Toshiba's Netbook Repair Runaround Is Demoralizing

One might think that the warranty repair of a netbook that failed after less than three weeks of use would be simple and painless. One would be wrong. Robert asks in his e-mail to Consumerist about Toshiba, “are all computer companies this crappy?” Yes, some of them, but it’s a sad day in America when customers buy a laptop and can expect to encounter the same hardware failures and general runaround that Robert writes that he experienced.

On August 27 I bought a new Toshiba NB255-N245 netbook. That thing was awesome, did everything I needed. Yesterday, September 14 (18 days after purchase) the hard drive inexplicably died. After one call to customer service to verify the problem, I was told to take the computer to an authorized repair center near my home.

Here is where the fun begins, today I took the netbook in to the repair center. They told me it wasn’t something they were allowed to work on.

Call to Toshiba #2: find another authorized repair center.
Call second repair center to see if they will do the work. The second repair center states that Toshiba is no longer allowing local repair centers to work on netbooks.

Call to Toshiba #3: Toshiba rep confirms this. I ask how to ship in my computer. Rep hangs up the phone (I think it was an accident). On a side note, on this call I was told that any local repair center would charge for the work. I asked why, since this computer is under warranty, would I be charged for any work at all. Toshiba rep told me that is the agreement they have.

Call to Toshiba #4: Toshiba rep is happy to help, but states that I have to pay for shipping to the repair center. I ask why, seeing as this laptop isn’t even 3 weeks out of the box, and still well within warranty, should I have to pay for anything. Toshiba rep says that is in the warranty agreement. I tell him I understand, but question the wisdom of a company selling a product that fails within 3 weeks and still charges the customer for anything. Cutting myself off, I ask the rep what he would do. He states that he would ask to speak to a manager. After speaking with the manager, asking the same questions and getting no response (she literally didn’t say anything until I would ask if she was still there, and then would only repeat the company line.)

In short, I bought a laptop that had a major hardware failure 18 days after purchase. At no time was I offered a refund, exchange or help. I was misled multiple times over the phone, and I have to pay to ship a broken product, that is under warranty, in for repairs.

On a side note: In 2002, I bought a Citizen watch. In 2006, out of warranty, the watch broke, so I took it to an authorized retailer/repair guy near my house. He couldn’t fix it so he sent it in with a bunch of other stuff to Citizen (I was going to pay for it). It was just a broken gear. Citizen fixed the watch and returned it at no charge. The totals of the repairs and shipping couldn’t be more than $15. I only buy watches from them now.

When I asked the Toshiba reps why I should ever do business with their company again, none of them had an answer.

Perhaps that should be your answer.

Back in April, we published an executive customer service contact for Toshiba laptops. They might be able to help.