In my last entry I wrote about my Toshiba laptop seizing up without warning and Toshiba’s refusal to take responsibility for their design flaw. Briefly, Toshiba advised that my laptop be shipped to them along with $175 and they would reset the BIOS password error message that locked my computer and rendered it an expensive paperweight. My position was that the problem resided in the motherboard, and I found this out not only from Toshiba, but from the numerous web postings by outraged laptop owners like myself. If your computer was out of warranty, you were out of luck.
The story grew legs when I turned to my reliable independent computer repair service, and they got back to me with the news that they weren’t touching this with a ten foot cable. They told me after they did their own research that it was Toshiba’s responsibility and I should persist in that direction. It was too risky for them to take apart my laptop for a manufacturer defect.
By this time I had already logged enough mileage on the phone with Toshiba to go to the moon and back, but I gave it another shot because I am nothing if not plucky. This time I asked to speak to a supervisor. I was connected with Anna, a case manager, Toshiba’s version of a supervisor. So she said.
ANNA: I have reviewed your case history and Toshiba is not responsible for this as it is a software issue and even the limited warranty doesn’t cover software.
OSV: Isn’t the problem located in the motherboard?
OSV: And that’s what you want to be telling me, that the motherboard is software?
ANNA: This problem isn’t covered at all under any warranty.
OSV: So if I bought this computer and the next day I called Toshiba to say the system was locked and unusable, what would happen?
ANNA; I would tell you to send it back to us and we would fix it.
OSV: For free.
ANNA: For $175.
OSV: You know, I would actually be laughing at what you just said if I wasn’t so miserable. I am a longtime Toshiba customer. I have your laptop, your netbook, two TVs, and who knows what else. Would you please see what you can do to keep a loyal customer happy?
ANNA: I will put you on hold. What you’re saying is you would like this repair to cost less money?
OSV: That would be appreciated.
Anna put me on hold. When she came back she said that since Toshiba has received no other complaints on this matter, she could offer to repair my laptop for $175. I hung up and called their global locator for an authorized repair shop near me. There was one in my area code. I called the number and spoke with a Mr. Rasheed who was very informative.
MR: I know exactly what the issue is you’re describing because we’ve fixed dozens of Toshiba laptops with the same problem. It’s a design flaw in the motherboard. Toshiba knows all about it. In fact, three weeks ago they notified me not to fix it anymore, just to tell the customer to send the computer to them and they’ll fix it for free.
OSV: That’s not the Toshiba I spoke with. I have nowhere else to turn, Mr. Rasheed. I swear I won’t tell Toshiba you fixed it. In fact, I hope to never speak to them again. They’ve driven me to looking at Macs.
MR: You would be very happy with a Mac. I’ll tell you what; drop your laptop off in the morning and we’ll have it for you by early afternoon. But since they won’t reimburse me anymore I have to charge you $40 for labor, okay? I’m sorry for your trouble. Toshiba really should have handled this.
OSV: I’ll see them in hell.
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