Lenovo - "For Those Who Do" from "A Company That Can't"

Submitted by reuben on Thu, 20/11/2014 - 21:35

A few months back my son was given a Lenovo Yoga 10" Tablet.  You can see it here:

http://shopap.lenovo.com/au/en/tablets/lenovo/yoga-series/yoga-tablet-2-android-10/

It's quite a nice piece of hardware.  Stylish, nice to hold and works quite well.  It runs Android 4.4 (great) and I had quite a good impression of it and the company that has it's branding on it (Lenovo).

That is, it was a nice piece of hardware, until he dropped it - which caused the battery/stand to come off.  The damage amounted to some scratches on the stand, but more importantly the Flexible Printed Circuit (FPC) that connects the battery to the laptop motherboard was ripped off, meaning that the unit no longer powers on.  Closer investigation revealed that the FPC is pretty well anchored to the battery stand - certainly it does not appear to come off easily.  The motherboard end is just a flip/snap lock which opens up to release the FPC easily.  I have the service manual for the unit and it's pretty easy to fix provided you can get the parts.

Not really expecting this to be a big deal (since all I needed was some spare parts and I would supply the labour myself) I went down the path of trying to fix it.  Now I can fix lots of things, not everything - but simple replacement of components in laptops/tabs and PCs I can almost always deal with.

So on September 21 I contacted Lenovo about this, and contacted them to get a quote for either them to fully repair it, or just to supply the parts so I could fix it myself.  The next day they emailed me back asking what the business name was and the address of the business.  I wrote back to tell them it was a non-corporate request and not for a business, and gave them my PO Box address since that's where I would want anything shipped to, and they in turn wrote back to tell me that they needed a street address to log the call.  So on 24 September I replied and gave them our street/home address.

On the 28th October (over a month later) I received a response with a quote for the repair ($388) which is a mere $11 less than the MSRP, and a second quote ($83) for the parts only.  Both quotes have the reference number P476SBT.  However the parts-only quote only lists items of CABLES INTERNALS and SOP FREIGHT CHARGE UP TO 5 X PARTS .

Before committing to a quote that doesn't even really explain what I am getting for the money, I questioned this by emailing back on 29th October "Just wanted to confirm before I proceed with this, that the quote P476SBT.CRU definitely includes both the ribbon cable AND the stand assembly?  It just lists "cables internals" as the part."

By 13th November two weeks had passed I was getting a bit impatient as I still hadn't had a reply so I called up the Lenovo Support Line - the only number on the bottom of the emails for me to call.  I spent 45 minutes on the phone, time which in hindsight would have been far more productively spent biting my nails or staring into space.  The person I spoke to was very polite but ultimately useless at helping me.  The service request reference number I had for the quote had been closed so he couldn't work on it.  He then wanted to know what sort of technical support he could give me to help me.  Except I didn't need tech support.  I asked to be put through to the team who did the quote so I could clarify.  No we can't do that he said.  We have to create a whole new service request in order to speak to that team.  So we went through every detail again and a new SR was created.  I told him all the same details as were on the quote which they had sent me since they were correct.  I was assured that his manager would be looking after it and I would have a response in 2 days - as it wasn't good enough for me to wait that long.  I was put on hold at least 8 times during the call, towards the end the engineer had to print out all the manuals for the tab to then start going through them to work out what the part was.  I told him I already had the service manual with the diagram showing all the parts (exploded view) and that it had the part numbers on it.  After three attempts at explaining that I had all this information he finally gave up trying to explain what the part he saw on his diagram looked like to me over the phone, and agreed to create the ticket, to which I could then reply with the diagram and exactly what I needed.  The details of this are:  "SERVICE REQUEST P47NYVC MACHINE:Z0AL HB083WTN" .

As soon as I got the email that afternoon I wrote back, attaching the quotes that I had obtained in October, and the service manual, and I also attached a picture from the service manual with big red texter around the two parts I needed.  Surely it couldn't be any easier than that - I just wanted confirmation of what was on the friggin quote from October!!

I heard nothing more until this evening - 20th November when I received this email:

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"Dear REUBEN,

Thank you for choosing Lenovo Services.
This is in reference to your case number P47NYVC
We tried to contact you but reached voicemail. Kindly confirm if the issue with machine has been resolved or not after performing system restore so that we can proceed with the closure of case.
Please contact us at 1-800 041 267 and quote the case number listed for further assistance.
Thank you for choosing Lenovo products. 

Best Regards,
M.Nivashkar Mahadevan
Remote Technical Support Specialist"

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I saw red!  I don't have a tech support query.  I want a quote.  I don't know why the hell I was asked if a "System Restore" worked given it's an Android (not a Windows) tab.  A System Restore probably won't fix broken hardware anyway.  Just proves that their way of fixing problems both hardware and software is to get customers to do a system restore and close the case!

I hope this story will have a happy ending but I am not holding my breath.  Lenovo's incompetence and pathetic handling of a simple request is amongst the worst I've ever come across anywhere in the IT industry.

At this stage all I can suggest is to everyone that I know, don't ever buy Lenovo.  Their slogan is "For those who do" but I think "From those who don't" would be a very apt bit to add to the end of that.  Their support appears to be worse than no support at all, because so far they have wasted so many hours of my time that if I had known was going to turn out like this I would have been better to throw the tab out and just buy a whole new one.

Perhaps I should also send them a bill for my time @ the going rate of $80/hr.