Advice on dealing with horrible, horrible warranty Service from Lenovo
January 18, 2017 6:21 AM   Subscribe

I paid for a three-year next-business day on-site warranty for my computer. It has taken over a month for my computer to be fixed. It has been esclated to executive support. What should I do, and what should I ask for?

So- Around 6 months ago I bought a Lenovo X1 Yoga. For peace of mind, I splurged on the pretty expensive three-year next-business-day on-site warranty with accidental damage protection.

In mid-December, my laptop developed a crack in the screen. (I don't recall it getting dropped, but it's possible it did. In either event - the accidental damage protection covers that).

Over a month later: My laptop is still not fixed. It had to be sent to the depot, where it has been for around 3 weeks now. The process has been horrible.

I recently managed to get the attention of "executive support". My laptop is still at the depot.

I'm not sure what I should be asking for from them at this point.

Of course, I want my laptop back as soon as possible. But that does not seem sufficient. It doesn't seem right to me that a company can have you pay for a next-business-day warranty, then take a month to fix your computer, and just walk away.

I feel like I should be asking for some additional remedy, but I don't have a good sense of what's fair or what's possible. (Should I ask for my money back on the warranty? For compensation for the time I spent without a computer? I actually ended up buying another, cheaper computer to use as a spare while this one was in the shop. Should I ask Lenovo to pay for that?)

Does anyone have any specific experience or advice on this?

(I live in Canada, if that matters, for any legal purposes...)
posted by ManInSuit to Shopping (18 answers total)
I was under the impression that on-site next-day meant that if they couldn't repair it they'd strip the drive out, put it in a new machine and hand it back to you. Have I been completely misinformed on that?

I guess I'd lob the ball into their court. "I had to do x, y and z because this happened. I still don't have a laptop. I am now a rabbit of negative euphoria. Please explain to me what went wrong in my case, assure me it won't happen again, and tell me how you propose to remedy my situation."

Then either accept their explanation/gift or complain some more, but at that point you're in a negotiation.
posted by Leon at 6:29 AM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have been told in so many words by repair techs (in Canada) that what you need is complaints on social media.
posted by jeather at 6:32 AM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

jeather: I have complained on twitter. I also send a linked in message to a senior executive. The linkedin message got a prompt reply, and I *think* it is why I am now connected to "executive support".
posted by ManInSuit at 6:36 AM on January 18, 2017

You can and should ask for a refund on your warranty payments as they are clearly not honouring the "next-business-day on-site" portion of the warranty.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:50 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ask for a full refund of the warranty price, an extension of the warranty by three years, and for them to pay for the new computer you had to buy. Be willing to accept the first and second things.
posted by Etrigan at 6:52 AM on January 18, 2017 [10 favorites]

My feeling is that, in terms of fairness, just refunding the warranty seems insufficient. I'm curious on what reasoining people might use to justify something like what Etrigan suggested. Also curious if anyone has had success asking for that sort of thing in this sort of situation.
posted by ManInSuit at 6:58 AM on January 18, 2017

I'm curious on what reasoining people might use to justify something like what Etrigan suggested.

My reasoning for each part:
Warranty refund: the warranty was clearly not the good deal for the money you thought it was, and you were relying on it, so they owe you that money back.
Warranty extension: this shows them that they have a chance to win your business back, that you're not giving up Lenovo entirely.
Pay for other computer: the reasoning to them is that their actions caused you to have to buy it, and it's only fair that they should reimburse you for it; the real reasoning is that it gives them a chance to say "No" to something and feel like they got a partial victory.
posted by Etrigan at 7:02 AM on January 18, 2017 [19 favorites]

I'm curious on what reasoining people might use to justify something like what Etrigan suggested

I would write Lenovo an email citing specific wording from your copy of the warranty agreement that they have failed to adhere to. Citing the extra expenses and hardships this has caused you. As this is a consumer contract, I doubt there's any penalties listed if they fail to live up to their end, but it's still a contract they are obliged to fulfill.
posted by mayonnaises at 8:06 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

People know that the cash expense of fixing their computer is going to be less (multiplied by the probability of needing that repair) than the cost of the warranty; viewed as a cost-of-fixing vs. cost-of-warranty deal, it's not a "smart" expense. The warranty gains money, overall, for the company selling it.

The only reason it makes _sense_ to buy a warranty at all is when the costs of a non-working computer exceed the costs of repairing or replacing it. Particularly for a warranty that's supposed to have a fast turn-around time, for which you pay extra, it's understood that losing that time is worth much more than the mere computer equipment; you could lose sales, data collection opportunities, plus the time you have to spend getting the repairs done. These could be a trivial amount, in which case it's not worth buying the warranty, or they could be worth orders of magnitude more than the mere equipment.

In these circumstances, a fancy warranty makes sense. Otherwise, it's just gambling, and no well-run corporation would purchase such a warranty.

This is the understanding behind this kind of warranty arrangement. Lenovo not honoring this warranty is annoying to you, but it would be a problem worth potentially millions of dollars, and many contracts, with their corporate customers; people go to Lenovo for the perception of reliability and service, so this kind of issue should be critical for them.

I think it's worth calling in an expert. Possibly a legal expert.
posted by amtho at 8:20 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'd ask for a new computer and a warranty extension. My justification for doing that: getting a replacement computer from Lenovo with a warranty extension. I have the same warranty that you do and the (very expensive) ThinkPad I bought from them was a dud. After repeated visits by the repair guy and one return to the depot for a more extensive repair, I was still encountering the same problems. The solution they finally offered me was a new, replacement unit. They told me it was not uncommon for them to replace machines under warranty.

Because your Yoga is so new, I think that's only fair. As said above, they need to go the distance to win back your loyalty as a customer. If it matters, I'm also in Canada, so there is no excuse they won't do that for a Canadian customer.
posted by sardonyx at 9:10 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth: nearly 10 years ago I got a ridiculous run-around from the people supposedly repairing my Lenovo laptop under (normal, not upgraded) warranty, in the US. (Among other problems, they replaced the screen with a lower-resolution screen, then seemed incapable of understanding the issue.)

In the end I tried calling a Lenovo sales number, and got somebody more sympathetic, who offered a couple choices, and I ended up just taking a full refund.
posted by floppyroofing at 9:17 AM on January 18, 2017

"I'm curious on what reasoining people might use"

"So, does this warranty mean anything, or do you consider the kind of service I've gotten normal?"

The warranty's something most people never use, they buy it because they trust that in the unlikely case they need it, it will be there. Here you hit such a case, and Lenovo completely failed to hold up their end of the bargain. That undermines their customers' trust.

Hey, mistakes happen, and maybe you just hit some 1-in-a-million series of failures. But if that's the case, then they should be able to afford to make it up to you lavishly.

If they're trying to cheap out on the resolution, they're signaling that they consider your experience to be just business as usual.
posted by floppyroofing at 9:29 AM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm not familiar with the finer points of Canadian contract law, but they do seem to be in breach of the service agreement (hence the request to refund the payment for an extended warranty service they have failed to deliver). The problem with trying to get more out of them is that the warranty probably doesn't cover your loss of use (where you literally had to buy another device to use while yours was out of service).

So, ask for a refund and an extension on the warranty. You can also threaten to seek redress (that is, damages suffered because of the loss of use) and that might get them to cough something up, but as these things go probably the best they could/would do is a refund for the product you bought … and then you don't have the thing you wanted in the first place. It's a solution, but maybe not the best solution.

The primary thing is to ask for something they have the power to give you. I do like the idea that your opening salvo is "I paid for this extended warranty, you haven't lived up to it, and I've had to spend additional funds on a second device. How do you plan to make this right?" Let them propose something, and then counter (with something you believe they can deliver) if their offer isn't good enough.
posted by fedward at 9:41 AM on January 18, 2017

The problem with trying to get more out of them is that the warranty probably doesn't cover your loss of use

By failing to honor their part of the contract, they've potentially eliminated some of their self-protection in the contract. (Not a lawyer, just someone who reads). Which is to say, they promised a lot of stuff in that contract; them breaking that promise, and your inconvenience as a result of that broken promise, goes outside the warranty contract _if_ they have, in fact, not honored their part of the deal.

Thousands of people give them money for extended warranty but never use the extended warranty. They -- and I count myself among their number occasionally, and Lenovo is one company I would have bought such a warranty from -- are happy to do so mainly because they don't want to have the huge headaches you're having. If warranty holders are ending up with headaches anyway -- headaches that the written contract says should be avoided -- then that money is, in a real sense, being taken under false pretenses.

In other words, I hope you get to the bottom of this. I'd love it if you could follow up, too.
posted by amtho at 9:51 AM on January 18, 2017

I see that on this Lenovo page about Accidental Damage Protection (for Canada) the fine print says:
If you purchase an On-Site Warranty with Accidental Damage Protection, On-Site service level repairs will be limited to LCD and non-customer replaceable keyboards. If we cannot complete the repair at the first On-Site visit, then the system will be shipped to Lenovo's Service Center to complete the repair.
So it doesn't look they ever offered a guarantee that they would fix accidental damage the next business day on-site. I'm not sure you can claim they aren't honoring the warranty.

The amount of time they're taking to fix the problem certainly seems excessive, however. Etrigan's suggestions for what to ask for seem reasonable. I just wouldn't try to justify it based on the idea that they failed to live up to the agreement, unless you have a document in your possession that says something different from what I found online.
posted by Redstart at 10:41 AM on January 18, 2017

It doesn't seem right to me that a company can have you pay for a next-business-day warranty, then take a month to fix your computer, and just walk away.

A long time ago I used to buy a lot of computers from Lenovo and Dell for corporate IT. My memory is foggy, but as I recall, there is a distinction between NBD repair and NBD replacement warranties. The latter cost more.

So if you just have an "on site repair" kind of warranty, to be in compliance all they have to do is send a (generally useless) tech to your location within the specified time frame and that person has to just like, give it a try. If they determine that they cannot repair it on site because it's not a trivial problem like a memory replacement or something like that, they send it to the service depot and then you gotta wait. The warranty just covers that they will eventually somehow fix or replace it, not how fast they do it.

If you have an "exchange" kind of NBD warranty, they have to give you a replacement by next business day. This is the real baller warranty and I think the few times I had to do this the service from Lenovo was legit and good.

I would check the language of your warranty statement. Are they actually out of compliance? If you only bought the "repair" kind, and someone did actually come to your office NBD to look at the machine, it sucks but they didn't break the rules.

If they are out of compliance and you caught them red handed, I would call, stay on the phone, and make a big fucking fuss until they do right by their own guarantee. This strategy has worked for me before, if they broke the rules you have automatic leverage and I would stay on the phone until I escalated far enough to get a replacement immediately.
posted by tracert at 10:46 AM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Here is what we ended up doing:

- They are going to send me a new machine. They will *ship* it in 5 to 7 business days. (the alternative was to try and fix my machine, which they hoped would take a comparable amount of time, but they could not guarantee it)

- They will refund 10% of what I paid for the laptop (which happens to be a little more than what I paid for the warranty)

- They will extend my warranty by six months.

The other thing they offered me was a full refund on the price of the laptop. In some way, I guess, that might have been the better deal, but it would leave me having to shop around for a new laptop, which I'd rather avoid.

I don't think these offers feel fully fair in light of what happened, but I guess it's better than nothing.
posted by ManInSuit at 1:48 PM on January 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

(as an afterword: Lenovo finally sent me a new computer. They also, accidentally, repaired my old computer and sent me that one, too. Weighing the ethics, I decided I would not feed right keeping the extra computer, so I told them about the mistake. Then they wanted to make it less-than-totally easy for me to get the second computer back to them. Finally they agreed to make it their job to get the computer back. Phew. On balance - this experience was bad enough that it'll probably deter me from buying Lenovo again. Support is part of what I buy when I buy a computer, and this was pretty terrible...)
posted by ManInSuit at 2:00 PM on February 23, 2017

« Older Should I buy the S7 edge phone with "free"...   |   Gastroenteritis in a Tiny Dog Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.