I’m in the middle of an unpleasant customer support experience with Lenovo at the moment and wanted to share my experience as a “caveat emptor” for other potential Lenovo customers (at least here in Australia)

In the Beginning.

We start our tale with an online purchase of a nice, shiny Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro for my daughter for school at the beginning of the year. Being a school laptop it gets transported back and forth to school in a backpack each day. Much like my work laptops get carried around in my backpack each day on my commute.

A few weeks back a number of keys on her keyboard started falling off. The 3. The 2. Right cursor. Left shift. M. And before you ask; no, there’s no obvious damage to the machine. It hasn’t been dropped (that I can tell). There’s no dents. No cracked screens. No warping. Nothing that I could detect that would explain why the key caps are dropping off. I should’ve taken a photo.

Now I will admit that I tried to push the keys back on, thinking they’d just click into place, but without success. They kind of half go on, but then fall off again with the lightest of touches. I guess it’s time for a support call, so I jump on the Lenovo site and start a warranty request.

Failure to Launch

I get an confirmation message (without a reference number) saying I’ll get an email from them shortly with the details for returning the machine. But there’s no email. Not even in my junk mail. I wait a few days wondering if their “eventual consistency” system will catch up (if they have one). Still no email. Great. I guess I’ll need to follow this up myself and call support. A job for tomorrow, since I’ll need to grab the serial number from the laptop again.

But then I get a call from Lenovo asking me why I haven’t arranged to send in the laptop yet. Huh? I explain I haven’t received any emails from them as yet and then they tell me “Oh, yeah. We had some issues with our email systems. Sorry”.

Well at least we’re getting somewhere, so we arrange the details for the laptop to be returned and I’m told I’ll get an email with the forms I need to include for shipping when the courier arrives.

Attempt #2

You can guess what happens next. That’s right. Nothing. No email. I wait another day and decide this is ridiculous so I trawl through Lenovo’s web site until I can find a number to call (it’s not obvious). The service rep I talk to apologises, cancels the original service request and creates a new one, organising a new collection date with me over the phone. He also calls me back the next day to follow up and check I received the email. This time I did. That’s also showing signs of better service.

So now, we finally get the laptop collected and it’s returned to base for servicing.

A Ransom Situation

3 working days later I get a status update email from Lenovo saying a quotation is ready for me to approve. A quotation for a warranty job? Hmm. That’s not a good sign, but I need the laptop back regardless. They’ve got my device hostage, so I figure I’ll accept the quotation and then call support once 9am rolls around to ask why they want me to pay since the explanation of what is wrong is unclear.

Here’s what happens. First I bring up the service request:


Yes, the keyboard is damaged. The keys were falling off. Duh! So I click the “Accept” button.


And confirm acceptance. Here’s the response:


Oh, yay! Great system there Lenovo.

Negotiating a Release

So now I need to call support. I follow the prompts to check on the status of a job, but the phone system asks me to enter a 10 digit job number. Lenovo only gave me a 6 digit number. Um… genius. Way to go Lenovo.

So I follow more prompts through the phone system until I manage to talk to a human. I ask him why there’s a $200 charge for a warranty fix and I’m told it’s because of “induced damage”. Was I not meant to try pushing keys back on when they fell off? Would I have even tried to do this if they hadn’t fallen off in the first place? If I’ve somehow damaged the keyboard when trying to push the keys back on I could be at fault, though it’s some pretty poor customer service if that’s the case.

Unsurprisingly at this point I’m not a happy camper. Frustrated, I explain that even if I wanted to, I can’t accept their quotation because their systems are broken so I ask him to do it over the phone for me. The reply? I’ll call you back. What? Why? No thanks. I’ll wait on the line while you do it. It can’t take that long, surely.

Turns out that it can. It’s a “different department” that handles this and it will be 1-2 working days before someone calls me back to confirm. Are you kidding? 1-2 days to get someone to make a phone call? Can we drag out this repair any longer? I just want the laptop fixed and returned.

So here I am. Still waiting for Lenovo to learn how to make an inter-departmental phone call or to write an email to someone and I’m getting stonewalled. I’m reminded of our favourite insurance manager from the Incredibles.

I’m certainly not getting anywhere penetrating Lenovo’s bureaucracy at the moment so I’m doing the only thing I can and blogging about the experience instead.

As a note, my current work laptop is now 2 years old and due to be replaced. I was seriously considering a Carbon X1 since it looks like a great piece of kit but this experience has soured me. Support is really important, especially for someone like me who completely depends on my laptop for my job.

Lenovo, you’re definitely scratched from my list of approved vendors. Just fix my device, send it back and let’s hope we never have to deal with each other again.