Terrible story of my trip to the dark side :)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by valiar, Jul 9, 2006.

  1. valiar macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2006
    Washington, DC
    As I am writing this, I am feeling stupid.:rolleyes:
    Stupid for *ever* considering that Apple laptops are not the very best.
    3 months ago, when I was seeking a replacement for my aging Rev A 15' AlBook, I have purchased an IBM ThinkPad X60s (instead of a MacBook Pro, as I should have done). On paper, the little machine looked great. Almost half the weight of my old PowerBook; comes with a docking station (so I don't have to lug the optical drive around); 9 hours of battery life; and ThinkPads, I've been told, are supposed to be rugged and reliable.
    I should have smelled trouble the moment I was ordering. Lenovo/IBM's web site did not accept my credit card and gave me a cryptic error code. No worries, I have called to place the order - and got charged $20 for shipping, since I did not order on the web.
    Then I waited. One week. Two weeks. Two and a half. After that I called IBM. Nobody there had a slightest idea when my order was going to ship. Not even if it was going to ship by the end of next month.
    On week three I have checked the order status online for the 144th time, only to find out that the order has not shipped, but the sales tax amount has magically doubled. I have called IBM again - only to be reassured that it is a "glitch" and they were not going to charge me the extra $200.
    On week four, my order has finally shipped. But why did I get two tracking numbers instead of one? Well, because IBM has shipped TWO ThinkPads to me! And, they DID charge me the extra sales tax. $200. Not the full cost of the "extra" ThinkPad, though.
    So I have got two boxes from UPS, and, with eager anticipation, opened the one that seemed less beat up (but not before calling IBM and scheduling the pickup of the "extra" box). The computer inside the box was small, black, with a rather nice keyboard, a wobbly battery, and a customarily botched up Windows installation. No worries, we'll dock it and reinstall Windows... What????:eek: It does not dock?:eek: Why is there no satisfying click, even when I apply all my body weight to the LCD lid?:eek: :mad:
    At this point I have opened the second box.
    Needless to say, neither computer worked with either of the docking stations. It was a fiasco, because in order for a PC to be usable, factory-installed Windows needs to be wiped - pronto.
    If I were a reasonable person, I would have returned the miserable pieces of refuse to IBM right then. Instead, being stubborn, I have called IBM tech support.
    This so called "support" was beyond terrible. I have had experience calling Apple, Dell, HP, Agilent, Bruker, and a lot of other tech companies for support - and I have never, ever seen such a level of incompetence. Ever. Every rep I have had a chance to talk to had a charming Southern accent, and they were not understanding a single word I have been saying. I had to *spell* the words "d-o-c-k-i-n-g s-t-a-t-i-o-n" to one of them. The other one told me that IBM does not make a model 1704-4JU (after me spelling this to him about 5 times). Two different supervisors (after painstakingly making me spell my name, address, machine serial numbers) told me that I should simply replace the machine without even trying to help. And, no, their support center is not in India. It is in Atlanta, GA, which is proudly announced every time you call the dreaded line.
    Next day I have set up the return of both machines, and, learning that the wait for the replacement unit will be at least a month long :eek:, purchased the very same machine from a reseller.
    Did my troubles with IBM proper end at this point? Not by a long shot.
    Instead of simply refunding my money, they proceeded to charge me the full cost of the second "extra" ThinkPad, nearly overdrafting my account in process. They have returned my money only 10 days later :eek: :mad: .
    At that point I have received the ThinkPad from the reseller.
    It did not dock. :mad:
    At least, not easily. I could make it click if I pressed REALLY hard on the back of the LCD. But at this point, I have just needed the machine for work, so it did not really matter anymore.
    Eventually, the dock got replaced. After 8 calls to tech support. I have waited a month for it to arrive. Then it got sent to a wrong address. THREE TIMES IN A ROW. And, once again, they sent me TWO of them.
    The wobbling keyboard was fixed by extracting an "extra" piece of plustic underneath one of the rubber feet and 4 more calls to friendly tech support (at this point my cell phone bill cam in... ouch... :eek: all this wonderful tech support airtime).
    Windows was reinstalled and configured to my liking after about 4 days of work. And I was relatively happy for a month or so.
    But, finally, the crippled IBM driver support did break the provebial camel's back. You see, my favorite game, EVE Online, crashes the miserable ThinkPad hard, so that it needs to be restarted. It is, apparently, a known problem with the older version of the Intel graphics driver. Now, IBM web site contains only the version that crashes EVE (and Windows with it). Driver downloaded directly from Intel does one of three things: displays blank black screen, displays a blue screen of death, or, rarely, actually works (but very slooooooowly). Apparently, IBM's BIOS is buggy this time.
    Not that I care.
    The X60s is on Ebay now. RIP.
    I will be getting a MacBook Pro (as I should have done initially).

    Oh, yes, I did try the T60 ThinkPad too. The machine they sent me had its LCD panel covered in faint psychedelic pinkish dots. No, I don't want more spam

    Sorry it was so long, but I hope someone might find it amusing
  2. joeops57 macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2006
    In a cardboard box outside McDonalds
    Ouch, such a horror story! I had always heard that IBMs were decent machines, and that may well be, but that tech support truly sucks. Just my 2 cents.

  3. tipdrill407 macrumors 6502

    May 26, 2006
    Yes IBMs were decent machines but Lenovos are not.
  4. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    Sorry to hear about your terrible experience valiar! :(

    But look on the bright side, all will be right again once you get a MacBook Pro. :)

    Sadly, this is the case. :eek:
  5. valiar thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2006
    Washington, DC
    Well, the way it looks to me, all of this... err... inefficiency has been directly inherited from IBM PC division. Lenovo bought them out less than a year ago. All of the support/return addresses start with "IBM ...".
    When the machine arrives in this horrible beige carboard box, it comes with 1/2 lb of paperwork in legalese, and all this legalese refers only to "IBM".
    I have never had a ThinkPad before the dreaded X60s, but after I went to my uni bookstore to look at the ones they have on display, I have realized that the old models (T43, for example) are directly related to the machine I am getting rid of.
    Easily "fingerprintable" black LCD lid? Check. Creaky palmrest? Check. Wobbly battery that plugs in the back? Check.
    There are two things I still love about ThinkPads - Trackpoint (aka the little red joystick), and the keyboard. Other than that... Ewww... Never again :D
  6. GodBless macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2005
    And I thought my experience with Dell was bad. :eek:

    I ended up getting a Mac too after of hours of Dell's customer "support."

    There are so many reasons to get a Mac. :)
  7. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Ouch that a horrible story. At least you didn't have hardware problems. EVERY single PC I've owned (save for my dad's sony vaio that he practically never uses) has had major hardware problems. Starting with the Gateway we bought way back in September of 2001, it had a hard crash which lost ALL the data on the drive and we had no backup. I had a dell laptop that JUST after warrenty the LCD broke in two and they refused to fix it. Next came the custom PC from my Uncle that lasted a year and a half before the PSU blows up and the video card conks out. Next came my custom built computer that I spent SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS building (That's a lot for a 16 year old with no job :D) I just HAD to buy an ECS mobo because it came in the bundle I bought with the processor. The motherboard lasted a whopping 2 1/2 months until it breaks. ECS has NO tech support number, I tried sending in a report and that does zip, they suggest resetting the CMOS when it doesn't even turn on :rolleyes:. And I've had no problems whatsoever with the macs I've gotten. Even the old Apple ][e is still going strong :D.
  8. valiar thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2006
    Washington, DC
    I had a Dell Latitude C840 some years ago, and, believe it or not, I did not have a lot of gripe against Dell support.
    In that machine, an inverter board is duct-taped to the back of the LCD panel inside the LCD enclosure made of cheap thin plastic (and you can see "ripples" from the board touching the plastic every time you close the lid). Once I have put a medium-sized textbook on my machine, and a small nick-sized crack appeared in the panel.
    I have to admit, it was at least partially my fault (I did know that something is touching the panel, after all). But Dell support did not argue the issue. They were even kind enough to ship me the replacement panel itself, without requiring me to ship the whole computer back to them! Replacing it was a pain in the neck, but in 5 hours I had my laptop back and ready for work to be done.
    Yes, it looked lousy, and it was made of thin creaky plastic, but it did not crash in any games or CAD programs, and I did not have to spell L-C-D p-a-n-e-l c-r-a-c-k-e-d :D
  9. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    For the record, I've seen "double delivery" from IBM too - two Aptivas when only one was ordered.
  10. The Man macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2004
    My brother has a ThinkPad, bought before the Lenovo takeover. It's made in the UK. Quality isn't that good. After a year, the screen has developed dark spots all over the place. And it didn't came with installer disks, instead it came with IBM rapid restore partition. Restoring means having the HD swap like crazy between partitions. It takes a lot of time too. And then there's that Dock. Yes, we also couldn't figure out how to click the ThinkPad into place. We pushed and pushed hard, but no click. Then finally, I gave the ThinkPad a hard push in the back hinge, I believe, and the laptop finally clicked into place. What was IBM thinking? My brother was scared death to ruin his laptop having to push the laptop that hard into place. Also the ThinkPad had a popping sound, before applying a motherboard firmware update. I suspect that quality hasn't become better with a Chinese manufacturer taking over.

    It seems quality is hard to find anyware, whether it's IBM, Apple, or any other. At least with Apple, I get a little piece and quiet with the OS. My brother had to reinstall his OS several times after some apps caused trouble to XP. He also has to install all apps in the right order to avoid conflicts. Now he's scared to install new apps and trial software. He just wants to leave his PC as it is to avoid conflicts and flaky deinstalls of software.
  11. bobber205 macrumors 68020


    Nov 15, 2005
    With all this trouble, why do people ever buy PCs? :eek:

  12. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Well done on keeping your patience. If this had happened with a piece of Apple gear with someone else, we'd never hear the end of it along with dire and hysterical predictions from the doom-mongers about the death of Apple.
  13. jonomo macrumors regular

    Apr 28, 2005
    That sounds exactly like a situation I went through.. except with a Powerbook... 4 DOAs in a row... and countless trips to the Genius Bar where I was treated like crap... and after the 3rd DOA.. I asked for a refund, which they wouldn't give me cause I had surpassed their period to get a cash refund... but I hadn't owned a working machine during that whole period...

    When I finally went in and made a HUGE stink in front of a bunch of costumers, the manager came, handed me the FOURTH powerbook... told me he would open it, inspect it right there, and if there were ANY problems with it, he would immediately give me a refund...

    I accepted his challenge.. he opened the box... and BOOM, the whole PB was warped and bent.. and the latch would not close... and I got my refund... but now without some discomfort, pain, and a bit of yelling....

    ps: my company gave me a thinkpad for my work computer.. it ASSliciously terrible..
  14. valiar thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2006
    Washington, DC
    Of course, there is nothing perfect in this world - including Apple :)
    About three years ago I have bought a 3rd-gen TiBook. I knew that they were going to get discontinued, and I really wanted one.
    That was not to happen - the video chip in my machine was bad, and it was crashing horribly whenever I ran a certain OpenGL app.
    I have tried to get it repaired twice.
    The first time the LCD got knocked, and a white spot appeared.
    The second time the 'Book got sent in to fix the abovementioned white spot... I have almost had a heart attack when I have seen the shape they returned it to me. It was being held shut by a rubber band (!), and a huge, 2-3mm deep dent was right in the middle of the LCD lid. There were two white spots now, and the screen was not closing.
    I have complained about it, and 3 days later I have walked out of the same store with a brand new AlBook. It had Bluetooth, and Radeon 9600, and a then-huge 80GB hard drive...
    Apple definitely did know how to fix a problem - at least in my case :cool:
  15. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6

    Good question bobber205! :D
  16. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    Helps get that marketshare up.
  17. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    LOL :D

    Yes, I suppose that it does. ;) :D

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