Lenovo fail me again
OK – before I even start on this, I should know better – this sort of thing has happened before.
Let me begin by saying that I love Lenovo gear. I like the build quality and durability. I prefer trackpoint over touchpad. I’ve had 4 Thinkpads over the last decade and they’ve all been brilliant. I have two Lenovo netbooks in the house, I’ve bought more for family members, and recommended them to friends. At my last company I bought Thinkpads and a ThinkCentre for the team. I just wish that they could deliver what I order from them without a run around, and that almost never happens.
My son has been complaining about his computer being too slow, and he could do with having a laptop for school. The deal is that if he can reach 20 words per sec typing, then he gets a new machine. In the expectation that he would hit his target I did some shopping around and the newly released Lenovo X121e stood out as being a great value machine – not the cheapest that I could get, but a great price/performance package, and something that I expected to last (and sustain the rigours of life in a school backpack).
I ordered an X121e on the 3 Aug – a base spec Intel Core i3 model with the 6 cell battery and a sleeve cover. Quoted delivery was 1-2 weeks. Things got off to a bad start; after completing the order process the items were still in my basket online, but I hadn’t got any kind of confirmation. After a little while I called the sales line and was told that confirmation emails can take up to 24hrs to be sent out. It didn’t take 24hrs, but it was around 3hrs before my confirmation came through.
The following day – excitement – a shipping confirmation email. Then disillusion – it was only for the sleeve cover. The cover came 4 days later (and I’m pleased to say that shipping tracking links sent in emails now work). The wait for the laptop continued – a shame, as I was hoping to have it in the office for a few weeks and maybe doing a review here – I had even taken an extra stick or RAM and an HDMI-DVI cable to work so I could tinker whilst waiting for the typing target to be hit.
Today marked the expiry of the 2 week estimated shipping bracket, I thought about calling to check on status. After all the online order status is a bit cryptic – just what is ‘Boxed Shipment’ supposed to mean?
I got this email on the way home this evening:
Dear Customer, We are sorry to inform you that the following product of your order is end of life and it will be cancelled from your order. Product:BOM_3045CTO SKU:3045CTO Please note that your credit card has not been charged for this item. As a small compensation we would like to offer you 10% of your next order. To redeem this discount please call us at: UK: 0203 0140095 ROI: 0165 35568 We apologize for any inconvenience caused. Sincerely, Ana Carolina Cunha Lenovo Online Store Customer Service
How does a product become ‘end of life’ weeks after being released, and why is it still on sale on the Lenovo web site? Here’s a screen shot taking a minute ago – note the same part number as the ‘end of life’ laptop cancelled from my order:
Update 1 – 19 Aug – I called Lenovo customer services and spoke to a chap called Amis. He told me that the order had been cancelled due to parts shortage, but was unable to say which part they where short of or explain why the exact same spec laptop was still on sale on the web site. Amis accepted that there was basically no connection between what was on sale on the web site, and what the factory was able to deliver. He even suggested that I should order again, but could not explain why a second order would succeed when my first had failed. He is going to arrange an RMA for the sleeve cover, and I should get a full refund for that – though it’s extra hassle for me, and I’d expect that the shipping and admin costs are more than the value of the item. Maybe I should just order an AMD version of the X121e, as these seem to be in plentiful supply, and are a little cheaper than the Intel ones (and come with more RAM, though sadly a slower HDD).
Update 2 – 19 Aug – just for lulz I thought I’d try ordering the same machine again, taking advantage of the 10% discount offered. I spoke to Amis once again, and he took the order by phone rather than giving me a discount code to use online. The discount applied to the order, the shipping costs and tax beared no resemblance to my own calculations, but seemed to be in my favour so I’m letting things run their course. I now await the confirmation email to see if something got mangled along the way.
Update 3 – 19 Aug – the order confirmation has come through and all looks good other than the shipping address is my home rather than work. As I have little expectation that the machine will actually ship I’m not going to lose any sleep over that.
Update 4 – 22 Aug – the laptop has shipped. Fingers crossed that there’s somebody home when it gets here.
Update 5 – 23 Aug – the laptop from my second order left Kazakhstan a little while ago. Meanwhile Lenovo have written to me again about the first order. The general message is the same, but the specific text is different – it seems to address the issues around accessories being shipped separately (and requiring RMA) and sets out limitations on the 10% discount being offered:
Thank you for contacting the Lenovo Online Store. We are contacting you in relation to your recently placed order on the Lenovo Online Store. Unfortunately, the following product you ordered is no longer available and as a result has been cancelled: X121E - 3045CTO We regret any inconvenience this may cause. Please note you have not been charged for this product in your order. Please contact our Customer Service Team to inform us on how you wish to proceed with your order. If we do not hear from you within the next 7 working days your complete order will be canceled. If you have already received part(s) of your order and you wish to return, then please contact our Customer Service Team. As a gesture of goodwill we would like to offer you a 10% discount on your next purchase on the Lenovo Online Store for this inconvenience. To avail of this offer please contact our Customer Service Team on: Email: [email protected] Phone: +44 2030140095 Please note this 10% discount that is on offer with Lenovo will only work once ordering over the phone, any current offers that are advertised on the onstore will not be added to this discount. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Please note, you will receive an automated email to confirm the cancellation of your order. Sincerely, Sara Lenovo Online Store Customer Service
Update 6 – 25 Aug – after spending a day hanging around in Cologne my second order got to the UK this morning and was delivered a little while ago. I look forward to some tinkering later, and I will follow up with a review. Meanwhile Lenovo have send me a third email about my first order:
Thank you for ordering from the Lenovo Online Store. At your request or at the request of the fulfiller and/or manufacturer, the following was cancelled from your order :
Product Name Qty Ordered Reason for cancellation
BOM_3045CTO 1 Fulfillment Error
Update 7 – 26 Aug – a happy ending. Not only was the machine waiting for me when I got home, but my son had also cracked 20WPM so it is now set up in the kids’ play room. Some proper setting up and a first impressions review to follow later.
 His younger sister recently benefited from getting my cast off desktop machine to replace an ancient Compaq iPaq. This makes the ‘sawn off laptop' seem a bit lame – something that was highlighted this week when he got a PC game that was released in 2008 that demanded a better hardware spec.
 My father in law managed to break the screen on his HP DV1000. I wasn’t able to fix it, and he’d got a new laptop anyway, so it was donated to the cause and has been in the kids’ playroom (minus the LCD screen and connected to an external monitor) ever since. After some pimpage, and with a bit of driver hacking it’s running Windows 7 quite sweetly.
Filed under: could_do_better, grumble, technology | 7 Comments
Tags: cancelled, end of life, fail, lenovo, x121e