What Jessie Did Next...

...being the inane ramblings of a mundane Yorkshire bird.

My (originally rather expensive) IBM T42p laptop is still in limbo – if I heard the message left on my voicemail right, the “job failed”. What that means and how long it’ll take I have absolutely no idea, and the other gentleman who said he’d assist me has disappeared.

To be fair, the lady who’s helping me in the UK office has kept me in touch, always returned my calls, and been very pleasant and helpful but she doesn’t seem to get that much information or wield much influence 🙁

Digging through notebooks this morning I found another three IBM job numbers pertaining to it over the space of two years – there’s now 11 job references I’ve discovered between January 2005 and November 2006 not counting the complaints references. I don’t think I’m going to buy Lenovo or IBM machines again – I rejected Sony because of the build quality but this is truly abysmal and obviously I can’t trust the damn thing when I’m on an extended contract (if I’m out of the country when it goes bang, there’s little choice but to purchase another unit).

Oddly enough, almost every piece of it has now been replaced with the exception of the power supply.

Advice I’ve been given tends to go along the lines of ‘unfit for purpose’ and ‘replacement unit or refund’. I’ll give it until close of business Thursday and then talk to Trading Standards.

(…and I’ll tell you something – it’s not fun trying to develop huge database footprints on a cack old Toshiba laptop…)


  1. "job failed" means they couldn’t event summon up the enthusiasm to poo on your laptop, shut the lid and send it back to you.

    Just so you know

  2. my name is milko van duijl. I run lenovo for europe. give me a call if you can on + 33 6 88 38 74 86

  3. I have to admit that I’ve just acquired a shiny new laptop and it is very nice. It’s a ThinkPad X60s and I love it. I’ve contacted Lenovo once to ask for Recovery CDs and they were polite, prompt and didn’t charge. I have (so far) nothing but good things to say about the laptop and the service.

    But then, as you know from UKNOT, such is the way of things. Your next ThinkPad may be just as bad, or worse, or it may be just perfect.

    Although yours, I have to admit, sounds like a particuarly bad one.

  4. As the person originally (ahem) responsible for recommending IBM’s (as they then were) to Jess, and having (I think) 6 to my name currently, I can confirm their service quality has gone down substantially since the Lenovo takeover.

    Once upon a time, I reported (without an on-site service contract, in the wrong country, and about 9 months after purpose) that the mains PSU on my Thinkpad had failed. It took less than a minute to get through, and without charge there was a brand new PSU at my hotel before 8am the next morning. Fabulous. Enough to cause me to recommend IBM to anyone and everyone (Jess included). I had similar experiences when 2 hard-disks died.

    Now, since the Lenovo takeover, I have paid for onsite so-called service, opened a ticket 2 weeks ago. It takes 20 minutes to get through on an 08705 number, the people taking the calls when they eventually answer are polite but far less knowledgeable than the knowledgeable Scottish engineers who used to answer, and so far this is the story: Fan dies. Man arrives (eventually, having missed original deadline), changes motherboard. Works for a few weeks. LCD support dies (external monitor fine), I report on a Thursday. I’m told engineer will be there on a Monday. On Monday, I’m promised Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, I’m promised Tuesday afternoon. On Tuesday at 5pm I’m promised Wednesday first thing. Oddly I have other things to do with my work life than wait at home for Lenovo. Eventually late on Thursday he comes (nice polite guy, to be fair), changes the LCD, doesn’t fix it. I explain about the previous motherboard change. He agrees the motherboard is at fault and says he’ll order an inverter AND a new motherboard. Fine. He promises me I’ll be told when they are in stock so I can arrange to meet the engineer. Nothing from Lenovo. I ring (another 20 mins on hold at 10p per minute), they tell me they are only ordering an inverter. I complain, and eventually they promise they’ll order both parts. Same engineer rings me Friday morning, fortunately I happen to be in and he turns up 5 minutes later. He only has the inverter. It makes no difference. We agree it must be a motherboard fault (everything else has now been changed). He too can’t get through to Lenovo (on hold for at least 10 minutes). Monday comes, they leave a phone message saying they are ordering a new screen. AAARRGHH! we’ve already changed this.

    Now I’m in business too, and I can see you don’t want to waste money on keeping stock you don’t need, or changing parts unnecessarily. But so far, they will have run up 3 unnecessary engineer’s visits, which must be close to the cost of a new motherboard, and severely pissed off what was one of their best customers. Once.

    I agree with Jess about the build quality (though I think the T42p was actually one of the last IBM designed machines, I may be wrong). My T60p is pretty plastic compared to my T21, T23, T40, T41p and whatever the other one is I’ve forgotten.

  5. Oh, in case anyone from Lenovo is reading (I shall avoid the obvious comment), the ticket number is: 01SMLSY

    I should also say that when the machines are working (which in Jess’s experience seems to be a very short percentage of the time, but I’ve had far higher uptime than with (old) Compaq, Sony, and indeed anything else), they are some of the best laptops on the market.

  6. I recall reading an article about how the military and avionics industries are finding it very tough to buy reliable semiconductor products because the whole industry is geared for mobile phones and mp3 players where the expected lifespan is maybe 18 months and so the semi fabs don’t need to care about quality. I guess the same has become true of laptops.

  7. I’ve only just seen this since I’ve been out of the country for a few days (I’ve actually been in Milko’s neck of the woods!) but I’ve sent the complete case history and notes off. I’ll also be calling the nice UK lady sometime today.

    Interestingly I got an email from the original chap who’d called me to help, who seems to be under the impression the entire unit had been replaced before (which it hasn’t – wireless MAC address has stayed the same or the wired MAC address, plus there’s other clues like scratches on the case and the serial number being the same). Maybe it’s been angled for before and failed.

    As I said in an earlier post, the R50e’s we bought for Fotopic staff have worked like a charm – I’m actually sat on a ferry opposite Neil using one right now, and in his words it’s "rock solid".

    In any case, we’ll see what happens. Thankyou for the comments you’ve left – all very interesting.

  8. rachel corder walker

    June 5, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    hi i bought my Thinkpad in Singapore in Nov 2006 – it has never worked – they have replaced the motherboard, and then reformatted it and then took it away in April 2007 and I have not had it back or an offer of a replacement. Currently on the phone to the "complaints" section who couldn’t find my complaint – although i complained 2 days ago and so am currently in Lenovo hell – DON’T a thinkpad because it seems to be impossible to get it working;)

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