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IBM and warranty contracts

When I got my Thinkpad X40, I was all happy to finally be customer of a company (or pair of companies) who understood the business, and made great hardware despite being a clearly support-oriented company. Since I travel a lot and the laptop is crucial for my business, I bought a 3-year on-site 24 hour service plan with the laptop.

I ordered the Thinkpad with the extension bay, after confirmation by the vendor that I could swap it for the USB DVD drive if I didn't like it. Well, I didn't like it, and thus completed the swap within few days.

So far, so good. Unfortunately, the USB DVD drive died the other day. No biggie, I thought, I'll just get it replaced within 24 hours...

... yeah right! IBM's warranty database lists me as owner of an X40+extension bay. Thus, that is what is covered by the expensive 3 year plan, and nothing more. Even though I managed to provide the invoices, they seem to be unable\^W unwilling to do anything about it.

"Sorry, sir, but we cannot change anything in our database. We are not allowed to."

"Well, who is allowed then?"

"I don't know. I am afraid there is nothing I can do."

Since the drive is new, it's covered by a one-year warranty anyway, so now I can send it in an expect a replacement "within 3-6 weeks". Great! Don't you guys understand that this is exactly why I paid extra money, so that I could have an advance replacement, and subito?

What's worse is that if the drive breaks again, 14 months from now, I can buy a new one, because the drive is not covered by the 3 year plan. It would well be covered, had it been bought at the same time.

"Sorry, sir, but we cannot do anything about that. I mean, I would love to ship you a replacement unit immediately, but the system does not allow it."

Why do consumers at large accept excuses from companies, claiming that it's "the system's" fault? Did those companies lose control over their IT infrastructure? I thought only SAP forces you to mold your company according to the software requirements, when usually you make the software fit your business processes? Does IBM run SAP?

I am not going to give this up. And I'll do my best to alert the media to this as much as I can. Sorry, IBM, you were a twinkling star in my universe, but you just went up in flames. Support-oriented, my ass.