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Toshiba says they made a mistake but they still cannot help me (site44.com)
700 points by barhum 1297 days ago | hide | past | web | 192 comments | favorite

You probably aren't familiar with how "guarantees" work here in South America, ugh.

See companies like Samsung and Toshiba have "certified" stores that "take guarantees" but they are not tied by their parent company, they are privately owned stores that just negotiated with the parent company to use their "sticker".

I bought a Phillips shaver and under warranty, the Phillips station wanted me to pay 70% of the cost of a new one, despite being a DoA device.

So while the sticker works as it should in the US and Europe, South America has a god damn wild west scenario. Anything goes, and if you don't like it, buy something else. Yep.

(Source: I live in Bolivia)

Yup, that's the case in both Argentina and Brazil too. But then, customer service sucks pretty much at every level. In the US you can buy a product from Walmart, use it for a couple weeks and if you aren't happy with it just return/exchange it (and yes, you get your money back, not some store credit.) Coming from Argentina, I was amazed the first time it worked and felt like I was ripping someone off. After a while I got used to the idea that that is how customer service should work.

Some people do abuse this to rip companies off, to varying degrees; I know some people who treat returns as free rentals, buying something, using it without ever intending to keep it, and then returning it. Some people go even further and steal things and then return them for cash.

But I guess that on the whole, the good customer experience for the honest customers outweighs the cost of fraud.

REI has a 100% satisfaction guaranteed. About a year or two ago I purchased a few different bicycle parts. I kept them without using them for a few months and decided I didn't really need them after all. Since they were a few hundred dollars worth of parts I didn't want to just keep them or get rid of them, I wanted to return them. Even though their policy is "satisfaction" guaranteed, I felt like I was abusing the good faith of the policy--knowing just how heavily discounted their garage sale items are.

What I ended up deciding to do was returning them but asking for an 80% refund. The guy behind the counter gave me a really weird look and told me he had to ask if that was even allowed. Luckily for me, it was. They refunded me 80% of the total amount and I called it fair.

EDIT: My apologies. It looks like I'll need to have a discussion with my friend about this.

> "If the companies didn't want you to do this, then they wouldn't let you do this."

That is a poor assumption that is likely incorrect more often than not.

A Chinese restaurant that I go to occasionally has a bowl of mints by the register. I could take a handful of them, they would not stop me, but that would be a dick move. I could go hang out at library and pass the time by taking their books off the shelves and building castles with them on the desks, but that would be a dick move. I could go to the shoe store and try on every single pair of shoes that they have, leaving them all in a massive pile in the middle of the store, but that would be a dick move.

Generous customer-friendly policies like this can exist, for the benefit of the customer, because there is an understanding that most people will be respectful and not abuse the privilege. If everybody acted like your friend, then we would not be able to have nice things.

With policies like these, companies account for the % of times abuse is likely to happen. Retailers and manufacturers spend millions analyzing buying and returning patterns and factor that into prices.

So "abuse" over time could cause prices to increase by a small amount. However, not hassling people over things that rarely happen increases loyalty, which increases volume, which increases the discounts a retailer can get from a manufacturer...

The vast majority of people don't need to benchmark video cards or want to "rent" products - they buy things because they need them and that's why good customer service exists.

I would guess that the abuse has increased for Best Buy and Game Stop.

Game Stop now only offers returns for pre-owned games 7 days after instead of 14 days. My guess is too many people used this as a way to test games out or beat single player games for free.

Best Buy's return policy is down from 30 days to 14 and even on an exchange I needed a driver's license last week.

Retailers also plan on a base level of shoplifting and employee theft, referred to as "shrinkage". However that isn't an excuse for that sort of bad behavior.

> > "If the companies didn't want you to do this, then they wouldn't let you do this." > That is a poor assumption that is likely incorrect more often than not.

As a concrete example, I worked someplace with a nice and consumer friendly return policy... no restock fees, no hassle.

But when a customer "bought" and then without fail returned something like 40 books, 1 at a time (without buying anything else), we did have a word with them. Depending on the books, that can adds up to several hundred dollars of overstock, eating up already crammed inventory space in high-rent storefronts. Plenty of seating for those who'd like to read books without buying that won't excite our inventory count ;)

Regarding returning things without a receipt:

Once upon a time, it used to be possible to get Bing points by playing a bunch of stupid games on Club Bing - you could accumulate at most 1000 per day, unless there was some sort of modifier (like "double ticket day") site-wide. The prizes available for these points were usually older Microsoft products like old games (9.99USD), kitchen appliances, hammocks, cheap headphones, etc. The biggest prizes were Zunes, Vista, Microsoft Office, and the XBox360 Arcade Edition. As I recall, the XBox required some crazy amount of points and thus wasn't worth it...and Vista and Office are hardly sexy items. You could win at most one of each prize per physical mailing address.

The games that you played to win points were flash games, so a bunch of bot writers automated this. They'd register multiple accounts and try to max out the number of points they could get per day. Since users had multiple accounts, people would maintain different amounts of points to save for the big ticket items. I believe that Office and Vista were in the 50,000 to 100,000 point range. (Side note: Microsoft was slow, but they DID actually deliver - I got a 360 controller for free!) There are forums dedicated to "opportunities" like these.

So, what do you do with a free copy of Vista Ultimate? Well, one day a user who had exhausted all of the other prizes tried going to Best Buy with his copy. He went to customer service, in-store, and said "Hey, my grandmother got me this for my birthday. I already have it. Is there any way you could possibly help me out?"

Can you guess what they did? They gave him $450 in Best Buy credit.

For awhile, the overarching Club Bing metagame was to simply farm Vista Ultimate, go to a different Best Buy, and "return" your copy. And, on top of that, someone discovered that Microsoft's shipping treated "123 N. Fake Street Apartment A" and "123 N. Fake Street Apartment Z" (and, for that matter, "123 N. Fake Street Apartment AAAA") as unique addresses - so it became possible to have multiple copies of Vista Ultimate shipped to your house. At one point there were so many Club Bing copies of Vista Ultimate floating around that you could go on forums and purchase it directly for $100 because botters had exhausted their local return options.

So those pitiful statistics on Vista usage were -- inflated?

It was still Vista, though.

I love that story.

If the companies didn't want you to do this, then they wouldn't let you do this.

Why would a company want you to do that?! The only reason some allow it is that it's very difficult to have a policy that allows honest customers to return items they don't like (for whatever reasons) while at the same time preventing this behavior.

You'll find that there are many companies who have stopped the practice of accepting returns for any reason, for the very reason you stated. If you were running a product company, would you enjoy and encourage the "free rental" behavior?

I remember swinging by Home Depot just before a big winter storm. One of the sales guys mentioned that they didn't have any generators in stock because people would buy them, leave them in the box, and return them if they didn't lose power during the storm. Presumably, they wouldn't return the generators if they were actually used due to a power outage. I seriously doubt that Home Depot wanted their customers to do that. Large companies do sometimes keep track of how many returns people rack up over time to identify bad actors (that's much harder with "no receipt" or "no questions asked" policies).

On the other hand, Kragen advertises that they have a loaner tool program. It's essentially a liberal return policy, as long as you don't break the tool while trying to repair your car. I have used that, when I had a functioning tool to return when I was done with the job.

My guess is that if 100 people bought generators with the intention of returning them if they didn't need them, that 100-x people actually return them, where x is probably around 10 or more... People are lazy, decide why not keep it, etc. Worse case senario you have a customer coming into your store twice.. Maybe on the return trip they buy stuff to repair damages from the storm.. If you have the inventory this isn't a big deal and probably ends up increasing revenue vs. not having them buy in the first place.

The generators have a lot more value to being in stock before or during the storm than after. When I bought mine, I had to drive two hours away to a Lowes, because they were out of stock in my county. If the local Home Depot had one, I would have just bought it there. The person buying and returning it is not only costing them a fraction of the cost (credit card fees each way); but also actual sales.

On the other hand, I think that in general, the relaxed Home Depot returns policy helps them. I often take advantage of the ability to buy multiple sizes of things, extras in case I mess something up, and then when I'm done with a project go back return the excess. If you use a credit card, that is even easier than keeping the receipts, they swipe the card, scan the stuff, and it goes back automatically. I find this easier, because I always have my card; and there is no need to have however many receipts that the items were originally bought with. And for very small stuff that I could conceivably use in the future, there is a decent chance I won't bother returning it anyway.

As a native Floridian, here is what I would do. Buy generator, take it to area that has lost power. Resell it for 2x price. Most people don't take care of there generator until they actually need it. It sits in the garage or basement, until the lubes dry it and the bearings seize.

Interestingly, Les Schwab (the dominant regional tire company here in the Pacific Northwest) advertises that if you buy snow chains and don't use them, you can return them at the end of snow season.

Of course, once you have the chains, no real point in bringing them back since you'll just need them next year.

> This isn't morally wrong. My friend, a graphics programmer, did this with videocards in order to test his graphics engine on various types of hardware configurations. If the companies didn't want you to do this, then they wouldn't let you do this.

No, that's immoral.

> This isn't morally wrong. My friend, a graphics programmer, did this with videocards in order to test his graphics engine on various types of hardware configurations. If the companies didn't want you to do this, then they wouldn't let you do this.

Morals have nothing to do with what others let you or don't let you do. If anything morals are about your sense of right and wrong in the absence of external pressures. It may be legal, but I don't think it's moral to abuse a system that's intended to help and protect honest customers. Even if you don't care about hurting the profits of a giant corporation, you're potentially hurting other consumers if the benefit is revoked because too many people are abusing it.

> This seems impossible. Returns require a receipt. I don't know what you're talking about.

1. Buy item #1, obtain receipt, take it home

2. Go back into store, find identical item #2, take it past checkout counter and up to return counter

3. "Return" item #2 using receipt for item #1

4. Profit

For big ticket items there's usually a unique serial the store will scan to prevent this sort of thing, but not always. Pretty deplorable.

In the OP situation this could play out like this:

1. Have a broken laptop (item #1)

2. Buy a new laptop (item #2)

3. Return item #1 with item #2's receipt

4. Have a working computer.

note: I'm not condoning this and it's unlikely to working in the OP's case because stores are usually smart enough to check serials on bigger ticket items.

Walmart has a very liberal return policy (accept anything) and the staff was somewhat aware this was going on. This is what my friend and former Walmart employee tald me years ago.

> If the companies didn't want you to do this, then they wouldn't let you do this.

This is the kind of behavior and attitude that ruin nice things for everyone.

My car can go 100 MPH in a residential neighborhood, did the manufacturer intend for it to be used like that just because it can?

"This seems impossible. Returns require a receipt. I don't know what you're talking about."

Depends on the store. When I used to be behind a returns desk we'd give store credit (on a gift card) if they didn't have a receipt.

I had accidentally bought two copies of the same book from Barnes and Noble. I didn't have the receipt anymore. At first they thought I wanted to return it for money and seemed hesitant but I just wanted to get the first book (I had two of the second). They were really helpful and exchanged it for the correct book.

I know it's not too relevant but I was so afraid of a no receipt, tough luck situation. I'm surprised they didn't think I just grabbed it off the shelf and went to the counter. It was just a $10 book and not a TV or anything but it left a good impression.

If you use a credit card, typically they often won't require a receipt. They can run the card and bring up the transaction.

  > The store then had the same graphics cards as before.
No, they started with new graphics cards, and were left with used graphics cards.

  > If the companies didn't want you to do this, then they wouldn't let you do this.
In that case, why didn't your friend simply ask the graphics card companies for some loaners?

You are wrong, using return policies to get test devices is morally wrong. Your friend is stealing the cost of discounting the returned item + the cost of processing the return.

Buying something that might work, trying it and returning it if it doesn't isn't morally wrong.

The difference is your friend is buying with no actual intent to keep and own.

>This seems impossible. Returns require a receipt. I don't know what you're talking about.

Ever try to do this? Plenty of times I've done this and sometimes you get store credit sometimes cash. Many stores have "customer friendly" return policies such as these. Walmart is a big one who will take any return. You need ID usually.

>The store then had the same graphics cards as before

No they don't, they now have used graphics cards, and they have the overhead of staffing the return counter if many people get this idea. Plus the contract (i will buy this item at this price from you) was entered into in bad faith.

If the companies didn't want you to do this, then they wouldn't let you do this.

They do not want you to do this. What your friend did is considered to be a form of return fraud and abuse. The industry term for it is 'wardrobing' or 'renting'.

It's a big enough problem that there is a company, http://www.theretailequation.com, that helps large firms blacklist people like your friend, though these defenses are fairly recent.

Returns require a receipt.

Not always.

Well honestly the US is too far in the opposite direction. 90 days no questions asked return is nice so you can buy something you -may- need for a project and then return it at your leisure (unopened, in new condition). But OTOH the idea that you can buy something, use it for a few months, and then return it because you're done with it is ridiculous. I know of people who've bought plants at Home Depot to decorate for guests, and then returned them after a month of not watering them! And when you return something that breaks in the middle of using it due to design flaw (so you don't want another), it's annoying to feel that there's no differentiation between you and someone who is scamming.

"After a while I got used to the idea that that is how customer service should work."

You can build any system of service and policies you want as long as you account for it in the price of the product or service. Even if customers take advantage of you.

There is an exercise machine (some kind of wonder machine) that costs (from an ad I saw some time ago) about $17,000. [1] [2]

IIRC they give an iron clad mbg. Might even pay the shipping both ways (and actually so do many high end mattress companies). (Sorry don't have time to fully re-read the links that I am giving.

Bottom line is they are tying those consumer friendly policies into the price of the product. So since the cost of the equipment almost certainly pales in comparison to what they sell it for, even taking into account returns, in theory, they still will earn a profit.

[1] I think this is it but I'm not seeing any price info on the page. http://www.fastexercise.com/

[2] http://blog.cleveland.com/health/2009/03/rom_machine_worth_i...

Not to take Toshiba or the service center in Guatemala's side, but I think you highlight what I would guess is the problem here, which is that when you felt like you were ripping someone off to be able to make such a return, there are many people who would in fact actually rip the store off if they could get away with it. I believe stores in the US have done a good job of putting mechanisms in place to help counter such scammers, but this is likely not true in many other countries. Thus, it's hard for the manufacturer to offer warranties in these other countries.

But that's just a guess, why else would they stop supporting a warranty in Guatemala (at least if their line is true that they actually removed the warranty for this country) other than they'd gotten ripped off there more than their bottom line could handle?

I'll have to partially disagree here. In Brazil you have warranty that your product will be functional. Yes, customer sevice normally sucks, and you normally can't just ask for your money back, but not fixing a deffective product is serious matter here.

The question is: why the difference?

Absent consumer rights legislation?

There is no legislation forcing Wal-Mart et al to accept returns.

In my country (Norway) the seller, importer and manufacturer are obliged by law to fix or replace broken items the first 3 to 5 years after purchase depending on type of item.

So warranty/guarantee is mostly useless, what the law provides us consumers is already better.

If that is the case, then your country Norway is good man.

Actually that's a shitty law, because it forces everyone to pay for an excessively long warranty whether they want it or not. It amounts to stealing money from people who would prefer a more reasonable warranty like 6 to 12 months.

Why is 6 months a more reasonable warranty? If my phone breaks down for any reason that is not my fault after 8 months, I'd expect to get a new one or it to be fixed for free.

Politically, Norway is very left/socialistic. So that this "forces everyone" to pay for it is generally looked upon as OK, because one is not punished for getting a randomly faulty device. And it's great as a consumer, I get what I pay for, a functioning device.

It's only reasonable to expect free repair or replacement if the reason your phone broke was a manufacturing defect. If something is going to break because of a manufacturing defect, it will usually do so within the first six months and almost always within the first twelve months. If it breaks after two years, that's not the manufacturer's fault. Now as a socialist, you could say who cares about right and wrong, isn't it great for you as a consumer that you can take money from the manufacturer? But the truth is that the money comes out of your pocket in the end, because the manufacturer has to charge a higher price to make it worthwhile to be in business in Norway. The forced excessive warranty just creates bad incentives and takes away choice.

Well, the Norwegian government has decided that a phone should be expected to last for three years, a sofa for five etc. So a phone breaking down after two years from normal usage and no faults by the user is per definition a faulty device. This actually creates incentives to make more sturdy products and not speculate in planned obsolescence.

> isn't it great for you as a consumer that you can take money from the manufacturer?

That's not my point, and a gross misrepresentation of socialism. I know that in the end the consumers pay for it. But everyone chips in for those less fortunate to get a proper functioning device.

And also probably the reason why the cheapest iPhone 5S costs 940$.

But compare it to the price level of everything else here, compared to what we get paid it's not that bad (at least not other brands).

I bought a low end lenovo after loving their high end models at work.

They were crappy (you order online, there's no place to see them). I hated, but there was a $200 restock fee on a $300+ product, so i just gave it to a relative when i was visiting.

two days in Brazil and the mother board died. I called lenovo, they gave me the number of a local shop. I called the local shop. They arranged to pick it up. I had linux dual boot and some personal data there already, So i gave instructions that the HD would be out of the device. no problem. they missed one or two pickup schedules, but when they finally picked it up they confirmed it was the dead motherboard, replaced, tested, returned. I put the HD back in and all was fine.

lenovo: 10 for warranty, 0 for retail experience and product satisfaction..

Their cheaper laptops don't have international warranties, but some of the lower end models do, atleast that's how it was a few years ago when I bought my "Ideapad Y"-series laptop

Same in Iran, there are private importers that have some deal with Samsung, or Toshiba ... AND they advertise that they represent the mother companies and give you warranty cards, but they don't give a damn to actually do any repairs or replacements, the only one that I had luck with was VAIO laptops,

I have actually bought many Toshibas from abroad and took them to certified Toshiba centers here in Guatemala. It seems that they recently changed which countries it covers but forgot to change the documentation on the box and the warranty card.

When I worked at Microsoft, we had a situation where the office XP upgrade policies were changed but the boxes were not. The fact is that in these cases, my view has always been that the documentation given to the customer is authoritative. After fighting with my boss for two weeks over this (and breaking policies to help fill our written promises to customers), I finally went over their heads to get it fixed and got flack for that :-P No good deed goes unpunished.

The fact is, Toshiba made a written representation to the customer. They can change their policies, but they shouldn't break those promises in the process.

Not that I know of...They just said is not covered in Latin America anymore and that the warranty manuals are wrong...

Either there is more to this story, or the OP went to one illiterate customer care guy. OP should go and show them the official website and maybe make him/her talk to a customer care executive over phone.

I talked to one call center in India and then I had to speak to the Latin America call center. They all said the same thing.

Rather mail to Toshiba and raise grievance. I see these days company responds better if you tweet against them. Just try it.

Twitted to Asus about Zenbook ux32vd that screen died 5x and still in warranty (comes back from repair, works sometimes a month, dies). No answer there. Maybe they are dead. Couse they are not repairing it eater... And Asus support is not support. It's customer avoidance.

Manuel Diaz is the head of Toshiba Sales & Marketing for Latin America: https://plus.google.com/105717227635873644097/about http://www.linkedin.com/pub/manuel-diaz/4/862/644

Make a nice polite blog post with all of your documentation (including your sales receipt) and then send the link to him.

Speaking of contacting high level management I once guessed the email address of a UPS board member responsible for international business because of consistently awful delivery service in Sweden and customer support. To my surprise I was contacted after a few weeks by a mid level manager in Sweden and was eventually compensated.

This was about two years ago and unfortunately their excuse for service is ostensibly unchanged, rated as 1.33/5 on one of the larger national rating sites (at the time it was 1.4).

This seems like an immensely useful service (looking up executive level social media accounts). Are there companies out there who provide this service?

Fuck everything about that. No.

I work at a big company and get sales, marketing, press, and customer inquiries ALL THE TIME, at my PERSONAL email address (which is easier to find than my work address). There is absolutely nothing I can do to help you if you contact me directly because company policy forbids it, official channels exist for a reason.

That's fine as long as official channels work. But too often, "official channels" is "the mechanism by which we ignore everybody".

If a company suffers from people contacting the wrong people, I think the solution is to make it easier to contact the right people.

Are you an executive? At a lot of companies executives can safely ignore company policies at their discretion.

Also, you could just inform the customer to resend the info to the official channel and make sure someone is actually keeping an eye out for it.

The companies would be Google and LinkedIn :)

how about that, a contributor to Google Buzz

I purchased Toshiba laptop in 2002. Within 3 months the laptop's graphics card failed. Toshiba does not repair their own laptops, rather they send it out to some 3rd party repair center. The repair center took 3 weeks to repairer the laptop. When I came back to pick it up, the laptop started but the screen turned off as soon as I picked it up from the counter. I left it with the relier center. 2 weeks later they called again. This time it worked for a day before dying again. 3rd time they took another 3 weeks to repair. After that it worked for a month and died. I gave up and got a new laptop. Since then I never purchase Toshiba. I don't care how good or bad their products are, their customer service is one of the worst.

> I gave up and got a new laptop.

Hopefully for free. Most states have a lemon law.

I'll add another Toshiba support horror-story. It's why I haven't even looked at Toshiba products in 2-3 years:

My work laptop (supplied by employer) was a Toshiba and had a 1-year warranty. After about 10-11 months of using it, the DVD drive stopped working. Toshiba's warranty support was typical ship-to-depot, so IT pulled the drive and sent the laptop off for repairs. I wouldn't ordinarily care about a laptop our for repair, but IT supplied me with a temporary machine that was at least a generation back (ie: slow and heavy).

IT got a message that except that my machine had been received at the depot but heard nothing else for weeks and weeks after. By the time I'd bugged a tech at my company enough to contact them the warranty had lapsed ... and Toshiba refused to service the machine.

Toshiba refused to service it for several more weeks. I finally took over contacting support from the IT tech, and got the machine serviced after a half-dozen (long hold-time) calls. But for the amount of time the IT dept & me spent getting an optical drive fixed our company could have paid for two new machines.

I've had good luck with Dells from that point of view. I've bought 3 in the US, and two, at some point in their lifetimes, have needed some love from a technician (bad HD, and a cosmetic problem with a very new laptop that I wanted fixed because I spent quite a bit on it). Despite being very much not in the US anymore, they promptly dispatched people on site (in Innsbruck, Austria, and Padua, Italy) to fix the problems with no questions.

(Edit: by the way, most recent one was one of these - nice dev machine if you like Linux! http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/xps-13-linux/pd )

Dell warranty is pretty nice in a pinch, particularly on the road (screen died on my M4700 last year and they replaced the machine, got an extra 16GB RAM to boot).

FWIW, roll with Dell on server front as well, great machines, hope Dell sticks around and doesn't go under.

Yes, my experience with international warranty with Dell has been good as well. They are prompt in servicing or replacing bad stuff.

You got overcharged.

I got a laptop from Newegg for ~$700-$800 with an i7, nVidia GPU, and Windows license. Installing Linux is easy enough, and dual booting gives you flexibility if you want/need to run apps that refuse to go in Wine.

To be fair, my machine only came with 4GB of RAM and no SSD, but upgrades for those can surely be found for less than the $400-$500 price differential.

And a system with no discrete GPU is crippled if you're a gamer. If I'm paying $1000 plus for a system, you can be sure it'll have a decent GPU.

To be honest there's a lot more that factors in when you're buying a computer for business. It's not just the CPU and GPU that come with it, there's a plethora of other factors that may be important to the buyer, such as:

* Maximum ram upgrade amount (most consumer laptops max out at 8 GB or 16 GB)

* Screen quality (IPS vs TN, glare vs anti-glare, etc)

* Keyboard layout and quality (yes, this matter A LOT if you type all day on the computer)

* Driver compatibility (since Linux is mentioned)

* Weight, roughness (or beat-up factor), portability factors, battery life, modularity, expansion ports... the list goes on.

It's not just "this machine which has a top end Intel i7 CPU and an SSD" for everyone.

For me the screen is the most important thing. Pretty much anything these days is 'fast enough' for what I need if it's got enough memory. I was a bit disappointed, infact, in the HD screens these days - my old one was 1920x1200, rather than the new one with 1920x1080.

> And a system with no discrete GPU is crippled if you're a gamer.

That used to be the case. Intel's caught up. Look at the ASUS UX301LA for example. It's extremely thin and light, with 8 hour battery life and a 2560x1440 screen. Those attributes together wouldn't be possible with discrete graphics, yet the Intel Iris integrated GPU that comes with its i7-4558U is more capable than a discrete Radeon Mobility of 2-3 years ago. It can run mid-level games like Diablo/Starcraft at native resolution (which is very high) and high quality easily, and probably anything released in 2014 smoothly if you just chop the resolution in half (1280x720 not being bad at all).

> Intel's caught up.

Hmm. The last machine I bought with an integrated graphics was an Eee PC. That was -- over half a decade ago. Your comment's made me decide my assumption needs to be checked, so I guess I'll be looking at benchmarks before I buy my next laptop. It won't be any time soon though; my current laptop is adequate, so my next machine is going to be a desktop.

After a serial number lookup, it appears that this Toshiba laptop's warranty expired in Feb. of 2013.

This is using the s/n in the image: http://bandyt.site44.com/toshiba/garantia2.jpg

Results of the s/n search: (from site: http://support.toshiba.com/warranty)

Model Name: SATELLITE C850D Product Category: Portable Model-Part Number: PSCBQU-00200F Serial Number: YC307409Q Registration Number: 827633 Purchase Date: Nov 26, 2012 Country Purchased: United States Complimentary Phone Support Through: Feb 24, 2013 Warranty: Warranty expired! +++ Warranty Expiration Date: Nov 26, 2013 Primary Service Option: Out of Warranty Service ++ http://toshibarepairservices.com

According to the UPC it is a PSCBLU-025003, which is marketed as the Satellite C855-S5343. I don't see the UPC being associated with any other product. Entering this information into the warranty information page on Toshiba instead states it was purchased Feb 24th 2013, and the warranty expires on Feb 24, 2014.

The buyer claims to have purchased it on Feb. 19th 2013, which would definitely still be within a one-year warranty period.

Regardless, the claim is that Toshiba is refusing to honor the warranty because of the country the laptop is in, not because the warranty is expired.

> YC307409Q

You entered the wrong serial number. It's YC317409Q.

> Warranty Expiration Date: Feb 24, 2014

You're right, I entered '307' instead.

I think you mean November 26, 2013.

I will upload the invoice shortly that shows feb 2013 purchase from Amazon. How did you manage to come up with the part number?

I'm probably with you, but there's not a lot of information here. Where did you buy it? Could it have been from a dealer that wasn't authorized to issue this warranty? If they couldn't agree to it on Toshiba's behalf the contract would be null, right? And what is the problem with the laptop - though that is of course a separate question from that of honoring the warranty.

Bought it from Amazon.com directly Feb 19

If you bought it from Amazon, and the warranty states that the manufacturer is Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. which is based in Irvine, CA, then this is an US company accountable to US law. Basically, it appears that Toshiba is in violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, as well as the Attorney General. It seems they are trying to disclaim an express limited warranty. So, if you don't want to get an attorney, you can follow up with the FTC at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#&panel1-1

Have you tried contacting Amazon's customer service about this? Get them to either enforce the warranty or replace the laptop themselves.

Amazon has always been good with me but I am past the 30 day policy to return it them. Anyways it is Toshiba's reponsibility...

TL/DR: Have Amazon handle this for you, they are awesome at customer service.

I had a one year old HTC Desire which malfunctioned under warranty (Europe here = 2yrs mandatory) and sought to return it to them for repair. They were a huge pain in the ass, refusing to pay shipping to the repair depot despite this being explicitly covered, and so I asked Amazon (from whom I bought it) for assistance dealing with HTC. Totally shocked when Amazon told me 'No problem, here's a free shipping label, send it back to us for a full refund. The price was hundreds of pounds less by then and they refunded the original price. It was in pretty good shape but not at all in 'like new' condition. I immediately bought another from them and kept the difference - they weren't interested in just exchanging it.

Fast forward to now, and it's pretty much the same deal with LG and a defective Nexus 4. LG agreed in writing to reimburse shipping prior to me sending it, but now want to change the terms & added an NDA and are illegally withholding payment[1] of their debt. I contacted Amazon again and they told me the same deal: 'Send it in for a full refund any time, no problem'.

Needless to say, I now buy all electronics on Amazon. This is probably their goal and we're both okay with it. As for HTC and LG, at least in the UK, they are bastards and I'll keep hoping for better support from other manufacturers when I can.


TL/DR: Have Amazon handle this for you, they are awesome at customer service.

They are. We once purchased a PS3 controller from Amazon Marketplace. It turned out to be a counterfeit, but we didn't notice until 3/4 year later when Sony disabled many counterfeit controllers. We contacted Amazon to warn about this seller. They didn't only remove the seller from Marketplace, they also gave us a full refund.

This may be true, but Amazon has more weight than a single Toshiba owner. If they are selling the product in a location where Toshiba is refusing to service the warranty, they may go to bat for their customers.

I actually had a bad experience with Beats support and I contacted Amazon. Its been way past 30 days (6 months) and they actually gave me a refund for my headphones - I rewarded them by buying another (more expensive) pair of headphones.

Just fyi, this is exactly the type of situation they hope to induce and, to be quite honest, I would happily do the same, even if only to avoid the hassle.

Sounds like Amazon sold you a product which was incorrectly described with regards warranty. It should be between Amazon and Toshiba to resolve this imho.

> Anyways it is Toshiba's reponsibility...

Amazon ‘sold‘ you that warranty, not Toshiba. Granted, it is a warranty, hence supposed to be directed at the manufacturer, not the merchant, but it still cannot hurt to ask Amazon – in the EU, you could go to them directly without a warranty from Toshiba and ask them to repair/replace it (up to two years after purchase), but customer law in Latin America likely varies.

Like others mentioned, Amazon customer service is (anecdotally) good. You L never know if you don't ask.

I've been really pleasantly surprised by Amazon. Once I accidentally ordered two copies of a book, they refunded me the extra book and allowed me to keep the extra copy (don't know what I'm going to do with two, but that was nice). I've refunded a digital download game as well, which was unexpected.

Haven't needed to do it with anything pricey though, but again it doesn't hurt to ask.

Not trying to spam, but OP please check my direct reply to your original post. I think Toshiba Twitter support wants to help.

Toshiba has been aggressive at limiting DIY repairs as well. They sent Tim Hicks a takedown notice forcing him to remove service manuals from his site: http://www.wired.com/opinion/2012/11/cease-and-desist-manual...

I'm sorry to hear that you are having this problem. After buying/selling 10,000+ used laptops (every brand imaginable) over many years, I personally purchase and recommend only Toshiba laptops. Take it for what it's worth.

Really? They consistently seem, in my experience, to have thew worst build quality, and parts die regularly. Ive never seen a single one that had a solid hinge on it after 6 months of use.

My last three laptops, going back to 2004 or so, have all been Toshiba. By and large I've been pleased with the quality and support on all of them. I'm typing this now on super-cheap, low-end Toshiba that I bought as an emergency replacement a year ago (I dropped my other one and busted the screen) and it has been fine. Well, as "fine" as you get when you're running Linux anyway. Almost everything "just worked" out of the box with the only big exception being suspend. If you try to suspend this machine, it bricks it (but you can unbrick it by taking the battery our for a couple of minutes). But hibernate works OK, so I get by with that. Still, for < $400.00 for a 17" widescreen, I'm not complaining.

> My last three laptops, going back to 2004 or so, have all been Toshiba.

My current laptop is a 2007 MacBook. Not the solid-looking Pro aluminum kind. The cheap-looking plastic kind. It still runs everyday, all day long, and gets roughly 7h of battery life (with a spare battery) when I run XCode 4 (with real-time compilation going on) all day.

I can't seem to recollect PCs coming even close to that. Do they nowadays, or is the fact that you bought three devices as if this was normal clouding your judgement?

For what it's worth, my current laptop is a 2007 Lenovo ThinkPad T60 that still runs perfectly. I've never had any problems with it, and I only upgraded the hard drive a few years back because I wanted more space. The extended battery gets about 8 hours, no spare needed. I can even play Dota 2 on it.

Has the bit of plastic right at the front by the trackpad and opening notch for your finger to get into chipped yet?

Not at all... Looks and works just fine...

I know a guy who's still using a 7 year old Toshiba laptop. He installed an SSD, added some RAM, and upgraded Vista to 7. It still runs like new.

I'm still actively using a low end 6 year Toshiba laptop. (All original components, no ssd.)

Runs 24/7. Super reliable. You just have to keep it cool - I underclock.

Most brands are made in Foxcon anyways. I think it is the support and service that makes the brand.

I can't speak to the support/service (which seems to be lacking here). I'm just saying they were, by far, the most reliable machines we bought/sold.

This has been my experience as well. Bought a Satellite A205 that got left near a window in the rain, so got all wet on the back. Wiped it off, let it dry, and it was fine. It's been through hell and back over the past 5 years and is still kicking. Recommended them to my family and they're all still operating fine years later.

This is not to say whether or not their service sucks- I've just never needed to interact with their service department.

I've got a Toshiba Satellite 320CDT (Pentium 233MMX, 96 MB RAM) from 1998 that still runs -- I installed Debian Wheezy on it last November. Toshiba went through a really bad spell a few years later, but now their machines don't seem much less reliable than HP or Dell's consumer laptops.

Interesting. Even compared to the hallowed Thinkpad?

Thinkpad was #2.

Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn).

And then there are ODMs and OEMs: ODMs provide the designs, OEMs mostly just stuff boards.

It's common to find products of different brands that look almost identical, because the chassis are the same while the bezels are different.

Dell for example is basically just a sales force with a catalog, not much different in principle from CDW.

They still vary widely on parts selection and, for portables, mechanical design.

The sad thing is that OP's single datapoint as a David vs Goliath story will get far more attention than your experience. Even on HN, drama carries the day.

The problem is the warranty literally says, "Latin America" as one of the areas it supports and is telling the OP that they do not support said country. It isn't about their reliability, it is about the fact that they don't honor their warranty.

After buying a Toshiba Satellite P100-J01 years ago, and having to choose between either sound or ACPI when running GNU/Linux (until a BIOS update came out, and even then I had to patch the DSDT), I'll never buy Toshiba again.


Okay, I must say the situation depends.

I bought a Toshiba laptop previously and accidentally lots of water got leaked into it. (was my mistake)

The system didn't reboot at all. They entirely replaced my RAM and other hardware components free of cost. This happened in India. So I guess the situation varies.

I can see that happening but in this case I am screwed..

Yet another bad-after-sale-support story. Why is this on HN? If you go stand at any laptop brand service centre, you'll hear 50 such stories everyday.

Because it's good for people to know that Toshiba sucks, so that they can avoid buying their products.

If you purchased this with a credit card, you may be able to use the card's warranty. Many credit cards come with an extended warranty service and dispute resolution/fraud protection as a customer incentive (in addition to their points/frequent flier miles/whatever). Even if this is not covered under your card's extended warranty, talking with your credit card company may allow you get the charges reversed.

Please don't tell me what to do. Every one of Toshiba's major competitors do things that are wrong and fail to own up to them.

It would take a lot more than this to get me to avoid a company as large as Toshiba.

In every "don't do X" someone has to chime in with "Don't tell me what to do!".

He's not actually putting you in a headlock and saying "YOU BETTER NOT DO THIS, benatkin!". He wrote a blog post.

It's clearly advice, not an order.

Don't be so defensive.

Advice is something that often needs to be pushed away just like orders do.

Sure, call the advice bad if you want. But "please don't tell me what to do" is a rather strong misrepresentation.

I sometimes don't consider advice at all when the circumstances are wrong. It clouds my thinking.

I don't have much of an opinion on whether OP's advice is good or bad because I refuse to consider it, and instead only consider the complaint for what it's worth to me (not much, since I live in the mainland United States).

So if other companies are worse does that excuse another of doing wrong?

No. It just means that we need to decide for ourselves what to do with information we hear about a company. I can't avoid every company people have said negative things about to me in person, and I certainly can't avoid every company that I've read bad things about on the Internet.

The result is that I generally throw out anecdotes like yours, no matter where I hear them (including from immediate family members), and instead read reviews.

In fact I sometimes even throw out my own opinions in favor of something more objective. I was severely wronged by T-mobile, and a year later, signed back up with them, and it's been great.

There would be very few companies to buy things from if we stopped doing business with every company that has ever had a complaint against them.

I just want my laptop fixed. Once they fix it I would gladly remove everything. Sadly this is the only way to get their attention.

I was with you until I saw this comment. If everything you've stated is true, why not keep what you have up and just add an update to how Toshiba fixed your laptop?

You are right...I will

Or maybe they would provide better service.

This is perhaps the best and most tech-influential spot you can gain to advertise an issue you're having with a company/product.

However, I have a sneaking suspicion that nobody at Toshiba visits HN.

Sorry you have to face this annoyance!

I had a similar problem with top-end ultrabook from ASUS (13.3" FHD i7 Zenbook Prime with discrete graphics) in 2012.

The ultrabook stopped after 2.5 months (keyboard problem), then after RMA got update that it was a customer induced damage (definitely not, it was an issue many people complained about) requiring replacement of both keyboard and motherboard almost for the price of a new ultrabook. I was really upset and after 6 months of having it in a drawer I sent the ultrabook for an analysis to an independent lab - it turned out only the keyboard module was damaged, motherboard was OK. I ordered a keyboard replacement from asusparts (~$100) and it works till today. Never heard any sorry from ASUS for trying to extract money from me for a "damaged" motherboard.

Having said that, I scratched ASUS off my list for the rest of my life. This happened in Germany. Paradoxically I was just thinking about buying Toshiba Qosmio X70-136 as my DTR but after reading this I will go with some Clevo-based manufacturer like. Thanks!

As a Canadian I deplore this apparent policy. I'm not sure why Toshiba has introduced it, but it wouldn't surprise me if there is difficulty warding off warranty fraud under certain legal systems. Like, those legal systems your lawyers don't know. (You fired the international lawyers as a corner-cutting move, remember?)

Hey man. I can't figure out how to direct message you. I contacted Toshiba via twitter and asked for a comment. They said they would investigate. You may want to contact them directly.

Support says they've passed the matter to "customer service mgmt. Expecting a response on Monday."

These dudes: @ToshibaUSAhelp

Thank you Mike! I saw your comment on twitter!

When you buy online you need to investigate what happens before you need service. A consumer might not need to go to the effort but for a programmer a good laptop is a tool.

Years ago I bought Dell's and found paying extra for their onsite service was a wise investment. Only needed it for a single machine but they literally came to our office with parts and repaired it. Until I needed it a second time and found they had changed policies and found onsite was in name only.

So when I started buying Toshiba Qosmio's I actually investigated my service options in Michigan. It has paid dividends because whenever I've had a problem I can get on the phone with the company's owner, they turn it around faster than shipping it to Toshiba's depot and keep me informed every step of the way.

Oh, yes, Toshiba's support sucks, especially if you live outside US and EU. My Qosmio laptop was constantly overheating in summers, power adapter got broken twice (and on one of those occasions literally started burning, smoking and all melted down), volume control got broken after about 6 months and started randomly changing the sound volume to max (very scary thing since I often leave my laptop playing music when I go to sleep)... and each time I would have to wait for 2-3 weeks for them to "repair" it. And it wasn't cheap at all, I could easily get Apple MBP for that money (which I eventually did)

I've had bad experiences with Toshiba refusing to honor warranties before. After hours on the phone it turned out that the reason they wouldn't help me is because they had recorded my date of birth as the date of purchase and vice versa. Apparently no one there thought it strange that the laptop had been out of warranty for more than two decades... The one manager that did understand the absurdity of the situation still insisted that no one at his call center had the authority to make the obvious correction. Like the OP, I will never buy another Toshiba product, and I tell all my friends the same.

I like the Toshiba laptop I got.. but the Toshiba Thrive tablet which came out at the same time as Xoom has not received any updates! Xoom is on 4.4, Thrive has been abandoned.

So, I don't know about the north/south american systems, but in the UK when a manufacturer or a store fails to meet their obligations you sue them in small claims court. I've never heard of a company not settling out of court, they don't want a precedent set against them and they don't want to fly their lawyers out to talk about a laptop return for a day.

My own Toshiba experience with Australian support is that they wouldn't even talk to you unless you paid them $55. I was after a service manual, not troubleshooting, but I couldn't even get to ask what I wanted unless I paid. There were a couple of other times I needed to ask for trivial things to service clients' laptops, but at $55 per question, sod them.

I know the feeling! Living in Puerto Rico is a double edge scenario. I might be fully treated as an US customer with all the benefits or they just don't consider us a US Territory. Sometimes we are another country somewhere in the Caribbean, sometimes we get confused with Latin America and then the options for services just becomes close to none.

I'm sorry this happened to you, buddy. That really sucks. Us United States consumers should be more concerned with the shortcuts and backhanded ways companies deal with customers outside of the States. A company that treats customers badly just because it CAN instead of doing what it SHOULD doesn't deserve our business.

This seems like it would be a "truth in advertising" violation. From your pictures, normal recourse looks like binding arbitration but maybe the truth in advertising angle can make it a bigger deal. Especially since someone else pointed out that they have included Latin America in their warranty list for years.

Called customer service for about 2 hours, they said that they made a mistake in printing the warranty card and that I would have to pay to repair the laptop.


Ugg. Too bad for them but I wonder what the small claims court would have to say about it. Contract is what's advertised, not what you secretly thought.


Assuming there is an equivalent there, of course.

Toshiba makes crap. Most Windows-based laptops are. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it still makes more sense to buy a Mac laptop and run Windows on it. Every time a friend or family member asks me what Windows-based laptop to buy, I have to tell them to buy a Mac because of shitty situations like this one.

The sony vaio ones are pretty good in my experience.


2 Thoughts:

1. Bill Clinton might say - "Well, it depends on your definition of Latin America."

2. You should mail the CEO of Toshiba. In fact, you should give us the contact info for the CEO of Toshiba so we can mail him on your behalf.

They are all the same, trust me, I am facing same on my HP laptop, they say that they are not responsible for poor battery backup after 2 months of purchase because I use my laptop excessively!!

Latin America is a conceptual region, not a concrete set of countries. They can probably get away with not honoring the warranty in Guatemala because of this ambiguous terminology.

But there are no definitions of Latin America that do not include Guatemala: a) Former Spanish colonies b) Spanish speaking countries c) Romance language speaking countries d) Countries South of the USA

I've heard plenty of bad things about Toshiba customer support last time I was looking for a laptop. It's not too hard to find complaints about them.

I guess if toshiba lies in the warranty and does not assume its errors, it should also lie in other things. Not a good company to do business with.


Its back up without CSS

I won a Toshiba in a science competition. Even though it was free it still sucked, they make terrible little machines.

Site is down due to "excessive usage", couldn't find this in the Google cache either.

fixed it, Thanks!

According to the picture you are going to have to go to arbitration to dispute this. What a bummer.

The good news is that Toshiba probably gets to choose the venue and the arbiter! What could possibly go wrong?

I guess I won't buy toshiba at all now. I will also tell my friends to not buy toshiba.

4 points and the site is down

fixed it! Thanks

I was about to buy toshiba portege laptop. Now I have changed my mind. Thanks!

try calling Toshiba laptop support for North America and press/ask for a representative in Spanish, they do laptop support for (some?) Latin American countries out of Mississauga, Ontario

I did talk them in Spanish, the manager was the one I spoke to there...

Did you buy from an authorized retailer?

from Amazon.com

Website still isn't working...

Hey Moneer. Just wanted to say, I miss you buddy! I hope this all gets sorted out. Let me know if I can help you in any way.

Hey Bobby! Thanks for the support!

i remember back in college my friends would call them shitobas because they broke so often

Take up the problem with Amazon.

... in Guatemala

I haven't since this event:

> In 1987, Tocibai Machine, a subsidiary of Toshiba, was accused of illegally selling CNC milling machines used to produce very quiet submarine propellers to the Soviet Union in violation of the CoCom agreement, an international embargo on certain countries to COMECON countries. The Toshiba-Kongsberg scandal involved a subsidiary of Toshiba and the Norwegian company Kongsberg Vaapenfabrikk. The incident strained relations between the United States and Japan, and resulted in the arrest and prosecution of two senior executives, as well as the imposition of sanctions on the company by both countries.[6] Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania said "What Toshiba and Kongsberg did was ransom the security of the United States for $517 million."


The Free World won the war against Communism through economic warfare, surely Toshiba contributed to that impoverishing them by $517 million of hard currency for weapons they never got to use?

Not necessarily. That $517 million would very likely have been spent on attempts to reproduce the technology themselves, not on economic development.

Now I understand why people came and coming U.S..

I don't know why you are posting this on HN. Anyway you have several options:

1. Go to the vendor you bought it through

2. Go to your credit card company

3. Look up the consumer protection laws of your country and use them

4. Warn other consumers from buying Toshiba products.

5. Shame Toshiba into living up to their word.

Apple did exactly the same thing in Europe (worse actually, they lied to make people buy AppleCare). In China too iirc.

Use your legal rights, and advertise what you did. If you don't know your rights you'll probably have a bad time.

Not to mention Apple in Australia. That kind of warranty protection is enough to make me want to move there! ;-)

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