What Jessie Did Next...

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

Tag: ibm

It’s just over 8 months since my IBM T42p went properly titsup for the final time. This week, I finally received a refund on the purchase price (which, er, would have been without a hitch except for it being refunded to the original credit card used to buy it which actually belongs to my stepfather). Thus the case is closed thanks to the efforts of Tomas at Lenovo, whose predecessor got in touch with me after seeing a blog post on the subject.

Some statistics:

  • The T42p had a total of 15 trouble-tickets logged against it, stretching from broken hard disk to bad display to busted motherboard.
  • The average time-to-fix went from 4 days the first time (owned by IBM), to 8 months the final time (owned by Lenovo).
  • The mean time between failures decreased substantially once the Lenovo purchase had gone through.
  • Average time waiting on a phone line just to be given a ticket number was 45 minutes.

My experience may not be typical – however, in the course of the whole debacle I have been in touch with many, many IBM owners who have had the same sort of trouble. I only hope that they have an eventual result also.

Epilogue: We have used the refund to purchase Nicky a MacBook Pro, and still had change left over to help pay for our holiday this year. IBM are still selling the T60 at a premium, and in this case the Mac is cheaper and more reliable. Go figure.

The IBM/Lenovo mess moved a step on today, with communication from Lenovo to pick up the remaining broken T60, and Insight to pick up the original T42p.

Hopefully things will move on at a reasonable pace now and we can get an end to it all.

So, on Wednesday the replacement Thinkpad T60 finally arrived from Lenovo, almost 3 months after they first promised it. It’s a nice piece of kit – or at least it would be if it was working. Yes dear reader, you saw that right: it’s fucking bricked itself.

This afternoon Nicky was using it (less than 2 days’ full use), and we got a blue screen with:

***Hardware Malfunction
NMI: Parity check / Memory Parity Error.

Neil took a photo and I guess it’s not well at all – something I was getting concerned about when it wouldn’t wake up from sleep during installation of apps on Thursday evening.

It’s a brand new unit, manufactured on 10th March in China, still running factory-installed OS (Windows XP Pro SP2). I guess we see what Lenovo/IBM do now… I hadn’t even had chance to send them back the busted T42p. Just a good job really it’s no longer my principal machine – the MacBook Pro is being fine for me nowadays and the T60’s going to be used by Nicky to replace her R50e.

(Previous blog entries here).

Well, yesterday I received an unexpected call from another Lenovo person I’d not yet come across, saying that although they were having problems sourcing laptops he’d got me a list to choose from of available models. So I’ve made a choice, and been told it’ll be here in 15 days. I must admit, it’d be nice to put an end to the whole tale!

So, watch this space…

I pestered a few people I had email addresses for at IBM Lenovo yesterday, and finally got a reply from the original chap who I was dealing with in December – they’re having trouble sourcing me a replacement laptop (!) but the general message was still “yes we’re working on it, watch this space”. So, no real news but it’s still in progress at least.

With any luck I’ll win a MacBook Pro and then the world will be a better place.

Yet another friend enquired today as to whether IBM had made good on my broken IBM T42p laptop as they’re considering buying a Lenovo unit, so I figured it was time for an update to explain where we’re at; to be fair, I’ve kept quiet because I thought it was resolved, but read on…

It’s a month now since I was promised a replacement laptop by a gentleman at Lenovo, but sadly just as we were at the home stretch they’ve gone silent on me. Last I heard was that “documents had been submitted” and that “the process still needs to run through a distributor so I cannot make any firm commitments as to when the machine will be delivered”. So that’s alright then.

My (not very well) T42p arrived back at Wrenthorpe on 22nd December. To be fair, the screen had been replaced, but even as I powered it up to retrieve data from it in preparation for the new machine (as advised) it was starting to… well, it’s odd, it just goes very slow and occasionally seizes, and sometimes doesn’t boot at all. In any case, it’s still shagged, but I’ve not reported it as a fault yet because I was meant to be getting this replacement T43p machine and send the broken laptop back and everything would be happy and we’d all be relaxed. It even got to the stage of a disclaimer saying that “receiving the replacement unit would be in full and final settlement of any problem I had with Lenovo/IBM, but they weren’t admitting responsibility for giving me a problem unit”.

So, either there’s a shortage of T43p laptops, my emails are disappearing in transit, or some backpedalling has been done. Either way it would be courteous to at least let me know, but I think my emails are now being ignored. Should I just report this one as a busted unit again and go through the whole ’10-working-days-no-really-maybe-it’ll-be-longer-not-got-the-parts-in-guv’ charade, because after all I didn’t really want a reliable laptop did I? No, that’s why I spent so much hard-earned cash on it. It’s like dealing with DSG warranty repairs, only… worse.

Just in case anyone out there in IBM Lenovo-land gives a toss, the complaint ticket for the replacement is UB7845.

(Yes, I’m annoyed. More so at the radio silence than anything else.)

A quickie (‘cos I’m busy) but I’ve just had an email from IBM/Lenovo saying that a replacement laptop has been authorised. Much woo, yay, and happiness right now 🙂

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…)

Incidentally, I was standing in the middle of a field when a very nice gentleman called me from a Lenovo office somewhere on the continent, and said that he’d been referred to this blog and could help me. I’ve sent him all the details (there’s 9 job references so far I’ve found for the repairs since the mobo first went on 29th June 2005) so I guess we’ll see what happens.

Meantime, I’ve been told by the UK lass that I’m not getting a replacement and instead I’m back to getting a repair, and said part won’t be available until at least next Monday.

…which is tedious, since the rest of the IBM R50e units we’ve had have been rock solid, with the exception of the PSUs running a bit hot. I’m starting to think more and more I just got a Friday-afternoon unit.

I came out of the X-ray department at Clayton Hospital (neck trouble) to find a message on my answerphone from IBM’s complaints department. Apparently, there are still problems obtaining a replacement LCD for my T42p laptop, so they’re going to try and send me a replacement – I really, really hope that if it’s the same model it’s the same chipset otherwise I’ll have the “fun” of Windows deciding it’s not got all its drivers again.

That said, if it’s better spec, I won’t be complaining!

More as I find it.

This is a whinge. If you don’t want to see me whinging, look away now.

It’s 10 days today since my IBM T42p laptop went titsup again with a screen failure – the fifth failure this year so far. Granted IBM said it would be 10 days turnaround, and they’d try and get it back to me sooner; however, given it hadn’t appeared I called for an update.

Soooo… I’ve just got off the phone to them (an 0870 number, although I called one of their 01475 numbers since 0870s cost me a fortune on my mobile). I was on hold for approximately 40 minutes after doing the hop around departments I got there (“sorry, we deal in printers… i’ll put you through” … “hi, we’re for new calls only, i’ll put you through” … etc.etc). Now I’m sure the previous umpteen times I’ve called (I lose count) I’ve had updates fine, but never mind – maybe it’s a bad day. Finally I get through to a human after almost 45 minutes.

The LCD is being replaced. Lovely, this means that they get rid of the dark patches they put there when they replaced it in May 2005 (and perhaps the LCD bezel they cracked at the same time), but apparently they’re having to obtain another LCD panel and can’t tell me at all how long it’ll be – not even a vague idea or “it’ll be a couple of weeks” so I can plan. In the meantime, I’m the busiest I’ve been in months and need a good reliable machine which has a traditional 4:3 screen ratio, decent (more than 1280×1024) resolution, and at least 1G RAM.

I’m using the Toshiba (as previously documented) with the IBM’s disk in it, but it’s still not doing me any good – it’s underpowered, and since I’m developing a database which has a footprint of 700MB my work is noticeably slower and I’ve got deadlines to meet.

The T42p cost me the thick end of £3000. I will quite honestly say that I have not had a £3000 laptop in the slightest – maybe it’s just a Friday afternoon build but so far it’s had replaced: the motherboard (twice), the LCD (four times), the hard disk (once) and the keyboard (once). I do not give my laptop that much hammer – granted it’s my main machine but this is meant to be a workhorse laptop that I, as an IT contractor who travels frequently, can rely on. I mean, come on guys, I lose money if this goes down – that’s why I get an expensive machine with a 3yr warranty (and before anyone else suggests it, I’ve experienced the onsite Lenovo repairs and after having a few visits last year with defective parts and on one occasion an engineer trying to leave me with a machine that was in a worse condition, I’m not confident enough to buy an onsite warranty). That leaves me with the sole option of buying another laptop as a ‘spare’, which is hardly an acceptable solution.

In a previous post, someone whom I presume is an IBM engineer asked me to call them and I’ve dropped them an email privately (if you didn’t get this, please drop me your contact details using this contact form – I don’t post my email address to my blog, or alternatively you can probably look it up from the current ticket of A19BY4X). I have called, been on hold a lot, and eventually filed my third complaint. Let’s see what happens now before I start to get Trading Standards involved.

Previous failure posts here, here, here… and that’s just since I started blogging. Whinge over – I’m off to get a coffee.

This is the fifth time the laptop’s been back to IBM this year. Last year it went back twice. I’m pretty convinced that they didn’t repair it properly the first time it went back this year with a screen fault (and I got four different screen replacements in a short period because they kept sending the engineer out with panels with dead pixels, or dead cold-cathodes). As it is now, I’m using it with an external monitor so I’ve lost use of my Mac for the moment.

I phoned this morning and the reply came back “a technician will call you back in the next 48 hours”. Thanks a bundle, this isn’t why I paid extra for the decent warranty – and you didn’t actually get it fucking sorted the first time. They won’t raise a complaint either until the technician calls me back.

To say I’m annoyed is an understatement: I only hope that the spare Toshiba in the office will work with the T42p’s hard disk so at least I can take it to France and work on the ferry.