An Open Letter to Toshiba (and a warning to others!),
I love my Toshiba laptop. The multimedia keys are perfectly sized and positioned, the trackpad is easy to use and feels good under my fingers.
It was my first big purchase as a new university student and I thought I had bought an amazing laptop. That was until I hit the first road bump in a series of events that have brought me through every emotion from rage to tears as I tried to deal with their customer support.
September 2009, less than a month after buying my new laptop, I opted to purchase the additional "3 year system guard warranty" for $369 to cover any accidental damage that my klutzy student-self might inflict on it. Unfortunately, I was informed, I couldn't purchase that warranty because it had been more than 30 days since I purchase the laptop.... only, it hadn't actually been 30 days. After multiple phone calls I finally managed to speak to a warranty representative named Thomas who
helped me. I scanned and sent him copies of my receipt to verify my purchase date, proving it had been less than 30 days and I could still buy the warranty. Satisfied, he updated their records to reflect the actual purchase date.
Problem solved, right? Wrong! The process to get my purchase date fixed had taken so long I was now over the 30 day limit for the warranty. Again, I fought through hours of being passed around Toshiba's customer support staff on the telephone as I
tried to argue my case. I had first tried to purchase this warranty well-within the accepted time limit and it was their mistake which had delayed the process until now. Finally, now early October, I got approval to purchase the warranty. Everything was processed and my visa bill came out $369 higher that month.
Fast forward to later that year. I took my laptop to one of Toshiba's authorized service providers to get some minor service done under my system guard warranty. Except, when I get there I am told I don't have a system guard warranty. Really? My visa bill and warranty receipt say otherwise. I get back on the phone with Toshiba. No one in their whole company seems to have a clue
how to help me. I dealt with everything from almost directly being called a liar to honest attempts at assistance. I got passed around from tech support to customer service to warranty services to sales...
Needless to say my laptop didn't get fixed that day. Instead I went home with a new case number and a few extra hours of telephone bonding time with Toshiba under my belt.
This case was finally resolved when Toshiba informed me that I did indeed have a system guard warranty. Turns out there had been an error in their system and when I purchased the warranty my data had not been added to their database. Consequently,
their system did not recognize me as having a warranty. I got an apology for their mistake and my laptop finally got fixed! Hallelujah!
This summer marks the end of my system guard warranty and boy is it going out with a bang! Start of June 2012 I took my laptop to authorized service provider (ASP) #1 as it started taking 5 minutes to boot up. I was told it would be fixed and back to me in 3 days tops. Five days later and no word from them. I called and was told a motherboard had been ordered from Toshiba and would be there the following week. The following week came and went... still nothing. I called again and was told Toshiba had not shipped the motherboard yet. The service technician then suggested that I pick up my laptop and use it to do my school work until the motherboard came in.
I picked my laptop up the next day and brought it home only to find that it no longer had sound or recognized the battery. I called ASP #1 to report this new problem and was told this was typical of a failing motherboard. It would all be resolved when the new part arrived and was installed. A few days later the wireless also started to disconnect randomly. I called again and was
given the same story: typical of a failing motherboard and still no word from Toshiba about when the part would arrive.
We are in July now and I'm frustrated. I call Toshiba personally to see what is going on and am told to go to ASP #2 instead. I call ASP #2 the next morning. ASP #2 says they can't help me without a reference number from Toshiba. I call Toshiba back and speak to a new representative. This representative says ASP #2 is not authorized to do repairs with my warranty and directs me to ASP #3. I am beyond frustrated at this point and ask to speak with customer service. That's not possible because they don't have a phone number. The person on the other end of the telephone, however, assures me that he has forwarded my case to them and a customer service representative will contact me in two weeks or less.
Yesterday marked almost 4 weeks after that phone call. I again contacted Toshiba to ask why I hadn't been contacted by a customer service person regarding my complaint. It had been almost four weeks and I was promised contact in two. Apparently my complaint had not been passed on. The case had been closed the moment I hung up. I asked to make another complaint and was told the same thing: my case was being forwarded to customer relations and they would call me in 14 days or less. I asked for written confirmation of this complaint submission (either via mail or email) and was told that was not possible. I asked to speak to a manger/supervisor and was told that was also not possible. I'm still waiting to hear back from their customer relations department.
Back in July I dropped off my laptop with ASP #3. Within hours their technician called me to say that the sound, internet and
battery issues were fixed. Turns out the last person to take apart the computer (ASP #1) had not reconnected the wires properly! The only problem left was the initial problem: 5 minutes to turn on. The technician informed me he had ordered a new optical cable and was confident that would fix this. It did. I picked my laptop up yesterday, plugged it in and everything worked! Then I unplugged it to change classes and everything died. Turns out the computer still won't run without being plugged in.
This weekend is a long weekend, the ASP office is empty until Tuesday. I am heading into hospital next Friday morning to get surgery. There is no way I will be able to have a fully-functional laptop to watch movies on as I recover. I started the repair process two months ago and I should not be in this position. I should not be crying over this now.
Never in my life have I been made to feel so unimportant and so frustrated by a company as I have in my dealings with Toshiba. Over the course of the last 3 years I have been negatively impacted by mistakes in their database, mistakes made by their authorized technicians, unhelpful phone support, and a complete lack of transparency and accountability. In August 2009 I would have recommended Toshiba to all my friends; In August 2012 I will be telling everyone I know about my experiences
and warning them to avoid Toshiba at all costs. As I said I am heading into hospital next week (without a laptop to distract me as I go through that) and I am beyond disappointed that that is the situation. I want everyone to know what I have been through and I want someone at Toshiba to step-up and take responsibility.