I Have always regarded Thinkpads as the ultimate portable computer, ever since I laid my eyes on a T-series back in the day, I knew I wanted one. it is really disappointing to see my faith being shattered like this, after 12 years of lusting and longing.
I bought a Brand New T420 (4178-6VU) on the 14th of March, and I supplemented the 3-year warranty with a Thinkpad Protection Plan on the 31st of March, within the stipulated 90-day period. The TPP was bought over the Phone, and my Credit card was charged in exchange for a Case number.
Within 2 weeks of taking possession of the system, I began to notice quality problems throughout -
1. Warped Plastics above the Thinkvantage Button and Delete Key
2. loose, free moving and flexing palmrest above the HDD bay
3. at least 3mm of flex on the keyboard in the lower right corner
4. a buzzing right speaker - it would pick up digital interference from the motherboard and amplify the signal - and this is a machine that boasts a whole platoon of certifications.
5. worst of all, a failing Trackpoint that would start jumping all over the screen on its own.
despite the overwhelmingly positive feedback about the T420, I think this is a poorly put-together system. I can forgive a single part failing suddenly within the first two weeks (as they often do- HDD's fail early or really late) but this computer just feels tardy and unworthy of a $1200 price tag.
I shipped the system to Memphis, TN on the 6th of april, and had to talk to 5 different people to confirm that I was covered by TPP - this was the worst part- nowhere in lenovo's records did my $163.65 spent translate to a TPP for my system. I was told by a Sales Rep from GA that i need to register my TPP with the unique serial number that is issued to every TPP sold, and linked to that machine. Nobody told me this until after i had to beg for my money's worth. Even after talking to people on two continents, I have not received an email from anybody confirming my Coverage, no mention of a Serial number, and I feel my money has been STOLEN by Lenovo. The Thinkvantage tool still shows my base 3-yr warranty, and no word of TPP.
So I recieved the system today, and this is what I found -
1. Keyboard Replaced - the 3mm of flex is still there.
2. Speaker replaced - the speaker still picks up interference from the motherboard
3. LCD bezel Replaced - This wasnt even a problem area to begin with. Why this was replaced, i have no clue.
4. palmrest replaced - indeed - with a part that DOES NOT belong on the 4178-6VU - no Fingerprint Reader, and no Bluetooth!!!
After calling 1800-883-9902, the Rep asked me if i'd like to send the machine in again.
Having worked in the hospitality service industry, I have the tenets of Service Recovery baked into my bones by now. This is not how an organization should respond to negative feedback. when your customer feels that your services have been wanting, you don't simply repeat the process and hope for the best. you take it up without worrying about what the customer is eligible for, and respond proactively.
I asked for a Total Refund, of both the Machine and the TPP I have purchased, and i was simply brushed off to take it up with sales.
How can an organization that deals with business customers have such a 'that's not my department' attitude? My desk is littered with post-its to help me deal with the crisis of owning a Lenovo Product. I have no confidence in the abilities of Lenovo, both engineering-wise and business-wise.
If a Lenovo Rep is reading this, be aware - this is how you lose goodwill. the Thinkpad brand will lapse into irrelevance soon if this sort of thing goes on.
BUYER BEWARE.UPDATE : 17/4/12
Mark Hopkins, The Program Manager for Lenovo Social Media, has been in touch with me. A new case number has been assigned from both Atlanta (where some poor chap had to get an earful from me - Sorry
He was very professional in the face of my verbal dive-bombing) and also from Mark. I just sent him a PM updating him about all this.UPDATE : 22/4/12
I got a call from a representative from Lenovo USA, (name redacted on the advice of others on this forum) who was very patient in dealing with me.
I have asked for a replacement machine, along with an upgrade to On-Site services, as I am not confident in EasyServe's ability to carry out any repair work. He emailed me to say he will honour my request for on-site service, and send a replacement machine too.
Do replacement machines tend to be Refurbs or new machines? I understand an older model like a T60 or T400 in need of replacement may be substituted with a Refurbished machine, as it is no longer in production, but what about machines that are currently coming off the line in the factory??