Dan and his roommate had a crazy plan. They would use Dan’s credit card to purchase a laptop computer from Lenovo. The roommate would write Dan a check for the total amount the computer cost. Lenovo would ship a working computer to the roommate, thus completing a straightforward exchange of currency and consumer goods. Unfortunately, life is not that simple in the Land of Lenovo.
My roommate is a grad student who recently moved to the area and upon his arrival, purchased a laptop from Lenovo. During the online-checkout process, he attempted to pay with his credit card but the web site rejected his credit union’s credit card. I offered my credit card in exchange for a personal check from him (free cash back points!) and he typed in my credit card info, but forgot to change the billing address. It turns out that was his second mistake; the first mistake was opting to deal with Lenovo in the first place.
The attempted purchase started on September 19th, 2009 (a Saturday). On Tuesday the 22nd he was notified via email that the billing information was incorrect, that the order had not been processed, and that he needed to call his credit card and/or bank to correct his billing address. Together we called Lenovo’s customer service to explain to them what had happened, that the billing information needed to be changed on their end. It took three different people transferring the call around until we hung up with mediocre confidence that the reps from Lenovo now understood the situation.
On Thursday the 24th my roommate received an email from a Lenovo Inbound Sales representative named Michael who was “assigned to personally manage the order.” It seemed like a nice courtesy, a phone number and email address as a point of contact should any more problems turn up. He didn’t indicate any problems in the introductory email.
On Friday the 25th Michael wrote again, saying “The order is messaged that phone number does not exist and ship to address on not on credit card account. It states order will be cancelled in 2 days if not corrected. If your friend does not call credit card company and fix it will be cancelled. I also need the phone number on the credit card bill to address. Please email when corrected and I will try to prevent cancellation.”
Apparently, the three people on the phone didn’t understand the situation after all, and Lenovo still thought that the incorrect information typed in during the purchase now had to be made the truth and told to my credit card company? (I’m sorry if that sentence is poorly constructed, but I think Lenovo’s suggested course of action is just as poor.) Luckily the “2 days” was two business days, since telling someone on a Friday that they had 2 days to contact offices that were closed over the weekend would be unfair.
My roommate wrote a concise email over the weekend explaining the situation. He ordered the laptop and wanted it shipped to our apartment. The credit card belonged to me, and gave the correct billing address (yet again). He gave both of our phone numbers to Michael. After an email with this much information so clearly laid out, only an idiot would still fail to move the order forward, right?
Michael didn’t respond on Monday the 28th. My roommate and I both called and left similar voicemails in his office that basically repeated the information given in the email sent to him over the weekend. There was still no response from Michael. Finally my roommate called Lenovo’s customer service department again later on Monday the 28th and found someone who seemed very competent and friendly who understood the situation and correct the order information over the phone.
On Tuesday the 29th Michael phoned my roommate and left a voicemail for me saying that we needed to talk about my billing information. My roommate emailed Michael and explained that the issue was resolved with the customer service department and that he didn’t have to “help” any more.
It took from September 19th until the 30th to resolve the billing typo, but now things should be fine, right?
The laptop finally shipped (and my credit card was billed) on Tuesday October 6th. It arrived on Thursday the 8th. By Friday morning on the 9th my roommate had experienced over 15 “blue screens of death.” It occasionally would boot up to the log-in page before it crashed, but was a completely useless machine (the OS was Vista).
After calling Lenovo’s support team, they asked him to run a few diagnostic tests on the computer so they could understand how to proceed. The computer “blue-screened” during the diagnostic tests. They shipped Vista install disks so he could reinstall the OS and start fresh. They arrived on Monday the 12th of October and failed so fix anything (the computer would crash during the install process).
Today, October 14th, after another call to Lenovo support, Lenovo tried to send new Vista OS install disks, but they slowly became convinced that the disks were probably not the problem. They have now promised to ship a box in which my roommate can ship his computer back to Lenovo for them to “fix” it. If they somehow fix it and ship it back here in the next 4.5 days, it will still have been 1 month from the time of the original order until a working computer arrived from Lenovo, with nothing but headaches in between.
Between this and forgetting to charge their customers entirely, we’re starting to wonder whether Lenovo really wants consumers’ money, or they are some kind of avant-garde anti-capitalist prank.