Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dear Toshiba: I hope you get worms.

Dear Toshiba:
Slightly over a year ago, after exhaustive research and financial hand-wringing, I bought a new laptop from you.  The date is important, so let’s note it was November 24, 2010.
Slightly less than six months later, my new laptop started sending me unexpected messages. 

Several things about these messages got my attention, not the least of which was the use of the word “Immediately” and the imperative that I “return it for service”!  I am a long-time Microsoft user, more out of habit than choice, so you understand that I am used to being able to resolve most of my computer problems by a.) rebooting or b.) downgrading to an earlier and less buggy version of the software.
So I called your service hotline.  And Anne suggested that the only solution was for me to return my computer for service.  “Return,” in this case, meant “put it in a box and mail it off to you.”  Given that a.) she could not indicate to me what the problem might be beyond “it is mostly likely either a hardware or software problem,”  b.) it would take a rather nebulous “several weeks” to get it back, and c.) I was in the middle of writing my Master’s thesis, which was in fact the reason I had purchased a new laptop in the first place (you see, my old one was unreliable), you’ll understand my hesitation.  Perhaps if my Pakistani had been as good as Anne’s English, we could’ve struck a deal.
Instead, I rebooted.  And the problem went away.  For awhile.  And then it came back, and I spoke with Samuel, who solicitously told me that these rather alarming error messages mostly likely were not indicating any significant problems, and that he certainly would make a note of it in my file, and that I could go on mostly ignoring them but perhaps to be calling back should I continue experiencing the problems.  Have a good day, ma’am.
Which is what I did.  And the problem mostly went away.  Until this month, January 2012.  Approximately 13 months after I purchased the computer and, therefore, as Toshiba customer service representative Mary informed me today, one month after its warranty expired.  Poor Mary received the brunt on my irritation, as my call to her was the third one I had made to your help line in 10 minutes.  First, Nancy told me she could not understand me and so please hang up and call back.  Which I did, whereupon Brian asked if he could put me on hold to look up the details of my previous calls, whereupon I was disconnected.  After Mary had finally convinced me that there was no other alternative but to speak with the Out of Warranty Repair Department, she also put me on hold and, in the grand tradition of Toshiba Customer Service, disconnected my call.
Now, the messages pop up constantly.  The first one appears within 10 minutes of turning on my computer, and then they pop up with increasing frequency until I cannot type anything because I have to click “OK” on the error message box every two keystrokes. 
A quick Google search (performed while the computer sat on a Pampered Chef cooling rack) revealed that I am not alone in my consternation.  In fact, your own website courteously provides a forum where Toshiba laptop owners can discuss this exact problem.  Oddly, neither Anne nor Samuel nor Nancy nor Bryan nor Mary have weighed in on the discussion yet.  Fortunately, I have found one way to make the messages go away, but unfortunately, it’s a rather cumbersome work-around: Turn off the computer.  I am told, via the other forum members, that there is a permanent solution, but it is out of my price range: Buy a Samsung.
Hot and Bothered in Southern California

PS to all of my geeky friends (I'm looking at you, Nick): according to my "Toshiba PC Health Monitor," the CPU temp never gets above 38 %, but the fan is not running.  Yesterday, after leaving it on for hours and hitting "OK" 33,000 times, the temp must have gone up a degree or two, the fan kicked on, and the messages stopped popping up.  The fan seems to kick on at 39 %, and never runs above 60%.  So that totally means it's all going to be OK....Right? 


  1. I totally just tweeted this post to Toshiba USA. You should find out if they have a facebook page and put it on there, too. The people companies have managing social media accounts are generally way more pro-active than their regular customer service folk.

    Where did you buy it? Maybe your retailer could help you out?

  2. ah, you and your social media savvy so totally rock! I will see if they have a FB page. I bought it at Newegg.com--awesome prices and lightning-fast shipping, but no product support.

  3. Hello. My name is Eric Paulsen and I manage the PR department for Toshiba's Notebooks in the United States. I would like to the correct the issue you are experiencing with your Toshiba laptop. Can you provide me with the model and serial number of your Toshiba laptop as well as a phone number and the best time to contact you? Here is my email address: eric.paulsen@tais.toshiba.com. Once I get this information I will have one of our service tech contact you and trouble shoot your system. We will get your system fixed.


    1. Well, I would have to say you've got some arduous job managing the PR department for Toshiba. Certainly, when the job was 1st publicized it must have been entitled "Mission:Impossible" This laptop will self destruct within five seconds of the warranty expiration date.

      Having purchased only HP products throughout my business purchases, I decided to go with Toshiba for a laptop after the first round of new HP laptops were not very well received. But having chosen Toshiba was probably the worst business purchase mistake I have ever made.

      There are too many issues with the problem plaqued Toshiba Satellite to list but I certainly wish I had stayed away from Toshiba. With the problems I've had, I wouldn't be surprised if you've already left.

  4. Holy Crap! Toshiba has people reading the blogs and are willing to fix it. Amazing! Kudos to Toshiba if this actually gets resolved. You'll have to post another article when it gets fixed.

    1. Unreal, I know! I am still waiting for it to really be Ashton Kutcher saying I've been punk'd. I will absolutely post a follow-up.