I purchased my SP4 new in August 2016, bought Microsoft Complete the same day. In May of 2017, I noticed a horizontal line at the bottom of the screen that initially was intermittent. I naively thought it was a row of dead pixels, but was unconcerned b/c I knew I had Complete, and I wasn’t physically in the US at the time. It also wasn’t affecting my work flow. In about June I started having flickering of the screen, but initially it would go away.


In July 2017 after an update I was unable to login to the computer. I’d just get a black splash screen after attempting to login. Contacted support via twitter, and then also brought up the horizontal line which had at this point become persistent.  They initially responded, walked me through troubleshooting, and then stopped responding, saying they were *researching the issue*. They took THREE days to respond and I contacted them again, and I was advised the device needed to be replaced.


In August 2017 I contacted support they had me go through the troubleshooting steps again, wanted me to reset the machine, I’d recently reset the machine and the issue still persisted through the reset, so again, they advised I should return the device. I was still outside the US so held off on the replacement, though the issue with the screen shaking was becoming worse. I noticed that when it was occurring the back of the device would get very warm, and that it would happen after a few hours of use. None of the tasks that I use the tablet for are intensive. I’m mostly browsing or using the Office Suite. By this point the shaking was occurring so often the device was essentially unusable.


In October 2017, I had the device returned to the US for replacement. It was brought into the Boca Raton store. They decided they wanted to test and troubleshoot the device themselves, though I explained it had already been reset several times and we’d gone through the whole diagnostic software program with no resolution. I emailed them photos and videos of the issue. They promised to keep in touch directly with me. They did not.


Three days later they decided that the device in fact had to be replaced, and that they would be charging me a $49.99 deductible. (Which I thought was odd since I could document that the issue started w/in the standard warranty)  They didn’t have any SP4’s in stock, supposedly the model is no longer being manufactured, and they couldn’t give me an ETA on when they would receive a replacement SP4. They flat out denied me getting a model/upgrade from the store. Stating that my SP4 was too old.


They took ELEVEN days to get a replacement unit (and I only found out they had the device in store because I called to follow up, the stock clerk stated he didn’t know that a customer was waiting on a replacement unit), and it was during this time, I discovered *unhappily* that this was a widespread issue, and that users had been having this problem from as far back as December 2015. Reading through the posts, I realized that several users had the issue re-occur on replacement devices. That there were users who had been made to pay for replacement machines as the issue occurred just outside the warranty period, that there were still others strung along by support to wait for a software fix, that never came, and eventually pushed them outside of the warranty coverage window.


I tried to have the case escalated b/c just getting a replacement SP4 that was going to exhibit the same problem down the line to me is unacceptable. I was told my case would be escalated to Tier 3 support. I waited FIVE DAYS *THEY NEVER CONTACTED ME* though they claimed they called and emailed me. I have no record of either contact. No missed calls, no voicemail, no deleted or junk emails.


I contacted the Better Business Bureau and filed a claim and at this point hearing from Microsoft was immediate. I was assigned a case manage and supposedly a senior engineer. They promised to investigate the issue, and check on the support received from the Boca Store (which though off putting wasn’t the real issue). I requested a refund of the purchase price & Complete Warranty. (I’d decided I was done with Microsoft and the Surface line of products. My case is peculiar in that this is essentially the 4th Surface Pro across various models, that has developed issues within the first year of usage and had to be replaced. With No physical/accidental damage)


Again I waited FIVE days to hear from them, they informed me that the refund window is within 30 days of purchase, and that all they could offer is a prorated refund of the cost of the Complete warranty, providing I hadn’t used it for a repair/replacement. While waiting on them to follow up with the store. The Store kept *insistently* calling my contact who brought in the device insisting they come and pick up the device or it would be returned to Microsoft and that the device was no longer being manufactured so I would receive nothing. Despite the fact that we’d scheduled a date for pickup, and had another machine #3 also scheduled for an out of warranty upgrade. I had delayed the pickup to 1. Try to see if I could get an acceptable resolution from Microsoft 2. If we had two devices to be replaced, we only wanted to make one trip to the store.


Still waiting to hear from the elevated Microsoft Supports investigation and the store forcing us to essentially take the replacement. I opted to take the replacement. At which point the elevated support came back and was like well you’ve taken the replacement so we can’t give you a pro-rated refund, and we now consider your case closed.


In the final analysis the store opted to drop the $49.99 deductible and added 5 months of warranty to the device.


We opted to not get the out of warranty replacement on device #3. We got a DELL. I have decided I will never be purchasing or recommending the purchase of a Surface device. They don’t stand behind their products, they are only interested in potential customers, not the one’s that they already have who have been supporting them for years. ( I previously owned the SP1; replaced for screen flickering, and the SP3 which also had to be replaced for a dead ouch zone, and the SP3 had to be replaced a 2nd time for a mysterious crack which developed while the machine had the type cover attached, was in a padded folio case, which was inside a padded laptop knapsack.)


The customer support experience has been a debacle with various Support Cases being spread over THREE different email addresses associated with the tablet, though no agent ever asked me for my email address. For agents failing to create service case #’s. For failure to contact, for the lack of urgency on the part of support agents and for Microsoft’s policies.


I’ve seen over the course of the Community Forum thread that they’ve admitted to a problem and that they are working on it in some cases, while pretending there is no issue in others.  They have willfully ignored an issue that has been going on for almost 2 years, with no remedy to their customers.


They have pushed customers to wait until their warranties have expired, or replaced machines for the issue to only re-occur outside of the warranty period, at which point they absolve themselves of any culpability.


I also found out that the warranty terms of Complete indicate that we can’t form a class action law suit, that we can only do individual arbitration. If that doesn’t smack of dishonest business practices, I don’t know what else does.


One thing is certain Microsoft has lost me as a customer forever.  I normally inform the tech decision of my friends, family members and forum members of  a technology forum I moderate. I can no longer in good faith recommend their devices for purchase.

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