Wednesday, July 12, 2006

95C GPU browsing the web... woot! Fixed eh, Toshiba?

The screenshot was taken after 39 minutes of web browsing and tooling with a few work apps. The spike in the graph is due to the fan kicking in consistently at 95C and letting the machine cool down. As you can see, as soon as the fan shuts off it spikes back up. The temperature is for the GPU, which isn't really driving anything during the time other than the desktop.

The usb port is fixed, though!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Toshiba Called...

I received a call from Toshiba.

I was told that my notebook will be mailed back to me today. The engineers did several software and hardware upgrades and adjustments and fixed one cosmetic issue. The individual I spoke with could not tell me what the upgrades and adjustments are. I am guessing they replaced the HDD, which was one of the things that overheated badly, and did yet another motherboard replacement. Hopefully when I receive the notebook they will have notes of what exactly they did do.

They also tried to sound cheery and said they included an extra 256 megs of ram, but if they read the logs (including those sent with the notebook) they would have seen I had 2GB of ram, the max the system supports. They specifically state when you send in the notebook to not include 3rd party upgrades, including ram and HDD, so I included the memory the machine came with... however, in prior repairs and when communicating with tech support they have noted the machine has 2GB of aftermarket ram, and that overheating occurs with original ram and aftermarket, which should discount the ram causing the problem.

I hope that the notebook is genuinely fixed. Throwing a token 256 megs of ram for 90 days of waiting and 4 repair trips seems a bit little for the time lost, and is certainly far less than what I requested ( a new replacement of the lemon I had ), but we'll see. It certainly doesn't bode well that the engineers again failed to read the documentation included with the notebook and in the prior repairs...

They also haven't given me the tracking number yet, but I'm assuming that it will be back in my hands in the next couple of days and I will be able to see what they did.

My call history sure is getting long...

It now seems to take about 5 to 10 minutes for a tech to read over my notes.

My notebook was received at Irvine June 29th, and I received a call confirming it from Toshiba on the 30th and that it would be looked into and repaired as soon as possible.

Last week I called Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Each call got me nowhere; no one knew where my notebook was our the status of it, other than it was received by Irvine. My main contact went on vacation and the relation specialist listed as the main contact on the BBB does not return phone calls.

I called today at 8:30am in order to ensure everyone would be in office; it appears relations works from 5am to 4pm. Talked to a nice guy at technical support who put me on hold for 18 minutes trying to get a customer relations person on the phone. He stopped the hold long enough to tell me that he still can't get a relations person, then put me back on hold for another 4 minutes, only to be forwarded to a busy signal and hung up on.

Called back and reached another tech named Carlos. He seemed to read a large amount of notes, and unlike most techs I actually did not have to repeat the story. He actually told me what the last few calls were about, and actually noted that it appeared that I never was successfully transferred to a custom relations rep by the previous tech. 2 minutes later he told me that my issue has been escalated to the highest level and a corporate customer relations will be contacting me directly today. If, for some reason, that doesn't happen call back tomorrow and try again.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Digg This!

I've put my story up on Digg. Still no response from Toshiba, I've called them back several times today and cannot find anyone... at all... who knows where my notebook is. They literally aren't even sure if it is still at Irvine when I ask someone, and the two people who may be able to answer my questions for sure are either on vacation or not responding to any phone calls or messages.

I guess I can see why the BBB gives up on getting an answer from Toshiba on any complaints now. A legitimate customer can't even get through to find out about their notebook, and as far as customer support goes they can't even verify if it is actually at Irvine anymore, that maybe it never was received (although I did get a call saying it was received) or that it was already sent back to me (and I did not get a call or information about that, either, and the support person was simply making guesses).

read more | digg story

Dell delays thousands XPS 700 orders and won't give customers a reason why

Dell continues taking orders for their new XPS 700 gaming machine even though current orders have been delayed until mid August and there have been no reports of a single XPS 700 actually having been shipped to the thousands of waiting customers. Conspiracy theories abound as to why Dell would refuse to give any explaination for the delays.

read more | digg story

I don't want to make this seem just against Toshiba; it is about the lack of support, and other companies are great about that too. Oh, BTW, Dell has a horrible BBB rating as well.

Found another person with Toshiba problems

Not the same problem I am having, but problems none the less. The guy has a Toshiba Qosmio G15 with a bad fan and an onsite warranty. But guess what? Toshiba won't honor the onsite warranty and is forcing him to send in the notebook for repair anyway... this after a long history of problems with his notebook including the motherboard being replaced and his power cord bursting into flames.

You can read more at his blog, Minutes 2 Midnight.

He has a nice letter he is sending to Toshiba and a threat to report this all to the BBB. Too bad that Toshiba has 405 ignored complaints, 5 more than when I started blogging my problems on June 30th.

No Response

I called Toshiba this morning using the contact information available on their BBB Report. The number is 1-949-583-3000, and is publically available on their BBB profile and their customer support gave it to me when they realized they could tell me nothing about the status of my notebook; nothing about my notebook is recorded anywhere in their records other than it went to Toshiba Irvine.

My main contact is on vacation until July 10th. I asked the receptionist to direct me to someone else who can help me on the issue, and I was transferred to a customer relations department that was closed and informed they are not open from 11am to 1pm and that customer questions should go to their toll free number.

It would not make sense to call the toll free number again since that is where I started I called back and tried to get directed to their primary contact, again listed on the BBB website as Heather Hillewaert. I got to her voicemail and left a message.

I noticed that on their BBB report that their unanswered complaints have increased since starting this blog.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Where o Where is my Tablet?

My tablet pc has been at Toshiba HQ in Irvine, CA since June 27th. I have heard from one person since it arrived that they have received it and would look into what is wrong and then absolutely nothing.

If I call their support line I can find no one who can tell me what is going on with my tablet, because it is not in the usual support system. I get forwarded, put on hold, forwarded again... to be put on hold to no avail. I can't reach anyone unless I am willing to sit on the phone when I am supposed to be at work for hours at a time. The last time I called I waited over ninety minutes to get to someone who could tell me what is going on, if they know what they are going to do, or what, only to have to hang up because I could not sit around waiting all day.

I will try again tomorrow morning and hope I can get through, or that someone in the depths of Toshiba will give me a call to let me know what is going on with my tablet pc.

Friday, June 30, 2006

And Now ...

When I started this blog I decided to keep the name of the company out of the mess. The company is Toshiba. I bought a Tecra M4 Tablet PC, which had the best hardware you can get for a tablet at the time. I loved it, I even went out of my way to let others know that and to answer questions on forums like the The Tablet PC Buzz.

Then I had my encounter with their technical and customer support. I know what it is like to work in technical support, I have done that in the past before I got into software development, but there is no excuse for what they have done... Apparently to many besides myself, according to their BBB report. You can see a link to their report on the sidebar.

The letter received from the better business bureau said that Toshiba ignored all requests. I guess my request falls into the 400 unanswered requests... and basically all I asked for was to either 1) have my notebook completely repaired or 2) have it replaced with a new unit.

According to UPS Toshiba paid $480 in shipment for the first 3 repair jobs, not to mention whatever it cost for the refurbished parts they undoubtedly used and the time paid for the tech to "fix" the notebook. From my point looking in it seems as if it would have been just cheaper to replace the notebook than to go through all of this. The 4th repair, of which my notebook is sitting at their HQ in Irvine instead of the UPS repair depot, was sent through FedEx next day and insured for the full amount. Their tab again, no idea what that one cost them.

The funny thing is I never thought to research Toshiba, thinking at the time they had to be better than the likes of Dell, Gateway, or HP... or at least equal to them. I have had experience with Dell and HP and they simply are better, at least when dealing with support. I mean even if Dell has a huge report on the BBB, at least it seems like they answer, good or bad.

Actions Taken

During your attempts to get the machine fixed you decide to start making contacts. You find out from other sites such as Eric Mack Online and Tablet PC Buzz Toshiba Forum that you are not the only person having similar problems. You contact them, talk to them about the issues.

You also decide to contact the state attorney general, the better business bureau, and a couple of other watchdog organizations to get the ball rolling. Your notebook obviously is not getting fixed and it has now been almost 2 months in the making. Things do not look peachy at all.

You get a letter from the BBB about the time your notebook makes it in to the HQ of the company in question. BBB has stated they could do nothing because the company refused to respond.

The BBB does teach you something though: the company has an "F" rating and pretty interesting complaints that match your case almost to a tee.

History of Support

Say you have a notebook.

From day one it seems hot, but it is a thin notebook and everything runs fine. You write that off.

11 months later the notebook barely functions because it has become so damaged from heat that it has trouble staying on for any period of time.

You send the notebook in for repair. They state the fans were not working. They replace the fans, the motherboard, the LCD.

The notebook you receive works just under a week and starts overheating all over again. Not only that but the graphics card or LCD stops functioning correctly - you now have a pixel soup of pink and green from the moment you turn the notebook on. You send it in for repair.

The notebook comes back. The pixel soup is still there. They state they replaced the LCD. You send it back in the next day. Sometime during the repair cosmetic parts have been broken; the case has new scratches, the latch cover is snapped in two.

The notebook comes back from the 3rd repair. Pixel soup is gone! However, the rear USB port is now non-functional and three days later the hard drive overheats so bad you have to leave the computer unplugged, without battery, for 30 minutes before it will turn back on. How do I know this time it was the hard drive? Prior to the crash a warning popped up stating the hard drive is 75 degrees celcius, and then the computer froze into a pixel soup.

During the process of getting setup for the 4th repair you get put on hold for almost 10 hours, combined, hung up on several times, told that custom relations is too busy to accept the call and you must call back later, told that the problems you are having are the result of your own actions, speak with a tier 3 technician who has a 3 second delay and says you are arguing when you are trying to tell him what is going on, then cuts you off and states that you should stop bugging him and he will just put in his notes that the notebook needs repair.

So somewhere in all the holds you get told a new address to send the notebook and that actual technicians at headquarters will look at the machine this time and repair it. They give you a FedEx account number, so you know at least it won't go to the UPS repair depot this time, tell you who to address it and inform you that you provide your own box.

What would you do?