Why Won't Best Buy Let Me Return This Lemon?

Katherine Szczerbinski's Lenovo laptop is a lemon. Can she get the manufacturer -- or Best Buy -- to fix it?

Question: I have several issues with my Lenovo Yoga laptop that I bought at Best Buy. I'm hoping you can help me, since I have been without use of my laptop for weeks.

My problems started with a charger that didn't work, a nonworking mute button and a broken screen. I sent my unit back to Lenovo for repairs, but they didn't fix it.

My monitor was never looked at, then replaced, then had to be replaced again. Plastic was found behind my newly replaced monitor the last time.

I never took my laptop home after my third repair because there was a new OS problem and my computer couldn’t even start.

Before picking up my fourth repair, I asked a Geek Squad representative at Best Buy whether I would qualify for the "no lemon" policy. I was told that if I needed another repair stemming from another new problem found, I would qualify.

I went to pick up my laptop and found all the apps I downloaded were gone. I was told by the Geek Squad representative that she could install them all back for me at no cost, but that it would take at least an additional two hours to do so. Because I had to get to class, I left without her reinstalling my programs. When I got home, I realized that my audio system was now broken.

I was then informed that the store insisted that none of my repairs qualified and that I would need my speakers fixed, which I would have to pay out of pocket for, after having already spent money on my initial payment and new monitor. The Geek Squad representative was as frustrated as I was -- he pointed out that many of my problems could have been caught before sending the laptop back to me and that diagnostic tests must not have been completed.

We both agreed that, at this point, I should have bought a new laptop instead of going in for any repairs. He ended up filing a corporate complaint for me, insisting that if there was anything he could have done to help me, he would have.

My recently filed corporate complaint has yet to be answered. I am hoping between this conversation and my complaint, this can finally be resolved. I need a laptop to finish law school. Can you help? -- Katherine Szczerbinski, Chicago

Answer: Your Lenovo laptop was cursed. The only way to lift the spell was to return the lemon and start over. It's unclear why Best Buy and Lenovo were insisting that you send your laptop back for yet another repair.

When a consumer purchase like this goes terribly wrong, you can appeal to the company through normal channels and then in writing. When that doesn't work, you need to escalate your complaint to someone who can help. We publish the executive contacts for Best Buy and Lenovo on my consumer advocacy site.

Bottom line: A deeply flawed laptop like this should never have left the factory. It should have failed numerous quality tests and been flagged before they boxed it. Something clearly went very wrong with this PC -- and you were left holding the bag.

Between Lenovo's warranty and Best Buy's guarantee, you'd think you might have some rights. Ah, but warranties are written by lawyers, and they only seem to give you rights. They give companies more rights: in your case, the right to leave you with a worthless brick.

I contacted Best Buy on your behalf. The company offered you a new Lenovo Yoga and transferred all of your data to the new computer at no extra charge.

Christopher Elliott specializes in solving intractable consumer problems. Contact him with your questions on his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google or sign up for his newsletter.

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