[M3438] SEVERE graphics hardware fault !!

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Trading Standards

Postby Futumsh » Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:15

Okay, I am only 6 months out of warantee and have been told by a repairer that the graphics chip is faulty and that the motherboard would need to be replaced (I will try and see if I can find someone who does component level repairs).

By the sounds of things this fault is a common one. This makes it a issue with the product being unfit for purpose and a fault in the design or quality of the components, not a warantee issue. I will be formally writing to FS to dispute the issue and will take legal action if necessary.

If any people on this forum have photos of the fault similar to those in the original post it would be useful to post them so that I might use them as documentary evidence of the problem



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graphic card

Postby zoleegee » Tue Jun 26, 2007 22:45

It's possible to buy the MXM-III sized graphic module. I'll look after where u can get it!

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Postby StudioMusician » Wed Jun 27, 2007 20:03

Final Result:

After consulting and gathering legal information I finally threatened my retailer (http://www.LaptopsDirect.co.uk) with court action and a fine, and they instead decided to give me a partial refund settlement out of court, given that I've had good use out of it for 15 months (fair enough). They wouldn't repair the laptop, so a partial refund was the only option.

Because I had had the 15 months of normal use out of the laptop before it died, the partial refund was calculated from that. Two years is the claimed lifespan of a laptop. However, I finally managed to claim back £575 from the £1169 figure originally paid, which is just under half of the original amount. Unfortunately the laptop also had to be sent back to them as part of the deal, which sucks, so I can't sell the laptop for spare parts, even.

Basically, for all Europeans, there is a little known law called the "Sale of Goods Law 1979 (as ammended)", which states that consumers have legal rights for up to six years for defects not relating to wear or tear for any products purchased under European Law, this apparently being the responsibility of the retailer ('LaptopsDirect' in my case) and not the manufacturer ('Fujitsu'). This is separate to the Guarantee/Warranty, as you are still protected by the SoG law (as mentioned for up to six years from the point of sale) even after the warranty has expired.

This allows you to obtain a repair or partial refund where you've had normal use of the goods for a while. A full refund is only ever possible if the goods are found to be defective immediately after buying them, or after little use, and that the relevant parties were informed and challenged quickly upon finding the defect. Once you are deemed to have 'accepted' the goods, your rights are limited in the first instance to claiming a repair or possibly a replacement or partial refund. Additionally, any defect that has been caused as a result of misuse or mere wear and tear will not have a legal claim under the SoG Act. "Consumables" (such as batteries, etc.) are not covered, either.

However, in this case with the M3438G, it appears that there is a severe and inherent defect with the graphics card and the thermal module on the Fujitsu Amilo M3438G laptop, and is NOT user-related NOR normal "WEAR AND TEAR". - To date, I have seen and know of 20 DIFFERENT people with the EXACT same problem with the EXACT same model of laptop, from several forums (Amilo-Forum, NotebookForums, NotebookReview, and of course this Fujitsu-Siemens Support forum). If this is but a cross-section of M3438G users with the problem, it's highly likely there are many other sufferers out there, too.

M0rt, a fellow user on these forums, had the exact same fault with his M3438G and had it repaired (luckily under warranty) by Fujitsu. He kindly gave me the official Fujitsu engineer's repair report after it was repaired and sent back to him, and he has given permission to show it, as displayed below. I have censored personal data.


The faults are circled.

Regards the legal aspects, if you are in the UK, then http://www.ConsumerDirect.gov.uk give excellent advice to initiate formal complaints, lobbying for an early result, and will then otherwise pass you on to Trading Standards if the response from the retailer is negative, who will then take over your case and advise you further.

So basically it's about chasing up the retailer rather than Fujitsu themselves to get the problem fixed.

(continued next post, due to forum message size limitation...)

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Postby StudioMusician » Wed Jun 27, 2007 20:09


The stumbling blocks I found were:

1) The retailers tend to imply that they do not know of the Sale of Goods law (as it's little known) and thus immediately repel it...

2) They then have to be convinced of it by Trading Standards contacting them (on your behalf) and, thus....

3) Tend to really drag their heels in trying to ammend the problem afterwards. The Trading Standards people you contact also have to be in the same county (sic) to the retailer you're trying to get the item fixed. So, even though I live in Derbyshire (in the Midlands) I later realised it's best to contact the Trading Standards situating in the county of the retailer (Yorkshire, in my case, as my retailer happened to be based in Huddersfield).

The other main problem is that, ultimately, Trading Standards have no powers to force the retailer to cough up in such "civil cases", so if the retailers still stand their ground and refuse to repair it for free the only other avenue left is going down the legal route, and this is either: 1) going to court to force the retailer to fix it, or 2) getting it fixed by the manufacturer or a third-party repair specialist at your own cost and then taking the case to court to win back the damages from the retailer.

Trading Standards can give you advice on such issues. Luckily in my case an ultimatum to the managing director at Laptops Direct ended the case by means of settlement. But I was fully intent on taking this to the courts, in addition to fining the company for wasting my time and for all the administration incurred, if they hadn't.

Last notes:

* If you have the problem whilst still in warranty, get it sorted ASAP.
* A recommendation by M0rt was to also invest in a USB laptop cooler with fans directed to the base of the laptop unit. I would also recommend this, as it would reduce the strain of the internal laptop components and would likely extend the life of your (or any) laptop.
However, make sure that, whichever laptop cooler you choose, it has been designed for 17" laptops, and has the fans placed in suitable places so as to best effectively cool the laptop, such as being situated near the air intake or exhaust grilles or similar to maximise effectiveness - however be careful the cooler's fans don't impede the laptop's own air flow by "pushing and pulling" (overriding, or working against) the laptop's air flow/fans at the same time.

It's a shame, the M3438G is a very nice little laptop if you haven't these problems. I will certainly miss it. However, with the heavily documented [Amilo Mx43xG lag] problems (which, I have to say, weren't apparent on mine), and along with a previous purchase of a Fujitsu hard-drive (for a desktop computer) which died well before time despite careful use - these being my only dealings with Fujitsu - I will find it very hard to recommend Fujitsu to others in future.

Best wishes,


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Postby nickm » Thu Jun 28, 2007 15:16

Hi StudioMusicain,

As you can guess, i am writing to this forum as i have just started to experience the exact same problem you and everyone else in this forum has been experiencing.

Thank you for all the information you guys have posted. I didnt think it was thas serious but now after reading this information i want to cry.

What i would like to know is if Fujitsu are going to do anything about this? Its obvious that this is a problem where Fujitsu are at fault. I am now out of warranty, and when i go to speak to them they will make me pay for the repair, which will not be cheap!

Are FS aware of this issue, if not will i be able to refer them to this board?

Whats your advice for when i ring FS up?


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Postby StudioMusician » Thu Jun 28, 2007 23:33

I think the more people that ring up Fujitsu with this problem, the more Fujitsu will be aware that the problem exists from a much larger perspective. I'm sure they have already repaired countless M3438Gs with this defect already.

When I rang them up in late January, because my laptop was (literally just) out of warranty, they stated I would have had to pay for the repairs. Fujitsu wanted £100 to "collect and inspect" the laptop, and any repairs would be additional to this. I believe the total, including the repair, is around the £300 figure. Which is why I shunned this, and went the legal route as I initially thought I was of a minority with the problem.

However, it appears given the breadth and more widespread nature of the problem over the last few months, Fujitsu should note that this problem exists and really does some sort of free replacement recall for those with the problem, such as Dell did over the "vertical line" incidents of their Inspiron LCDs even on out of warranty Dell laptops. An enterprising Dell user with the fault set up the website http://dellverticalline.com to headline the problem, and Dell eventually responded by initiating a recall.

Knowing what I know now, I would talk to Fujitsu directly and appeal to them that the problem is NOT wear and tear, that given the number of people with the problem it must be some serious inherent design defect, and firmly guide them to this thread if you will, and see if they would relax their views and accept this is a problem with their M3438G laptop and fix your computer accordingly (for free). Otherwise the other course of action would be to go to the retailer and force their hand via the Sale of Goods Law (if bought in Europe), like I did, but this can be lengthy.

I would strongly advise that you talk to any parties (Fujitsu and/or your retailer) directly to the managing directors over the phone. Emails and letters just get put aside, and are useless (unless obtaining advice from ConsumerDirect if you need to - they are very good and prompt with emails and advice).

Best wishes.

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Postby nickm » Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:07

Thank you for your quick reply. I will post up my progress here.


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Reply from FS UK

Postby sean8n » Wed Jul 04, 2007 6:43

Here's the curt reply I got, despite the history of this problem posted (and referred to) on this board:


I presume it worked OK during the warranty period of 1 year. We will still repair outside the warranty period, but as it outside warranty this will chargeable. To arrange a out of warranty repair please call 09066 633416.

Best Regards

Technical Services
FSC Campus
The Boulevard
Cain Road
RG12 1HH"

The poor english suggests it's an outsourced reply, probably India. It's a real pity companies don't accept responsibility in such clear-cut cases, it really isn't worth the loss of reputation in my opinion. I'm a loyal customer when I fine good service, but they've lost me now.

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Postby Raven_ » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:50

Not to spoil the party, but please read the lagging issue thread when you have some hopes that FS will actually provide a fix or service for this issue by themselves. :lol: The fastest solution: court & never buy FS again.

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Re: Reply from FS UK

Postby StudioMusician » Wed Aug 01, 2007 16:13

sean8n wrote:Here's the curt reply I got, despite the history of this problem posted (and referred to) on this board:


I presume it worked OK during the warranty period of 1 year. We will still repair outside the warranty period, but as it outside warranty this will chargeable. To arrange a out of warranty repair please call 09066 633416.

A warranty is completely separate from the Sale Of Goods Law 1979. A warranty is almost a "no-quibble insurance policy", whereas the Sale of Goods law is lawful consumer protection against shoddy workmanship/products, which is exactly what Fujitsu sold us.

Where a standard warranty usually lasts 12 months, the Sale of Goods Law is applicable for up to 6 years.

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Postby skyos1 » Mon Nov 19, 2007 20:49

i'm from italy and i have had my amilo 3438 two times repaired by FSC in italy ,they change first time my mainboard and it last it 2 weeks and the 2 time they changed nvidia and my hard disk (they put a seagate hd instead of a fujitsu hd which was originally )
seems to work for now it's 3 week from last repair
the problem is that all 3438 seems to be verry hot even on normal condition and if you get freeze of xp and need to force to power shut down at reboot sistem could not reinitialize win cos it's a problem with raid controler or nvidia can't start up
it can't be used 24 /24 h i can say now so it's a faulty laptop from the start since we can't use this machine as they claimed to do
never buy a FSC product again and advice others DO NOT BUY NEATHER

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Postby perpedes » Wed Dec 05, 2007 14:45

I have nearly the same problem. My Computer doesnt change the symbols, but I lots of small quadrats like in the logo of FS ^^(there stands "We make sure", the quadrats to the right of the letters). I could only start it in safety mode, but after deinstalling the graphic driver, it works again, just without graphic card but steadily with those quadrats which you can't always see (you can see them for example in the Windows-flag, when the computer starts windows), it changes with the colours. I have no warranty anymore and am glad for the computer. So do I need an Geforce 6800 go again or are there other (better) graphic cards which do fit into the m3438g?
greetings and sorry for my bad English, perpedes

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Postby chechucasta » Thu Dec 06, 2007 13:43

Thank you very much by its affected contribution to this one community of of the M3438G. Is incredible the scorn with which Fujitsu has dealt us to all.
It is clear that the laws do not protect the consumers.

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Same problem?

Postby seoras » Mon Jan 28, 2008 13:00

I have the 3438G too and I think I may have the same problem. My notebook started making a funny noise when starting up then decided not to start up at all, instead the screen went grey with a broad vertical stripe down the middle. I had a pc repair guy have a look at it and he reckons it's the graphics that have gone and it needs a new motherboard. Naturally I was stunned as the notebook is only 2 years old. I've only just discovered this thread which makes very depressing reading. I have a friend looking at the laptop at the moment to see what he can do as I don't fancy having to take out a mortgage to have Fujitsu look at it! I will get him to have a look at all the info on this thread as I think it might help him diagnose/fix it (with any luck!). I will be getting in touch with Fujitsu and my suppliers as well. It would be very wrong if Fujitsu get away with this but it looks like they probably will. No more Fujitsu for me!!


Postby sysrc » Mon Jan 28, 2008 15:28

This is happening to me for the second time.
At first I had this problem in month 20 so it happened when I was still under the warranty and the service changed the motherboard and graphics card.

But now after four months it started happening again.
I don't belive how could this product got on the market in the first place.

I will try a legal action against Fujitsu because I have to throw this laptop away as it is pointless to try another graphics card and mother board.

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