From: STeve Andre' (andres_at_msu.edu)
Date: Sat Apr 01 2000 - 14:42:15 EST
Well, I can agree with nearly all that you say. Certainly the service from
IBM is less than it was at
one point. I can remember when I had my 700C, how I got someone from IBM
itself to work on things
in my office. It was great.
I must disagree with you that the i series is "crap"--the problem with
them, as far as I can determine
is that they sometimes aren't built right. My 1451i has been pefect for
almost a year now, having
just developed the "pink screen" problem (I hope I don't have your
experience with ezserve on this one!).
My 1480i had some problems initially--which took three visits to the
ezserve people, but its been running
solidly for three months now (and I mean 24/7). So when they build them
correctly, they work very well.
I use Dell's for desktop units, and a few Inspirons have been ordered
lately. I am impressed with the
Inspiron line: they're well built, FAST, and heavy. From my perspective,
heavy is better on a laptop in
that they've probably not cut as many physical corners structucturally,
meaning higher reliability.
Dell's service is *fantastic*. I have never never ever had to fight them
on something, anything. If I tell
them whats wrong with something and its weird, they might want me to go
over things with them, but
I've never seen that as an excuse to avoid something. In that regard Dell
rules. So one place doesn't
So now I have to call EZServe with my "pink screen" problem. Gulp. I hope
I don't wind up in a screaming
match with them over this issue.
> I've done that route--and came back. Regardless of the
> disappointment I've often felt about EZServe, ThinkPads are still, IMO,
> the best machine out there overall. I've owned...oh...6 laptops in the
> past 6 years, my first being a Sharp and my 2nd being a TP 750C. Then a
> 701C. Then a 560. Before I got my current (now 2-year old) TP 600, I
> briefly owned an NEC. To be honest, the NEC was a nice machine--very
> likeable. But it wasn't a Thinkpad. I think I owned it for 1 month
> before deciding to sell it, and then got the TP 600.
> I love ThinkPads, and my next notebook PC will likely be another
> one. Every time I have bought a *non* ThinkPad, I wish I hadn't, and
> ended up being quite unhappy, then replacing it (with a ThinkPad).
> I decry EZServe because those of us who are old-timers remember
> when they really *were* a class act--prompt, incredible service, no
> questions asked. They'd do things that *really* surprised you, like
> replace stuff you didn't even know needed replacing. People talked about
> it--they were absolutely *delighted* with IBM's service, and the premium
> we paid for the machines dictated that we *should* be. The reputation
> was well-earned, and people were only too happy to spread the word about it.
> Problem: We're still paying a premium for these machines, but
> the service has flopped. My "old days" experience with EZServe was
> limited to battery replacement when it died prematurely, and an A/C
> adapter replacement (something I've had to do 2x with my TP600 as well).
> Now to be fair, the last time I sent in a TP for service was
> about 1 year ago, and it was my current TP 600. It had intermittently
> been casting a pink "haze" on the screen, which could be manipulated to
> get it back out, but then one day it went permanent. EZServe took the
> machine, and 2 days later called me back with a repair bill. It was less
> than a year old and still under warranty. Reason? "User Abuse". My
> *butt*! I pamper my machines in any way possible--there is *no* way I
> could possibly have caused that pink screen!
> It required escalation to supervisors, and then the next level
> after that. Finally someone started to talk sense, and then a more
> conscientious technician looked it over, realized that the connector
> between video & motherboard was slightly defective, and they fixed the
> problem and sent it back to me.
> Good service? Ultimately--yes. But only after I kicked,
> screamed, and scratched to get these jerks to get the clue that I had
> *not* in any way abused that machine. When someone who was *competent*
> finally looked at it, that much was very, very clear. The point being,
> that I should never have had to do that. But it wasn't the first time,
> nor was my case isolated. MANY on this list have reported very similar
> My machine ultimately got fixed. So why am I moaning? Firstly,
> the accusation is insulting in the first place, particularly with zero
> foundation for making it. With so many people reporting this, I suspect
> this is done as a matter of course to see how many suckers they can get
> to actually *pay* for something that *should* be covered under
> warranty. The extra time & effort (and searching!) required to escalate
> the case to higher levels (where apparently the only sensible people
> work) is fairly extensive, and shouldn't be necessary at all, if they
> took service seriously. But I've had to do it 2x, and this kind of
> experience seems to exceed the perfectly smooth experiences by a
> longshot, based on data from the list.
> Here's a major contrast: It was about 6 years ago when this list
> got started. Most people had a flavor of the 750 model, and we also had
> a few 700 and 720 owners. EZServe was never an issue--actually, quite
> the opposite. If you had the time or inkling to go search the archives
> (they exist, but I forget where), then you would see, to my memory, not a
> *single* negative comment about EZServe, and I'm guessing that would be
> the case for at least 2 years. What is all the more astounding, is that
> what *do* read about EZServe is OVERWHELMINGLY positive! ThinkPad owners
> were *always* delighted in how IBM handled their machines--fast,
> competent, nearly instant turnaround, and no questions asked. They even
> went above the call of duty, fixing & replacing things that you didn't
> even realize were in need of fixing. They even replaced the TrackPoint
> cap without your asking! They were undeniably the best. They *knew* how
> to fabulously delight a customer, and I *guarantee* you that
> experience--or even just *hearing* about that experience from a fellow
> Thinkpadder--guaranteed a future customer would come back (to buy another
> ThinkPad), and that others who heard about it would *become* ThinkPad
> owners in the future.
> My reasons for buying a ThinkPad then had a lot to do with the
> level of service from EZServe. That's part of what motivated my purchase
> of a 701 and a 560. My reasons for buying a ThinkPad today aren't
> because I know the service/warranty is great--because it just *isn't*
> (isn't great, that is--perhaps its not even very good). What brings me
> back today is that other machines suck. I defected in buying that NEC 2
> years ago. I would never have bought it if I felt EZServe was still the
> great operation it once was. At the time, I felt the price premium for
> TP's was undeserved, particularly given the drop in warranty service
> level. So why pay so much for a machine when you can get just as shoddy
> treatment from some other company for less money?
> ThinkPads still carry a nasty price premium (the good ones
> anyway--the i-series is cheapo crap and the 3xx series isn't exactly
> high-end either). I bought the 600 because of its combination of
> features--and let's face it, the better Thinkpads really *are* better
> (than other notebooks). But the service stinks. So you just hope and
> pray nothing goes wrong.
> The problem is that nobody else's service is any better. They
> all stink.
> If anyone else comes up with a combination of a great machine and
> great warranty service, let me know. Right now I just have a great machine.
>- Randal Whittle
>ADDENDUM: Bill Morrow pointed out that some years ago, IBM "spun off"
>EZServe--that is, they are no longer part of IBM, but rather an
>independent business that contracts with IBM. This spin-off coincided
>with the huge drop in service level. As a (presumably) profit-seeking
>entity, apparently part of their strategy is the give the warranty
>customer a difficult time, attempting to extort money from them. IBM has
>not figured out that allowing them to get away with such tactics is bad
>P.R. My field of business is largely in P.R. & Marketing, and I can state
>firsthand as a professional opinion, that this is *really* bad. I strive
>with my clients to ensure that even the *perception* of a raw deal is
>avoided. IBM *used* to do that.
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