The Aftershock Experience – Support to Match the Systems

The Aftershock Experience - Support to Match the Systems

Reviewing tech is a tricky business. You get an idea of the quality of the product and what it can do, but you can miss things that are super important to consumers. Things like longevity and after-sales service just don’t present themselves when I get a laptop or PC on loan to spend a few weeks with. Tech, despite quality controls, can be problematic, just like any commercially mass-produced product. Things can break or fail and as a result, they need to be repaired or replaced. There is no escaping this, it is just going to happen sometimes. So consumers need to know that they are going to be looked after when their (likely expensive) device runs into trouble. 

This leads me to Aftershock PC 

The Aftershock Showroom

But, before we get to that, I think some context is important. For a very long time, I built my own PCs. In fact, way back in 1999, my first job that didn’t involve fast food and a terrible uniform was building PCs for a local computer store in Port Macquarie. As time went on and my life changed, I found it hard to keep up-to-date with inevitable hardware changes so, even though I felt I could still do the job, I chose to move to a pre-built PC, instead of a Frankenstein of my own creation. For my first pre-built PC I went with a known commodity, Alienware. It was a great PC, don’t get me wrong, but I had issues. As someone that does have the knowledge to upgrade a PC piecemeal, the Alienware was a pain in the ass. Everything on that PC was so engineered and everything had its place so it was super hard to get parts that would fit. So when it came time to upgrade I went somewhere else. 

That is where Aftershock came in. If you have ever been to PAX you are probably aware of Aftershock PC. They are the mob with the insane desktop builds that look like pink bubblegum nightmares, Transformers in disguise or classic Japanese furniture. I am sure many have wandered through their booth admiring the work and artistry that goes into the builds. But it wasn’t pretty I was after, it was practical, so I went to their very easy-to-use website, specced up a PC build to my liking (and even got the P2 logo etched on the case) making sure the case I chose had plenty of room for me to tinker and upgrade components in the future. It was fantastic, as it was basically all the fun of building my own PC without cutting myself on the case and swearing when I realised I put the power button plug in the wrong way when the computer didn’t start. 

The Explorer Build
The Zen Build

So in about a week or so, my new Aftershock PC arrived. It was bigger than I expected if I am honest (measuring isn’t really my thing) but it was fantastically solid and looked great. Despite its size and weight, I found the perfect home for it and away I went, gaming, editing videos and yes, even working to my heart’s content, totally satisfied with my purchase. That pattern continued until something happened. Things weren’t working, random resets, power downs and strange behaviour began to occur with increasing regularity. As I said, I am no slouch with PC’s so I went through the usual suspects. Reinstalled drivers, hunted through error logs and even refreshed windows. No joy, it was clear this was a hardware problem. Now I have always felt that as far as IT is concerned I know enough to know when I don’t know enough so I reached out to the Aftershock support team for guidance. 

My PC was 18 months into its 2-year warranty, but this didn’t stop the team at Aftershock from being anything but super helpful. The support team there ran me through some troubleshooting that I didn’t know about and some tricks I hadn’t learned but shortly came to the conclusion that my suspicions were correct, it was hardware. This presented me with a worry. I had to send back this beasty PC to Melbourne for repair. This was clearly a concern for Aftershock too, because they had a handy guide on how to pack the PC correctly and then required photos so they knew I had followed their instructions. I mean it makes sense and I appreciated the abundance of caution. So, my PC, all wrapped, stuffed and covered in more packing material than you’ll find at an Amazon warehouse, got picked up and returned to base for repair. 

My PC, Ready to Ship.

It is here I pause for a slight criticism of the process. Aftershock didn’t let me know that my PC had arrived safely, I had to reach out and check. It is a small thing I know, but I have a deep distrust for all couriers, posties and mail services (which would play true…stay with the story) and letting me know my very expensive PC had made the journey safely, is in my mind, something that Aftershock should have done without me having to chase it. A minor thing but one worth mentioning. That said, once my PC was there it was a remarkably short time before I got a phone call. “So Matt” said the person on the other end “It is your power supply. We have replaced that, but we think it has damaged the CPU and motherboard as well, so we have replaced those too.” In short, a good chunk of my PC had been replaced with brand-new parts, not spares or used parts, brand new. Nice.

So on a Friday, my PC was sent back to me from Melbourne and arrived at my work on the following Monday afternoon, pretty good delivery time. But it wasn’t long before it became apparent something was wrong. The box it came in showed signs of mistreatment. Quickly I opened up the box and found my PC wrapped in packing foam and bubble wrap. As I started pulling it off, suddenly I jumped back. I had cut my finger. Initially, I didn’t think much of it, thinking it was on a staple in the box or something similar, but the truth soon presented itself. You see my PC had a glass panel on the side, lovingly printed with the P2 logo. That glass panel was safety glass and was in a million pieces scattered through my PC. The courier, along the way, had decided that my PC, despite the fragile stickers on the box, would make a great soccer ball and in the process of shooting for a goal with a left foot strike shattered the panel. 

The tragedy of my shattered glass panel.

Immediately I was on the phone. Knowing that it wasn’t Aftershock’s fault, I wasn’t angry with them (though I said some things about the courier that don’t bear repeating.) But here is where Aftershock’s communication let them down a little once again. It took me 3 phone calls and 3 emails over the course of 2 days to finally get a hold of someone. That is not great in this sort of situation. I contemplated pulling the computer apart myself and cleaning all the glass out, but frankly, the thought of that task made me squirm. There was glass everywhere and while I probably could have done it, it would have caused me untold heartache and more than likely more bloody fingers. Luckily when Aftershock finally got back to me, they were super attentive and we came up with a plan to take my PC to a local PC repair shop so I could get my PC back quicker, all at Aftershock’s cost of course. So within the next day, they had contacted a repair shop near my work and I had dropped it in. In the meantime, Aftershock was sending a replacement panel directly to the repair shop so it would all be good to go when I picked it up.

Sadly, the tale doesn’t end there. It has been two weeks now that my computer has been at that repair shop and I am getting angry. They didn’t even start work on the PC until the panel arrived so it has been sitting there, in a pile of broken glass for 10 days. What started as a way for me to get my computer back, has become another bloody delay. This isn’t Aftershock’s fault at all, I thought it was a good idea too, especially after how the courier treated my PC the first time around, but regardless it is really beginning to affect me. For a month now I haven’t had a working PC. My laptop, while fine for writing this article, hardly cuts it as a video editing, gaming PC, so I have Player 2 work piling up on my desk at an alarming rate. 

My PC... How I miss thee.

But with all that said, I am still happy I went with Aftershock. The PC has been a great one and I expect it to be a great one when it finally makes its way home. Aftershock were attentive and helpful, easy to deal with and have done everything in their power to help me in this situation. My honest criticism is that they could work on their communication strategies with clients, but apart from that I feel like they have met and even exceeded expectations for this situation. Tech fails, it is a story as old as time, it happens to every company in every industry so any consumer-facing business must have the ability to deal with these failures. That is why I am writing this article, to highlight that not only do Aftershock make some of the most stunning PC builds available, but they do back it up with solid support when the worst happens and things go wrong. Any delays I experienced in this process were the result of third parties and not the Aftershock team themselves. 

At the beginning of the article, I commented on the difficulty of reviewing after-sales service. The only way to do so would be to experience it first-hand. I have now done so and can say that in my experience Aftershock gets it right. So if you are looking for a new gaming rig and support is a concern, Aftershock have your back. 

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