Hackernoon logoLenovo’s warranty upgrade is a SCAM by@gadotti

Lenovo’s warranty upgrade is a SCAM

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@gadottiAndrea Gadotti

I bought a Lenovo Thinkpad with a Next Business Day Response warranty upgrade. The laptop I received was faulty. After 100 days, 51 mails and 27 calls, I still don’t have a working laptop. This is a story of unbelievable disorganization, amateurish support and endless customer struggle with the largest PC maker in the world.

I am a PhD student at Imperial College London, and my department bought me a Thinkpad T470 earlier in 2017. When I first powered it on, the monitor was not working. Nothing. Black. I was a bit disappointed to see that my new business laptop had not even been tested before being delivered, but I was not too worried: the laptop was bought together with a On-Site service-Next Business Day Response warranty upgrade, meaning that Lenovo is supposed to come and fix any problem within one business day.

So on the 2nd of October I sent a service request. I had no idea of what was awaiting me.

DAY 1. The day after, Lenovo informs me that

the part required to repair your product is currently unavailable

and that

typically we are able to reschedule within 5 working days.

Ok, I paid for a warranty upgrade and they are not delivering what I paid for. But fine, it’s only 5 days after all. No? No.

After the 5 days, the display has not yet arrived. So I call and send emails to Lenovo, but nobody knows where is my display. Ok, no problem: you can simply send me a new laptop. You know, one of those things you sell in thousands of units every day? Maybe you could save one for me and take back your faulty one which was never able to boot? No way. I have to wait for the display. One more week.

Ok, one more.

You know what? No rush. Seven more days.

Oh, you actually need your business-oriented laptop for work? Ok, fine, we’ll come and fix it. But give us three more days, we have to buy costumes for Halloween.

DAY 29. The technician finally comes to change my display. And here starts one of the funny parts of the story. While the guy is replacing the display, I notice that he’s installing a glossy display instead of a matte one (like the original one). WHAT THE FUCK. Now, if you are a bit into computers and technology forums you know how glossy displays can be actual deal-breaker for some people (including me). And this guy was installing one without even asking nor noticing! Yes, it took one month to send the fucking wrong display. So I make him notice and…long story short: Lenovo has to send a new display. But at least, for sure, this time it will arrive in one business day! Right? My ass.

DAY 31.

I regretfully inform you that the part required for the repair of your product is currently unavailable. It should not take longer than 5 business days until our stocks are replenished.

You gotta be fucking kidding me. I live in London and I own one of the most popular business laptops produced in 2017. Are you seriously telling me that in ONE MONTH you could deliver only ONE display to the fucking biggest city of EU? Do you actually deliver a SINGLE display FROM CHINA every time someone needs a replacement? If so, how can you even expect to be able to deliver the next-business-day warranty you charge 150 bucks for? For me this has a clear name: SCAM.

Ok, ok. But at least it’s only 5 days. No? No:

ETA updated 5 times

The ETA keeps being postponed. In the meantime I call Lenovo about 6 times, but nobody seems to be able to do anything, nor let me talk to someone with higher decision-making power. For example, the decision to simply send me a fucking new laptop, as I’ve been requesting for more than a month. Nothing to do, Lenovo’s support is a stonewall. Same story for emails (many emails).

DAY 37. A guy from Lenovo Complaint Management contacts me. His name is Kim. Of course Kim doesn’t help at all, he just tells me what the ETA is, something I could easily lookup myself.

DAY 51. We are 6 days past the last ETA. I make calls and send emails. Nobody has a fucking clue where the display is and when it will be delivered. But still they don’t want to give me a new laptop.

DAY 56. Kim hasn’t answered my emails for one week. Once I tell him that I will move the discussion to public social networks, he immediately replies and offers me a laptop replacement. About fucking time! Finally I will have a working laptop within one business day!

Did you actually believe that?

The turn-around-time for the delivery is up to 4 weeks. We will keep you updated on the progress.

OMFG how the fuck can they be so slow at EVERYTHING? Ok fine, it doesn’t matter. I can wait. Just send me the fucking laptop and let’s forget this whole mess.

Of course I have to send them the faulty laptop before they ship the new one. So I give them the address, and in a few days a courier comes to pick up the laptop (DAY 58).

DAY 71. The new laptop has been dispatched! It’s still in China, but China is not too far off nowadays, right?

DAY 72. Ok, apparently they don’t have planes in China. The laptop needs to go to South Korea first. Oh, wait. No planes in South Korea either. Kazakhstan is the next stop.

DAY 73. OMG what is that? My laptop is already in Germany! It’s actually in my same continent now! I’m so excited!

DAY 74. UK! Go go go! It’s Friday though, it won’t arrive in time for the weekend :( Ok whatever, I will spend the weekend doing a backup of my old laptop.

DAY 77. LONDON! YES! This time it feels so real! I just need to sit and wait for my laptop to be delivered today. Fuck yeah!

Wait. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT???

What the fuck does that mean? They’ve already used the address to come and pick up the old laptop. What’s the problem?

I call UPS. They tell me that the address given by Lenovo is completely fucked up. This is how it looks:

Andrea Gadotti, Andrea Gadotti, London, SW7

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK THEY COULDN’T EVEN GIVE THEM THE COMPLETE POSTCODE.

Ok, relax. I can simply give UPS the correct address, no? No. They have an agreement with Lenovo by which nobody but Lenovo can change the address, nor go and pick up the package at the UPS center. At this point I seriously stopped and checked if I was dreaming. Once I verified I was not, I started again with my favorite activity: making calls and sending emails to Lenovo.

Of course nobody at Lenovo can do shit, because everything is now managed by my old friend Kim. Too bad Kim doesn’t answer my email.

DAY 78. I send Kim another email. This is what I get:

Christmas holidays! Yeeeaaaahhhh. 3 fucking weeks of Christmas holidays. Note to self: after the PhD look for a job at Lenovo.

DAY 79. I send an email to Alexandros, as suggested. No answers. I slowly start to feel my laptop getting farther from me.

DAY 86. I’ve sent like 4 mails to Alexandros and Kim, apparently they are both too busy with Christmas to answer.

DAY 87. My laptop left London. Of course. It’s going to Netherlands. New emails to Kim and Alexandros. No answers.

DAY 93. The laptop has been delivered to Lenovo’s HQ in the Netherlands. Happy new year btw!

fuck

DAY 94. New emails to Kim and Alexandros. No answers. They really don’t like me :(

DAY 99. It’s January 9! You know what’s special about January 9? It’s the day Kim’s supposed to be back to work after his 3-week holidays. Great! I’m sure now he will fix everything and I will receive my laptop in one (+99) business day(s)! Right?

Mail from Jan 9

Fair enough. I don’t have a laptop, but at least I have a warranty on it. How could I possibly complain?

TO BE CONTINUED

UPDATE: After reading the comments I feel the need to point something out. I’m a long-time Thinkpad user: this laptop will be (hopefully soon) my fourth Thinkpad. I love Thinkpads and I believe that laptops from series T and X are the best portable PCs one can buy, especially if one runs Linux. For this reason, I’ve always recommended them to everyone who asked me for advice on which laptop to buy (which is a lot of people). And, in turn, this is the reason why I’m so sad that this is happening. After this bad experience I still believe Thinkpads are amazing, but it’s now clear to me that Lenovo’s customer support is simply awful. If you’re thinking about buying a Thinkpad, you should keep that in mind.

THE END

DAY 112. I HAVE A LAPTOP!!! After almost 4 months I have a working laptop! Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? No, it’s a real Thinkpad T470 all for me!

Here is how it went.

As soon as I kindly emailed to Kim the link to this Medium post, he was immediately much faster at answering my emails. Coincidence? Anyway, he offered me to deliver a new laptop “very soon”. But of course at that point I wanted more than that, so I bargained a bit. Long story short, here is what I got:

  • An upgraded version of the CPU (from i5–7200U to i7–7500U). This upgrade costs about £100 on the Lenovo website.
  • A Thinkpad Active Backpack, worth about £60. (btw: it’s not total rubbish, but it’s not worth that price)
  • A 20% discount coupon to use on the Lenovo online shop. This coupon was expiring on January 31, which was only 9 days after I received the laptop.

The laptop was delivered within 2 days after I finally accepted their offer. So it was possible to deliver it fast, uh?

All in all, this story got me around £160 worth of stuff, plus the discount coupon.

I am not satisfied. 
I asked for a T480 instead of the upgraded T470, as this story took so long that the 2018 version will be out very soon. I didn’t get it.
I asked for an additional 8GB of RAM. I didn’t get it.
I asked for a discount coupon with a fixed amount instead of a percentage discount. I didn’t get it.

Lenovo made me wait 112 days to have a working laptop. And what’s worse, I didn’t just have to sit and wait: I had to constantly get in touch with Lenovo’s support and look after their action as if I was dealing with unreliable kids. I wasted literally tens of hours just to write emails and make annoying calls to them. It was a very frustrating and tiring experience that I do not recommend to anybody. And all of this for what? For 160 fucking quid worth of a useless upgrade and a useless backpack. And I still had to bargain as if I was at the flea market!

At least, the Thinkpad T470 is a very good laptop and Ubuntu runs perfectly on it. But the build quality of the product clearly doesn’t reflect on the quality of Lenovo’s support.

If anything, I’ve learned two things from this experience:

  1. Never, never, never get into the RMA process for a DOA (dead-on-arrival) product. Just return it, even if you are past the first two weeks period or whatever (as I was). If they tell you that “It’s not possible”, don’t believe them. Insist. If they don’t give up, contact your credit card customer service and ask for a refund. They will probably help you.
  2. Never trust the customer service when they tell you that something Is not possible”. That’s a LIE. In this 4 months of very unpleasant adventure with Lenovo, I’ve been told tens of times that something was not possible. It was not possible to receive a new laptop instead of replacing the faulty display. It was not possible to speak with someone from the Lenovo Complaint Management. It was not possible to ship the laptop quickly from EU instead of from China. It was not possible to receive something as a sign of apology. Well, in the end it turned out ALL of these things were in fact POSSIBLE. It was just a matter of choice: somebody had to decide to make them happen.

On a final note: I’ve used the 20% coupon to buy two Thinkpad E580 for my family. They have yet to be delivered. I hope I won’t have to write another post on Medium, but…who knows? Certainly that would make my colleagues and friends very happy, as they seemed to enjoy this story much more than I did ;)

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