We're looking to buy a new laptop for Miles, his Fujitsu ultra-portable finally died. The reviews for the new Thinkpad X300 have been great, especially for business travelers, and you can get it with Verizon Wireless built in.
We live in Silicon Valley and wanted to actually see one. Fry's doesn't carry Lenovo.
After looking around Lenovo's site to find a local dealer, you're brought to a PDF file. That's stupid, all we want is phone numbers and/or URLs, a PDF is annoying overkill. But OK, you open the PDF at http://shop.lenovo.com/ISS_Static/merchandising/US/PDFs/Lenovo_TopSeller_Catalog.pdf
They list two ways to find a dealer:
1: Use their Web site finder: http://bplocator.lenovo.com/et.cfm?eid=934
2: Use their phone number: 1-888-76-THINK
We tried the web interface, with Miles' Cupertino zip code and the options we thought were appropriate - NOTHING, no results. Of course like any badly designed app, it doesn't clearly tell you that, it just keeps returning you to the same search form. So let's get this straight, in the middle of Silicon Valley, there are no thinkpad distributors? Obviously an unreasonable answer.
So we tried the phone number.
We tried FOUR CALLS to that number. HORRIBLE distorted VOIP compression. We tried from two different phone lines. This is the worse phoneline quality I have ever personally heard.
The person has an accent, sounded Indian to me, but the distortion on the line made him incomprehensible. It sounded like digital compression errors to me, but I'm not an expert. And this was on a Sunday, so very little web traffic. We did manage to tell him what we wanted, and he had two dealers in our area - obviously the web form was wrong. He tried to give us their phone numbers. After more than a half dozen attempts to understand the 10 digit phone number for the first dealer, we moved on to the next vendor.
We tried calling the 888 number for the first dealer. It's a porn line, or dating line. Obviously we got the number wrong, after many many many attempts to understand him, on a wired Polycom desktop phone. I don't know if it's their handsets, or the VOIP provider, or their ISP, who knows. The second dealer was closed on Sunday.
So let's get this straight. Lenovo has launched a new laptop that is getting great reviews, and tops out at over $3,000 retail. BUT they've outsourced the dealer locater hotline to some group that is unintelligible.
But to save a few dollars per call, they've sabotaged business users who are ready to buy their product. Lenovo will lose thousands of sales because of this incompetence, possibly costing them millions of dollars. So how much money did this outsourcing save them? :-)
This is so stupid.
Of course if the Web locator had worked, we wouldn't have needed to call. Lenovo acquired the ThinkPad line from IBM, which runs all those commercials touting their ecommerce infrastructure, so you'd think a simple web app would be do-able, but no.