WSVN — He shipped a computer off to be repaired, now it’s missing and he is being told it’s his fault because he didn’t get permission to send it. Can you be responsible if a company loses your equipment? It’s why we bring in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Leon Fryar knew his wife wanted a new computer. A nice Dell computer.

Leon Fryar: “Well I wanted to show her that she means a lot to me and I wanted to give her a nice present for Christmas.”

That was Christmas 2013. Gloria loved using her laptop.

Gloria Fryar: “Almost every day ’till it broke.”

A few months after she got the computer, it stopped working. Leon took it to a repair shop.

Leon Fryar: “They said the keyboard had frozen up and I needed to put it in the original box, send it to Dell headquarters and have them repair it.”

Leon packed it up, insured it and shipped it. He got proof from the postal service showing it had been delivered to Dell in Towson, Maryland. Leon then waited a few weeks before contacting Dell to see when it would be repaired.

Leon Fryar: “From what Dell told me, they had no record of the computer ever being sent there. That’s what Dell told me.”

Leon contacted the Postal Service.

“The Postal Service says they sent it? Yes. Yes.”

“So Dell and the Postal Service disagree? Yes. Yes.”

The news got worse when they couldn’t find his broken computer. Leon asked Dell to replace it. A supervisor said they could not because the computer was shipped to Dell without any authorization.

Leon Fryar: “I was supposed to have called them and get information to them to send the computer to them.”

Leon could have filed a claim with the Postal Service since he bought insurance, but they did their job and delivered the computer. Some people would have given up. Some people are not named the Fryars.

Gloria Fryar: “Fix my computer, send me a new computer.”

Well Howard, the Postal Service says they delivered the computer, the company says we don’t have a record of that. So legally, what rights do you have?”

Howard Finkelstein: “In most cases, the person who loses the item is responsible. However, if you are returning an item to be repaired or replaced, some companies require you to get authorization and instructions and if you send it in without getting that, they probably aren’t responsible.”

I first contacted Dell’s corporate headquarters. They searched but could not find the computer or any record of Leon Fryar shipping it to them.

I then contacted the U.S. Postal Service. They also did a search. Their spokesperson Debbie Fetterly finally got things moving.

The Postal Service found this signature of the Dell employee who signed for the computer. I sent that to Dell.

A spokesperson said “The system was sent to our corporate office and our mailroom is not equipped to receive products due to security reasons.” She added, “Dell makes it clear that any unauthorized equipment will not be returned and no credit will be issued.”

But after that statement, a great move by Dell. Mr. Fryar got a call from the company. They told him they were replacing Mr. Fryays laptop with a brand new Dell computer.

Leon Fryar: “I contacted you, you know, ’cause I had it up to here. I didn’t know what else to do. You were my last resort.”

Leon contacted us. Gloria has her computer again. A new and improved one.

Leon Fryar: “Really, I am really glad. You saved us a lot of trouble, headaches and you got results and that’s the main thing.”

Patrick Fraser: “Glad we were able to help. That signature from the Postal Service was the key and of course nice of Dell to go outside their normal rules and give the Fryars a new computer. Now, if you have a device that breaks, before you start searching for return instructions, call the company. They may be able to help you fix it over the phone, tell you a place near you to take it or let you know exactly how to return it to them.”

Feeling powerless to connect to a solution? Unplug it and reboot with us. We aren’t electronic whizzes but we are persistent. Another way of saying we are stubborn and hate to give up.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

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