Is MSI Customer Service Good? 2018 Rating

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With confusing web support and a punitive registration process, MSI wound up dead-last in our Tech Support Showdown Rankings last year. Based on my research this year, it's not likely to move up in the world very much. Although the company's phone support is fast and somewhat accurate, that's about the best you can say for the brand.

MSI Tech Support
Overall Web Score Phone Score Avg Call Time Phone Number Web Support
45/100 10/60 35/40 5:47 888-447-6564 Link
Phone Hours (PST): 5 am - 4 am

Between nonexistent social media support, incomprehensible online instructions and hit-or-miss phone calls, if anything goes wrong with an MSI laptop, your best bet is to try to find an answer on your own or pick up the phone and call the company.

To test MSI's customer support, I picked up an MSI GL62M 7REX laptop and familiarized myself with it. I then asked three questions, both over the phone and online. Two were generalized Windows 10 questions: "How can I protect myself from Spectre/Meltdown?" and "How can I activate Cortana?" One was specialized for MSI notebooks: "How can I adjust the fan speed?"

Phone support was largely able to diagnose these issues correctly (sometimes after diagnosing them incorrectly at first), but online support was no help at all. Both methods required a lot of tedious setup on my end.

Web Support

When I sat down to write this piece, I opened the MSI Support website to use as a reference. After failing to load twice, it finally informed me that the site was down for an unspecified amount of time, due to an unspecified error. This experience is a surprisingly good microcosm of MSI’s web support in general.

Even when it's working properly, the MSI website is a labyrinthine odyssey, full of pictures and nebulous options, consigning the most useful links to the bottom of the page. The Service section of the website tells you to register your product straightaway; it doesn't give phone numbers, email addresses or social media contact info. (These are hidden at the Contact Us page, way, way at the bottom of the site, just between the copyright and the privacy policy.)


Let's take a moment to talk about registration as well. MSI insists that users register their products before they request either online or phone support. While you have to go through this process only once, it's one of the most arduous I've been through.

You'll need your name, email address, phone number and computer's serial number — fair enough. But you'll also need your computer's Windows service pack (Windows 10 does not have service packs) and BIOS version (which is difficult to find, impossible to copy and — in a final insult — was too long to fit into the box provided by MSI. Luckily, the form accepted a partial number and didn't verify it). It's not possible to leave these fields blank, or the website will kick you back to the application without accepting it.

You'll also need to upload a copy of your receipt — hope you kept it! — but I imagine you could upload any image and it would work, since the website accepted my registration immediately, without any kind of verification.

To be fair, MSI offers an automated tool that identifies your computer and bypasses a lot of this manual input. The tool doesn't work at all, however, which mitigates its usefulness somewhat. The executable file identifies your computer, brings you to a web page, and then hangs indefinitely. The MSI website will often hang indefinitely, but I wasn't able to overcome this particular bug.

If you can grapple with the registration process and the sluggish website, you can submit an online form with any questions you might have. Since there's no live-chat option, I decided to try this form for one of my questions. After filling out a sheet almost as complex as the registration form, I asked MSI how best to defend my computer from Spectre/Meltdown.

About 5 hours later, I received a response ("Your recent request has been replied," it informed me. "Click here to read the detail.") with a URL that led to another slowly loading web page. There, MSI informed me that I should make regular backups of my data, and create a USB recovery drive. This isn't bad advice, but it didn't address the question directly — and it took a decidedly fatalistic outlook on the situation.

Otherwise, I was able to use the website's search feature to find a fairly decent explanation of how to adjust the computer's fan speed in the website's support section, although it was hidden away in a downloadable manual. The site claimed that it could help me get Cortana working, then linked me to a general Windows 10 page from Microsoft, which was not a useful place to begin my search. The MSI site did not have any information about Meltdown or Spectre.

Social Media

If you have a problem with an MSI computer — well, you should call the company. But if you have a problem and you insist on getting a solution online, stick to the website. As far as I can tell, the company doesn't respond on either Twitter or Facebook.

MSI doesn't have a dedicated Twitter feed for customer support, but I directed a question to its USA account, which does occasionally answer customer queries. I asked about activating Cortana, while trying to verify whether this was an account that could give tech-support answers. I never got a reply.

Likewise on Facebook, I found MSI's page, and noticed that it doesn't really reply to reader posts directly. I sent it a private message instead, since Facebook informed me that the company usually replies through that venue. The company didn't communicate with me, although if Facebook's data is accurate, another user might have better luck.

Phone Support

Once you're all registered, getting phone support through MSI doesn't take very long at all — and the answers the company provides are pretty good. MSI is available 23 hours a day, and while you may experience some hold time very early in the morning or very late at night, I generally didn't have any trouble getting ahold of a knowledgeable representative. The call center is in City of Industry, California, and employs native English speakers.


My first call was at around 3 p.m. ET during a workday. I spoke with a representative named Jose, and asked him how to adjust the fan speed on my computer. He suggested that I use an MSI program called Afterburner — which comes with older MSI notebooks, and wasn't installed on my machine.

We cleared up the misunderstanding quickly, though, and he was able to direct me to Dragon Center about a minute later. All told, the call took 6 minutes and 16 seconds.

My next call was before standard working hours at 8 a.m. ET on a Friday. (Remember, this is 5 a.m. in California.) While I had to wait on hold for a little while, a representative named Greg picked up within about a minute, and fielded my question about Spectre/Meltdown safeguards.

For what it's worth, Laptop Mag chose the Spectre/Meltdown query deliberately because it does not have a single correct answer. There are multiple ways to protect yourself from the flaw, but none of them is perfect or comprehensive. Greg actually told me as much, explaining that, while I could take proactive steps to keep my computer safe, I could not eliminate the threat caused by Spectre/Meltdown completely. I admired and appreciated his honesty. It was one of the best answers I've ever received from a tech support professional, both in my professional and personal lives.

However, I do have to nitpick just a little. Greg told me, specifically, to keep my antivirus software and my "major software packages" up-to-date. This will help protect against Spectre and Meltdown, true, but the most important thing is to keep Windows itself updated. I suppose Windows counts as a "major software package," but singling it out would have been a good idea. The call took 4 minutes and 14 seconds.

My final call was probably the least effective of the three. I called back just before 11 a.m. on a week day and spoke to Greg again. I asked how to enable Cortana, and we went on a bit of a wild goose chase before we arrived at the right answer. When I said Cortana didn't recognize my voice, he assumed it was because of a known issue where MSI computers don't activate the microphone unless the webcam is also enabled. (I had no idea this was an issue with MSI machines, but it's not encouraging.)

After going through the whole process of enabling the webcam and activating the microphone, Cortana was still turned off, and didn't respond to my queries. At this point, Greg directed me to the Cortana settings menu, which could walk me through the rest of the process. The call took only 6 minutes and 53 seconds overall, but it probably could have taken one-third of that time with a better initial diagnosis.

Warranty

Every MSI product comes with at least a one-year warranty that covers hardware and software faults on the manufacturer's part. If you register your product (and, as stated above, you probably should), you'll get an additional three months on the warranty, as well as one-time accidental damage protection. (In other words: You can drop your laptop in the bathtub and get it replaced once, but not twice.)

Some MSI systems come with up to three years of warranty coverage, plus the three months from registration, so it really depends on which laptop you purchase. You can extend any MSI machine's warranty up to three years, but doing so gets pretty pricey: up to $349 extra.

MSI does not pay for shipping if you need to send your computer in, but it does pay for shipping when it returns the system.

Bottom Line

In spite of a few small misfires, MSI's phone support is top-notch. It's comprehensive and comprehensible; it's effective and efficient. If only I could say the same for the web support.

MSI's registration process is headache-inducing; its website is a navigational hazard; its online support wavers between unhelpful and nonexistent. I can only imagine how harrowing the online tech- support process would have been if my machine were actually broken. If you have an MSI notebook and it's even remotely possible to resolve a problem yourself, I recommend you do that.

 

Tech Support Showdown

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12 comments
  • Nicholas Says:

    Got an msi 1060 6gb while living in BC. 3 times I returned it because it broke down after standard use (no overclocking or anything, and probably well below its supposed performance cap). 3 times they gave me back a card that was broken in a different way. One of those times it burned out my power supply while idle. I have no faith in their customer service, and I don't think anyone living in Vancouver should bother with replacing or fixing an msi graphics card. My 760 is probably a better card than the one they insist I deserve. I feel very cheated.

  • kristie haga Says:

    I paid over 3000 for a gaming laptop for my son. My son is a special needs kid and uses this system to connect to peers, it is so important to him. We had to send the system in three times for warranty repairs, the last was to replace the video card. A little over a year later the video card goes out again, but now it is not under warranty. Customer service expressed no concern that the system had shown poor performance over the three years owned and would not work with me to fix it. One of the customer service supervisors suggested that the computers problems were caused by my son. I will never purchase another MSI product and I hope others will read this and decide to look at other systems.

  • Todd Lucas Says:

    I agree with everything here completely! I bought a brand new MSI GTX 970 in December 2014, and it was D.O.A., so I immediately submitted an RMA form....first one I ever had to do. It took me almost 20 minutes to fill out. Their RMA form is rediculous....I mean seriously, what does it matter what brand or how much memory I have on my computer if I am contacting you about a graphics card? Nothing....that's what.

    So I fill it out, waited almost a week for it to get approved, sent it in, and waited almost 7 weeks before I got something back from them. But what I was sent back was not a new GPU, I was sent back a used GPU that had one of the blades of one of the fans missing from being broken off somehow. Wasn't done during shipping or it would have been in the box...they sent me a USED CARD!! I took that chance to call them about it as I was furious. I didn't pay $375+ to get a used card, and told the "customer service specialist" that same thing. I was pretty much told "what you got is all you will get." Further efforts to get a new card for what I paid were met with silence.

    Then three years later, what happens.....the card they sent me dies as well!!! Worst. Timing. Ever! GPU's running triple MSRP, used cards at almost the same price levels....and what does MSI give me for service at this time? A DENIAL! My card died December 15, and oh, guess when their warranty ran out? November 30. I must have tried RMS and Tech Support tickets for 2 months trying to get them to do something about it since I consider it their fault that I was in that situation to begin with, but nope. They wouldn't even talk to me at that point. So my last email to them I promised that I was about to launch a social media campaign against them everywhere I could. Every post I saw on Facebook where they touted their hardware, I took opportunities to slam them for their products quality and companies service. Every. Single. Day. I promised them as much, and I am very much a man of my word.

    Then a few weeks ago they FINALLY decided to try to talk to me. Spoke to a guy named Han at their offices and he was all apologies and wanting to make things right...we all know the song & Dance. Then he says he wishes he had known sooner so they could help resolve the issue immediately and said that even out of warranty they would have still helped, and that if I sent him my card now they would send me a new one, or upgrade me if they didn't. When I told him I no longer had the card, he actually seemed shocked, I mean what do you think I am going to do with a dead GPU? Let it sit around for almost 6 months?! So what did Han do....nothing. Basically compared a GPU to a car battery. Without something to send them, there was nothing they could do. I then asked if I had "A" card, would they do something, he said yes, but it couldn't be just some used card I bought, I had to have bought a card new. That did it for me. Won't help me with the card I did buy new, won't help me unless I buy a new card. So I guess all the people who buy used cards on ebay or Amazon are S.O.L.

    Moral of the story...DO NOT BUY M.S.I!!!! Unless you are a sucker for punishment and like when your gear dies, in which case....buy all you want.

  • Mike Willey Says:

    MSI phones support - Just the worst! Since day 1, applications and other files allocated to SSD not normal disk. Complained multiple times without getting service. Finally, a service person says MSI has had that problem and I need to backup files to an external drive. Bought passport, ran backup, called again and they say they can't help me. This coupled with my warranty only being for 9 months instead of 12 leads me to believe this system was returned and resold as new with problems. I should have stuck with Dell.

  • eric wais Says:

    I bought a factory sealed MSI gaming laptop and within 4 months the sound, HDD and RAM all failed. MSI support claims the RAM isn't OEM, despite the fact the laptop was never upgraded or customized. I'm now in the process of trying to get a working laptop back from MSI support. This company is a joke and their products are garbage.

  • Gordon Shure Says:

    This holds true with my experience. MSI customer service is bad - extremely bad. I live in Spain, and spent €1800 on a brand new MSI GT72VR 6RE Dominator Pro. After three months, one of the 3.5mm audio jacks snapped, revealing the disgustingly cheap plastic housing.

    Via email (the only option available for customer care) MSI Espana customer support apologized, and said they'd post a warranty extension to us. Fair enough, right?

    So I gave them my address...nothing arrived at our house. Told them, they said they'd received the papers back after we'd declined them. Er...no we didn't? So, they supposedly sent it again...and we didn't get it.

    By this time I was so frustrated with what should have been a simple process, that I asked to chat with a superior - after that, stony silence. So now I'm down a speaker port, with nothing but wasted time to show for it.

    Up until this, I'd been a loyal customer to MSI. Now I'm anything but.

  • Sergio Sanchez Says:

    Bought a Stealth Pro GS702PE a couple of years ago... The wi-fi card stopped working, and it´s still not working. Been using a usb dongle for two years now. Had an HP, if something failed, they send me a guy to replace the part, TO MY HOME!... No charge.
    For the price, I´ll go Alienware next time.

  • Paul R. Lewis Says:

    I just bought my GL72 7rd-028 and about ready to take it back. The shady downloads to register, the ridiculously tedious email support form (RIDICULOUS!!!!) and the GD marketing BS popping up with other MSI products. The fact that it doesn't return from hibernate/sleep and has been going on for more than 4 years and they only provide phone support Mon-Fri makes me want to use a company that cares about customers and not exploit them. Its's pathetic and extremely disheartening to want to game and feel used and abused and not well supported! If they put half that effort into making the LAPTOP (they are NOT notebooks) experience pleasurable, with minimal bloatware and a feeling of some consideration, they might have better than 67% complaints on BBB. WAKE UP MSI!!! WAKE UP!!!

  • Ryan Kasper Says:

    I had purchased the MSI Notebook about 2 months ago and I already have to send it in with my warrenty because my CD ROM drive somehow dissapeared off of it. Cannot use any discs.

  • mefil Says:

    We bought a laptop for our son nearly three years ago. It stopped working less than a year after. We don't know why. We managed to contact the main company in NSW-Australia and after being given the run around, they agreed to fix it as it was under warranty. Less than a year after, the same problem. We sent it back and it was fixed. Less than six months later, the damn thing happened again, and now they're quoting over a 1000 to fix it. I'm disgusted and want to complain, but don't know where as the MSI site is a pain in the ass to navigate and the support is crap. Any suggestions?

  • Maria rodriguez Says:

    My MSI laptop is damaged, where can I bring it to fix it?

  • Maggie Furga Says:

    The worst customer service ever.

    I will never, ever buy anything from this company again even though they do have good equip.
    They are not the only company with good stuff in if they do not know how to treat their clients who are spending loads of money in their shop they will never see them again. Definitely not me.

    If you have time to read explanation why this low rate:

    Firstly we have been trying to reach them over the phone than sending emails on website which did not went through than we called again an the guy (first time speaking to human being) send our note about faulty item to the wrong MSI email address (?!??! very competent staff...) Then we used the website contact form again and describe what is wrong (damage could not have been made by user) and what they can do about it and after 2 weeks of trying to get to them, finally we got email response that they will take the computer and they prefer it to be packed in original box as they don't provide any package (Of course. I do keep all the boxes of equp I am buying... I mean all of them. I have special container reserved for them boxes just in case...) They wrote that they may keep the computer for a month and if nothing is wrong with it as we suspect than they will charge us... its like I do love to get rid of my very expensive and precious computer for a month during Christmas time for no reason, yes. Just to have fun. This is my hobby... I paid so much money for stuff to than pretend that its broken and give it away. God sake... I dont know what kind of moroons are working there and who made those ambelivible rules of how to treat customer but If I would know how thing can go with silly thing I would never go for this company.

    FYI We did try to find out what is wrong with it and maybe there is simple solution but there is no other tech support they can provide apart from this...



    I DO NOT RECOMMEND TO BUY ANYTHING FROM MSI if you do want to have piece of mind in a case where something is faulty.

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