‘Zombie Finger' Prevents Woman From Using Touch Screen Laptop

Sandy Nolan Cronin reached out to NBC10 Boston for help when Amazon and Acer wouldn't give her a refund

What to Know

  • Sandy Nolan Cronin bought an Acer Chromebook from Amazon but discovered the touch pad would not work — just for her.
  • She tried to return the computer to Amazon, but was outside of the 30-day return window, so she called Acer which replaced the touch pad.
  • After finally getting a refund, Nolan Cronin believes she has a condition referred to as "zombie finger."

The world is at your fingertips when you're online, but when a viewer's finger was preventing her from logging on to the Internet, she reached out to NBC10 Boston Responds for help with an unusual consumer problem.

Sandy Nolan Cronin, of Middleborough, Massachusetts, launched her interior design and repurposing business last year and needed a laptop so she ordered one online from Amazon.

"It was a Chromebook with a touch screen, and I wanted it for my new biz, so I could take it with me on site, into people's homes, and snap pictures of before and snap pictures of after," explained Nolan Cronin.

She paid close to $300 for the Acer Chromebook but didn't get around to setting it up for a month. When she did, she discovered an unusual problem.

"I started having issues right away with my hand, and I thought if I push it harder, if I tap the touch screen a little more," said Nolan Cronin.

But the Chromebook's touchpad wouldn't work for her — just her!

"Everyone that touched it, it worked, but when I touched it, it didn't work," explained Nolan Cronin.

She tried to return the computer to Amazon, but was just outside of the 30-day return window, so she called Acer.

"They blamed it on hand cream, soap that I was using, whether or not my fingernails were too long," said Nolan Cronin. "They did replace the touchpad and sent it back to me, and the exact same thing happened again, so, I asked again can I have my money back, and they would not give me my money back."

Nolan Cronin then contacted NBC10 Boston Responds to see if we could help.

"I thought I have nothing to lose, I'm going to give this one last shot, and see what happens, and you contacted me right away," said Nolan Cronin.

NBC10 Boston reached out to Acer with her complaint, and they allowed her to return the Chromebook for a full refund of $289.99. Acer released a statement saying:

"We believed the best option was for her to use an external mouse, which we offered, however she preferred a refund. Although there was nothing wrong with the touchpad or system, we gave her a refund for the system… and she thanked us for making the situation right."

Nolan Cronin bought herself another device that works for her. She has also done some research, and believes she has a condition referred to as "zombie finger."

"There is some electrical impulse that needs to happen between the touch pad and me that doesn't happen," said Sandy. "I don't know about anyone else's world, but in my world it's a thing."

Consumer Reports published an article on zombie finger a few years ago. It says that capacitive touch screens can also impact people who have thick callouses on their fingers, like guitar players and carpenters.

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