Updated! (May 28th, 2002)

January 12th, 2001 Today I received a shiny new RS2252 system from IndyBox Systems Inc. that I had ordered on Dec. 13th, 2000. While carrying the computer to its location for installation, I noticed a clunking sound. It concerned me, but I thought it might be the power cable or keys or something not all that important banging around.


After carefully opening the box, I peered inside an airflow vent on the side and noticed something wasn't quite right. I unscrewed the top panel and pulled it off to gaze upon a severly damaged system.

The red circles were added by me, of course. Here's a list of the visible issues with the system, from left to right.

Needless to say, this is the WORST Out Of Box (OOB) experience I have EVER had. Also, the manual they sent me was for a RS2251 system. That manual is very blurry and hard to read. It looks like they went down to the convience store and popped in some dimes to photocopy it.

I had pretty poor experience with a Gateway desktop and have been a Do It Yourselfer (DIY) of desktops ever since, and I've never been happier. However for my first step into the land of rackmounts, I thought I'd go with someone else. Big mistake. Never again. (A small aside, I don't build my own laptops either since I purchased a fantastic system from WinBook, I highly recommend them.)

My fight with Gateway was pretty easy. I payed by credit card and refused to pay the bill until Gateway took it back and fully refunded me. I will never buy from them again, but I'm not bitter.

Sadly, I don't think my fight with IndyBox will go so well. They don't accept credit card, only check or money order. I wasn't happy about this but I assumed it was just to avoid incidents with deadbeats who couldn't pay their credit card bill so they wouldn't get shafted and have a lower overhead because they wouldn't need as large of a legal department to try and collect the money. It shows in their prices, they're fantastic. I couldn't find anything on the Internet about problems with them so I went for it. So now they have the money and the only way for me to get it back is a legal battle, ick. Other overhead savers that IndyBox apparently has includes no toll-free phone number which really sucks when they sent you broken merchandise and charge YOU to try and resolve the issue.

I also looked at Penguin Computing and VA Linux. VA Linux was way too pricy and I know some of their staff and they're essentially jerks, so I wouldn't recommend going with VA Linux. However, Penguin Computing seems like an excellent choice to me.

I actually wanted to go with Penguin Computing but at the time their SCSI systems weren't equipped with Ultra160 yet, only Ultra80. However, they now have Ultra160 drives. *grumble* but still, what sucks for me can be bliss for you!!!

Earlier I mentioned how there wasn't a site about problems or trouble or issues or a bad experience or poor experiences with IndyBox Systems. Now there is because I just said a whole bunch of keywords for a search engine to pickup on. Anyway, don't buy one.

Currently, I'm in the process of doing an RMA return. I have to pay for the shipping, which is quite expensive considering the weight and insurance. They say they'll take a look at it and stress test it again and send it back after fixing it if there aren't any problems. But come on, like I really want a system that I know has had the shit kicked out of it? I don't have too many other options though. That little bastard is $3,000 and I can't not use it because I feel uncomfortable with its past.

May 5th, 2001

I shipped the system back in a timely manner (probably around Jan 15th or so) and waited patiently for the system to be repaired and sent back. After a good two or three weeks, I called up asking what was going on. After being a hold for a few minutes I was informed that the system was just sitting there and was done being fixed. The fellow was apparently unaware what was going on with the system and I asked in a displeased tone of voice if they were planning on sending it back or if they were going to just let it sit there some more. He responded that they would send it back soon.

I actually got the system back fairly soon after that. The packaging was better this time (still not great) because they had put the original box inside of a larger box with soft foam peanuts in the middle. Not trusting the workmanship of Indybox, I opened up the case to check out what things were looking like. The discovered the following issues

On Feb 14th I called up again and talked to Mr. Charles Martin and explained my problems and how I would also like a generic "fix everything that's broken" clause in the RMA form. He didn't want to fix everythign that's broken and said it would be impossible. Apparently the customer has to point out all of the flaws before they'll fix them and make the customer pay for the shipping while they work on their quality standards. I shipped it back on Feb 16th at a cost of $81.88 (it was $31.66 the first time)

Time passed. More time passed. About a month to three weeks later I was done being mellow and letting it work itself out and wanted my &!@($*&! computer back! I called. I was on hold. I was transferred to the dept that receives packages. Not wanting to be on hold for another 15 mins, I asked to be called back while they searched for it. I didn't get a call back. I called the next day. They (I was speaking to a Mr. Jeff Ward) said he couldn't find the computer and it just wans't here. I got no reply to why he didn't call back like he said he would the other day.

I almost forgot. He tried to claim that they never got the box from me and that I either didn't really ship it or UPS lost it. That would have made me happy because it was insured for $4000 the second time around. Anyhow, I contacted UPS and they said it was received on Feb 20th. by Jeff Ward himself. They were even nice enough to fax me a copy of that information including a signature (that looks like a scribble but clearly has a "J" in it) for proof that it got there.

I said to Mr. Ward somethign along the lines of "Okay, so what's the next step here?" and he said something like "I don't understand what you mean." to which I explained "I sent you a computer. You lost the computer. So either you owe me money or a new computer." This didn't seem to register as making any sense to him and said he'd have to speak to his supervisor. I mean come on, how can you not have that part of intelligence? But anyhow, I let him go for the day.

One maybe or two days later I called up trying to speak to Charles Martin who seems to be the head/leader guy. The phone would just ring. I left all sorts of messages and tried calling the different extensions "Press 7 for our reseller program" and all of that. No one was picking up the phones... noe one was calling back. I'm assuming they have the caller ID and aren't out of business because their website is still getting updated.

I have pre-paid legal thru my work, so I had them send a letter to Indybox. By the way, pre-paid legal (or at least the firm I have) sucks. There is a typo where Indybox is referred to as "Indiybox" and they asked for the wrong amount of money. I called up asking to speak to someone and I was told I'd get a call back. I never got one and called asking what's going on and the lady said that Mr. Ziegler was on vacation this week and as such unable to call me back. So someone else called. Apparently the letter is all I can get under what I've pre-paid and a lawyer to help sue would be $750. Note to self: never get pre-paid legal again.

Anyhow, I've enlisted the help of the Howard County, Maryland, Office of Consumer Affairs. I'm going to go fill out this nifty form they sent me now and hopefully they can do some magic and help me get this resolved.

August 23rd, 2001

The Office of Consumer Affairs sent three letters and didn't get any kind of a response. Today I filed suit in Maryland District Court. Here's the receipt. Bring it on. :)

October 18th, 2001

I have a court date now. Lucky for me I don't have any finals at the time and plane tickets are $34 one way due to recent events.

October 26th, 2001

A letter from the court has worked it's way up to me and it's bad news. According to the notice the summons sent to the defendent (which was delivered by the court via certified restricted mail) has been returned as "unclaimed mail." I called the number listed to inquire what was that meant and basically it means I need to try another form of service. That pretty much means service by a third party. Too bad I don't know anyone living in or around Indianapolis, Indiana.

December 21st, 2001

Quick ghetto update! A had a process server go to Indybox's offices and there was a sign up in the window saying the space was up for lease. Then I had the process server go to Charles Martin's home address and serve him there. Well, that was the plan. The process server chickened out the first time when he said it was a different Charles Martin (yeah, right) so I made him go out again and do it. Admittedly, I didn't give the process servers a good reason why that was the right address the first time. I then called up and explained why it was correct address (Incorporator's according to the secretary of state's office) and person and he went back and served it. However, Charles was very grumpy and threw the papers on the ground. Process server walked away and Charles sent a letter to the courts saying a neighbor was kind enough to give him the papers which had been out in the elements at the end of the driveway. Pffttt... right.

Anyhow, trial date is now in February because of the switching of service from letter -> process server notification. I was going to double check while I'm home on break to make sure the stupid letter Charles sent didn't somehow delay or cancel the date.

February 26th, 2002

I won (on the 11th)! The defendant didn't show up (I wasn't expecting him to) but that doesn't stop a judge from dishing out the law. Anyhow, they (read: Charles Martin) has 30 days to pay or else I get to subpoena fun stuff like bank account numbers to suck the money from.

April 30th, 2002

Despite winning, IndyBox has yet to contact me about payment for the court case they lost. Apparently the website is up again (and sketchily only taking orders via FAX), but the link for this page has slipped off of the front page of Google. If you'd like to help my efforts to warn other possible GNU/Linux users of IndyBox's shady business, please link to my page so that it may rise in the rankings.

And if you happen to be from IndyBox and reading this (I've been getting pretty much daily hits from a cable modem in Indiana), I suggest you e-mail me because I'll be home soon and I don't have a job for the summer yet so I'll have nothing better to do than track down the two of you. And the judgement also includes interest, so it's just costing you more. I'm trying to be a nice guy about this.

May 28th, 2002

So Micros~1's version of hotmail.com decided to eat the messages I've received from people at that address regarding how fradulent this Charles Martin guy really is. If you're one of the people that's e-mailed me info about the Indybox operation, I'd really appreciate it if you could e-mail me again <abamfici at eudoramail.com> I should of been a little more careful about backing that stuff up. D'oh!

Sometime soon (as in later today) I'll be posting scans of a bunch of the documents I've amassed since this all started. And if you've e-mailed me, don't worry, I won't post your name or identity revealing details.

Here are the scans of just about all of my documentation save a few scrawlings of telephone numbers. I'll put up an index of what they are later on. If you're wondering about missing pages, fear not, I've tried to not put in duplicates and the Indiana Secretary of State's office actually sent me a blank sheet, so I didn't scan that. :) Over the next few days I'll be going over this page and adding links to the scans of the items I reference. And maybe... just maybe... running a spell checker. Why didn't anyone tell me I spelled "broken" wrong? Come on now, it's been sitting there spelled wrong since May 5th, 2001. Toss me a friggin' bone here people.</doctor evil>

Avoid my agony. Do not buy anything from IndyBox Systems, Inc. If you want a GNU/Linux box, buy it from Penguin Computing (they have cool posters!) If you'd like to help warn other consumers, please link to this page and maybe I'll go up in the Google ratings for a search on "IndyBox." Right now I'm at the bottom of the page which is a bad thing because their website is up again.

Feel free to e-mail me. A couple of people have already e-mailed or called(!) and provided me with useful information and/or kind words of support, and I'd like to thank them. Thanks. :)

Author: Kevin Septor <abamfici at hotmail.com> Micros~1 made it suck, I'm not checking it anymore. Use <abamfici at eudoramail.com>

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