A Tale of the Missing Laptop and the Horrible Company that Made Me Cry
One of the hardest parts about this Airbnb trip is the physical mail. Some of the Airbnbs do not seem secure enough to receive a package and not have it stolen. Most of the time, the concern is that we would leave the Airbnb before the package arrived. We have been lucky that every couple of months we go to a location where we know someone who lives there. Using their house for packages may seem like a small favor from their end, but it is a lifeline on ours.
I warn you. This is not a happy story, but it does end happily.
In January 2022, I purchased a new laptop because I wanted to be able to download photoshop. As someone who has an interest in graphic design, I felt it was a great year to start learning one of the best software for it. My previous personal laptops were all Chromebooks, so I had to make a leap of faith. I switched to a new company and boy do I regret it.
Fast forward to October 2022, the hinge of my laptop broke by simply being put onto the bed. It was not from a high distance and it was not dropped. It was placed onto the bed, apparently at a weird angle. The hinge broke and fear emerged. I drove to Best Buy and Microcenter (because what are the odds that they have a Denver location). Both stores quoted me a high rate or would not have the laptop back in time before we left.
I was advised to work directly with the manufacturer in case there was a warranty that covered it. Any average human would think if a brand-new product broke within a year of purchase, it would be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Well, this company must have thought a year would be too generous, especially when their product was built poorly and likely to break. Turns out, the warranty only lasted for nine months and I was exactly one month too late.
Since the functionality was not impacted while the laptop was in use, I wanted to try to fix it on my own. I bought electrical tape and created some funky designs to try to keep it in place. It was highly frustrating that it took 5 minutes to close my laptop correctly, but electrical tape is under $10. This worked for a few days and then I heard cracking.
Matters Were Getting Worse
By the time it was getting worse, we were on the move to Park City, Utah for the month. I decided to wait until we were there to send it out, so they could return the laptop to the same address. When I submitted my repair request, I received a standard email communication in return.
Technology Company – Bad At Email?
For a technical company, the standard customer service email was written so ineffectually. I have had better emails than that sent back to me by my boss to fix. Apparently, their bosses have no clue how humans work. Let me ask you a question if you were going to send an essay of information (lacking bullets or underlying of any sort) where would you put the most important information?
Sorry, but if you answered anywhere besides the beginning, you are wrong. One thing you have to understand about the current state of humanity. We have the attention span of golden retrievers and 10 seconds of patience for reading. If you add in a level of irritation, you have a really bad combination.
So somewhere in that essay with unclear attachments and next steps, I read that once the laptop was diagnosed, I would receive a price quotation to fix it and be able to reconfirm the return shipping address. I thought, “Well this is perfect”. Just in case the laptop was not returned to me within 10 business days, I could ask them to send it to my parents’ house.
It Was Already Taking A While
After a week, already 5 business days, I received a diagnosis and a quote to fix my hinge. It was in a form where you could put that you accepted the price and wanted it fixed or you wanted it sent back to you. There was no question or box confirming the return address or allowing for a change. I should’ve known it was too good to be true. I immediately responded to the email and submitted a customer service request to have the address changed.
They fixed the product and shipped it out before I heard a response back. The next day, the laptop was already in the hands of FedEx, a service person decided to respond to me. They claimed I had to work directly with FedEx to change the shipping address. When contacting FedEx, they claimed that this computer company put strict restrictions on their account and had to make the change themselves.
After talking to two customer service people and their supervisor, my case was “escalated to the senior service team” and I would hear a response within 24-48 hours. There was no email shared with the details of our phone conversations.
Does the Senior Care Team Actually Exist?
The next day, I heard back. The senior team advised the only thing they could do would be to recall the laptop back to the repair center and re-submit to have it shipped out. Begrudgingly, I agreed. Again, no email was shared with the details of our agreement. At least in this step, I could use the same tracking number to see where my laptop was.
Almost two weeks later, I saw that my laptop was returned back to the repair center a few days prior. I had heard nothing. Now, even if there was no notice, I have an account with this company where my serial number (on the laptop) is tied to me. Easily, the team could have reached out to inquire about what was supposed to happen. Instead, no one reached out to me. I called to ask why my laptop was just sitting in the repair center, not immediately being reshipped to me. They said they would escalate to the senior care team. I would hear back within 24-48 business hours. Again, there was no email report of the conversation.
After 48 business hours, I called again. This time I was told that because my laptop was out of warranty (which it had been the entire time), I was not allowed to use their customer service phone number. Instead, I had to chat with an online agent. But hey, they escalated my case again to the customer care team (as a kindness).
Return Address Problems
At this point, my laptop repair which should have taken max 14 business days, was already out of my hands for a month. Not only this, but because we were traveling and had no idea when they were actually going to send my laptop back to me, I had no clue which return address to use. There was a point where I thought they were never going to send it back and I was going to have to buy a new one. Finally, I agreed with my father to put my parents’ address, and then they could ship it to me.
A month without my laptop while traveling in a new location was really hard. I would love to lie and say it was fun living “off the grid”, but realistically it was super stressful. I took for granted what having a laptop meant to me. At this point, people usually ask – well, how are you working? Can’t you use that laptop? There are some things where the answer was yes. To use google for simple questions, of course. To work on my blog and watch TV? No, I did not feel comfortable doing that.
After I was told that I was no longer able to call the customer service phone number, I lost it. Full-on panic attack. I called both of my parents, separately, hysterically crying. My dad, as a super dad would do, said he is on it. I sent him all of the information I could gather and he started looking up what we could do.
My Father: A Superman
The next day my dad had answers. He had confirmed they would send the laptop to my parent’s address. His phone calls came with email support to confirm the phone conversations. Finally, I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Now, at this point, other customer service team members were answering or following up on my many other conversations. I even received some emails saying that my product was delivered and can I rate my experience. Apparently, there was no file for them to see that this case was actually still ongoing. So much time had passed that my RMA number expired and I was issued a new one.
Finally, I received an email with an updated tracking number. A week later, my dad confirmed the laptop was in his possession. Altogether, my time without my laptop extended far beyond what I could have imagined. The process made me feel personally assaulted and desperate. I am thankful that my father was able to step in and be a superman, but he should not have had to. How a major computer company operated this way in the 21st century is beyond me.
Now, typing out my horrible experience has helped me in 3 ways.
- It was a little therapeutic to write it all out. A little – not enough to warrant the situation.
- I hope the customer service team is shown this feedback so they can fix themselves. I could highlight about 10 major issues with the experience I had.
- This acts as my explanation for not posting for the past few months. I am back and ready to keep sharing my journey.
HELLO MAJOR-TECH COMPANY
If you do not know how to properly write an email that is jam-packed with information, may I recommend reading books about it or hiring a consultant? For the price of 1 library card, you could be an intelligent being.
Guess this computer company. While I am not going to type out their name (yet), I am happy to have my community discuss so my followers can avoid a disastrous experience themselves.