Had a good support experience

I recently had a problem with a USB-C port on my Framework 13 that induced some support interactions (it wasn’t reading USB 3 devices). I wasn’t expecting to actually be in a position to “try out” the Framework modular concept any time soon, or potentially ever, and it left more of an impression on me than I thought it would, so I wanted to chat about it here.

It’s very convenient to be able to work through a laptop repair process from home.

Not counting me being slow, the overall process of getting a replacement motherboard installed took around nine days or so.
My total downtime, though, was on the order of probably three hours, with updating, rebooting, trying a live USB, plugging things in, checking the BIOS, taking photos, etc.
Across several email exchanges, support got back to me almost always the same day. Not being in a hurry, the only real waiting I did was for the motherboard to arrive once it was shipped.

Through the whole process, I continued using my laptop as it was convenient, and I didn’t at any point stop using it when I didn’t want to. In my experience, computer problems, more often than not, don’t total the machine. A connector or something gets flaky, but doesn’t entirely stop you from using the computer, even when it does merit a repair.

I’m a huge fan of this change in company-to-customer relationship, which is enabled by the modularity of the hardware. Shibboleet still isn’t real. You still have to follow the support script. But, this degree of self-service is a change in the right direction. I’ve taken apart and reassembled laptops and desktops in the past. Replacing the motherboard of a necessity, instead of for fun, really drove home how low-effort that operation is in a Framework 13, easier than a desktop even. A leisurely ten minutes, one screwdriver, minimal fiddling while hunched over, and I, the customer, never have to relinquish control nor hand over my data.

If a repair interaction with Apple for a MacBook is a 4/10 for convenience, the corresponding interaction with Framework is a 7/10, on the gut feel scale. Scylla is having a permanently broken computer. Charybdis is shipping your entire laptop to a mystery depot for an unknown duration. This experience, by contrast to those two, proves out a demonstrable, concrete, real-world benefit that I can plausibly sell to people I know who might want a new Windows laptop. (I’m assuming the Linux types have already bought one.)

Here’s the timeline for the curious:

  • Jan 3, I sent an email to support asking about my USB-C port
  • Jan 4, after some email exchanges, support sent me fairly involved troubleshooting steps (update/reset BIOS, swap cards, try multiple devices, take photos)
  • I had some things going on, but got back to them in a timely fashion, on… Jan 31, with notes and the photos they’d asked for. They replied the same day asking for the photos again, I think not realizing I’d put them in a zip file, so I replied again.
  • Feb 1, they replied, asking me to try a live USB and to try doing a mainboard reset, removing all the batteries for a while. This started to feel like support was jerking me around. They weren’t. At least, I can easily imagine reasons for all of the requests that they made. My feeling was surprise at having unexpected troubleshooting after the expected troubleshooting.
  • Feb 2, I replied with more notes and some photos. They replied asking for shipping information, said they were going to send out a replacement motherboard, to my additional surprise(*).
  • Feb 3, I replied with the info. They replied, same day, saying I’d get an RMA number when the RMA and Repair team got to me in the queue. (got the RMA number on Feb 5, for the return label)
  • The replacement motherboard arrived at my house just under a week later, Feb 8 or 9. I installed the motherboard, printed out the RMA label, put the old motherboard in the same packaging the new one had arrived in, taped it up, and… left it sitting in my living room for a week.

(*)I’m not actually sure why support shipped me a new motherboard. I believe I’m about one year out of warranty.


You know, the irritating thing to me is, I swear when I’m having issues, it isn’t my equipment to my supervisor and that I’ve tried doing what they asked before and it’s something on the company’s end…then of course it somehow magically is my fault…I hate networking equipment so very very much. Cheers for XKCD comic tho! Brightened my day!

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It’s probably your router. No, really, it’s probably your router. The VPN’s fine for everybody else. Was your microwave running? Have you tried replacing your modem?

My main issue with support from many companies in France is (Not talking about Framework here!!) - their following “script” attitude combined with the fact they are not french natives. They pick the words they understand from what I say, and are incapable of understanding the actual sentence.
This has gone so far that I simply hang up the phone when I realize a non french native speaker is on the phone.

I’m very happy to see that FrameWork is different in that regard. That is very good news! and I know why I pay the extra bucks to get one myself :wink:

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I am native English-speaking, so I can’t say anything about their non-English support, but hopefully they’ve got equally good comprehension in other languages. I did feel that the interactions were much heavier on the scriptedness than the communication, but then, what do you expect.

I wanted to call out that the overall terms of the support process are much better for the customer when the customer can play the role of hands and eyes… similar to the way businesses will swear by Dell support because Dell support techs show up on site with parts within hours. Framework is like a consumer-accessible (if slower) version of that level of convenience.

The modem is less than a month old, no the microwave wasn’t running and even if it was…it’s an Ethernet connection. It doesn’t make much sense that just the company VPN that wasn’t functioning. It could have just as easily been something on the company Mac rather than my router, either way, I’m not paid enough to care to really figure it out.

heheh, sorry, I was joking, didn’t meant to sound sincere, just running down a list of hopeless / silly stock responses to people having connectivity problems. “just buy new replacements for all of your hardware and try again” is one of my favorites.

Last time I had Internet problems, it was “suckout”, where thermal expansion, I guess, pulled some shielding away from a coax connector somewhere outside my house. An ISP tech had to come run new wire.

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My bad! I didn’t mean to jump down your throat or anything. I’ve just had awful experiences with calling Xfinity at this point that I feel traumatized. The phone tree “suggests” doing a modem restart before connecting you to an agent and then if you decline it refuses to proceed until you give it permission to remotely restart your modem.

…I hate xfinity and I’ve only had them 4 months.


I can only second this. Once two-way communication was established, Framework support was excellent, responsive, and solved my problem. Despite their excessive workload.