Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Don't Go IBM/Lenovo.

In December I decided it was time for a new laptop - my previous one was overheating, touch pad not working and generally reaching the end of it's sorry life. It was long overdue to be replaced, let's be honest here. It had been good to me - it had survived water damage, for goodness sake! - and now it was time for a decent burial. 

Being the money saver that I am I decided to do what all smart money saver's do; wait for the Boxing Day sales. For my readers who aren't familiar with this Boxing Day it is the day after Christmas and many, if not all, retailers have crazy sales. Being a money saver and someone who likes to have convenience on their side I decided was the best place I could find something new. So Bryan went on a search because quite frankly when it comes to computers I think to myself 'whatever is cheapest!' and go with that. He then spotted a bargain laptop; the Lenovo G570. It seemed too good to be true for me, even on a Boxing Day sale. I wanted to wait because something didn't seem right with this low price - but the fact that it was being sold through a credible and trusted on-line store swayed my decision the other way. In fact Bryan said, "it will be fine. It's Amazon." He had a point and Amazon had successfully delivered our previous purchases without event so we went for it.

Well it arrived just fine, everything worked and seemed 'good.' Two weeks later my 'z' key snapped off after Roman threw a book at the keyboard. And I mean it snapped off - clean off. I was angry about this but thought it was a fair cop seeing as it was my/Roman's doing. There wasn't really an awful lot I could do other than suck it up and search for a key. This is impossible to do. Lenovo don't offer spare keys on their site and my model seems to be impossible to buy spare parts for let alone keys.

Damage #1: Missing 'z' key.

Feeling frustrated with this situation I got in touch with Lenovo. The American customer service representative who dealt with me was really, really good. And I mean really, really good. They were polite, helpful and wanted to really get to the bottom of the matter. When I explained that their American customer services number was no good for me as I lived in the UK I was then passed onto someone in the European division of customer services. This is where it all went downhill.

First of all I managed to get a key that matched my model - except that it didn't. I bought this from a person who owned a computer shop in Edinburgh and was able to post it out to me. When Bryan went to fit it onto my machine it didn't fit at all and obviously wasn't a fit. Annoying but that was the least of my worries. One night while Bryan was looking at the computer he closed it over gently and the side broke away (pictured.) 

Damage #2: Casing came away.

I was really annoyed, as you can imagine. Still, I decided to hear Lenovo out and to see what they'd do for me and my not-even-a-month-old laptop. I learned that once Amazon sell a product then it falls on the company who you bought it from to repair any damage. I learned that my model didn't 'qualify' for an on the spot (home) repair and that it would need to be taken into their depot to be fixed. This would take anywhere between 7-14 days. Now when a company says 7-14 days and they're making a repair I always add on a few extra days to allow for any unexpected problems, so that could mean I wouldn't have a laptop for two weeks or more. Not gonna happen.

I explained that I need this laptop because I work from home and asked, because I am upfront like that, if they would be able to provide me with something while my own laptop was being repaired - a big long shot, I know and their answer is going to be obvious but they couldn't do that. This is where it pays to have your own contents insurance - especially if you're me. 

Their policy sucks and it also inconveniences me. Lenovo/IBM will no doubt argue by saying they've tried to make repairs but when those repairs will lose me business and time from doing my job I can't risk that, especially right now while we're at a busy period and I have authors and others relying on me. Next time I will buy a Dell - which will probably be soon because today the other side of the casing on this Lenovo G570 came loose. Won't be long before the whole thing falls apart, no doubt.

My brother has a Dell laptop and he had a few issues with the touch pad. Dell customer services called him up after he sent them an email about this problem and arranged for an engineer to visit to make an on the spot repair. My brother was in Utah at the time so he left the laptop - and our home address - with the engineer. The first time the engineer called round we were out, so he left us a card with another date and time on it. He arrived a few days later, was very pleasant and didn't spend too long repairing it. "This happens to a lot of them," he told me. "It's a very common problem with these touch pads." After he'd finished his sentence the thing was repaired. He left his card with us should there be any other issues and went on his merry way. Simple. 

Life needn't be hell with a Dell - or is that Nicotinell? Either way, that sentence is true. Life with this Lenovo? An utter pain. I'm about to email them back and grudgingly inform them of the latest shenanigans from this laptop. I'll then have to, again grudgingly, surrender my laptop for repairs. I'm not looking forward to it. But I'm not forking out to repair it out of my own pocket when this is still under warranty. And who knows, maybe they'll take it away for analysis (their words, not mine) and decide it needs a decent burial and that I need a new laptop. Then again I know that won't happen ;). 

I need something that works and is reliable. I'm about to start a new business venture soon (more on that later) and I need something that, you know, works and doesn't look like it fell off the back of a truck. Until then here is my advice: don't buy IBM/Lenovo products. Their customer service is awful, their products are dire and my experience as a whole has been disappointing to say the least.