried to callback again the next day, and for 8 days
after that until finally I got through again. Still no help.
The computer they sold me is a Sager (Comtrade just slapped their
label on this computer which was made my Sager). The computer
broke totally after 1.2 years and is now no more useful than
a paperweight. The computer was never very good, but was
"workable" for the first year, if you ignore the fact that the
trackball gave up the ghost after 6 months and the case was so
badly designed that after 5 months it cracked around the hinges
and had to be held together with tape. Anyway, I repeatedly
tried to get these things taken care of by Comtrade and it
was miserable. All they could suggest was that I send the computer
back to them, and they would take a look at it and have it repaired.
They said that I should expect the computer to be returned within
3 weeks. I was not confident in their ability to fix the problems
and not thrilled with the idea of being without a computer for 3 weeks
just to get the case and mouse replaced.
Anyway, I hate Sager and I hate Comtrade and if I were to ever lose it
and go postal, I hope to god I'd be near or inside one of those two
David Freeman from
Date - Thursday, February 06, 1997 at 00:40:24 (EST)
Wow, I thought I was the only person to buy a Comtrade. . .and have problems . Anyone run across AMI BIOS upgrades for the G486HVL motherboard? AMI doesn't supply them as it is not their motherboard.
Thanks in advance.
Kevin O'Neill from
Date - Saturday, February 01, 1997 at 00:02:02 (EST)
BEWARE OF COMTRADE!
Unless you have infinite patience, strong technical skills, and do
not really need a working PC , you should not buy a computer from
Comtrade. They screw up, and in the process will screw you. This
is what happened to me when I made the mistake of placing an order
with Comtrade: Placed order for PC on August 22, 1996.
Delivery promised for August 30.
SCREW UP #1 -- Machine arrived on September 13 (2 weeks late).
SCREW UP #2 Ė PC would not work at all. Opening the machine I
found that the hard disk, CD-ROM, and printer port were not
connected to anything; the cables to these locations were just
hanging loose inside the case. Tech support was unreachable. I
figured out where the cables should go myself, and was able to
boot the machine. Also discovered that, although PC was ordered
with an 8x SCSI CD-ROM, Comtrade had unilaterally decided it
would be OK to ship an 8x EIDE CD-ROM.
PROBLEM Ė Monitor would malfunction briefly every hour or so.
Tech support offered some useful suggestions. Problem got better,
but did not disappear. Comtrade told me to call MAG Innovision,
the monitor supplier. MAG promised to send a new monitor.
Monitor arrived promptly and works fine. Problem solved. Bonus
points to MAG.
SCREW UP #3,4 -- Told Comtrade that I really did need a SCSI
CD-ROM. They finally agreed to send me a 6x CD-ROM promptly if
I would send them a little more money. I did (I really needed to
that machine running). They promised delivery in 2 days. It
took a week. They promised to send the necessary cables and
instructions. They didnít. I was able to find an old SCSI
cable elsewhere, and tried connecting new CD-ROM to SCSI card,
but initial efforts were unsuccessful. Comtrade tech support
could not diagnose problem. I diagnosed problem as loose cable
connection caused by poor location of connector on Adaptek SCSI
card and configuration of my old SCSI cable.
SCREW UP #5 Ė Asked Comtrade to send me a new SCSI card and
matching cable. They promised 2 day delivery; they delivered in
10. They also sent the wrong cable. New SCSI card has cable
connection in a worse location, and the old SCSI cable I had
would not connect at all to the new card. Tech support
Bottom line: 7 weeks after promised delivery, Comtrade had my
money, I still didnít have a working PC, and Iíd wasted a lot of
my time. Comtrade screwed me. Donít let them screw you.
PS: I finally fixed the SCSI card with a hacksaw, and the
machine runs very well. But, even if charged at minimum wage, the
time I wasted would offset the bargain I thought I was getting.
Isaias Mohamed from
Salt Lake, CA USA
Date - Friday, January 31, 1997 at 23:32:43 (EST)
I read the entries that are in this page and realize that the majority of you people are whiny little babies. I have never dealt with
a tech support person that was knowledgable or not rude. If you buy a car, then you better know how to drive. Same with
computers, if you can not fix your problem or explain so a no-brain phone support moron can understand then maybe you
should use a MAC, like all the other technologically challenged idiots in the world. Get a grip you disenchanted, bitchy, whiny,
gen-xer's. Maybe some day when you have to work for a living you'll quit whining.
Date - Thursday, January 30, 1997 at 21:28:49 (EST)
I urge any and everyone who has had a bad experience with Comtrade and especially those that have experienced out and out fraud such as Comtrade's CPU scam to report Comtrade their experiences with this company both to the attorny general in you state and the California attorney general. It is time to stop this company from ever doing business again.
Jim Cretti from
DuBois, PA USA
Date - Thursday, January 30, 1997 at 19:35:13 (EST)
Thinking about buying a Comtrade computer? Make yourself feel good and donate your money to your favorite charity. I've wasted my money and it appears that Comtrade will not refund my money. My Comtrade is a piece of junk (JUNK!). Don't walk, run like hell away from Comtrade!!
samee ahmed from
irvine, CA USA
Date - Tuesday, January 28, 1997 at 17:37:07 (EST)
This is more of a cry for help rather than a comment on some....
I have a G486HVL motherboard, for whatever reason I get the error
'EISA CMOS CHECKSUM error' whenever I power up the system.
I was told that I need what is called the 'eisa configuration disk'
to help solve this problem. Can anyone let me know if I can get a
copy of the same ?? Really appreciate it. COMRADE ....
Live and Let Live ... Thats is not Comtrade !!!!!!!!!
Norfolk, VA USA
Date - Sunday, January 26, 1997 at 13:47:16 (EST)
I didn't buy a New Comtrade, it was given to me.. It's a
Pentium P90 Notebook, they call it a Comtrade Sound WIn-Note
and it's model number is NBE, type 770.
Basically, its not working and from what I've read here, it's
not likely going to work. However, it looks like a nice
machine and I'd like to see if it can be fixed.
Comtrade DOES NOT offer any type of repair services at all
on their units out of warranty. SO.....
Do any of you know who or where I can have this Laptop repaired
by a third party?
If so, let me know please... Blake@qwick.net
DIANA WILKINSON from
Burton, MI USA
Date - Sunday, January 19, 1997 at 09:31:19 (EST)
I bought a Comtrade 100mhz pentium computer in July of 1995. The
first computer they shipped to me was lost and after a week and
a half after I ordered it I received my computer. Everything was
working fine at first. This computer was suppose to be compatible
with windows 95, however, after I installed windows 95 I cannot get
the computer to boot up. I always have to go into safe mode and
restart the computer to get it up. I was told by the company who
fixed my computer that it was a part not coming up to speed for
windows 95. In February of 96 the power supply went out on my
computer and fried my modem at the same time. I could never get
a hold of Comtrade to get the part to fix it from them so I finally
got someone else to fix it. In January 97 my sound card went out
on the computer. I was suppose to have a Orchid 32 wavetable sound
card but come to find out I have a Adeptec 1510 sound card. I would
never buy from this company again. They do not stand behind their
product and they advertise one thing but send you something else.
I have learned my lesson and will only buy from the top company in
computer magazines now.
Jim Aiello from
New York, NY USA
Date - Wednesday, January 15, 1997 at 22:13:49 (EST)
I am writing this partly for vengance and partly for the closure
it will provide me. I cannot say it emphatically or loudly enough,
DO NOT BUY COMTRADE! I have included the context of some of the dozen
or so written communications I had with Comtrade in 1995.
Oh, as an afterthought: American Express did not champion my cause
as you would have expected (ie). defective products. They
explained that they do not arbitrate disputes between consumer &
manufacturer. So much for their Buyer Assurance Plan!
For your amusement, read on, through my nightmare:
January 21, 1995
Director of Technical Support
15314 East Valley Road
City of Industry, CA 91746
This is the second fax I have sent to Comtrade in the last 5 days.
I am experiencing problems with the P5-60 I recently purchased
from your company. I would like to resolve these problems before
the thirty-day money-back guarantee expires or I will be
compelled to return the merchandise. I have being trying to reach
Tech Support since December 23 when I received your product.
Numerous calls to Tech Support have resulted in recorded messages
saying "Try again later." or a reorder signal. I have left
several messages with the operators on 800-969-2123 for Tech
Support to call back. I'm still waiting.
Because of the problems I'm having with the PC and the continued
lack of response from your support group, I feel I've made a bad
choice giving Comtrade my business.
I thank you in advance for your personal attention in this matter
and anticipate hearing from you forthwith.
I recieved a "Hyperspeed MultiMedia" from your company on
December 23, 1994. I have experienced serious boot-up problems since
taking the PC out of the box. Over the past 27 days, I have
tried to reach Tech Support through a variety of methods. I have
faxed Tech Support, Albert Antonius and left countless callback
messages with Sales Rep. Tom and the various receptionists. For
my considerable effort, I received a call back from Mr. Antonius
on my Voice Mail, who promised to call back - but never did.
I was able to reach Tech Support once, after dialing repeatedly
for 2 hours and then waiting on hold for 30 minutes. Technician
Chris resolved my boot-up problems by deleting swcd.sys from the
config.sys. By deleting this line, I can no longer use CD-Audio.
Obviously an unacceptable fix.
On Wednesday, Jasnuary 18, I spoke to Tom in Sales explaining
that I would like an RMA. He asked me to give him another
oppurtunity to resolve the trouble before I returned the
merchandise, he would have Tech Support call me back. I'm still
waiting Mr. Luke.
Friday, January 20, I spoke to Tom again and told him nobody ever
called. He assured me that Mark Spence would call after 6:30 pm
EST. I called Tom again at 7:30 and he said Mark would definitely
call with an RMA. When I spoke to a receptionist at 9:45, she
assured me that noone could help me today. I' m thinking that
your company is never going to help me.
I have bent over backwards to give you the opportunity to correct
this problem, but you obviously don't care. I have instructed
American Express to withhold payment for this defective product.
I refuse to pay any costs related to this product. If you want
the PC back, send someone to pick it up, you know where to find
You would think in this age of on-line services, fax machines and
global communications, you would be more concerned about customer
Manager - Comunications
Invoice # 9425800
cc: American Express
Better Business Bureau
15314 East Valley Road
City of Industry, CA 91746
I am writing to make you aware of how disappointed I am with my
new Comtrade PC. I have had several problems since installing a
new 'Hyperspeed Multimedia' P5-60 at my residence. Since taking
it out of the box, I have called your Tech Support line no less
than 10 times in the early evening hours EST. I either receive a
reorder signal or a recording telling me how busy everyone is,
try again later. I have resorted to calling your sales line,
which is usually answered within 3 rings by a polite young lady
who says she will pass the message along to Tech Support, who
will call me back as soon as possible. Needless to say, I have
yet to hear from anyone. The salesman told me how great your
Tech Support was, that's why there was limited negotiation room
on the price. I should have taken the hint when I found the
notice that if I wanted floppies of DOS & Windows I would have
to make them at my expense. Then I opened the box for the mouse
and found a 5 1/4" floppy for my 3 1/2" drive. Should I fold it
before inserting? Where did the 25 pin connector / adapter go,
by the way? I find it curious that every time I boot the PC it
comes up differently. When attempting to start Windows, I get
messages saying "CANNOT LOCATE SYSTEM.INI", "Try reloading
Windows". I can find it no problem, it is where it should be.
Why does it take 6 attempts to start Windows?
Another problem I'm having is that during boot up I get a message
saying "Floating point .... Run time error." Then the system just
crashes. After weeks of listening to Intel's dodging the problem,
this does not make me comfortable. I haven't heard this variation
of the Pentium problem yet. What's the deal? Should I call for
P.S. Now you're fax machines aren't responding either.
INVOICE # 9425800
No. of pages incl. this one: 1
To: Christopher Luke
Fax number: 818-330-1829 Voice: 818-961-6688
From: Jim Aiello
Date: Saturday, January 21, 1995
If you do not receive all pages, please contact:
341 E. 77th Street, Suite 4W
New York, NY 10021-2209
Subject: RMA #49043 RF
Special Instructions: Thank you for your timely response to my
last fax. Unfortunately, AMEX recommends that I not return this
item until I receive instructions from you with regard to your
preference of shipper and your method of payment. I am not
prepared to layout the shipping costs for you & then wait for
reimbursement. I'm sure you'll understand why. You can either
contact me or wait till an AMEX Customer Service supervisor
calls you. The ball is still in your court.
Feelling better already,
I received your "HyperSpeed Multimedia" P5-60 in December of 1994.
Since first plugging it in, I have had more problems than
imaginable. The PC only boots up properly after powering it up
and down at least 12 times. When it finally does boot-up, I
cannot get Windows to start without another dozen attempts. I
first attempted to reach your Tech Support, the evening I
received the PC. It took two weeks before I was able to reach
anybody. I worked with one tech sometime in late January, and we
thought we had the problem licked. Wrong. Over the next two
months, I called many, many times and never got any help. When
finally, I received Intel's replacement chip, I took off the PC
cover off and found a loose screw on the CPU's heat sink and a
broken wire from the mother board to the Turbo-LED lamp. I called
Tech support and they sent me the replacement part. Okay, so now
I'm an authorized Comtrade repair center. After replacing the
wiring, I find that the Turbo switch does nothing. The LED stays
on now matter what mode I think the machine is in. To this day,
the machine refuses to boot and start windows without going
through it's little sadistic ritual.
After six months of aggravation and trying to resolve the
problem myself (mostly because I was being ignored by Comtrade),
I surrender. I am beaten, by both your machine and your lack of
service. I am sending the machine back to you with the hope that
you will see your way clear to refund my money or at the very
least least repair or even better, replace the entire machine.
Please do not return it to me until you can honestly tell me that
it's working satisfactorily.
I can be reached 9-5 M-F @ (718) XXX-XXXX or at home @ (212)
INVOICE #: 9425800
RMA # 61397-RM
Carl Gibilaro from
Orlando, FL USA
Date - Sunday, January 12, 1997 at 21:01:53 (EST)
Update of December 31 note:
After confronting Computrade with their "mistake" they were more than
willing to send me the correct chip. Thinking that this was too easy I
asked for a free upgrade to a Pentium 200. Again they were more than
happy to comply. Why couldn't they be this easy to deal with from the
beginning. If you have been cheated out of the correct chip ask for an
upgrade, they might suprise you. This in no way should be construed as
a recommendation for this company. I still won't buy from them again.
Chuck Schutt from
Date - Friday, January 10, 1997 at 10:39:12 (EST)
I have been trying to get in touch with someone at Comtrade for
technical assistance for over a week now.
1] I can never seem to get through at this number
although I have tried 4-6 times per day. All the people seem to
be busy, and the recording suggests I call back at another time.
2] I have left messages with someone in Sales at another number
who said she could not give me any help but would get someone to
3] I have used the 24 hour fax service
three times now with no response.
I received an expiration notice that today is the last day I
can renew my on-site warranty. I fail to see the benefit of
such a service if I can never get in touch with someone to
schedule assistance. At this point I feel the service has been
misrepresented to me as part of the initial sale of the computer.
If someone does not get in touch with me immediately, I will
investigate what legal options are available.
Both phone numbers I have given have automated answering machines.
If I was not there when someone called back, I expected a message
with a number to someone that can answer my questions.
Also, as I have looked for other avenues to get in touch with
Comtrade, I have become disheartened by what I have found on the
Internet, the following URL being one example:
Richard Jerman from
Date - Thursday, January 09, 1997 at 22:12:27 (EST)
Just to update anyone that may be interested. I did pull my CPU which was sold as a P120 only to find a P75 after removing their barcode sticker camouflage. I contacted them about this "mistake" and received a new P120 which is what I paid for one year ago. I would suggest that anyone with a Comtrade check to CPU if at all possible for this same "mistake."
Jim Cretti from
DuBois, PA USA
Date - Thursday, January 09, 1997 at 19:26:41 (EST)
I highly recommend that anyone shopping for notebook computers
look at any brand other than Comtrade. One of the biggest
mistakes I've made in the past year as a department manager was to
approve the purchase of two Comtrade notebook computers. One of
the engineers that works in my department has been hassled on a
daily basis from the poor performance of his computer. He is more
patient than I because I would have probably smashed the dawm
thing if I had to deal with it every day. Virtually every
component on the system has failed at one time or another.
Comtrade has repaired the laptop and replaced it and it still is piece
an inferior piece of junk. I feel helpless dealing with Comtrade
and I've gotten no satisfaction in my discussions with Comtrade
technical support. On-site warranty? This was the second
mistake I made; they refuse to fulfill their agreement.
Please take my word for it: DO NOT DEAL WITH COMTRADE! I KNOW!!
michael stutz from
Cleveland, OH USA
Date - Tuesday, January 07, 1997 at 16:33:33 (EST)
If you care at all about customer service or tech support,
STAY AWAY FROM COMTRADE.
Their systems? They're quite nice. And you'll read nice comments
about them in _Computer Shopper_ because they're big advertisers
there. But I have found that getting help from anyone at that
company to be an absolute nightmare, and I know I'm not alone.
When I purchased my system, it came with a broken fan and I spent
_weeks_ calling them every day, several times a day, to try and
get it straightened out. Once while on hold, I got connected to
another customer, who was as equally irate as I! So again, they
a sell good computer for the money, but that's not the only price
Mike Trimble from
St. Joseph, IL USA
Date - Tuesday, January 07, 1997 at 12:58:11 (EST)
I purchased a 486 DX2-59 VLB computer from Comtrade in 1993. Upon arrival, the 15" CTX monitor was defective. I called support, received a return number and returned the defective unit. The replacement monitor arrived 3 days later and has performed well since.
I have found there support to be a little slow, but have not had any bad experiences with it. In response to my queries in 1995 about updated video drivers, I was directed to their electronic bulletin board where I found all of the drivers I needed.
My decision to buy from Comtrade was based on a review of a similar system in PC Magazine (?) in 1993. The system has performed admirably, aside from a bad sector on the original hard drive. The documentation on the motherboard was a little weak, but I have been able to reconfigure it fairly easily for a RAM upgrade and the installation on a SCSI controller.
The bottom line is I am very satisfied with their product. My system is now 3+ years old, and while not state of the art, still performs well.
Dan Rathbun from
Arlinton , VA USA
Date - Saturday, January 04, 1997 at 21:36:49 (EST)
DO NOT BUY FROM COMTRADE. IT IS UNDOUBTEDLY ONE OF THE WORST
COMPUTER VENDORS IN THE WORLD. I bought a 486 DX 66 from Comtrade
in April 1994 and it has never run properly. I have replaced the
CD-ROM, floppy drive, sound card, monitor and mouse. The
supplemental support contract is worthless. They only made things
worse and I ended up shipping the computer back to the factory at
my expense. They didn't fix it. Comtrade's telephone technical
support is virtually non-existent. AVOID THIS COMPANY LIKE THE
Richard Jerman from
Casa Grande, AZ USA
Date - Saturday, January 04, 1997 at 21:25:23 (EST)
I bought a P5/120 Professional MPEG Dream (nightmare) Machine from this company in January 1996. First off I could not get the modem to respond but finally got this working after much tinkering. In March 1996 the machine crashed, would only boot is safe mode and after spending much time trying to get through to tech support I was instructed on how to reinstall Windows 95 from the DOS prompt which I did and things worked okay until June when I kept getting multiple error messages, crashes, freezing, etc. Again after many hours trying to call tech support they said it was probably the mother board and sent me a new one. I had to pay someone to install this and send the old one back to Comtrade. The system worked for about one month when the same problems began happening. I decided to take it to a local shop who after much work basically said, send this piece of crap back to the manufacturer since it is still under warranty. I did this, again at my cost and was told it should be back within 7-10 days.
About three weeks later I got the machine back and things were relatively Okay, some occasional problems with crashes, etc. until December when I began having serious problems again with crashes, freezing, failure to start, and on and on. Again after some time trying to get through to tech support I was told to reinstall Windows 95 which I could not do because the system kept crashing. I opened the case and found the CPU fan was not working. I called and was told they would send me a new fan which arrived about one week later. And I, like others have said, found the heat sink glued to the CPU with a tag on the back side. Now I'm wondering if my CPU is really a 120 as I paid for or something slower. My warranty is out in about five days. I would love to join a class action law suit against the company. Any takers?