I am in an unfortunate situation where I have been conned (once again) by an overseas IT company. Not that they would care of course – us in Australia are just too small to worry about, so the status quo will always remain
My current Dell machine failed one day, and since I am a consultant that works for myself, being without a machine with which to run Virtual Machines and software development tools is like taking an unpaid holiday.
My peers have been telling me for ages that the Lenovo’s are the best for high power applications. So I listened to my peers, since they would know. So off to the Lenovo Australia website I go, and specify a high-end W510. I need memory. Lots of it, so am prepared to pay.
Final price comes in around AUD 5,000.
So I order the thing, grumbling about the price, but I am desperate, and the order times are reasonable (7 to 10 working days). Order placed, I think all is good.
That afternoon I get a phone call from some poor soul who has been tasked with authenticating me. Trouble is, they hardly speak English, and I have trouble understanding them. This is not that persons fault, but Lenovo’s for providing a support person to an English speaking country with no language skills. Remember this, as it is is important to this post.
I get over that hurdle, finally.
So a week later, I get an email from Lenovo, saying that due to a part shortage, I have to wait an extra 2 weeks. No description of what part, just that a part is in short supply. I grit my teeth, and since the last effort at support, I am loath to ring up and fight my way through a customer service operator that cannot understand English. Stay calm, I tell myself – you are, after all, in an almost 3rd world country with a population that does not matter at all to a foreign organisation. We are kinda used to it here in Australia
S0. after a further 2 weeks, I get 4 emails from Lenovo, each saying that the order has been shipped, but with no tracking information or anything. So I go to their site, log-in using My Account stuff, and follow the screens to a supposed tracking application. I look at the screen, and notice that there is absolutely no tracking information. I even try Firefox (3.5 and 4), Safari, IE 7,8, and 9, thinking that it is a browser thing, but no.
Bear in mind that the screen shot above is after it was delivered. It had not changed one bit since they notified me of it being shipped.
I eventually found this site:
At least I was able to see it then(pity I only found this out on the Saturday before delivery)
By the middle of the week, I am starting to get a bit ticked off, so I go onto the US site to see what the wait times are for a similar machine to mine are. In the process, I discover the following:
US Pricing : USD 2,509.00
AU Pricing: AUD 5,236.00
Last time I checked, the exchange rate was 1.01. This would equate to a price of UNDER AU2500 if I bought the US one. Even if I paid import duty, GST and transport, I would surely be under AU 3000. So is it not reasonable to expect to pay around AUD 3000 to 3AUD 03,500?
So I complain in Twitter about it (yeah I know – why bother? No one will read it, and even if they do, I am far to small to make a difference. Large multinationals work on this principle).
I get a response from @Lenovo_ANZ, asking for my email etc. After 4 days (and more prompting) I get the following response from them:
Apologies for the delayed response. I was waiting on a response from the Product/Pricing team. Lenovo’s product pricing structure is based on the local market to ensure prices are competitive with local market offerings. Lenovo acknowledges that there is a difference in PC market pricing between Australia and the US. However, this is due to the difference in size of the US market and is a factor that is present industry-wide across PC vendors. When purchasing Lenovo products in Australia customers are supporting local Australian jobs and are also provided with local support and warranty service. You may find that your local reseller has a particular special on the product you are looking for, rather than our direct website which runs promo's on selected models from time to time
Anyone else thing that he is parroting Gerry Harvey? Cause that is what it sounds like to me.
Let’s tackle the response piece by piece
- Pricing Structure is based on local market
- So what they are actually saying, is that we are a pissant nation that doesn’t matter one infinitesimal bit to Lenovo as an organsiation. As far as they are concerned, they are doing us a favour by selling to us, and we should be ever so grateful to them for ripping us off. If that is what they have to do in “the market” then they are hopelessly innefficient or price gouging – those are the only answers possible
- The “they do do it so we have to as well” smells a bit like collusion to me.
- “It’s a factor” defence. Really? So much so that it attracts a price premium of
- Find a local reseller
- So, pay even more you ,mean? Or do you sell to the resellers at a lower price? Is that not price gouging?
- I *paid* for the warranty. An extra AUD 120 actually.
I know I only have myself to blame for this. I totally understand that. But I would like to warn others about Lenovo (and others) practices. Paying an extra 10 to 15% is understandable, due to GST.
How can you even begin to justify a 50% premium?
Let this serve as a warning to all those poor suckers who do not have access to overseas sources. We are being screwed, royally.