I love this thread so much, I actually felt a need to make a few comments:
First of all to our legal professionals: IN SOME STATES you need both party's consent to record a conversation AND use it in a court of law. What this means is: if there is a case pending in court between the caller and Gateway, the law of the state the suit was filed in would dictate whether or not the call was allowed to be used in court. It has nothing to do with what was posted on a Web site.
Secondly: THE CUSTOMER IS KING. I saw from the postings that not everyone agreed with this. Some people even said its the customers fault for not researching the computer they bought. I don't care how you look at it. IF ANY COMPANY WANTS MY HARD EARNED MONEY then I expect to be treated like a valuable person. If my experiences were bad, I would probably take my business elsewhere. Yes "let the buyer beware" holds true; but if you want a long-term customer then treat me accordingly.
Third: Just for the record, I currently use an emachines computer. In the past few years I also bought my son one, and my mother one. My previous computer was also emachines. For me, the sales price for the package is worth it. I upgraded the RAM, but it was still so much cheaper than custom building one from scratch (at least for my uses). Believe it or not, I have never had to contact customer service. I never had a major problem with any of them. I can do basic repairs but half the people reading this thread are probably more tech savvy than me. To me this speaks wonders about the quality.
Finally: May I point out here that some companies pay outside people to call their support staff and monitor their responses. Gateway got a free ride here. Does that mean that all Gateway staff are bad? No it doesn't. We all have companies we have had bad experiences with. For various reasons, I personally will never allow AT&T to receive a dime of my money again. I had a series of problems with them. I felt I was not treated like a valuable customer. The same principle applies here to some people. I also don't buy the 75 year old lady story (she sounded way too young) but even if she was 75 or brand new, that is no excuse for giving wrong answers or being rude. The first rule should be: if you don't know the answer find out or pass the call to someone who can help.