Dodge, Dip, Dive, Duck, and Dodge

  • Let them know with the only thing they understand.....dollar signs. Mac's are more expensive, but there's a reason for that. You get what you pay for...buyer beware.

    I do some consulting in the networking and pc/server support area for small businesses in the area. The odd customer will find some newspaper ad from some highschool kid offering support for dirt cheap prices and try to get me to lower my rates. Often they will switch, when I refuse. I cannot tell you how many times I've been called in emergency situations to fix things their new support person has mucked up. I charge a 50% premium over my regular rates for immediate response during normal working hours, rates are doubled outside of that.

    The "deal" usually ends up costing more in the long run.

  • This is so true dealing with most customer service departments these days. It really stinks that companies don't stand behind their products. What happened to the days when companies wanted to keep your business? I've been in the same boat as many of the other responses, where a product stops working and the company will give you a "discount" on another product. The "discount" feels like a slap in the face compared to what you could get the product for on the open market. Other service companies seem to want your business then start playing games with added fees, etc. (They usually refer to this as being flexible or adding choices). I would love to stand by a company that supports their products and wants you as a customer even if I had to pay a little more for it! It is even rare these days to have a product meet your expectations out of the box, and even rarer to have them exceed your expectations. It's really sad.

  • I have experienced the good, the bad and the ugly in the service world, not only with laptops and PC issues but other products that the extended warranty is religiously thrown into your face at checkout time.

    Customer service is a dying art, I think, because if you can get the consumer to go out and purchase a new item, you are keeping the industry going. Job security and all that. And with people buying major items on credit, it is helping the banks with all that interest they are collecting.

    Now I have had great service from Sony, Toshiba, Dell and HP, though, the best came from on site technicians that we called out for a service call that was covered under the 4 hour on site repair. I have learned, never send my computer equipment back to the manufacturer. I have received refurbished equipment in return, that is more problematic than the equipment I shipped to them.

    All in all, I don't purchase extended warranties anymore. Seems like in the past I have wasted lots of money on a warranty that I did not use, so I save the money now. And when I do have an issue covered under the manufacturer warranty, and I get bad customer service, I don't purchase from that company anymore, and let everyone I know what problems I had. I know that eventually, with this thinking, I may not be purchasing anything from anyone some day, if I adhere to my own rule, but I will rethink that when the time comes, maybe.

  • ben.mcintyre (1/13/2010)

    Sad thing is, I have come to expect this kind of thing. It's a case of searching for the rare company that doesn't do it rather than avoiding ones who do.

    Nail, head.

    I have stopped writing off companies due to bad support. I don't buy extended warranties. If it can't be made to work during the warranty period, I return it. If it works past the warranty, it's a gift I just accept. I do go out of my way for the longest manufacturer warranty that I can get, though. I cope with the fact that warranty returns are going to be replaced with a refurb.

    Expectations from large companies in today's age have really been turned on their head from the values from the previous generation.


  • thanks for keeping us informed on your customer care issues with Toshiba. It will certainly be in the back of my mind each and every time I have an option to purchase one of their many products.


  • As a fellow Steve Jones I share your frustration - mine has been back 3 times - twice to replace the mother board - did not helop that the supposedly new pc came complete with a selection of family snaps and porno movies downloaded by whoever had been using it at the store - at least that persudaed them to do the first repair without argument.

  • Steve,

    I had a customer non-service problem with Sears. They actually owed me money back and held it for months. It wasn't worth court (<$1k). I sent letters to the CEO and only got relief by contacting the Better Business Bureau and filing a formal complaint. I had a hearing with the BBB and a "special" group at Sears called me within a week after having "researched" the transactions. I had my money within a few days.

    You might try the BBB. My only other option was small claims court and I don't know that it was worth my time.



  • While Toshiba's have been known for their high quality laptops in the past I really believe they have gone down hill in recent years. We used to swear by Toshiba here at my company until we experienced problems with three different laptops purchased at different times that all had charging issues and then the hard drives died (they were Satellite Pro's not sure the model number). We replaced the hard drives and within the space of a few months they died again. We went through this cycle three times on one machine. As we investigated more we found that the hard drive bay was placed right above the processor. Of course this is a terrible design decision as the high temps coming from the processor would eventually cause the disc platters to warp and read/write heads to scrape the surface of the disk which is what was causing the hard drives to fail. We have sworn off Toshiba laptops now and only stick with HP or Lenovo.

  • I gave up on all major computer companies years ago and have mine built to spec by a local company. Once when an Intel board died and I was on call, they removed one from one of their computers for me to use while they waited for Intel to send another and I was back up within hours.

    Plus the money stays local and employes local, who support other local businesses.

  • In the past 7 months I have bought three new systems (2 in the past 3 weeks). Each time I seriously considered Toshiba, but a "gut feeling" told me to pass on them.

    Glad I trusted my instincts and passed on them.

    Perhaps they and other companies will see the light, understand that after sale support is important, and change their ways.

    Or, perhaps they'll continue to take the "Ken Olsen" approach that "Once our customers understand that we know what's best for them they'll start buying out products again."

    Anybody remember Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)?

  • Hate to hear about your issue. Reminds me of the crappy support I've gotten from two different laptop vendors.

    One thing I've noticed about extended support, the closer you get to the end of your extended support contract the less support you get.

    The other day I called for a new power cord because the wires on mine were frayed. This was the second time this same fraying had occured, due to a bad power cord design. The first one was about a year and half after I bought the laptop. No problem replacing that one. Well my extended plan was about up, so I decided to call again to get the cord replaced. I was quickly told they don't replace that kind of item due to normal wear and tear. I said then why did you replace it the first time. The supervisor said well I don't know, but our policy is not to replace that item. After much complaining, and insisting this was covered under my extended support policy the supervisor finally gave in and send me a new power cord. Thank god.

    Soon I will need to consider buying a new laptop. I've already had crappy support from two major laptop vendors. Maybe I should go with a small vendor that really is looking for business next time around.

    Gregory A. Larsen, MVP

  • I've got a short list of companies that I refuse to do business with over similar situations.

    Best Buy: I ordered a product from their web page that said it was in stock, and paid for next day delivery. My credit card was charged for it within the hour. When it didn't arrive the next day, I called, and was told it would ship in two weeks, and would use overnight delivery at that time. I tried to cancel the order, but they insisted I would have to wait for the product to arrive, and then ship it back to them at my expense, and then they would refund or replace at their discretion. So, I did that. But I also wrote a letter to their CEO letting him know that I would never do business with them again because of it. I got a $10 gift certificate and a form-letter appologizing for it. So, I don't do business with Best Buy.

    Wells Fargo: I had a checking account with them, and one day I went to pull money from an ATM. It told me the account was overdrawn, even though I had deposited money the prior day and knew it wasn't overdrawn. So I went into the bank (ATM was the one outside the door), and asked for a statement. Turned out they had charged me a little over $600 in overdraft fees, and thus the account was overdrawn by $300. I pointed out the inconsistency to the manager, and he agreed with me that the account would be positive if they hadn't charged fees, and that the fees were quite obviously an error. But he also told me that there was nothing whatsoever he could do about it and that nobody else could either. So, Wells Fargo essentially stole $600 from me, and I refuse to do business with them any more either.

    As a complete contrast to that last one, I had an account with B of A in Houston when I lived there. My final paycheck with an employer that went out of business was pulled back out of the account after I had already used some of it to pay bills and expenses. Thus, the account was suddenly negative through no fault of my own. I spoke to the branch manager about this, and he helped me cancel all the payments and he refunded the overdraft fees and helped me avoid any bounced check fees from my creditors over this. Thus, I ended up with some unpaid bills, but with no fees, etc. So, it can be done right as well. (I did eventually get my pay back, 4 months later.)

    There have been other companies I've been burned by that I stopped doing business with. For the most part, they don't still exist, except Best Buy and Wells Fargo. So I have my accounts with B of A instead of WF (there really should be a "T" in the middle of their name), and I buy electronics and computer goods from a long list of other stores and sites than Best Buy.

    Property of The Thread

    "Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everyone agrees it's old enough to know better." - Anon

  • Thanks for the heads up Steve.

    I'll add another issue that I have with my Toshiba Satellite laptop. It was advertised as having a four hour battery life. In reality, the battery life is no longer fifteen minutes--on the outside. Coincidentally, from the moment I purchased this laptop, Toshiba has been sending me e-mails trying to sell me their eight hour battery (which is likely to be very appealing to somebody with a fifteen minute battery).

    Needless to say, I felt taken. So, my experience combined with yours has convinced me to definitely look elsewhere when looking for my next computer.

  • What a frustrating story to hear, I hope someone over there gets wind of what an influential member of the technology community you are! I've had my issues as well, especially with a big screen TV a little while ago. I wardialed the extensions at their office until I could find a human who wouldn't just hang up on me and ignore me after weeks of getting no progress. Even then, it took a long time for anything to happen and in the end, the cost of the repair (it was out of warranty) was more than the cost of a new TV. I was willing to spend money to fix the thing and I still got the runaround.

    I had an odd experience with my bank the other day. I had asked for a new line of credit and I needed it by the end of the year since I had a large credit card bill to settle. The lady told me no problem. Dec 31st comes around, and it's been approved for 3 days, but the "person who pushes the button" still hasn't done so. I explain I need it and ask for it to be escalated. The lady tells me there is no way to do so. That frustrates me more since there's always a way to escalate. There's someone, somewhere who has to push a button, and there's a phone at a desk of someone who can tell them to do it. But since she was adament about it, she credits my credit card $49 for the inconvenience (the minimum due). So I was satisfied, but the lack of escalation procedure frustrated me. But if I look at it from their side, $49 is less than the cost of getting people to run around to take care of my issue, so it's win-win and I can live with that. She did call me 3 hours later and the line of credit was set up, so I got both the line of credit AND the $49.

    Someone dropped the ball on my mortgage for my first house and my (now ex) wife called and the escalation procedure worked at that bank. Went from local branch admin > local manager > corporate mortgage manager > calls to pull mortgage broker out of a conference > mortgage approved and details sent to my lawyer in under an hour.

  • Wow, the timing is impeccable: I just started reading Jeff Jarvis' "What Would Google Do?", and his first topic is "Dell Hell", about the troubles he went through with a Dell computer (

    He uses it to discuss the power of the consumer in the post-2000 economy, where one blog post can affect the opinion of thousands of consumers.

    Toshiba, learn from this, and update your organization. Otherwise, follow the dodo...

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