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.