lenovo customer service/sales failure – the failboat is setting sail

June 10, 2008

I finally gave up and bought a new(ish) laptop. I went to lenovo’s refurb’d site and bought a nicely configured x61s on thursday of last week. I didn’t get a confirmation email but I let it ride for a day. I called them on monday to find out the status and see if I could get a shipping tracking number or an estimated ship date. See, I wanted this laptop here before I left for fudcon next week.

So, I call them on monday. I give them my name and order number and they tell me that “You called on friday sir to cancel the order”. Now, I never called on friday (or any other time) and certainly not to cancel the order. I tell them this and ask: If I cancelled it then the laptop is still available? If so, can we just re-place the order? They say they will confirm with inventory  and call me back.

Unsurprisingly, no one called me back.

I call back this morning (tuesday) to find out what the hell. I speak to a different person who tells me the same thing as before, that I cancelled the order on friday (which I did not do) but he tells me inventory claims they still have the laptop. So, I say, great, then let’s order it right now and get it shipped! He says “yes, we can do that.” He puts me on hold for about 15-20s and comes back and says “no, we can’t do that”. He says, he’s trying to find out what happened and could he call me back later? I say, no, that’s what happened yesterday and could I please speak to a supervisor. I go on hold for a bit.

I get a supervisor who does some more research. She tells me that inventory is now telling her that the laptop is NOT available and, in fact, the order has shipped! I say “What? Shipped where?” She says she doesn’t understand this and asks me to hold. I hold. She comes back and says the laptop was ordered by two people at the same time. My order was automatically cancelled b/c apparently mine was the second order. However, no one told me this, no one ever notified me at all. So, I say, since I can’t get that laptop, is there anything you can do for me to get another laptop ordered at that price. She says she’s going to transfer me to a sales person who can help get me a laptop. I transfer to him. He tells me he cannot give me the same price on a similar refurbished laptop – I’ll have to pay MORE for this one. I tell him, that sounds like bait and switch and it sounds a lot like I’m having a scam pulled on me. He offers to give me an employee discount on a new laptop (which will take 3-4 weeks to arrive – which puts it beyond when it will be most useful to me). Furthermore the ‘discount’ he offers me is LESS of a discount than I can get by using the discount that red hat employees get for lenovo/ibm products for personal purchases.

So let me make sure I understand this:

1. I can’t get the laptop I wanted

2. they can’t do anything to help me

3. I’m welcome to buy another laptop, for MORE money

4. no, they can’t get the laptop to me sooner, either.

Now, I ask to speak to another supervisor. He’s less helpful and proceeds to tell me that I cancelled the order on friday and this is my fault. Seriously, this is monumental failure, considering I’d already been told by a DIFFERENT supervisor that this was NOT my fault that it was lenovo’s failure in tracking and inventorying their hardware. Not to mention contacting their customers with problems that have occurred.

I explain to him that since apparently there is nothing they can do for me that will help me in any way whatsoever that I’d just like to get this investigated so it does not happen to another customer. The supervisor I’m speaking with is clearly not listening to me and barely acknowledging my presence on the phone. I say ‘good bye’ and I’m done with it.

I think I’m going to buy a laptop from dell or ebay, at least they can get it to me in a few days rather than a few weeks.

Just for the record, if any lenovo employees would like to research the full details of this massive cluster fuck my order number was/is “141247 10” and it is listed under my name “Seth Vidal”.


22 Responses to “lenovo customer service/sales failure – the failboat is setting sail”

  1. Chris Bredesen Says:

    This isn’t surprising at all. I worked for an international e-commerce shop in a past life and I can tell you that supply chain / fulfillment / logistics systems in large companies are generally in horrible shape. One department doesn’t know what the other is doing. It is amazing that anything gets shipped and billed correctly. Then you add into the mix the fact that this refurbished unit probably follows a completely different path through a separate set of systems that gets a lot less attention (QA) than the main systems and you’ve got a nightmare.

    The best you can do IMHO is to take your money elsewhere and blog about it 🙂

  2. Dan Radez Says:

    This happened to me Nov-Dec 2007. I ordered a machine at thanksgiving. The ship date got pushed back a couple times for some reason. When we called they gave us the same “someone else ordered the same machine and the same time” bit. We ordered a mac one Friday afternoon. It departed China and showed up on my door step by the following Tuesday morning.

  3. Rob Wilmoth Says:

    I had the same situation as Dan… Apple may cost a fair amount more, but I’ve never had a bad experience with customer service.

    My Lenovo experience took 2.5 months to get here.

  4. […] 10, 2008 In amusement: The laptop I wrote about earlier is  now for sale, again, on lenovo’s website. Right down to the model […]

  5. Bret McMillan Says:

    Just bought Janel a 15″ Mac Book Pro. So far, so good. 🙂

  6. Seth Vidal Says:

    5 Reasons I can’t use a macbook:

    1. one mouse button
    2. no trackpoint
    3. one mouse button
    4. irritating keyboard
    5. one mouse button

    I think it’s a fine idea, in principle but not functional for me.

  7. Sorry that there service/sales stuff suck so much, for the thinkpads is really great machines, i really loves the trackpoint and hate the ‘move your finger an i will do some strange stuff’ plates most of the other laptops uses.

  8. Mark Says:


    I would in fact like to look into this. Could you email me your order number which started with 2Cxxx?

    The number above doesn’t seem to help me find your records, and your name seems to be more popular than one might think.

    I’d also like to see if we could recover your business, but, given your experiences so far, would understand if that isn’t possible.

    Sorry we let you down.


  9. chromejob Says:

    Pity. I ordered a T43 from IBM/Lenovo in 11/2005, with extras, and the order was tracked just fine, and everything arrived promptly about a week later — the day before I was laid off from IBM (contractor). So, no love lost there, y’understand.

    That said, the refurb end of the business is dicey, and it’s a pity you didn’t know that ahead of the game. Units go fast, and like eBay you just have to hope you had the lucky mouse-click. The “laptop I wrote about” that was offered again was probably NOT the same unit, but another unit of the same MTM that was splurted out of the refurb sphincter. Don’t let sour grapes syndrome cloud your judgement. They neglected to tell you that the unit you _thought_ you ordered was already sold, that’s the only sin I can detect here. The rest is all institutional confusion and your unrelenting pout that you didn’t get the laptop you wanted. Cry a river, or pick up and try again, your choice.

    FWIW, I considered a refurb T42p against new T43s (this was when the first Z60s were being released, and I thought they sucked mightily) from the EPP and CPP channels, and the new units still came out cheaper, and with far better warranties. Oh, my T43 (2668) is still going strong (right beside me), and I’m thinking of extending the warranty.

    So what do you do: pout and stamp your feet and demand the universe play fair, or shrug off this incident and try again? Your choice. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Pretty corny, eh? I know, saying “#*@& it” and trying again doesn’t make for a very entertaining blog post, but it’s what millions of people are doing daily, with generally positive results.

  10. Mark Says:

    I just had a similar situation. I ordered a refurb T61 May 27, it took two weeks to arrive, and when I turned it on, the screen had serious line problems. Tech support said to send it back and they would completely go through the laptop and fix any issues. The turn-around time was exemplary, 4 days from pick-up to return, but it arrived back in my hands with the exact problem! I called back and was given the run-around for more than an hour, they finally said I could return it for a refund, but would be charged a re-stocking fee. I blew up, another 30 minutes later, they said no re-stocking fee but it would be a few weeks until the funds were returned to me. With their sales person on the phone, I ordered another unit – this time a new one from the outlet – and three days later, no confirmation, they couldn’t even find my order!
    I gave up, went to the Dell outlet, ordered an XPS M1330, confirmation in 10 minutes, shipped two days later, and will arrive this week.
    A few Lenovo people expressed their sympathies, none were able to do anything positive.

  11. chi Says:

    I’ve been thinking about getting a refurb x61 from Lenovo’s outlet, but judging from all the complaints I’ve read about them, it doesn’t really seem worth the risk. Quite disappointing really, I like the sturdiness of the Thinkpad line. The company I used to work for used only Thinkpad laptops, and no matter how hard many times you dropped those things, they kept on working perfectly.

  12. DO NOT buy a laptop from the Lenovo outlet! I purchased an R60 laptop and was sent the 3000n. Furthermore, I bought a redistributed laptop and the one I was sent was refurbished, which means it might have been used. The laptop has the Windows Vista icon on the computer but has XP installed. I called customer service about the problems. He would not let me return the laptop at full price. The problem is the confirmation email does not list the model. I had to pay a 15% fee as well as the shipping. I finally got in touch with a supervisor, who told me very rudely that he would look into the problem and call me back. Of couse I never heard from him so I e-mailed him. Again he never responded to my e-mails. I will NEVER buy a Lenovo laptop again and I will advise everyone I can that they should not purchase one either. LENOVO HAS TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE!

  13. wonton Says:

    I ordered a T61 and every time I had to call CS to change the ship to address or verify when it was shipping 1 of 2 things happens. I get a dunecoon repeating the opening line 3 times, acting like he doesn’t hear me OR I get someone that will actually talk but insists on putting me on hold for “3-4 minutes” while they “verify information”…I don’t know WTF these guys are doing, they may as well be on AUX.

  14. James L Says:

    Ordered a notebook 2 years ago for my college bound son and it was a great experience — however, BUYERS BEWARE … things have changed …. I ordered a T-series notebook on 8-13 and the original ship date was 8-27 — way too long in my opinion, but I put up with it– heard nothing to to the contrary so i assumed it had been shipped — 0n 8-28 I tried to go online to check status and THE WEBSITE WAS DOWN– called customer service and was told ‘it will now be week of 9-4 before shipping— told him this was UNACCEPTABLE — said he’d put an email to sales dept to try and expedite, since customer was unhappy — asked him for copy of email or some type of notice of this –he agreed. Checked status on 8-29 (website back up) and it now says ship date 9-11 ( W T F ?? ) … 4 weeks to build a simple notebook !!! Called customer service this morning 8-29 at 9.00am since they open then — got 25 minutes of elevator music and recording of how important i was as a customer — -then after 25 minutes of being on hold — THE PHONE HUNG UP !! AARRGGHH! These incompetent bozos deserve to go out of business!! Anyone ordering from these clowns should beware— had I known this 4 weeks ago, I would have bought from another company — I would love to hear from any brave Lenovo employees out there that want to reply on how I can resolve this problem ? Thanks….

  15. Suning Geng Says:

    That’s really an awful experience ordering lenovo notebooks!!!
    I ordered a T61 on 9/2 and the original shipping day on website is 9/16, but when I check the order status online on 9/17, it was changed to 9/30. I called on 9/25 to customer service and the guy told me their battery is out of stock and my order will be delayed again for at lease one another week. I can’t bear it!!
    How stupid the whole company! Is it very hard to build a notebook in one month? Why didn’t they tell me the situation when I placed the order?

  16. kevin Says:

    Yeah. did you buy your lenovo in the USA. There is nothing sucks more than the customer service in the USA.
    Most of the emoployees here consider them as a indiviual not as a profesional at all when they deal with their customer. The company put on their efforts into market and selling but not the service after selling.

  17. Joyce Says:


    words cannot express how frustrated and angry i am. i ordered it over thanksgiving 2 weeks ago, and am told that it might arrive next week, even though the “date” that was initially given to me was last week. oh joy.

    customer service FAILS miserably, and one guy hung up on me..
    do you think it’s worth it to wait it out? people are telling me to buy a macbook but i just can’t deal with the one key business either…

  18. Abiy Says:

    I purchased a lenovo laptap for a charity (to be used as a raffle) about a month ago from one of your rep – Sam Greener. Experience was a terrible but finally got it . Order was cancelled without my knowledge and had to be re-ordered – no good explanation was given to me. – But it is what it is and I learned to accept it.

    Now a couple of weeks ago , a friend of mine wanted the same computer and I came back to the same rep to order exactly the same computer with the same config – I figure it should not be that difficult. rep said I will send you a quote and he never did. – The irony , I followed up with him 6 times. have not received a quote. All I am trying to do here is spend money. This is a disaster. To make it worst the first experience was bad , as well.

    Can someone look into this .I have never seen this kind of customer service in my entire life.

  19. DC Says:

    I tried to purchase a Lenovo laptop on December 17th, received an e-mail confirmation with the items and their associated price.

    One week later I decided to track my order – the system should have been built by now and on its way to my address. After trying several times to click on the link without success, I called up customer service. I was told that my order had been canceled. What?!?!

    Yes, I ordered a laptop, a sleeve and a router. Lenovo incorrectly published the router for $13 on the website. I actually called them up to confirm that the price was right and that it was indeed a router. So apparently they canceled my order because the router was supposed to be $37. Really? First you cancel a large order because of $24? And you don’t e-mail or call the customer?!? And the best excuse: “It is not our fault, it is the system”. What?!? The system? Don’t you guys BUILD systems? Can you not control it? Argh.

    So in the end I ask to re-order the items. I told them that I wasn’t going to even argue about the price. All that I asked for is that they give me expedited shipping to that my order is not too delayed. Too much to ask? Apparently yes. Next time I checked my order, they had charged me for expedited shipping and handling. So now, they have put the order through for the 3rd time. Think they might get it right this time?!?!

    One more mistake and I’m canceling the entire thing. This is the WORST customer service ever. Better pray that I don’t have any issues with the machine. Really. Can you imagine what post-purchase service is like?

  20. […] 26, 2009 The battery in my much agonied lenovo x61s completely died last week. I’ve had the laptop for about 6-7 months now and the battery is […]

  21. jill Says:

    oh man, i wish i had read this before. i ordered an IdeaPad the first week i january. yep, still dont have it. and yep every person i talk to is no help whatsoever.
    when i FINALLY got a manager on the phone after calling and waiting for a call back -no one called back- i threatened to cancel the order and she didnt even care! she said “fine , i could cancel if i wanted to!”
    i cant even believe it.
    im waiting for a call back to see what kind of compensation theyre going to give me. it better be good or im cancelling for sure.
    but im scared about post-purchase service. anyone have experience with it??

  22. Erik Says:

    I’ve always like IBM’s products and usually their support is rock solid, however that certainly isnt the case anymore.

    I’m the network admin at a company and purchase a T61 Notebook (with Nvidia Quadro 140m graphic card) approx 1.5 years ago. I freely admit the warranty is expired on the laptop but!

    The laptop grphic card failed (the above mentioned 140) a couple of days ago. In looking up the problem I find that Nvidia (the card manufacture) HP and Dell have all stated that this particular graphic card family have much higher then average failures rates (something about shoddy thermal reduction compenets, in other words they overheat and die). HP and Dell have both extended their warranty on systems affected with this problem. I call up Lenovo and they flatly refused to acknowledge the issue and/or fix it.

    Now again, the laptop is out of warranty but since even the card manufacture is stating the parts to be faulty, they should certainly be fixing this since the laptop was shipped defective. A while back we started migrating to Dell laptops but purchased an IBM if the user requested it (I use one also). I can state in no uncertain terms that our company will no longer be purchasing Lenovo hardware after this incident.

    Congratz Lenovo the $150 you saved by not servicing this laptop just cost you tens of thousands in sales!

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