19 Mar 2009 mbanck   » (Journeyer)

My experience with LapStore's used-ThinkPad warranty repair service

My ThinkPad T40 arrived back from warranty repair today (well, actually yesterday, but I had to run off to the Gnome-2.26 release get-together in Munich so I did not have time to open the box then). I bought it used roughly two years ago at LapStore when my R51 had died. I had bought the R51 new with a one year IBM warranty but unfortunately within two years the graphics chip with got damaged and would freeze the notebook after a couple of minutes. I then decided that I do not really need a new notebook anymore, and opted for a used T4x series (there were no used X40s available at that time).

I chose LapStore because they offered a one-year "Garantie" (guarantee? warranty?), which was rather unusual for used notebooks - at best, you would get a one-year "Gewaehrleistung" which is the promise to fix things which were supposedly broken already by delivery. Even better, one could optionally extend the warranty to two years, which I did. The notebook they sent was in pretty good condition (apparently a business out-of-warranty return) and I put in my R51's hard disk, the ipw2100 WLAN card and the RAM (unfortunately, I realized too late that the keyboard and the CDRW/DVD drive do not fit).

I was pretty happy with it (and LapStore in general, I recommended it to a couple of friends since, and e.g. my current flatmate bought a T42 there a while ago as well) until the fan started dropping out and making weird noises by the end of 2008. So just before the end of warranty, I sent it (after removing hard disk, optical drive and battery) in to LapStore to see how their service is. I also mentioned a clear bright spot on the display (apparently some fatigue, you see it often mentioned in ThinkPad eBay descriptions) and a crack in the palmrest between the cursor-right key and the hard disk slot. When they sent a mail that the ThinkPad had arrived at their site, I also followed-up via mail that the "indestructible" keyboard caps stickers they used to mod a Scandinavian(?) keyboard into a German one were pretty much destroyed by now and would also need servicing.

I assumed that they would service the fan (which looked like a clear-cut warranty issue to me) without arguing, but probably not the display and palmrest (and did not know whether they got the mail about the keyboard stickers), so when they sent another mail two days ago that they sent the notebook back without asking further questions, I became worried about what happened at all.

So, long story short, I was totally positively surprised when I opened the box today and read:

"Aktion: L├╝fter, Display, Palmrest und Tastatur getauscht"

(action: fan, display, palmrest and keyboard replaced)

The replacements are still used parts (and the keyboard is still not a real German one, but one with new stickers on it), but they basically changed my almost-totally-broken-will-fall-apart T40 back into a almost-as-good-as-new T40. (not sure whether that is positive or negative, but they also forgot to remove the service-hard disk they put in to test things, I guess I will send it back to them)

So all in all, I am very much impressed by their service. I would have expected this kind of service from IBM/Lenovo if I had a manufacturer warranty, but not from some random sell-used-ThinkPads shops on the net. I can now even more strongly recommend LapStore as the place to buy good notebooks. Certainly you can get cheaper prices at some eBay stores, but you do not get real warranty then and what about the service?

I recommend geting a T42 - I believe the T43 is inferior to it and the T40s and T41s don't have "LapStore Garantie" anymore. You can get them without operating system and can customize the hard disk, memory and optical drives - unfortunately you cannot downgrade those, which is my only gripe with them.

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