Toshiba earns an F for customer service

Saturday, July 1st, 2006
I wonder how Heather Hillewaert and Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. feel about receiving an "F" score from the Better Business Bureau - the lowest possible ranking a company can earn. Ouch!

20060701 - Toshiba earns F rating from BBB.jpg

Many readers of my blog continue to send me links and problem reports about Toshiba service. I wish I could do something to help them, but I'm just  a small-time YABHTU and corporate influencer. Oh, and I'm a blogger.

Sean, a fellow tablet PC user, sent me this link, showing that Toshiba earned a failing grade for customer support and service. I hope that Heather's brought this to the attention of management. All they have to do is please 600+ customers to regain a top rating. Seems like a small price to pay for customer goodwill.

Now, to be fair to Toshiba, my tablet PC issues, other than the dust problem, appear to now be resolved. A reader did send me the steps to remove the dust myself. If my unit were not still under warranty, I'd do it myself. Since I've paid for a warranty and since Toshiba came through, for me at least, I do not plan to do anything that would risk violating my warranty.

Discussion/Comments (12):

Toshiba earns an F for customer service

My notebook is still at Toshiba Irvine. I cannot find anyone who can tell me what is going on, if it is going to be fixed, the timeframe, or even someone who knows where it is exactly. My notebook is lost in Irvine.

I do have their contact information at the main office, which is:

1-949-583-3000. My contact was John Kelly, who appears to have gone on vacation until the 10th. After doing some more digging the primary contact listed for Toshiba is Hillewaert... as per the BBB report on them. Doesn't do much good though, everything goes straight to voicemail and if I ask the receptionist if she can forward me to someone who can help she forwards me to a department that does not post the hours, says no one is available now, and directs me to call their toll free number and talk to customer service... and customer service told me to call Irvine.

Posted at 07/06/2006 9:47:23 by Sean

Toshiba is crap

Toshiba is crap. I will never use another Toshiba product again.

After my computer had been to a couple of different repair centers for the same problem and was not repaired, I was told that "Toshiba does not do replacements". I guess they never read the warranty.

Sean, I feel your pain. My laptop was sent back to me twice in the same broken condition that it was in when I mailed it. So they had me send it to their "elite team" in Irvine. The third "7-day" repair for the same problem took three weeks. They finally repaired it, but the CD drive broke soon after.

Good luck...

Posted at 07/09/2006 23:14:22 by Toshiba is Crap

Toshiba earns an F for customer service

Toshiba called me today.

My notebook is being shipped back with "software and hardware upgrades" to resolve the problem, and a bonus 256 megs of ram... although I already had 2GB of ram and would have no way to use the extra chip.

The rep couldn't tell me what the hardware and software upgrade/adjustments were, I can only assume it was another motherboard replacement and possibly a hard drive replacement since that was the last component to seriously overheat. I'll find out if it has a fresh image of tablet on the hdd with all the cool bloatware to go with it.

No tracking number, but I assume I should get it back in a day or two, unless they sent it ground for some reason.

Posted at 07/10/2006 12:28:05 by Sean

Toshiba earns an F for customer service

I got a call from my local ASP yesterday saying my part (cover assembly) had finally come in. I dropped it off right away, and hopefully it'll be finished by the end of the week when I'm scheduled to move across the country.

I'd given up hope of ever hearing back from them, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that the wait has paid off and I'll have a fully functional machine soon.

Posted at 07/12/2006 10:04:54 by James

Toshiba earns an F for customer service

My Sat. P30P started to develop thin vert lines on the lcd. It is less than 10 months out of warranty; Toshiba will not take any responsibility for what the tech repair center call "lcd screen degradation" (Toshiba case number 1-401-888-608). I wonder what are my options now? I know that one is never to buy another Toshiba product.


Posted at 07/26/2006 18:17:06 by Bob

Toshiba earns an F for customer service

Same here!

Check this out:

One day, I put my laptop on my desk, and a screw falls out of the laptop (M200).

I have a small screwdrive, so I flip over the laptop to put it back... and notice there are THREE holes missing screws!

So I check ALL the screws, and a few are loose. I tighten em. Put in the one screw, and call Toshiba support to ask that they mail me a couple of screws.

I call. I have the extended/enhanced/added-cost warranty. I tell the tech what I need.

He says "You will have to go to a service center"

Huh? "Just send me the screws!"

"That is not a user-servicable part"

But I have a screw driver!

No satisfaction.

That was my first and last Toshiba (when I found I could not boot it from a USB key, its days were numbered).

Posted at 08/22/2006 13:50:01 by Raf

Toshiba earns an F for customer service

The 120 gig harddrive on my wife's Satellite A105 S094 has bit the blue screen of death (Unmountable_Boot_Volume....***STOP: 0x000000ED (0x898D4970, 0xC000009C,0x00000000, 0x00000000). This notebook was purchased less than 30 days ago from BestBuy. Toshiba's tech support did what little they could but the Toshiba Customer Relation (Sarah) was terrible. Any ideas? Should I ship it to the Toshiba Depot in Louisville, KY or take my chances with their local repair vendor? Are there any solutions that someone less than a supergeek can pursue? Please advise...If Moma (my wife Vivian) ain't happy then noboby is happy!! I sure wish I had known about the "F" Toshiba had received from the BBB before we made this fateful purchase. I need a silver bullet from all you techies out there.

Thanks! Michael in Atlanta.

Posted at 08/25/2006 9:25:37 by Michael Bazemore

Toshiba earns an F for customer service

I will be recommending to the Office of Information Technology at Princeton University, where I work as a consultant, to stay far far away from any Toshiba tablet PCs that have been considered for sale to the incoming 1,200 students next year.

Here's why:

The Tecra M4 Tablet PC that I've been evaluating since mid-October cost $3,000 with the following specifications:

1.8 GHZ P4 Centrino

80 GB Hard Drive


256 MB RAM

802.11 b/g

14.1" Screen


Second Battery

Targus Universal AC Adapter

3 Year Service Express Warranty

The tablet pc worked fine for about six months. Then the following:

1) AC Adapter fraying. The AC adapter wire started to become exposed and I no longer use it to plug in my laptop because of fire and electrocutionm risk (I use the $85 Targus AC Adapter). I have had this happen once before on a Dell laptop, after 3 years of use (not 9 months!)

2) The latch developed a hairline crack which becomes worse with every use of the Tablet Mode. Every time I go into Tablet PC mode the crack becomes larger and larger. The latch does not latch properly anymore, it stresses the crack and makes it larger.

3) The casing developing a hairline crack which also has become worse with every use of the Tablet Mode. After every Tablet Mode session, for a meeting for example, the crack extends further in both directions. This is because there is obviously pressure applied to the screeen as one writes on the screen in tablet mode.

I called up customer support (Reference # 1-40-318-214) and they said the adapter problem is physical damage and that they do not cover it under the $300 warranty I purchased (Service Express 3 years). That's reasonable.

However when I asked about servicing the other two issues, they said it was cosmetic damage.

Issues 2 and 3 are not cosmetic damage because they prevents me from using the tablet functionality. This tablet pc cost more than twice a similarly configured non-tablet laptop. If I cannot use tablet mode, then it has lost all that value!

They insist the issue is cosmetic. If this were a laptop where there were no tablet mode which applies pressure to the casing every day, then it would be a costmetic issue since the crack does not effect functionality and was probably not caused through normal use. However, this unit did not have the proper structural integrity when it was manufactured and this case will fall apart with continued tablet mode use. At that point all the hardware will be exposed. I wonder what would happen when I become electrocuted by the exposed innards of the PC, or when it causes a short and burns my house down?

Toshiba's customer support is outrageous!

Posted at 08/31/2006 8:44:06 by Eugene Franco

Toshiba earns an F for customer service

I've been a loyal Toshiba customer for over 20 years and have owned five laptops, three VCRs, and two DVD players. When their products work, they're great. But their quality control isn't what it used to be and their customer service is atrocious.

I spent 16 months trying to get compensation for a defective Satellite M-45 that couldn't be repaired. I finally got a full refund and promptly replaced it with an HP Pavilion *and* a service contract with the retailer. Rather than tell the whole, long, frustrating story, I'll just offer some suggestions about how to get better service when you have a problem.

1) Take your laptop to a local authorized service center; at all costs avoid sending it to Irvine or the repair depot in Kentucky.

Unless you're actually in Irvine or Louisville, your local service center should be an independent business that has a contract with Toshiba. It will be more accountable to you and less likely to lose your property or keep it for weeks on end because you can easily call or show up in person and ask for a progress report.

2) If you can't get satisfaction from the service center, or if your unit is repaired repeatedly but the problem keeps recurring, file a complaint with your state's Department of Consumer Affairs (sometimes it's called the Division of Consumer Protection or something similar) or the Attorney General's office.

You'll need copies of all the relevant paperwork: sales receipts, work orders from the local service center, emails to Toshiba, etc. It's a good idea to keep a log with dates and notes on phone calls.

Even then, you may have a long slog ahead of you. It took three unsuccessful repairs over nine months before I contacted the Calif. Dept. of Consumer Affairs ( It took an additional six months from filing a complaint to being given a refund from Toshiba, but much of the delay was on Toshiba's end. The DCA's involvement may get your claim more attention, and it's always helpful to have another person pleading your case for you.

The key to success seems to be: persistence, persistence, and more persistence. I went from hearing "Toshiba will only do repairs, not replacements" to "Okay, we'll replace it" to "We're offering you a full refund" and I suspect it was largely because it was clear that I wasn't going to go away until I got satisfaction.

Unfortunately, that puts the onus on the consumer to spend the time and energy following up constantly over a period of many months. That's just the way it is - and that's why I'll never buy a Toshiba product again.

Posted at 09/07/2006 10:49:43 by Maureen

Toshiba earns an F for customer service

I recently brought in my satellite A75 for repair. Because it was still under garanty, it was sent to Toshiba. Several things were wrong with it, the most important being that the fan was not powerful enough to cool off the processor. My laptop became so hot that all applications kept on shutting off. Reducing the processor speed helped somewhat, but the problem persisted. Aside from that there were other issues such as screen dimming unless the laptop was directly plugged into the power outlet. This of course resulted in a useless battery. Otherwise there were keyboard issues. To make a long story short, after several days at the Toshiba center, the laptop was returned to me EXACTLY in the same shape. Can anything be done about it considering that the year guarantee has now expired?

Posted at 09/13/2006 23:45:29 by Brigitte

Toshiba earns an F for customer service

Update: I filed a BBB complaint on August 31st. I was contacted within 1 week of the BBB complaint. I had my system damage repaired by September 14th. I am now selling the laptop on eBay and plan on buying something else. Definitely not a Toshiba. I've been considering going back to Dell (gasp) with their Select Care Warranty which basically covers any sort of damage imagineable except fire.


Posted at 10/02/2006 16:46:04 by Eugene Franco

Toshiba earns an F for customer service

They do not even deserve an F!

I bought a laptop last year and planned to use their recovery disk and found out that the disk is defective! The recovery did not go through and now I can't even use my laptop! I called their customer service to have them send me a disk replacement and was told I have to pay for the disk because the warranty has expired! The only option I have is to pay them money, for a disk that was not working! If I knew, I would not have bought a TOSHIBA laptop!

Posted at 10/12/2006 12:46:21 by Frustrated Toshiba Customer