» Computers & Services » Review / complaint: Lenovo - Cheating Customers | News #1962

Cheating Customers

I have one of the Lenovo G570 Laptops.

One can smell bad deals in the details like Lenovo having done a deal with Microsoft to install an Operating System on the hard drive, but NOT giving you a copy of the OS on a DVD, to reinstall it, in case the OS crashed or a new HDD was needed etc...

So since I despise Microsoft with an absolute passion for just being despicably stupid, greedy and unethical and in general - and all their "drop you in a hole" stunts like these, just to trick the consumer into buying ANOTHER copy of the OS, when the installed operating system does go wrong.

I have this philosophy "Microsofts licensing schmicensing - I pay for it - I own it" - and if the OS dies - and I can't reinstall it - if you people in Microsoft want to play more of your never ending dirty deals, then your not working for me..

I wiped the hard drive, and installed Xubuntu Linux... Because I absolutely HATE Microsoft - and I contacted the folks in Lenovo and asked for a refund on the Microsoft OS - and they did NOTHING... no replies... absolutely NOTHING...

Hmmmm predictor of future customer service - you betcha.

Lenovo have a real reputation for giving people a hard time when it comes to being reimbursed for the "Microsoft Tax" on their systems...

My tale of woe started with the fact that I used the "Supervisor Password" - which means No Password = No Booting and No BIOS acccess.

And these passwords are the things that I do remember...

Lenovo / IBM laptops - depending upon which version of the manual / laptop you get... they have up to THREE passwords.

1. The Power On Password.

2. The Hard Drive Password

3. The Supervisor Password.

But mine stopped working - and there have been a few other people commenting in the forums etc., that the CMOS / EPROM chips - like all the other hardware etc., they do have a tendency to take a stop working.

The unit was bricked - and the issue is that they would only fix the laptop by me sending it back to them, to have the motherboard replaced.

At my cost.

Now this was not sooooooo bad, except that I didn't forget my password AND the cost of replacing the mother board, was about $450 for a $650 laptop - with more added onto it for postage and handling.

See I did not agree to the cost of this at all.

Adding in the fact that the postage there and back would take about 2 weeks all up - and then to consider that Lenovo's reputation for totally bad customer service - every step of the way - after having paid for the replacement, they might only take 2 or 3 months to get it back to you - with nothing having actually been done - if you hassle them badly for ages to get it back to you.

See the other complaints in the forums listed at the bottom of the page.

The time factor was not an acceptable issue.

Given that basic MOBO's can be had for $60 new, laptops sell in volume by the millions - paying $450 for a new basic low spec MOBO, I considered that costs were outrageous.

I also considered that the likelyhood of getting the people in Lenovo who really do give the WORST (to non existent) customer service ever - to admit a chip failure was as remote as gassing myself on fresh air.

So the idea of me paying that much money for a NEW motherboard for a crap laptop from a company full of crooks, was "Not likely."

I also asked them if they could send a mother board to the local computer tech for him to replace it - and they said they do not do this - it HAS to be sent back to them for them to do it. Why not? Except for the issue of the cost, It would have meant that my laptop could have been repaired and running in under 3 or 4 days.

They also would not send me out a motherboard, so I could replace it myself.

I NEED an operational PC up and running by the end of the week - not to have my hardware sitting in a warehouse doing nothing for 3 months gathering dust. Read the forums in the links at the end for more of this issue.

Given that the Lenovo people "claimed" that there was NO WAY to RESET the password, and given the fact that they stated replacement of the mother board could ONLY be done through them, this somehow stunk of "scam"...

Something is wrong here... Exclusive trading etc... lots of "secret inhouse goings on"...

Something is going on - and it's not right. I smell a scam. No local sellers (the computer shop I bought it from) replacing the mother board, no sending one out to me... Something is wrong in this picture.

So I began the wonderful journey of hacking the hardware.

You see on a "normal computer" if you forget your password, you can reset the password by shorting out the CMOS memory - with the jumper plug on the mother board - and or pull out the CMOS battery. But laptops get knocked around and jumper plugs would come loose - so laptop makers usually use copper contact pads on the mother board, to short out the CMOS / EPROM chips - thus flushing the password/s from the memory.

However the Lenovo / IBM do not include any "evident" physical means to reset the password - nothing but the lock step "In case of forgetting your password - you MUST return the motherboard to us for replacement of the motherboard."

But I am never one to be taking getting fed what appears to be a massive corporate scam lightly, I found that there were people who had the skills and capabilities and indeed for some models they had the equipment for sale or plans to make readers, to read most of the CMOS / EPROM Chips that were on most Lenovo / IBM models.

This was fine except my model was not covered AND if it had of been, it's not exactly cost effective for just ONE laptop - and if my model had of been covered, it gets complicated and possibly pointless buying / building the chip reading hardware for a bad CMOS / EPROM chip...

So I took a long hard look into the internals of my laptop to see abut disconnecting the CMOS battery - and this was soddered into place... Eeeeeh.

Further discovery revealed that the CMOS / EPROM chip is a non volatile - meaning that disconnecting the battery does nothing.

In my dismantling the laptop, when pulling the power supply plug from the motherboard, it was on SO hard that the plug pulled out of the mother board when I tried to disconnect it - thus rendering any further effort futile.

BUT - dear reader I am rather dubious about the whole "your only option is to replace the motherboard" spin, for several rather concrete reasons.

But underneath the hard drive was a sheet of clear plastic film over the motherboard - with a fine spray of adhesive on the under side - making it opaque enough to be difficult to identify anything underneath it...

AND there was an EVIDENCE of TAMPERING sticker stuck across the clear plastic layer.

Uhhhhhhhhhh what a funny place to stick that.

(alarm bells going off)

Further dismantling revealed that this seemingly flat sheet of plastic film had a "U" shaped flap cut into it, that was basically so finely done, it was impossible to see.

Underneath this flap with the tamper evident sticker over it, on the motherboard are THREE sets of JUMPER PADS to short out the CMOS - to reset the password on the CMOS / EPROM chip, and the pads are marked CLRP1, CLRP2, CLRP3.

These "clear memory" copper pads are exceedingly small and they could be easily overlooked.

I suspect that each of the jumper pads listed as CLRP1, 2, 3 - for Clear Password 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

Of all the other sites and research etc., I think I am the very first one to pick this up.

But because the power connector pulled out of the motherboard I can't test them...

What I am thinking now.

I think Lenovo / IBM have been pulling a global scam on the replacement mother board issue. I think the customers who send the bricked laptops EXCLUSIVELY back to Lenovo / IBM are getting scammed and the people in IBM / LENOVO simply short the jumpers out - thus resetting any or all of the passwords, and are sending it back with a double recoup of the sales prices.

I say this because of the following things:

I am the only one who has picked this up... AND

1. People and Corporations lie - and I have had fights with the people in IBM and Lenovo and I think the responses have typically ranged from outright lying to outright incompetence.

2. The issue of "repairs" being under warranty - are exclusively in house, be it repairs or locking up from a password malfunction - when they could just as easily be done at home or at the local computer shop - the failure allow the local computer techs / retailer to do it locally - is SUSPECT.

So why are they stopping the people in the local computer shop from replacing the motherboard - it's where I bought it from and the guy is a qualified computer / electronics tech...

Why are they refusing to send me out the motherboard so I can replace it myself?

For starters I don't have three months to be wasted by them - when the motherboard could come out overnight by courier.

3. They say the entire motherboard has to be replaced... if the Supervisor Password is forgotten (or the chips fail - which they don't say anything about).

4. Now IF there was NO WAY to physically reset the password/s in the CMOS / EPROM chip/s - and there are up to three passwords:

1. The Power On Password.

2. The Hard Drive Password

3. The Supervisor Password.

a) Why are there 3 sets of CLEAR CMOS / EPROM contact pads on the motherboard?

Marked CLRP1, CLRP2 and CLRP3?

b) WHY are they concealed under a semi-opaque plastic film?

c) Why is there a slot cut into the film, directly over the jumper pads?

d) And why is there a security / anti tamper sticker over the slot in the plastic film?

This is a good question. "If the password/s cannot be cleared by shorting out the CMOS EPROM chips - as is the conventional method - what are the contact pads doing on the motherboard?

The pads ARE tiny and hard to see, so why do they have a plastic film over them - when there really isn't any need to have one over them - there is space between the motherboard and the hard drive. Nothing is going to touch it to short out - so why is it there?

And why is there a very hard to see slot cut into the film - and why does it have a tamper evident sticker on it?

And if the motherboards, they claim are worth $450 each - and apparently it's because of ONE locked up chip... since MOBO repairs and parts replacement, is little more than "articulate soddering" - why would ONE WHOLE NEW FUNCTIONAL MOTHERBOARD get trashed as they claim over ONE chip - when the CMOS/EPROM jumper pads to erase the passwords are carefully concealed under a "void your warranty if removed" sticker.

I think is happening, is that the laptops are going back to Lenovo / IBM, and they are pulling the hard drive out, and flipping up the slot in the plastic and they are resetting the CMOS / EPROM - charging $450 for it, saying they have replaced the mother board and then sending it back - with the customers none the wiser.

They are already forcing the consumer into forced inline trading by the exclusive supply of repairing services, when anyone can do it.
A comparable motherboard with similar specifications costs about $60 - so why are they charging $450 each for an alleged replacement.

While they are "kind of discrete" about exactly what a password failure entails, they do nothing about crowing loud and long about it's alleged security function.

And allegedly throwing out a whole new mother board over a failed password chip, is like throwing out a cars entire engine and transmission over a broken key in the door lock...

It does not add up.

If anyone out there can test this, of setting each of the passwords - including the supervisor password and then erasing them via the CLR CMOS / EPROM contact pads, please contract me and or post your answers here.

Or Here:

Here is a list of sites that people post about their difficult experiences with Lenovo.

Company: Lenovo

Country: Australia   State: Victoria

Category: Computers & Services


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