October 26th, 2008

nhs

Toshiba`s Warranty Service Pain

Late last year my beloved laptop took a bit of a knock of a train and died. I mourned it, but fortunately it was covered by my Home Insurance with Tesco. As they could not supply that model, they offered me a new Toshiba laptop instead. I smiled and said thank you, and all was well.

Unfortunately, a couple of months later the charger died. The issue was very obviously with the charger - it was making a loud ticking noise when I plugged it in - and I called Toshiba`s repair centre. They told me I would need to send the whole laptop in, but that it should be a fairly quick fix. In fact, it turned out that they did not stock such rare items as chargers. Weeks went by and I called up repeatedly asking, pleading and begging until finally I called Toshiba customer service and a girl from there called the repair centre. Finally, after a month and a half, I was sent a refurbished charger from the workshop.

Skip forward a few months, and the laptop started having issues in August of this year. Blue Screens of Death started to appear with increasing regularity. I suspected faulty RAM and, again, called the repair centre and sent it away.

Within a couple of days I received an email saying that the issue was indeed with the RAM but that it was out of stock. This all seemed eerily familiar. I called to ask about it and was told to wait a week and call back, which I did, and found they still didn`t even have an estimated ETA. I started to call back daily. It was now September, I needed a working laptop for my university work and had no idea as to when I might have one. The repair centre blamed Toshiba for not supplying the part, Toshiba blamed the repair centre for not ordering enough. I asked if I could have a refurbished one - just so I could have something to do my work on - but they don`t do that apparently. I tried calling Tesco, who didn`t see how they could help, but pointed me towards Powerplay Direct, the company they had ordered it through. I emailed Powerplay Direct who, while very friendly, weren`t sure what they could do either. Several phonecalls later, I had the number of a reseller helpline for them, and they called me back with an ETA (why I couldn`t have that before I don`t know). By calling back to complain, I also managed to speak to a lady at Head Office at Toshiba who assured me that it would be back with me shortly, and all fixed.

I received the laptop back in midSeptember. Sadly, all was not fixed as promised. While it had stopped blue-screening every five minutes, something was clearly still badly wrong with it. Several times it requested I roll it back to a last working configuration, and now my wireless internet would not connect.

By now, my University year had already started, so I called the lady at head office. She offered me two years extra warranty (what good two extra years where they fail to fix my machine will do me I am not sure) and asked me to return it directly to her, which I did. This time, it was at least dealt with quickly. They diagnosed it as needing a reinstall of Windows and crashing because it was full of dust (how they missed it was full of dust when changing the RAM I am not sure). A clean-out and a re-install and it would be back to me in apparently full working order on Friday.

It did indeed come back to me on Friday, and arrived in a box that I eyed warily as it had very obviously been damaged en-route. I took a photo just in case, but the laptop inside seemed to have been cushioned from harm. I hoped that finally we were done.

The answer, sadly, was no. The wireless is now fixed, but the laptop has developed yet another new problem - the colon, apostrophe and m keys (all of which worked perfectly when I sent the machine away) have now mysteriously failed. Or perhaps not so mysteriously - when I called Toshiba they said that it was likely because they were dirty as the tech had had to clean under the Enter key already while it was away. I didn`t ask them to do this! I hadn`t complained of the keyboard at all, as I was quite aware that it was full of muck, and was in fact intending to replace it myself when the warranty was up. As it was, I suspect they`ve screwed up removing the keys as they have no "sticky" feeling or anything to them - they just don`t work!

On top of that, the machine has crashed twice, once more giving me the Blue Screen of Death. I called to complain, and the woman claimed this was most likely to do with my data which they had put back on. This resulted in an email where I attached screenshots showing that the system had been erroring and even FAILING tests on 15th Sept... and they didn`t replace the data to return it until the 16th.

I`ve now had to go away for a week with this beast as my only working machine - not good when I was meant to be emailing homework in last Thursday. Powerplay are saying that as it`s an insurance replacement Sale of Goods doesn`t apply. They`re trying to contact Toshiba but not getting a response. Tesco Insurance have been promising to email Powerplay since last Wednesday to see what they can do and haven`t (and every time I call to chase I sit through another rep asking if I`ve tried Toshiba - YES I HAVE). Toshiba have actually stopped entirely responding to my calls and emails - getting in touch involves calling several times until the girl who has been dealing with it is at her desk (this usually involves me saying "Well, if she`s away can YOU deal with it then..." at which point whoever answered suddenly realises this person has just come back.)

Anyone have any advice, OTHER than never get a Toshiba again?
Winter

Completely annoying

(My thoughts and editorial comments are in brackets[].)

Yesterday the boyfriend and I were at an auto-parts store to buy parts for the trailer he's refurbishing. While there, he asked the clerks about tires, as the trailer requires special high-load tires not to be found at every tire store.

The clerks recommended a tire store in the next town, one which neither of us is too familiar with. So, we asked where it was in relation to the freeway.

Stoned-looking clerk*: Oh, it's easy to find, it's right next to the Taco Time.
Me (naming one of the few streets I know of in that town): Is it near Lilly Road?
Clerk: No, it's a lot further down, after the Taco Time.
Me again, with another street "a lot further down": Is it close to Sleater-Kinney?
Clerk: Nuh-uh, it's by the Taco Time.
I gave my boyfriend an exasperated glance at this point and he stepped in:
BF: Which freeway exit do you take?
Clerk: 107, [hurray, some actual information!] then you just go until you see [oh god, here it comes] the Taco Time.

At this point we just looked at each other again, thanked them for the recommendation, and left.

On the way out the door my boyfriend told me we'd just look it up in the phone book and I asked him if stoner-boy got a kickback from Taco Time or something.

*He looked as glazed as an Easter ham. Sadly, his alert-looking co-worker didn't know where the store was.