Report: #94315

Complaint Review: Toshiba

  • Submitted: Wed, June 09, 2004
  • Updated: Thu, April 21, 2005
  • Reported By: Houston Texas
  • Toshiba
    , California

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

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. :(

Houston, Texas

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/09/2004 07:17 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

The Fun Stops HERE

AUTHOR: Rosalie - (U.S.A.)

My Toshiba laptop replacement, the one from January (see above), officially bit the dust yesterday, just shy of 3 months. Circuit City wouldn't swap it out at first because they said I had to send it to their repair center under the conditions of my $400 warranty. Well, guess what, when I called to make the arrangements I was told that the warranty does not kick in until after the manufacurer's warranty expires.

It seems that the district manager "made a mistake" about when informing the stores about when it goes into effect--OOPS!!!!

This is its own story... I thought they were going to make me miserable over this, but they offered to give me credit towards a new laptop. Trust me when I tell you it is NOT NOT NOT a Toshiba. The pathetic one I had would no longer run on the adapter.

The plug would get redhot after about 15 minutes and it would stop charging. It was superheated by hot air blowing out the back.

This thing was probably singlehandedly responsible for Global Warning. It had great features but what would have really made it complete would be having it work. Just don't get one. Don't. You will want to regress to the stone tablet and chisel after owning one and it will probably be more efficient.
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

I think the office you want is in Irvine, Ca.

AUTHOR: Paul - (U.S.A.)

Search Toshiba USA headquarters.

I live out here. That's how I knew. Plus, I've been buying Toshiba laptops since 1987.

Anybody remember the old T1000? I had one. My first laptop. Toshiba's first laptop. 8088 processor. DOS in ram. No hard drive. One floppy. Super twist mono LCD screen. Yup, I had that puppy a long time.

It lasted all the way until I got a T5100. Remember that one? Orange plasma monitor? 386 processor?

Those things are freakin' antiques now.

My current Toshiba? A Tecra 750CDT. A 1999 model. $3500 new. I paid $250 used a year ago. I had it in my truck (semi) running GPS maps. Banged around. Works like a Timex. Actually, better than Timex. I never saw a Timex with a screensaver. But, you get the idea.

I think it's all new computers. The prices are way down. So is the quality. All I'm reading is problems.

I had an old Dell. Worked great. Read here about new Dell problems.

One comment is right on the money. Print this out. Mail it off. Better yet, wait until the search engines index this complaint. A week maybe. Print out the google listing. This site has a funny way of coming up before many company sites. Wouldn't that suck? First comes ripoff report/bad Toshiba. Then comes Toshiba USA right underneath. Oh yeah, that's good for business!

Battery problems? My Toshiba runs on 12 volts. I plug it into the car lighter. I can run for days. A smaller sealed 12 volt batter would give me 10 hours. Just not the battery that comes with the laptop. Mine was dead when I bought it. I'm always in the lighter or AC adapter. Small 12 volt batteries are typically used as backups in UPS (uninterruptible power supply).

Based on your comments, I'm hesitant to buy new. I'd like a DVD burner laptop. But, I'd hate to end up with these nightmares. Guess the old Tecra will have to stick it out a while longer. Don't count this old stuff out. It's 266 Mhz, but it runs win XP pro just fine. No heat. No shutdown. No problems. And, the price was right!
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

Toshiba's US HQ address

AUTHOR: Larry - (U.S.A.)

I am a firm believer in never taking "No" for an answer from a flunky. Alisha is clearly a flunky.

When customer service fails to do their job (as they have here) it is time to go to the top as communication in a corporation is like sewage: It only flows downhill.

Being familiar with the website of the Arizona Corporation Commission I searched there for "Toshiba." There are several Toshiba companies listed but the most likely is TOSHIBA AMERICA CONSUMER PRODUCTS, INC. whose address is 82 TOTOWA RD, WAYNE, NJ 07470. The two officers listed are the President, TOSHIHIDE YASUI, and the Secretary, MARLENE FRANKLIN.

I would recommend printing out your Ripoff Report page and sending that to the attention of the two corporate officers named above along with a request that your laptop be replaced.

Please keep us posted.
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#4 Consumer Comment

I Can See I'm In For A Great Time, Not

AUTHOR: Rosalie - (U.S.A.)

I received a long-awaited laptop for Christmas 2004. My husband went into Circuit City with a certain budget in mind and ended up spending several hundred more on a Toshiba Satellite A75-S229. It was admittedly beautiful, but I noticed certain things about it almost immediately, such as seeming to run very hot and shutting down, and the touchpad locking up. I was not sure if these were just a few minor quirks, but about a month later, the cursor would not budge, even after rebooting. I called customer service; my rep was from another country and used a dialect of English not spoken by anyone here for centuries. He asked for my serial number, which lo and behold, could not be found because THERE WAS NONE! That's right, they shipped a model without a serial number, and without this they could not honor my waranty! He suggested that the store I purchased it at was selling me a return. I called Circuit City (this was just beyond the 30-day store warranty, by the way), who said that they only sell merchandise sealed in boxes by the manufacturer, and that Toshiba probably shipped out a defective customer return. I called Toshiba back on 3-way calling and let them battle it out, with the blame being tossed back and forth between them. After listening to this nonsense, it became apparent that Toshiba was jerking around both of us. My husband got on and asked the Circuit City manager if we could just swap out the old computer. Now I know that Circuit City is notorious for being weenies with their returns, with restocking fees and generally hard times, but they jumped through flaming hoops for me on this one. I didn't even have the box, I hadn't purchased their extended warranty, but they gave me an upgraded, newer model. I purchased the extended warranty for it this time, to which they applied an instant rebate of $100 (instead of me sending it in), plus voided out the restocking fee, and transferred my data as well. They also apologized profusely for the inconvenience, which is much more than I can ever say for Toshiba. They assured me that since I bought the 4-year warranty I wouldn't even have to deal with those jerks, which was worth the additional investment alone. I have a feeling I may be using it a lot in the future after seeing what goes on here.
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