Opposite Of EECB Gets Delayed Lenovo Laptop Order Expedited, Plus $5000 Loaner

When the Lenovo laptop Rick ordered for his college-bound daughter was super-duper delayed in arriving and he hadn’t heard anything from the company, he did the opposite of an EECB (executive email carpet bomb). Instead of blasting his complaint to every single executive he could find, he wrote a well-crafted letter laser-targeted at a single individual, the SVP of operations. The result? An email from the Chief of Staff in the CEO’s office. His order was expedited, and, in the meantime, they got a $5000 “Reserve Edition” leather-wrapped laptop as a loaner. Here’s his letter that got him the fix:

Rick’s letter to Lenovo:

As the Senior Vice President for Operations, I want to bring to your attention an operations business practice which I believe is bad for your customers and is leaving Lenovo with a negative public opinion.

First, a little background…

My daughter will be starting her freshman year at Portland (Oregon) State University in the last week of September. Since she will be a commuting student, I was looking for a small and lightweight laptop for her to carry daily. I have been following “netbook” development activities of several companies, including Lenovo. As soon as I learned the IdeaPad S10 was available to order, I placed an order via Lenovo.com (Order # ) on August 19.

I knew I could count on a Lenovo product; for eight years, a previous employer provided me with a series of ThinkPads which served my flawlessly.

A few days after I placed my order, I was able to log-on to my account. I saw my order had an estimated ship date of 09/16/08. Though this was four weeks away, it would arrive before my daughter started her studies.

As September 19th approached, I started checking the ship date more-and-more often; it never changed. With less than one week until September 19, I started getting worried. Using Google, I found a number of message boards with commentary from customers who had ordered S10s, had their estimated ship date come-and-go, and had heard nothing from Lenovo. Some people have called Lenovo, only to be told there would be a two month delay in shipping any S10s!

Today, I too called Lenovo. I was told there was a 50-day slip in shipping. This is very, VERY disappointing on two points:

* The huge amount of time between ordering and shipping
* Lenovo has made no effort to update its customers

On a personal level, this means my daughter will not have her S10 until mid-November — too late for the start of her first term.

This also means I need to reevaluate my decision to order a Lenovo S10 and either buy a larger laptop or to consider a Dell Mini-9, Asus Eee, or MSI Wind.

I’d much rather buy the S10….

I urge you to look into error in your processes which had led to the second bullet above.

Rick S.
Sherwood, OR

Rick’s letter to us after he sent out the first one and heard back from Lenovo:

The next morning, I received an email from the Chief of Staff in the CEO’s office! He again apologized for the issue and looked into my order. Over the next week, we exchanged several emails but the bottom line is that unfortunately, there was nothing he could do to ship the S10 any sooner than October 14. He then offered to ship me a loaner laptop – a Lenovo “Reserve Edition”. I discovered this is a $5000 limited edition leather-wrapped laptop! While a bit worried about handing-off this über-laptop to my daughter, I accepted this generous olive branch. I was then handed-off to a woman in the “Office of Bill Amelio, President & CEO”, who arranged for the Reserve Edition laptop to be shipped overnight. She even included the labeling for Lenovo to pay the cost of the eventual return to Lenovo.

It’s going to be difficult to return this sweet notebook in a few weeks and downgrade to the S10. I must commend Lenovo for their handling of my concern. As I told the Chief of staff, “This is analogous to loaning a Maybach when having a Hyundai serviced.”

To other Consumerists, I offer this advice: If you have a problem with a product or service, reach out, be polite, and take the time to craft a well-written letter. Your efforts may be rewarded.