Why Lenovo Is The Worst

Monday, 29 September 2008 at 5:00 am Pacific USA Time.

If you know me, then you know it takes a LOT to piss me off. You know I don’t throw around negativity and criticism easily. But Lenovo has really taken the cake, and if you or anybody you know is thinking of buying a laptop, you need to stay away from Lenovo.

The shortest version I can write and tell you the whole story is this.

I spent $2500 on a Lenovo ThinkPad T60p in September 2006. I thought I was buying the BEST business laptop money can buy. My colleagues swore by their ThinkPads, and I wanted to be part of a very happy tribe of computer users who loved their reliable machines. I paid more for a longer warranty, and I knew I was paying more for tech support that is located in Atlanta, Georgia. These sounded GREAT.

The laptop never worked right. I had constant problems with it. I was on to tech support all the time. It was soon going to the depot to be fixed. It returned and was not fixed. Problems got worse. I was out of the country in January 2007 when the computer was constantly blue screening. I came back, and complained my head off. I demanded that it be replaced because it was wasting my time and always working horribly. They wouldn’t replace it, but they sent me a docking station (retail price $199) to apologise for my problems. Docking station was nice but guess what. I still had a shitty computer that didn’t work right. So apology NOT accepted.

They also had me send the laptop back in for further repairs. Now it was being sent to "SWAT," the second level of tech support. Lenovo told me that a laptop never has to go to SWAT twice because they REALLY fix it. Why not make everything SWAT then? Anyway, the computer came back and wasn’t fixed. I learned that Lenovo will not help me. They will not fix this computer. They will not replace it. So why call tech support? Why spend my time talking to them and sending it back to depots that don’t fix it? Lenovo taught me to NOT trust them.

So how did I deal with a laptop that didn’t work reliably?

  • I travelled with 3 external hard drives that had back-ups of everything.
  • I travelled with my installation disks on the assumption that the computer would blue screen, die, and I’d have to reformat from some hotel somewhere.
  • I reformatted to factory settings (ThinkPad’s blue button) around 3-4 times per YEAR. I’d reinstall all of my apps, and replace all of my data.
  • I created a batch file that backed things up for me every night while I slept.
  • I had utilities run every night while I slept.
  • I often had to boot the computer 4 times in a row for it to start up correctly.
  • I often had to sit and do nothing after the computer overheated and turned itself off. Not "Windows is shutting down." Just off. Black screen. Fan off. Computer off. I’ll just sit while it cools off.
  • I was incredibly NOT productive, and seemed to spend most of my time trying to tape this piece of shit back together.

In July 2008, I got tired of doing this. I was tired of reformatting. I was tired of travelling with so much emergency stuff. The BSODs were starting again. It was still overheating. Bluetooth still wasn’t working. I called Lenovo for tech support. When I told them what was going on, they wanted to send it to the depot to be fixed. I told them no way because the depot doesn’t fix things, so never mind.

I went to a computer store and bought a laptop hard drive. I took out Lenovo’s drive, and I put in mine. I did a fresh install from my Windows XP CD, not from the blue button, and I installed all of my apps and restored all of my data. That worked MUCH better until the blue screens started again. It still overheated. Bluetooth still didn’t work. I still could start the computer up, and it didn’t see its own built-in keyboard and trackpad.

I called Lenovo again. They wanted it sent to the depot. I asked for a supervisor. I eventually found my way to an "Advocate" who was going to present my case to have the computer replaced. I wanted to know if THIS computer doesn’t get replaced, what does it take? How many times do I have to call tech support? How many times should it go to the depot? How much time do I need to spend on an unreliable lemon that should just be replaced?

These questions were not answered. They wanted it sent to SWAT again. Again? With the Lenovo unusable, I went to Best Buy and bought an HP 6985SE, which so far has been lovely! Only $1000, which is a great improvement over the $2500 I wasted with Lenovo. Lenovo wants this sent back? Sure, have fun with it guys. I sent it back with a 3 page typed note about everything that was wrong with it. I had JUST reformatted it anyway to use at RocketPlace, so there was nothing on there I would be missing. It was a fresh format with some RocketPlace PowerPoints and a RocketPlace desktop. :)

I got it back Wednesday, and boy am I enraged. Normally, when you get them back, you get a form saying what was wrong and what parts were replaced, or what the depot did. My laptop came with no form. The same hard drive was in it. My PowerPoints were there, along with my RocketPlace desktop. New icons on the desktop, including some sort of System Updater. New crap in the system tray like AVG and a bunch of other things I didn’t put on there.

So I slide in my 2nd hard drive, which had that fresh format on it from August 2008. I had only used it 10 days before buying the new HP laptop. So it was still a good format. Booted up. Went straight to the Bluetooth control panel, and was told no Bluetooth device found. Really. Same hard drive. Still no Bluetooth found. Laptop was on for just a few minutes, and was DAMN hot. So did they fix anything? Change anything?

I left a voice mail for my advocate. I asked her to please find out what SWAT did, and call me back. I was still angry. I called her back later in the day, and said to have her supervisor call me back. Clearly, NOTHING was done to this laptop. The side of the box has "neither" handwritten on it under my name and case number (handwritten). What does that mean? I don’t know, but it doesn’t look good. I want to talk to a supervisor about why my laptop went to SWAT twice, and nobody will replace this.

To me, the amazing thing is that at some point, Lenovo should care about my experience. Someone should have decided that it costs them less in the short and long term to just make me happy. What would make me happy? Replace my laptop with something that would cost me $2500 today. Impress me. Make me a vocal and HAPPY user. Make me believe in Lenovo. Make me want to tell friends how great my machine is. It can’t be that hard. I only want a reliable laptop that has working parts and doesn’t blue screen or overheat. It’s easy to make me happy.

But Lenovo evidently makes more money by spending dozens of hours on phone support with me, taking it back to be fixed 3 times, and sending me back the same non-working laptop. That’s evidently what they think is best for them and me. That thinking will destroy any company. I only want them to make right something they made very wrong. They made a lemon. Most people I know LOVE their ThinkPads. I just wanted to be one of them. I just wanted to love mine too. Now for two years, I have wasted time and money farting around with something that won’t work, and nobody there cares.

How do you ever fix that? Honestly, at this point, I don’t want another Lenovo. I will NEVER trust their brand again. They could send me a $5000 laptop, and I wouldn’t believe in it. They should refund my money, especially given all the trouble that I had. I spent 2 years trying to make their system work, which included frequent reformats. Three trips to the depot won’t fix it. You guys owe me. You should give me my money back. I don’t want this laptop back, and I don’t want a replacement anymore. The time to replace this laptop was early 2007 when I still believed you would make me a happy customer. Now, I’m an HP customer, and I just want my money back because I deserve it back.

Thanks, Lenovo. Good luck with the whole business model.

UPDATE: I am asking Lenovo for my money back, and not to bother pretending to fix this. My claim is that Lenovo CANNOT have my $2500 and give me neither a working laptop nor an appropriate replacement. They can’t fix my laptop, and clearly don’t want to replace it, after two years of fighting with them about replacing it. So they can have my laptop back, and I’ll just take a refund. That would be FINE.

I’ll keep you posted on how that works out. :)

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Categories: That's Bad Marketing

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