Lenovo Ignores Customer, Waits For Gift To Reach Wrong Destination

We hear that Lenovo, heirs to the Thinkpad line of laptops, makes some very nice computers. In the last few months, though, more and more Consumerist readers are having problems getting the company to complete an exchange in which money is exchanged for a computer. E.J.’s purchase is one such failed exchange, and his father’s Christmas laptop is now lurking in a UPS facility, a few hundred miles away from where it was supposed to be delivered.

My mother asked me to find a new laptop for my father, who has been lugging around a 6 year old Vaio. On December the 4th, I pulled the trigger on a Lenovo Thinkpad. He had a couple of the first IBM Thinkpads, and I’ve had several since, both IBM and Lenovo built. In general I always have found them to be pretty good. The deal that I got was also good.

I had the laptop sent to my house in Chicago so that I could get it set up for him prior to going to there house in Detroit on the 19th. (Set up meaning: taking off the crapware, installing some remote access software, etc. Unlike the Geek Squad I won’t charge him for this, either.)

Within a day of ordering, I got confirmation of the order with a ship date of the 10th of December. Perfect. I also received an email from [M.] at Lenovo who told me that she was my personal customer care rep, and I should contact her with any questions. I thought that this was a nice little touch. Here is where the fun began.

December 7th: The shipping date changes to the 12th. I start to get nervous.

December 9th: The shipping date changes to the 22nd. I send M. an email asking why there is a slip in the date and seeing if there is anything to be done. No response.

December 11th: I call M. and leave a message. No response

December 14th: I call M. again and leave a message. She calls me back and we agree that the best course of action is to have it shipped to a different address. I give her this address, and she says that I’ll get a couple of emails over the next few days saying that they have to cancel the order and reissue it to change the address. This seems overly complicated, but hey, if it gets me what I need I’ll go with it.

December 16th: I get a shipping confirmation (Woh! Ahead of schedule). Unfortunately, it’s to the wrong address. So, I call M. No response.

December 17th: Call to M. No response. Package is spotted in Japan.

December 18th: Call to M. No response. Package is spotted in Alaska

I decide to change my plans and come back on Monday in foolish hopes of getting the computer.

December 21st: Call to M. Package is in Louisville. I call UPS to see if I can have it “predirected”, they say I have to wait until they make a delivery attempt or the sender redirects. M. calls back to say that she’s put in the request for redirection. I go back to Michigan.

December 22nd: Package is in Louisville getting cleared through customs.

December 23rd: Package is on its way to Chicago and ready for delivery.

December 24th: My neighbor emails me the info notice number so that I can redirect it. I don’t have the option on line, so I call. They tell me that they can’t redirect it because the sender won’t allow it.

Merry Christmas. My dad got a box with a tracking number in it. (Also, Buy.com canceled the laptop stand that I tried ordering for him, so he had nothing under the tree.)

December 26th: I call UPS and they tell me that I need to either freeze it at the warehouse or they’ll ship it back.

December 28th: I call M. again. No response. I call another number and wait on hold for 45 minutes and am told by a rep and supervisor that the redirect request was made on the 24th and it takes 2 business days to get processed, so look for the change on the 29th.

December 29th: No change in UPS. No response from M.

December 30th: See December 29th.

So, what do I do here? The laptop is 60 minutes away from my house, and 5 hours away from where it needs to be.

As of this writing, the package is at a UPS facility in Chicago, waiting to be picked up in person. Theoretically. We provided E.J. with some executive contact information for Lenovo, but this is more of a problem on UPS’s end now…caused by a lack of customer service on Lenovo’s part back when something actually could have been done.

E-mail To Lenovo President Gets Reader Immediate Answer, New Laptop
Lenovo Screws Up Every Part Of Computer Purchase
Lenovo Forgets To Charge Customers, Then Sends Them To Collection Agency


Edit Your Comment

  1. dg says:

    1) Drive to the UPS facility and pick it up. Find out which one it’s at and just go there. Most of them have a customer pickup area – it’s actually a mini version of hell, but I’ve had to do that a few times when UPS screwed things up. Forget calling UPS Customer Service – just show up to the site, and then flat out lie to them when they ask you if you called Cust Svc before coming – just say “Yes, I did…”. (The reason for this lie is because even if you do waste your time calling, Cust Svc screws up the request…so just go waste their time instead).

    2) Cancel the order with Lenovo. Call the Credit Card Company – tell them the item never arrived, charge it back. Refuse delivery.

    3) Go on CDW or newegg.com and order from them. It’ll be there when you want it. Decent pricing too.

    4) Forget BUY.COM – never shop at BUY.COM – they’re at least as bad, if not worse than, WAL-MART and WorstBuy…

    • The_Legend says:

      Newegg FTW. Worked perfect when I ordered a Lenovo netbook for my daughter. 3 days tops to the door.

      • G.O.B.: Come on! says:

        Southern California has the added perk of having Newegg. I get my orders in 2 days with standard shipping.

        Ordering directly through the manufacturer, though, let’s you customize a build. If you like preconfigured builds, retailers are fine I suppose.

    • ktetch says:

      Or, instead of Newegg, try Microcenter.com – I’ve had a few newegg horror stories, I’ve had nothing but great experiences with microcenter

      • Psychicsword says:

        I have ordered around $10,000 worth of stuff from newegg over the last 3 or 4 years(rough estimates) and I have never had a problem. Every time something has happened they were quick to respond and had near instant resolution of the problem. This is why I will almost always look there first for computer parts.

      • tomcat1483 says:

        I would be very careful with Micro Center. I just had a horrible experience there that I am debating sending to Consumerist. Waiting to see if they get back in touch with me first

    • MyTQuinn says:

      I agree with #1. At this point I would categorize this post as a rant, considering how plainly obvious the light is at the end of the tunnel. Just go pick the thing up and be done with it.

      • dg says:

        Sorry if it came off as a rant – I only listed the other items in case the OP didn’t have time to fool with picking up at UPS on his own…

  2. Trai_Dep says:

    Well, to be fair, it’s not as though “complet[ing a transaction] in which money is exchanged for a computer” is one of Lenovo’s core competencies or anything.

    • QuantumRiff says:

      Couldn’t agree more.. They have bungled the last 3 orders from my company, always blaming “their system” or “IBM’s System” (They bought the thinkpads laptops (and thinkcentre desktops) from IBM a half dozen years ago..) These were not small orders, all of them were >500 machines. Getting parts has been a nightmare, or even getting the onsite support when a problem happens at a site that we don’t have an onsite Tech. (Something is always mis-coded in “their system” or “IBM’s system” when we call.)

      And their Ideapad home models are nothing like their Thinkpads. Please don’t buy a Ideapad, cause you like your thinkpad you have at work. One is still designed and developed by IBM employees in NC, the other is designed by some fools that don’t seem to understand heat dissapation, drivers, support, or even how to run a support website..

  3. ChuckECheese says:

    I really want to buy a new notebook ASAP, but I am put off by all the junk out there, plus the service horror stories. My last computer was a Lenovo, but the customer service (I purchased a 3-year in-home warranty w/ accident coverage) was terrible – surly CSRs who refused to do anything to help in the most minor of situations.

    I’m looking at maybe Asus. I just can’t make the switch to Apple – that would be like having a sex change. Anybody have suggestions?

    • HungryGal says:

      I have a Sony Vaio (I was going to go Apple until I realized I could get literally THE SAME SPECS for 1/3 the price by sticking with Windows) and have had very few problems with it. The biggest issue was when Windows Vista stopped recognizing the DVD-R drive after I uninstalled some crapware, and neither Windows or Sony could offer me a solution. Thank god for message boards, I ended up editing my registry and fixing it.

      The biggest plus to Apple products I see is the free non-crapware stuff they give you to edit videos and stuff. I don’t need that, so it’s not worth the extra money. I’m looking into buying a new laptop this year (I really need to get up to 4gig memory and this one is maxed out at 2) and will probably go Sony again because I will save enough money to be able to buy Adobe Creative Suite 4.

      • HungryGal says:

        Oh I’d also like to mention: I’ve known a bunch of people who have had ENDLESS hardware issues (battery/power source/etc) with their Macs. Of course Apple are great about fixing things for free, if you drive your computer to the store and leave it for a few days.

      • coren says:

        Theoretically you can buy OSX and install it on compatible software laptops. Service will blow, probably, cuz it’s not their laptop, but hey

      • ChuckECheese says:

        Although I think Vaio computers are attractive, I haven’t noticed that they are bargains. There’s a pretty 14″ model at the local Fry’s for only $1,899. They have rolled out some cheaper models recently, but they’re still about $750 to $1,000. And I hear something about the lack of xp/virtual machine capabilities in Vaio computers. This topic bumps against the glass ceiling of my computer knowledge, so I’m not sure if I should be really concerned about it. But again, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of good news online about Sony service. On the other hand, Consumer Reports sure loves them in their ratings.

        • cete-of-badgers says:

          I was looking at new Vaios recently (before I went with a ThinkPad). The thing that tipped it for me was that when you go through customization options, there’s a thing called Clean Slate where you can pay extra for them not to put garbage software on your computer. If I’d gone with the garbage software option, I’d just wipe it and install another OS, but then Sony has all of these specialized drivers and parts, so that would take up too much of my time. Nuts to that.

          So when you order from Lenovo, you get some info with a specific extension you can call if there are problems with your order. When I called that number, I was able to get a rep right away (things shipped from China tend to get held up in US Customs, so I had called to ask why I was not seeing any movement when tracking shipping). Did the OP not call the right number?

      • jimv2000 says:

        +1 for Sony. I bought a Vaio off Newegg a few months ago, and the screen developed a cluster of 50 dying pixels (grey, not black). I called their support, and after about 5 minutes of talking/troubleshooting, they agreed to SEND someone to MEET ME AT WORK and replace the screen. Not only that, the guy who did the repair came from a town 2 hours away (I live in a rural area), over a mountain during a snow storm. Everything was taken care of within three days of my phone call.

    • Rylar says:

      Asus is the worst company I’ve ever had to deal with. They make fine high end motherboards, but the rest of the stuff they make (including cheap motherboards) are garbage.

      I knew their customer service was terrible when I bought a DVD-RW from them a couple years ago… but I thought what could I possibly need for a DVD burner right??

      Well like any piece of hardware, you need software to make it work… in this case asus told me I was out of luck and they didn’t support firmware for their burners. I told them the burner barely functioned without the bug fixed firmware, they said sorry we can’t help you.

      Their hardware is nothing more than other people’s stuff re-branded, and I’m very technically inclined so I was able to flash the firmware with the latest updates from the Panasonic burner that Asus put their name on… but had I made a mistake, my money, and my burner would be in the garbage thanks to Asus.

    • jesusofcool says:

      I’m surprised you had such a bad experience with them. I’ve had my Thinkpad for four years and I feel nothing but love for them. My computer still works great. I had a small problem about 2.5 years in to owning it and the CSR’s were very nice. Lenovo paid for my computer to be shipped to their facility, repaired it for free and sent it back 5 days later. I was pleased enough to keep buying. Hopefully these negative experiences are not the norm!

      • ChuckECheese says:

        The computer itself is good. But it’s getting outdated. Needs a new battery, RAM, bigger HD, Win7, etc. So I’ll get a new one. The trouble spot w/ Lenovo is service. It’s spotty and often poor. Even that dedicated name/number they give you when you place an order is pretty much worthless, as the OP pointed out. Lenovo sells high-end warranties but don’t provide the service to match. It’s all shake and seeds with customer service these days.

        • rpm773 says:

          Hmmm. I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve never had anything but stellar service from Lenovo.

          The screen light on my LCD blew in my 3 year-old Thinkpad last year, right before the warranty expired. Lenovo overnighted a shipping box to me to put it, and had it fixed and back in my hands in 3 days.

          I’ve dealt with them a few other times over the years, with similar results. But perhaps my warranty was of a different level than yours – my machine was bought through my employer.

    • CompyPaq says:

      DON’T BUY ASUS! I have seen several different models of their computers, over the course of of a year, with identical driver issues. They also have an extremely unhelpful customer service team and repair center. You will be stuck.

    • STrRedWolf says:

      Asus makes very decent laptops, and Newegg has been very fast at getting me my own monster gaming laptop. Go through Newegg and you’re golden.

      But don’t discount Apple — if you think it’s a sex change, then you’ll be surprised when you can change back to Windows using it’s Boot Camp software. MacBooks are basically Intel Core 2 Duo running, NVidia GPU bearing PC’s. If you want, you can run them both at the same time using VMWare Fusion.

    • saturnleia says:

      I have a Samsung X460 and LOVE it.


      When I bought it about a year ago, it was the lightest 14″ notebook out there. I got a great deal on it from Newegg too ($900 after rebate).

  4. coren says:

    Technically the gift reached the correct destination, he wanted to change that destination. And UPS is notoriously bad at rerouting things. Not that Levono didn’t apparently goof too, but this seems like a confluence of screw ups, not just theirs.

  5. bloodnok says:

    being on my second corpse supplied stinkpad, allow me to disagree vehemently about lenovo’s offerings being nice computers. they’re not. they’re crap.

  6. BradenR says:

    I’ve learned to avoid Lenovo after a minor problem I found a great price on their keyboards, buy one get one free. I ordered one expecting the second one to be enclosed. It was but so were the next four keyboards. I called customer service and told them I had paid for one and needed to return their “bonus ” keyboards. After many emails, their solution was I should authorize my credit cards for the additional keyboards and then ask for a refund. I refused their offer. Eventually I gave up trying to get them returned and sold them.

  7. morlo says:

    Dear imperialist dog,
    This matter is of no concern. M. has been executed.
    People’s Democratic Dictatorship of China

  8. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    “Waits For Gift To Reach Wrong Destination”
    I don’t understand why the destination was changed after it was shipped and how “the best course of action is to have it shipped to a different address”. Surely that would only add to any delays as would trying to change it again from the neighbors house.

    • Sneeje says:

      He lives far from his parents. He had it shipped to his address so he could prepare it and then take it with him when he went home for the holidays. Once the delay was introduced, he had to leave to go to his parents and ask that it be shipped there.

  9. Deezul_AwT says:

    But remember, THIS is why the Internet will destroy B&M stores.

    My opinion? After getting the runaround the second time, cancel the order, go to Best Buy or your favorite office supply place, and get one there.

    Will it be the same? No. Will you have physical possession of the computer? YES.

    • krista says:

      I ordered a camera from Best Buy for store pickup to have for my Birthday and NYE. Turns out the store that they said had the camera actually did not. Since I had already chosen a store on the outside of my area (45 min drive), I had to have them ship it instead. Walking in to Best buy and picking it up from the shelf is the only way to guarantee you can actually get it at Best Buy.

  10. RaslDasl says:

    Judging by stories and comments here and elsewhere it appears that all of the computer companies ran into supply chain problems this year. A friend of mine ordered a pre-configured (and thus pre-built) Dell laptop and had it in a few days. The lesson here is to pick something off-the-shelf, either in person or virtually, when you need it quickly or by a particular date.

  11. Mark_Lenovo says:


    Sorry to hear that E.J. has had such a troubled experience receiving their product. Certainly we’d like to help but don’t have much to go on here without an order number.

    Could you share my email with EJ? If EJ could send me an email with the order number, we can look into this, help get it resolved, and try to make things right for EJ.