Toshiba Is Holding My Computer Hostage For $140

Getting something fixed under warranty is rarely a pleasant task. It often takes longer than expected and occasionally lapses into bouts of back-and-forth finger-pointing between the manufacturer and the owner of the faulty product. Just ask Consumerist reader Art, who says that Toshiba has not only had his busted laptop for three months, but they’ve reneged on their promise to replace it and now want $140 for his troubles.

According to Art, he received the Toshiba Satellite L455 laptop four months ago as a gift. And after only three weeks of use, he says the USB port was falling out, the computer had shorted out and it was completely inoperable.

Since the laptop, which had been purchased at Best Buy, was still under its one-year manufacturer’s warranty, he sent it in for repair, expecting to have the problem resolved in a manner of weeks.

That was three months ago.

Here’s Art’s version of the events that followed:

Toshiba has now had my laptop four times longer than I did before it broke due to a factory warrantee. That would be enough to get angry about by itself. But after calling the company over a dozen times, and spending over 24 total hours on hold(and being disconnected/sent to phones that rang for 10-15 minutes before I gave up), I called Best Buy. They got a corporate representative on a three-way call with me, where they strong-armed Toshiba into finally doing something. The computer had been going on and off hold for two months while they ordered more and more parts, and they finally gave up and said they’d replace it. That was last week. Best Buy, horrified at how poorly toshiba has treated their customer, has told me they are sending me a $50 gift card. Note: Best Buy is doing this, not Toshiba. So I was satisfied that I would finally get my computer back, albeit three months later.

I just got a phone call from Toshiba’s repair depot. They have declared the damage to be my fault and not covered under the warrantee. But they’ll go ahead and fix it, for only $140! What a deal – only a third of the cost of the computer itself, which I had for three weeks before it broke due to a factory defect! I am at the end of my rope here. What was supposed to be a really cool gift from a friend has turned into an absolute nightmare, with over 30 hours now spent on hold talking to people who transfer me back and forth, drop my call, don’t call back, refuse to help me and tell me nothing. Then they lied to me, told me they were replacing the computer, and then called back and tried to charge me $140 to fix it.

I hope my story can at least serve as a warning to never, ever buy a Toshiba product. They are a company that intentionally steals – yes, literally steals – from people who are ignorant enough to buy from them.

And then we just received this update:

One last thing that happened — Best Buy is no longer sending us a gift card for some reason. In fact, it turns out the guy who told us that was just completely lying and never actually marked anything down to be sent for us. Best Buy has no idea what we’re talking about.

Here are some things Art may want to try next:

• Contact Best Buy Executives — Use this contact info and write a cogent, strongly worded e-mail to Best Buy bigwigs about their company’s involvement in the situation. Remember to keep your anger in check and stick to the details.

• Contact the Credit Card Company — This is slightly more complicated than usual, since it’s a gift. You’ll need the friend that bought the laptop for you to contact their credit card company’s warranty division. They may be able to help either with a charge back or if that card offers automatic extended warranty protection.

• Check Out This Link to see what other options may be available to you.