IBM support and service rocks

I have an IBM NetVista 6830-EBU PC. It died early this year, I assumed it was Windows just deciding to crater itself, or a virus. I had no other PC I could use to back the data up, and I didn't want to reformat the hard drive, so it has sat dead for months.

Recently my dad gave me is PC because he got an iMac, so I finally had a machine I could use to access and transfer the data from the IBM PC's hard drive. After I did that I tried reinstalling Windows. The same problem happened to this new version of Windows (the machine would reboot during Windows startup). I then tried a Debian boot CD, and even with the installation disc the machine would reboot during initialization.

To make a long story short, I did pretty much everything I could to determine what the problem was. I found messages on a PC support board that described the same problem with no solution, the person had swapped out every piece of hardware except the motherboard. At this point I decided the motherboard was probably defective and needed to be replaced. I went on the IBM site to find the part number when I found a link to the machine's warranty... 3 years parts and labour! The machine was barely 2 years old! I filled in IBM's "Electronic Service Call" form to report my problem. On Monday morning I got a phone call from IBM telling me a support person would call me later in the day. Shortly after a support person called, we talked and agreed it was the system board. He said a tech would call me. Shortly thereafter, a tech called me and said he had ordered the system board, it was being shipped overnight and he'd come over the next day to install it!

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the board didn't ship on Monday, it shipped on Tuesday. IBM was very apologetic for this! I wasn't at all worried about it, I wasn't even expecting this level of service.

I got a call today from Mike, the IBM tech. I said "any time is fine for me," and he said "how about 45 minutes from now?"

45 minutes from now? Wow. "Uh, yeah that's perfect!" It's about a 25 minute drive from downtown to my house at that time of day.

He came over, installed the new board, and sure enough I was able to get Windows 2000 to get past the initial black startup screen.

New motherboard, on-site installation within days of the service request, no charge. Like my old IBM mouse pads say, "IBM - There is a difference". I was a big IBM fan in the 90s when I ran OS/2 and used IBM PCs at work. Now I remember why. These guys take service, and the customer, very seriously.

If I was going to recommend a PC vendor, I know which one I'll recommend. (Apple, of course, but failing that, IBM! :))

Written on August 28, 2003