Use Customer Support/Service as Your Last Resort
I'm writing this as a cut and paste because I don't want an accidental peak at a response from another contributor to consciously or sub-consciously influence my comments, so excuse any information that appears to be redundant. As Lee has alluded to this can become a very volatile subject if one allows past experiences that were less than pleasant to taint their response.
From your question it sounds like you have had varying experiences (as have we all) with Customer Support/Service (CS) organizations and I'd guess they all have not been hardware related. My first piece of advice is not to use CS every time you encounter a problem be it hardware or software related. Your issues/questions should fall into two basic categories:
Meaning the issue/question is directly related to the particular hardware brand (i.e. Dell, HP, Asus etc.) or software program (i.e. Norton, Parallels, MS Office etc.). You should first check the manufacturers (hardware) or developers (software) website for FAQ's and Forums that may already have the answers you are looking for.
Meaning the issue/question is of a generic nature like "How do I boot into Safe Mode" or "How do I stop programs from automatically starting when I turn on my Windows OS or Mac OSX - PC". In these instances avail yourself to the wealth of information on the Internet and in forums like this. You might be surprised as to how much good information is available. Some "Specific" issues/questions might be handled in this manner as well. Using the Internet and forums to gain insight also fosters the personal learning experience thus reducing the need to rely upon CS for help. Don't forget (or feel too embarrassed) to seek advice from knowledgeable friends.
In those instances that do require help from CS do your homework before you call. Meaning...make sure you understand your question and have a rudimentary idea of what your issue/problem might be. Having this knowledge may also allow you to by-pass the lower levels of CS and get to the higher levels much quicker. The more detailed information you provide makes for a better CS experience. Always retain (or ask for) your case number so that if the same problem occurs again you can provide it to allow the next CS representative to pull up the case notes and better assist you without having to rebuild the entire case file. Remember CS people are human and just like us become frustrated at times, especially when individuals call and ask for assistance with basic "read the instructions" type questions.
As we live in international society CS assistance may come from any part of the world. You'll have to be patient and work through language barriers sometimes. Some manufacturers have realized a drop in sales to due offshore CS operations and have adjusted by bringing them back to the U.S. or providing U.S. based CS during certain hours of the day. Still other manufactures that sell excellent high-demand and/or high-end products will retain offshore CS operations. Thus making it more incumbent upon us to educate ourselves (as I alluded to earlier in this text) to lessen our dependence upon CS operations for assistance thus avoiding language interpretation barriers and/or bad CS experiences in general - regardless of location.
As to buying computer hardware, peripherals and software....I personally would not let a CS operation deter me from purchasing a reliable and recommended (i.e. CNET, PC World, Mac World evaluated) computer, peripheral or software program from a respected manufacturer or developer. I have owned (and still own) products from Dell, HP, Apple, Sony, Cisco, Belkin, Motorola, Norton, Parallels, Alsoft, Ooma VoIP system....the list goes on....and over time I have had varying CS experiences with them all (good and bad).
However, to answer your question I'd chose Apple as providing the overall most consistent and helpful CS experience. I own an iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad, several iPods, two Time Capsules, Airport Extreme, Apple TV and I use iTunes, iTunes Match and iCloud. I tell you this not to brag but to setup my next comment about Apple. I had to report them to the BBB to get a refund of $27 on software I downloaded by mistake. Obviously, that was not a "love" moment with Apple CS, but I can't deny the quality of Apple products and their seamless integration. So, I will continue to buy Apple products as long as I can AFFORD them .
The bottom-line here Carroll is this...Educate yourself as much as possible. That may involve taking some basic computing classes or check to see if the manufacturer offers courses to familiarize the end-user with their product(s)...FYI, Apple does. The more you learn (know) the better your experiences will be with any computer related product. CS should be your last resort after all other avenues to tackle a computer related issue/question have been exhausted. If you must use CS then be prepared and be patient.
One final note...always purchase from a vendor that has a good hardware return policy in the first 30-90 days (i.e. exchange or money back). Software once opened is a bit difficult to return so check the store policies before you buy. If you can afford it...spend the extra money for an extended protection plan for hardware and software related problems/questions (especially with laptops, netbooks and the new ultra notebooks). By doing so you can avoid the costly CS "incident" charges. Dell and Apple have good plans in the aforementioned areas. For whatever reason the repair/problem time bomb usually goes off at one minute past midnight at the conclusion of the one year warranty period . That's all I have.
Good Luck and Happy Computing
Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM)