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Dodge, Dip, Dive, Duck, and Dodge

By Steve Jones,

A number of people have been following my laptop saga over the last month. I have, or had, not sure which is more appropriate, a Toshiba Qosmio that I bought 2 years ago with an extended warranty from Toshiba. It died on Dec 2, I shipped it back to Toshiba that day. I had it for about 14 hours on Dec 16th-17th, it wouldn't boot, and I sent it back. I got it last Friday, Jan 8th, and it booted, but my drive had been wiped, so I re-set it up. I awoke Sat morning to find it had gone into hibernate, and would not come out. I have tried everything I could think of, spent an hour with Toshiba tech support that day, and it still will not work.

There are always horror stories about laptops, from every manufacturer, and it doesn't matter if you have a cheap Acer, or a high end Apple, all manufacturers will have issues. When you make thousands of anything, there's bound to be a few lemons. That's OK, and I get that. I think I've just had a failure, and I understand that can happen.

However I don't understand this. I called Toshiba back on Monday, on the advice of the technician on Saturday, and asked for a case manager. I've had issues with this laptop over the two years, minor things, but with 2 failed repairs, I was intending to just ask for a new machine, or even an upgrade that I could pay something for.

First tech: "Let me transfer you to a case manager." (I got hung up on).

Possible technical issues with the phone, so I call back. I've only spent 10 minutes getting to the transfer, and hey, it's only time.

Second tech: "I'll transfer you." (pause for about 90 seconds) "The case manager's line is busy, why don't you call back?" I say I don't want to do that, he tries to transfer me two more times. Suggests I call back both times, but after waiting on hold during the transfers nearly 10 minutes, I ask for a supervisor instead. "There are no supervisors in the room." I insist he find someone and he transfers me back to the main call in line. I manage not to throw my beautiful iPhone at the wall as I go through the prompts again.

Third Tech, with whom I'm slightly irate at this point, does the transfer attempts again, but says the number is just busy. I check m phone, I'm 22 minutes in on this call. Finally he says he'll call me back. He does, says he can now do a transfer, and promptly hangs up on me again.

I've been tweeting this and blogging, and someone sends me the number for the Toshiba corporate office, along with the name of the President, Mark Simons. I call, can't use the speech recognition system to get to him, so I get an operator. I ask for Mark Simons and get told "we are not allowed to transfer calls to that office." No surprise there, and the receptionist is nice and transfers me to the customer escalation team.

I get voice mail.

It's understandable that your products will have issues. It's not understandable, or acceptable, to avoid customers and not stand behind your products.  Morally I think it's a failing in your corporate culture that a customer cannot escalate issues. My guess is that I'm caught in the cracks of Toshiba's process, but it's unacceptable to me.

I have to write off this laptop after 40+ days and move on. However it won't be with a Toshiba, and I have to say that I would recommend you avoid them right now as well. There appears to be no way to escalate an issue if they cannot fix your machine. I depend on my laptop, and I'm sure most of you do as well.

Plus, how much confidence can you have in a company that doesn't know what an ORDER BY clause is?

Steve Jones


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