Cougar Extreme - new PC

  crazyc1 12:38 15 May 2009

I do not often post, but when I was looking around recently to buy a new pc, feedback such as I am about to provide would have been (and was) useful.

I have never bought a pc from a web site before, and so did some looking around at reviews etc on here, and Novatech and Cougar seemed to get lots of good press. Cougar especially for customer service. As I was nervous of buying on the web this swayed me, along with the fact I seemed to be able to customize things more on their web site. You often only see bad experiences reported, and my experience, whilst not going according to plan, probably shows what others can expect when things don’t go quite right.

I did a little bit of research as to what I wanted, and then called Cougar to check that it all stacked up and I wasn't missing anything. They were helpful and polite and reassured me that what I was going to order matched my needs and should all work together fine.
So I ordered on the wednesday. On their checkout page the shipping example explicitly said I should get my machine the following Friday (ie seven working days later) (great - in time for the weekend).

Later that day, I got an email from Cougar explaining that there had been a glitch on their system, which had messed up the credit card surcharge and taken £267 more than it should have from my account, but that they had found it, refunded it and reset the system. They had done all this and told me before the initial charge had hit my account (I checked). Refund went through fine, no harm no foul, and actually I was probably even more impressed with their customer service (mistakes do happen, its how you deal with them that makes or breaks customer service for me).

I got the requisite confirmation of order etc and payment confirmation and so sat back and waited. The following Wednesday I called to see how it was going as I would need to arrange for someone to be in on the Friday. I was told that it was going well but that I would not get the machine until the following Tuesday as the seven days expired on the Friday but they did not ship on Fridays as they do not leave the machines with couriers over the weekend. It would be shipped on Monday and get to me Tuesday.
I was a little disappointed here and so checked the web site, and everything they said was consistent with the web site and even the order confirmation email I had been sent (but obviously not read properly). So I emailed them to explain that fair enough, I understood, but they should amend the checkout page so it was correct, so others did not get confused. As I said, I did not want to make a big thing of this.

The next morning I had a call from cougar in response to my email, thanking me for the feedback, and explaining that my PC had been being tested for a number of days and there had been no problems whatsoever, and so if I wished, they would remove it from the test bench and send it out to me Thursday so I would have it for Friday. Excellent, again despite the initial problem I feel they score points for things like this.

This morning the delivery turned up at 8.30 – great I thought, so had a look before coming to work. D’oh! it is not the case I ordered. This one has a door on the front, and the USB ports on the opposite side to the big side fan. This is an issue for me because of where I am going to put the PC it will have limited side clearance. The door makes it a little bit of a hassle to use the front usb port on the card reader. The case I wanted had no door (so front ports available) and the case USBs on the same side as the fan. Having said that, I seem to have a second DVD writer included that I don’t think I ordered. I also wanted additional cooling options on the front of the case, for future expansion, which this case doesn’t have as it is a solid front. ( I checked, it was not someone else’s delivery by the way)

I have called Cougar who as always were very helpful – apparently they have been unable to get the case I ordered for a few weeks and the builder should have called me to advise me of this. They have offered to so sort it out however I want, and I am sure they will if I so choose. But I really don’t think I can be bothered to have it collected, and then wiat for it to be returned as I have the PC now, and in any case, I can a USB extension from one of the back ports up to the desk, so avoiding the risk of anyone walking past and knocking out the USB stick.

  crazyc1 12:38 15 May 2009

I have not yet turned on the machine, so will update this post with results after the weekend.

I suspect that I will accept the different case (it does look kinda cool – just not sure of the practicalities), and the bonus (although it makes little difference to me actually) of the second DVD writer.

Despite the odd slips as detailed above, I have found cougar to be knowledgeable, helpful polite, answer the phones quickly (unlike some other places), and (subject to updated review of how it all actually works after the weekend) good value as I have a machine built with quality parts that compares well price wise to the alternatives I could find. So despite the slips, I would most certainly deal with them again and recommend them to my friends/family.

As I said, evidence of how companies deal with people when things go wrong is something I was looking for when I started looking round, and so perhaps this will prove useful to someone else in future.

  Kaacee 20:45 15 May 2009

Lots of people including myself have been saying this for some time with respect to Cougar.

One of if not THE best.

  birdface 09:12 16 May 2009

Maybe so.But surely they should have explained that it was not the correct case before they sent it.
Obvious crazyc1 would have been very disappointed as soon as he seen it was not the one he ordered.
Maybe they should have told him that that particular case was out of stock and it would take three weeks for them to complete his order,or would he prefer to pick a different case.
Whatever way you look at it it is not what he ordered
First impression Disappointed yes.
But now beginning to like the look of it.So could be a happy new customer.
We will no doubt find out after the weekend.
I have had a look at there website which looks good.And see why they are getting such good reviews.You have to have a browse just to see what they have on offer.

  anthonystorey 10:36 16 May 2009

i think crazyc1 is very pleased with the outcome but if the case/usb is an issue but he dosnt want to sent the pc back, i would have tried my luck and told them to send me a usb hub for free and im sure they would happily oblige. Overall the next time im looking for a pc i think id look at Cougar first on this 'review alone'. also if you are looking for a hub ,i bought this from makro last week (£15) click here ive seen them in pc world but not sure how much.

  citadel 16:36 16 May 2009

you can't beat building your own even if it costs a bit more.

  ICF 20:18 16 May 2009

anthonystorey Said:-
"ive seen them in pc world but not sure how much"

A lot more expensive at PC World
click here

  daveeb 21:04 16 May 2009

I'm a big Cougar fan having bought a pc from them last November. The pc is very good value for the spec and neatly wired internally. E-mail and phone enquries answered quickly and efficiently. My only slight quibble was that they didn't provide the motherboard i asked for and didn't notify me of the change. This might have been an issue if i'd had problems but it works fine and i'm happy with it. As i say a minor niggle and overall I think they are excellent I'd say buy from them with confidence, i've recommended them to a few friends who are considering a purchase.

  crazyc1 15:55 18 May 2009

Well, having completed the PC setup over the weekend, I like the PC. Unfortunately as I suspected where I have the PC makes the two side ports inaccessible to me, but I can't be doing with packing it all up and sending it back. I think I can live with the door on the front etc. Was a little surprised to find it had not had SP3 installed on it, but oh well, let it all update itself anyway.

The only ongoing issue is that the ATI catalyst software seems rather buggy. It has crashed about three or four times over the weekend (software not PC), and I am sure this is linked to the couple of times the keyboard just stopped working. When I got no response from the keyboard I restarted the machine, at which point the keyboard worked but the ATI stuff gave a runtime error. Restarting the runtime from the menu got it back tho. (I don't know what all that means). I am awaiting a call back from Cougar about this one. Speedwise etc the machine seems fine.

  birdface 18:35 18 May 2009

Not a great start with your new computer.[the machine seems fine.]

If it is not what you ordered and you are having trouble with it now.
Maybe it is time to tell them you are not very happy with it.As they have already offered to change the case why not go all the way and get what you ordered originally.
And thanks for the honest reporting normally you get someone praising the company and others moaning about them now we have an honest report of something that is not quite right and you are carrying on regardless.
lets hope everything works out well for you.

  crazyc1 18:41 18 May 2009


Having spent a fair bit of time loading on Office etc and more importantly copying over photos/files etc from a mix of the old PC and a previous external drive backup, the wife will kill me if i have to do it all again! Have also retired the old machine to the shed.

My preference would be to resolve what I hope is simply a software issue remotely. Lets see if I get my email solution tomorrow.

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