Let me start off by saying I love thinkpads. I've owned Dells, Sony's, etc, and although I've never had any real problems with other laptops, Thinkpads are by far my favorite laptops ever produced - ever.
Now that thats clear, I'm trying to solicit some advice from some of the forum members here on thinkpads.com as to my recent customer service (Overused word) with Lenovo. It's a rather long story, so please excuse my long-windedness in relaying it all...
I ordered a T60 back in June. I was more than happy to wait the month required for the laptop to be built and shipped to me from Hong Kong, and I eagerly awaited it's arrival.
Much to my dismay, when it did finally arrive, it came sans battery and power cord! I promptly called Lenovo and was informed by a customer service rep that I would have to wait _another_ 3 to 4 weeks to have the power cord and battery that was supposed to have been in the initial order shipped to me. I can understand needing to wait a month for a laptop to be built, but shouldn't they have spare power cords & batteries handy?
Anywho, I called around locally to numerous retail outlets and searched through classified ads to see if I could find an alternate Thinkpad locally. It wouldn't be built to the initial specs I wanted, but at least it would be a thinkpad.
Luckily I found one, again - not up to the specs I really wanted, but at that point it seemed better to sacrifice some speed for the ability to at least have it rightaway.
I figured I would simply purchase this laptop locally and return the one I got directly from Lenovo - no big deal.
I called up Lenovo Customer Support again and spoke to a lady who spoke very good Enligsh, I wasn't really able to decipher for certain if she was from some outsourced call center or not... Anyway, I informed her of the mixup that occured and stated I simply wanted to return the machine back to Lenovo as I had already purchased an alternate Thinkpad elsewhere.
She happily obliged (this is where the whole thing gets 'interesting') and asked me if I had the original box that I received the laptop in. I replied that yes, I did and asked why she asked. "Simply repackage the laptop in it's original box and drop it off at a UPS store." was her answer.
This struck me as odd, she made no mention of an RMA number or anything. I asked her if I needed some sort of 'return number' and she replied that the initial box the laptop was shipped to me in had my Lenovo order number plainly upon it, and that thats what would be used, not any sort of RMA number."
OK, so no RMA number - thats weird but I guess it makes sense. I *thought* they'd be sending me a box or something to send it back in. I asked her if I was supposed to pay for shipping, and she responded with "Oh, no, just 'return to sender.' Wait WHAT?
"Just Return To Sender" she said again. I asked her to clarify what she meant by that, thinking she just meant "Return the laptop to Lenovo." No, she replied back with: "Write Return To Sender on the shipping label and take it to a UPS store." "What about a tracking number? What about Insurance?" I asked. "Tracking number will be Tracking Number we gave you at first, package will still be insured."
Ok, that sounded really odd - like no other return procedure I've ever dealt with in my life, which I guess hasn't been all that many, but even still it was just a seemingly odd way to go about it.
So supposedly my RMA number was my Lenovo order number, my tracking number would be the tracking number I already had on hand and the package was insured. Like I said, I thought this seemed pretty weird, but it sounded like all my bases were covered. Even so I ran over the whole thing all over again with the Lenovo rep and got the same reply. Good enough - as long as they get the laptop back there won't be a problem I figured.
So I did as instructed and wrote 'return to sender' on the package and dropped it off at a UPS store.
I waited... and waited... and waited... about two to three weeks later I called back in and inquired as to the status of the whole thing. "We have no record of you ever having called, that is not the correct return procedure, I'm very sorry but there is nothing more we can do to help you - *click*" was what I was told. They just hung up on me!
Ok, now I'm a little peeved, so I call back and try to figure out what on earth happened. Again, I'm told they have no record of me ever having called and no record of my machine. Although they didn't hang up on me the second time around, I was unable to get any straight answer as to what happened. I asked to speak to a supervisor only to be told that there was no supervisor. Now thats just ridiculous, EVERYONE has a supervisor. I again demanded a supervisor, and again was there was no supervisor. This went on for a good five minutes till the story changed to "the supervisor is not present." I then requested a call back from a supervisor, gave my name, order number(rma number?) and my cell phone number.
24 hours go by, 48 hours go by, 72 hours go by... Finally Friday hit and no one called back. At this point I was utterly PO'd about the whole deal, having already sent the machine back to Lenovo and with Lenovo not even acknowledging that I had done so, it seemed like I wouldn't be able to make any further progress by trying to call them back and being upset.
I called up my credit card company instead, told them what happened and they told me they would initiate a chargeback on my behalf and that I shouldn't worry about it.
At this point I was pleased that at least someone was capable of remedying this situation. I let it the whole matter go assuming it to be resolved... Up until I received a call from my CC company wanting written details of what happened for their records. I promptly complied and didn't think much of it as it was simply a form letter which looked pretty routine.
A day or so passes and I receive my first of many phone calls from Tony Bumarch in Lenovo Executive Customer Relations. Mr Bumarch was exceedingly polite; however, entirely unsympathetic to what had occurred. He told me that they showed no record of me having called to initiate the return process and therefore I must never have called.
I most certainly did call, and I've actually run into this similar situation with my cell phone company. One rep @ Cingular will tell me something but not notate my account of what was discussed, so when I call back in the second time around, no one knows what I'm talking about. A common problem I assume, as I've heard other people complain about the exact same thing with Cingular and other cellular companies. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would run into this problem with a Computer Company tho - I honestly didn't even think to request that the lady I initially spoke to @ Lenovo notate my account detailing what was discussed concerning the return policy.
Mr Bumarch tells me there isn't much he can do and instructs me to call the UPS store that I dropped the package off at. The UPS store I dropped the package off at instructs me to call UPS, UPS instructs me to call Lenovo, and Lenovo again instructs me to contact UPS. (I'm sure you can all see where this is going by now..) Round and round it goes till I get upset and Mr Bumarch tells me HE will call the UPS store on my behalf while I wait on hold. I wait on hold and Mr Bumarch comes back on the phone and says that it sounds like the UPS store might have a way to track my package as having gone out and that I should call the UPS store and talk to the owner.
I call the UPS store and spoke to the exact same lady Mr Bumarch just spoke with moments before. She informs me there there is absolutely no way to track outbound packages dropped off at the UPS store unless that UPS store sent it out with one of their shipping labels. THEN she tells me that she just told Mr Bumarch this moments ago and asked why I was calling back asking the SAME question! Why on earth would Mr Bumarch instruct me to call the UPS store when he himself just spoke to them and they told him that they could not track an outbound package unless it was sent with that UPS store's shipping label?!
I call Mr Bumarch back and ask him why he gave me the misleading information, only to be told by HIM that the UPS store employee did not tell him what she told me, DESPITE the UPS store employee telling me just moments after she spoke to me that she informed him of this. (argh!@#%%)
I told Mr Bumarch that I resented the endless games of phone-tag I've been playing with him, and the additional run around he's made me go through with UPS and that it's to the point where it sounds like I need to file some sort of complaint with the BBB.
"All the BBB complaints are routed through myself, so I'll be sure to tell the BBB exactly what I'm telling you." (This was said in a polite, yet condescending tone)
That being: Since they had no record of me calling to return the laptop, I must never have done so.
Oh, and by this point my CC company said that the dispute was over and Lenovo had successfully fought the chargeback off because I could not provide a tracking number other than the initial tracking number on the box that was shipped to me in...
So, at this point I do not have the laptop I payed $1600 for, and I'll I've got to show for this entire experience is a massive headache from dealing with Lenovo's customer care.
Realizing I was getting absolutely nowhere with Tony Bumarch in executive care, I placed e-mails detailing this horror story to numerous executives inside Lenovo, namely among them was 'David Churbuck' VP of sales and marketing.
David Churbuck expressed via e-mail initial interest in looking into my case, but I never heard back from him. When I e-mailed him again, I got what seemed like a form letter (although I'm sure it was not) simply stating "I am not responsible for looking into this, Tony Bumarch is handling your case."
So a complete about-face was done, leaving my sole source of contact within Lenovo to Mr Bumarch, who was entirely unsympathetic to my situation and had just recently told me in no uncertain terms that the case was closed.
I filed a complaint with the BBB anyway - Lenovo's response? "Customer Never Sent the Equipment Back To Us"
So Lenovo's offical response is that I'm a liar and that I should be expected to simply eat this $1600 fee for a laptop I already returned to them!
Oh, here are some additional points I think I may have neglected to mention:
I requested that some sort of audit be done at the Lenovo returns center to see if someone could find my machine. Lenovo's response? Thats a wildly unreasonable request. I was also told that unauthorized returns are promptly refurbished and re-sold with a matter of weeks, leaving me with the conclusion that it's entirely possible that Lenovo simply refurbished (slapped a battery and power cable with the machine) and resold it to someone else.
I was told that this situation would never have occurred, as Lenovo has a strict guideline that they follow for refurbished machines. <sarcasm> If said guideline is anything like their return policy guidelines, I'm sure it's always followed to the letter every single time</sarcasm>
Oh, and I was also told that "no one within Lenovo would ever instruct you to return a machine in that manner," Which is entirely laughable, as thats exactly what occurred! I'm left to conclude that Lenovo's reps are probably underpayed and overworked, and as a result don't take all that much pride in memorizing and reciting corporate policies without fail each and every time.
Due to the above excuse being cited over and over, no one within Lenovo will even take responsibility for giving me the incorrect information on how to go about returning a machine to them. I didn't even get an "I'm sorry" out of Mr Bumarch. He DID go so far as to say he'll issue a company wide memo re-iterating the correct return procedures to the front line Lenovo reps, but I suspect this was simply to placate me, as later I got a reply from him via the BBB that bluntly insinuated that I was just a big liar.
And after speaking with Mr Bumarch, I wasn't even demanding a refund at that point, I told him I would settle simply for the return of the machine I sent to them, but since no one will go out of their way to look for it, that doesn't seem possible either.
Holy geez, this is a long winded post. I'm sorry, but thank you for reading over it. I would appreciate anyone's input on what I could possibly do to try and rectify this Overused word.
To sum the whole thing up, it feels like Lenovo lied to me, stole my money and told me to simply 'go away.'
I dearly love my thinkpads, and I really hate to feel like I can never purchase another one from Lenovo again based upon this hellish experience.
As a sheer matter of principle (finances aside, whether it be $1.60 or $1600) I can't just stand aside and let a company railroad me into misfortune. Anyone have any ideas? (Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
) I'm simply at my wits end with Lenovo right now...
(Tony Bumarch's direct number is XXXXXXXX and his e-mail is XXXXXXXXXX, should anyone doubt the veracity of my claims, I'm sure he'll re-iterate most everything that I've outlined above.)
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