On January 31, 2004, I purchased a Toshiba Satellite laptop A15-S129 at my local Microcenter store here in Houston, Texas. From the start, the battery always died within 90 minutes, sometimes with 45. Since I had purchased a laptop for its portability and deliberately chose a model with a battery life >2 hours, this was a problem for me! Leaving it plugged in all the time effectively transformed it to a desktop, which is not what I had wanted. (Obviously!)
I played with the settings, had IT industry friends look it over, but it never held the charge.
I also noticed that it always got very very hot, whether it was plugged in or running off battery -- and I mean MUCH hotter than normal. I am typing this on a Dell Inspiron 600m laptop, and it is warm underneath, but the Toshiba was painfully hot.
Then, it started shutting itself off -- just instantly going to a black screen. No saving work, no warning, just instant off (you know, the way it won't let YOU shut it down).
So within a day of purchasing the model and encountering these problems, I immediately contacted the Tech Support line at Toshiba, and got very friendly with a number of the techs there. (I yell for help quickly! I am not one of those people who are good at figuring things out on their own -- I go straight to the experts!) I spent several hours trying to work out the problems with them, but they finally admitted defeat and suggested I take it to a repair center. There was a registered Toshiba repair center just 15 minutes from my home, so on April 7, 2003 (ie after about 9 weeks of unsuccessfully trying to get the darn thing to work), I took it to the repair shop.
I'm writing this on June 9th, and I still don't have my laptop back.
After the service center had replaced the system board and the power supply and it was still not working, I called Toshiba. By then it was mid-May (the power supply had been on back order). After going through the usual 8 people and being disconnected twice, I finally got to a service person (Alisha) who listened to my tale of woe.
I explained that the laptop was apparently a lemon, since it had never worked properly, had lost quite a bit of my data, had been in the possession of the repair center for over a month (ie a quarter of the total time I had owned it) and even they couldn't get it to work. I pointed out that she had records of my repeated calls to the Toshiba Help Line, dating back from the first day I owned the darn thing, and that while they had had my money all this time, I had yet to have a working computer.
I explained that I felt that four months of attempted repairs was a reasonable length of time to give the company to fix the thing and asked what I needed to do to have a replacement sent to me. She informed me that no replacement would be sent as Toshiba had not yet determined that there was a problem with the laptop. I pointed out to her that it was Toshiba who worked with me on the problems for weeks then finally told me to take it to the service center, and that it was the Toshiba-approved service center who told me they were having major problems fixing it.
Her reply was, essentially, "Tough." Until they declare it unfixable, no replacement would be forthcoming. Furthermore, she explained, they had no time limit under which they had to declare something unfixable. I asked if this meant that they could just put it on the shelf and wait 5 years to see if someone then could fix it, and she said that was pretty much the case. In the meantime, I was just out of luck and out of a computer, and out of the money that I had spent on their LEMON.
She said she would talk with "the corporate office in California" about my case as they were the ones who needed to decide about replacing an unfixable computer anyway.
I thanked her but said that while I understood she did not have the authority to send me a new computer, I'd like to plead my own case with the "corporate office" and asked for their phone number.
Nope. She wouldn't give me that. I was "not allowed" to call them.
Okay, I said, may I please speak with your supervisor?
No, she replied. I am the supervisor. There is no one else to speak with.
I asked if that meant that she reported directly to the head of Toshiba, and she said yes. (Wow! They sure have important people manning phone trees at Toshiba, don't they?)
Okay, I said (hanging onto my temper with an effort). So what you're telling me is that there is no one with whom I can speak, and I just continue to not have a computer.
Right, she said. See if the service center can fix it.
How much longer am I supposed to wait? I asked.
As long as it takes, she replied, sounding as if she were surprised I was so dumb I had to ask.
She swore she would contact the "corporate office" within the next 2 days and would contact me with the results, and she gave me a case # (1-72756970).
Well, I'm sure you guessed the next part. That was 3 weeks ago, and my good buddy Alisha has -- gasp! -- never called back.
So here I sit. The service center is STILL in possession of the laptop. I spoke with them today, and they have called Toshiba to declare the laptop a lemon, only to be told that just because nothing they do (by now they have also replaced the battery) can cause the thing to keep its charge over 90 minutes doesn't make it a lemon. The service center people are not happy with Toshiba either. They are now going to send my laptop to the Toshiba "Depot", where more Toshiba people can look at my laptop.
So, here I sit. It's been almost 5 months since I bought the computer. It's never worked properly, and it's been at the repair shop (continuously) since April 7th.
Here's my advice to you: DO NOT BUY A TOSHIBA LAPTOP. Even if you are lucky enough NOT to get a LEMON like I did, TOSHIBA CONSUMER SERVICE IS TERRIBLE. Alisha was extremely rude in that supercilious, "I am doing you a favor and you're too stupid to know it", passive-aggressive way. I hate being told that "you can't talk to anyone but me and I refuse to help you in any way at all". Even their own service center thinks they are crappy.
Why would you want to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars, as I did, on a laptop that won't run on battery, that is too hot to hold in your lap, that suddenly turns off and loses all your data, and THEN, on TOP of that, after you have been patient and been without your new laptop for MONTHS, get all sorts of rude crap from their Customer Service (ha! what an oxymoron that is!)? I deliberately waited a few weeks before posting this in case Alisha worked some sort of miracle for me, but obviously she just "circular filed" my case.
Based on my experience, I would strongly advise people to WATCH OUT FOR TOSHIBA LAPTOP LEMONS. If you're like me, they will leave you twisting in the wind as they laugh all the way to the bank. :(
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