Consumers Speak: Lenovo’s Tricky Customer Service

Ever since IBM sold their industry standard Thinkpad line of laptops to Lenovo, some have worried if the quality of the units would suffer. On the whole, it seems they haven’t—they continue to review well, performance-wise.

Too bad reader Petro can’t say the same about their customer service, who as you’ll to soon read after clicking on the hyperlink jump, pulled one of our least favorite customer service lines: “Sorry, I don’t have a supervisor.”

Petro writes:

I ordered a laptop from Lenovo. Since I wanted it in time for a christmas trip, I picked a slightly more expensive model than I otherwise would have because their website had it listed as “in stock”. As I placed my order a friend alerted me (via instant messager) that they also had free second day shipping.

Which turned out to be rather pointless.

So after I placed my order for a Lenovo T43 with an extra “free” 512 MiB of RAM, I called to ask about the free shipping. This happened on 15 December at about 7 pm.

The order center was closed.

When I got to the computer the next morning to find that my CC company had blocked the charge as being outside my normal usage pattern. It’s freaken CHRISTMAS TIME. OF COURSE my normal Credit Card Pattern had changed. So I deal with the CC company, and call Lenova to reprocess the charge, and add the free shipping.

No problem, according to them.

Then Friday night after 11 pm they send me an email saying that “part or all of my order has been delayed”. Of course by the time I see it their sales line is off for the weekend. Their webpage still says that my laptop will ship on the 19th, so I’m trying to keep a postive attitude. Which is stupid when dealing with large companies.

I check again on Tuesday, and notice that their order webpage now indicates that it will ship on the 20th. This is starting to get annoying.

So on Wednesday morning their webpage still indicated that the laptop would ship on the 20th (the 20th being the day before), so I called their sales line again to ask. I spoke with some young man (I want to say “Matt” or “Bob”, but I really don’t remember) and he very cheerfully informed me that it had probably already shipped, but that their system was just not synced up, and that their shipping guy was “out” today, and he’d make a note to have this investigated and something emailed to me.

That evening I went back to the webpage to look again. Now it said that the laptop would ship on the 21st, which was wednesday.

So once more I called. This time I spoke to a nice Indian lady who gave her name as “Gatha”. Well, calling her nice was a little much as she sounded rather harried when I first got through to her. And after she told me that my order would ship sometime between now and FRIDAY the 23rd, I requested to be put in touch with a supervisor.

Then she lied to me. “I don’t have a Supervisor”.

I don’t like being lied to. It really frosts me. We went around like this a couple times. She at first insisted that she did not /have/ a supervisor, and then when I pointed out that EVERYONE in a corporation has a supervisor, up to and sometimes including the CEO, she indicated that they were not in (which I suspect was another lie), and that I would have to call back in the morning when they were in.

At that point Lenovo had lied to me AT LEAST 3 times, so I informed “Gatha” that I wanted to cancel my order.

She said she *could not* because the label had been printed, and the laptop was ready to ship in China.

*Could not*?

She indicated that she could “send a note” to try to cancel it, but it still might ship. I informed her that I would be contacting my credit card company to refuse the charge, and would refuse delivery on the laptop should it arrive.

This is from (purportedly) one of the largest laptop manufacturers in the world.

If their ordering and shipping is this screwed up, how can I trust their service?


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  1. fatecreatr says:

    Here is a bit if inside information for you. I work for a computer reseller who deals with many brands, Lenovo among them, and although this kind of incident is not supposed to happen, it definitely does from time to time. The company you were talking to and ordering from was not Lenovo but a different one that they outsource their direct sales to called DAC. While it is more likely that the T43 was shipping from the assembly plant in Mexico than out of China it might have been un-cancelable at that time because their systems are not linked so completely that a cancellation request could be intercepted in time to actually prevent the shipment. The lie about the supervisor definitely sucks though. Unless you’re talking to the companies CEO they have a supervisor for sure. If you had it to do over I would suggest contacting a domestic reseller that stocks the inventory in their warehouse such as or another one of the many authorized resellers. If you catch this message in time please know that you still have time to get it from a stateside seller that has them in stock and will be sympathetic to your situation. If you press them a bit, you can probably get a better price than “direct” anyway. By the way, their repair and warranty service is still one of the best, and this can be further augmented though the purchase of a warranty uplift part.

  2. royco says:

    I know exactly where you’re coming from. This article was posted back in 2005 and as of 2007, their customer service has not improved one iota:


    I’ve been through absolute customer service hell with Lenovo, after Lenovo lied to me about how to properly process a return.

    It’s nice to know that I’m at least not alone.

  3. wjleiner says:

    I’m going through similar customer service hell with Lenovo regarding processing a return. I had called to cancel a recently placed laptop order and was told that the cancellation might not be possible but, in any event, I could just return the unopened product for a full refund within 21 days from the date of the invoice. Sounded about right. Lenovo’s policy, straight from their website and the “Lenovo acquisition agreement” which, according to order confirmation emails, “governs the terms and conditions of my sale”:

    For a new Product that is unopened and still in its sealed package, you may return it to Lenovo for any reason within 21 days of the date of invoice and obtain a refund or credit… Opened products returned are subject to a restocking fee equal to 15% of the price paid.

    Pretty clear, right? Guess not.

    The laptop arrived and when I called for a “return authorization form” I was informed by a CSR that, subject to a recent change in policy, ALL returns are subject to a 15% restocking fee. Really? Thanks for not changing the return policy on your website to reflect this recent change, or letting the other CSRs in your organization know. I’ll reserve comment how I feel about their supposed new policy, but that’s not my concern. The information provided to me when I placed the order and in subsequent order confirmations pointed me to the old return policy.

    When I pressed the matter and offered to forward him the information provided to me in the confirmation emails, the CSR he said he would put me on hold and contact a supervisor. The CSR came back with the same answer. There was nothing he can do. I would have to pay the 15% to return the never-used, unopened product.

    So, of course, I asked to speak with the supervisor the CSR just contacted. To which he responds, “There are no supervisors here.” You can imagine my next response. Like the original poster, I don’t like being lied to. Especially one so blatant.

    Naturally, I “escalated” the dispute and am waiting for a call-back. Despite being told I would be contacted in 24 hours, it has been 36, and when I called to check the status of my “dispute” a CSR, seemingly exasperated with my “impatience” told me that their call-back policy is 24-48 hours from the date of the request. Another lie.

    I love ThinkPads, and until this incident, never thought I’d purchase any other type of laptop. But after being repeatedly lied to by a Lenovo employee, I’m taking my business elsewhere.

  4. anamika says:

    So, here’s how two companies treat their customer…

    Recently, two of my gadgets had a problem:
    1. The touch pad on my iPod Touch stopped working.
    2. The right hinge on my Lenovo laptop broke–on it’s own.

    Both devices are 2-years old and out-of-warranty. However, the problems I had with the devices are not uncommon. There are numerous reports of problems with the touchpad on iPhone and iPod Touch, and there are over 47 pages of complaints on the Lenovo forum about the right hinge breaking on the specific model of laptop that I have (

    Apple initially said they couldn’t fix the iPod because it was out-of-warranty, but after escalating the problem, they said they would make a one-time exception and fix it.

    Lenovo on the other hand, acknowledged it was a known defect, but would not fix the hinge. I was told by the “highest authority,” Doris, that they could not do anything. Additionally, the attitude I got indicated they don’t stand behind their products and that they do not care about their customers

    The amount they were planning to charge for replacing the hinge was unjustified; for only a little more, I can buy a brand new laptop or netbook–from another company.

    So, bye-bye Lenovo, you are never getting my business. Guess which company and products I will be recommending to my friends from now on.