The Order Experience (2014)

I needed a laptop for my upcoming overseas trip at the end of this month but my funds were very tight, so I was thrilled when I saw the huge list of manufacturer refurbished laptops on sale at at the end of the financial year. After a lot of research, I found the laptop I wanted within my budget and everything indicated that was a trustworthy seller. I put in my order on 24 June 2014 and eagerly waited for my laptop to arrive, which it did on 26 June 2014.

The laptop looked perfect on the outside but the performance was sluggish. The machine was meant to come with 2gb RAM soldered on the motherboard plus a 4gb stick, but a quick look in System Properties revealed that there’s only 2gb onboard. Being a computer geek, I wasn’t afraid to open the case to check if the RAM was just not sitting properly in the slot, which would be a problem I could easily fix myself.

Empty Ram Slot
Inside the U840W from a clearly empty RAM slot

Nope. The RAM slot was empty. I quickly fired up a support email to about the issue of the missing 4gb RAM stick, expecting them to rectify the situation efficiently. I received this response the next morning.

Hello Vickie,

Thankyou for your email.

The two gigabyte’s of memory are allocated to your graphics card, you should have four gigabytes of ram memory.

could you kindly right click on your “my computer” icon and select properties from the dropdown menu.

This will show the hardware installed on your computer as well as some other details.

Can you please take a screen shot of this information and email the screenshot to me.

To take a screenshot you click the “printscreen” button on your keyboard, then go to Microsoft paint and press “control and the letter V” on your keyboard to paste the screenshot into Microsoft paint.

You then need to save the file and attach it to an email back to us here.

If you cannot reply to this email, then email me at [redacted]

If you cannot do this we can have it returned back to us but there is a big chance that if we find that the laptop has been sent to you with the correct hardware that we will send it back as is, because this is more an issue of understanding what you are looking at.


Quickly followed by:

Hello Again Vickie,

This guide I found online may help with taking a screenshot if you are not sure.


My face flushed up from the perceived condescending tone and insult when I read the emails; but of course the staff wouldn’t have a clue that I write codes and build rigs in my free time. I took a deep breath and sent the screenshot as requested. An item return authorisation was shortly arranged, and my laptop was gone on 7 July 2014 (delay on my part) with a receipt confirmation on 10 July 2014. I expected the laptop to be replaced. 4 hours after the confirmation email, however, I received another email informing me of a refund sans shipping fees being processed. I wrote politely to support again about the situation including reference numbers, apologising that perhaps I didn’t state explicitly that I wanted the item replaced, not refunded.

Another staff responded the next morning:

Good morning Vickie,

Thank you for your email.

The reason that you were refunded is that as we are not a computer company and are simply re-sellers for this item we are unable to add parts to the laptops.

I have also requested that our Buyers confirm if this has 2, 4 or 6 GB of RAM which is free to use.

There is the possibility that the RAM is 6GB but the only available space is 4GB due to a graphics card being used and possibly other items using the RAM as well.

As such [first staff] determined that as we cannot add to the RAM on the laptop and have still to have the information about this confirmed a refund for you would have been the most viable option.

Kind regards,

No to the 2/4/6gb RAM comment, but fair enough about not being able to just plug in the missing RAM stick themselves. I revealed that I am in fact very computer hardware literate and what they suggested was probably incorrect, and that I would appreciate it if they could please replace the item.

Good afternoon Vickie,

We originally refunded you as we can not confirm what the 6GB is allocated to.

Our buyers have advised that the empty RAM slot is to allow for a further expansion of the memory and not for a card which is missing.

As such the 6GB of RAM may only have 2 GB free 2GB allocated to the graphics card and another 2 specifically dedicated.

If you still wish to have this replaced instead of the refund we are more than happy to accommodate you, however please be advised that the RAM slot is supposed to be empty on arrival to you.

Kind regards,

Your buyers were wrong. Very wrong. I felt like I was hitting my head against a brick wall, and then thought perhaps the manufacturer’s tech support’s words would carry more weight. The next day, I forwarded that email correspondence to and, once again, requested the item replacement at no extra cost than what I originally paid for.

Good afternoon Vickie,

Thanks for forwarding this on to us.

Just to confirm you did advise the Toshiba tech support that this is a refurbished item correct?

Kind regards,

Facepalm. But before I could respond, I received this 10 minutes after:

Good afternoon,

I have confirmed with our buyer that this should have the 2GB on board and the 4GB as a card in the RAM slot.

As such I am more than happy to send this out to you at the original cost that you paid for it.

If you have the same problem again and discover the RAM slot is empty, perhaps contact Toshiba as the laptop will be under warranty and as such they are responsible for placing the RAM into the laptop prior to them sending them to us as we are simply re-sellers and cannot do the work ourselves.

Kind regards,

I finally received my laptop on 17 July 2014, this time with all 6gb of RAM, but the sides of the screen had light but noticeable scratches all over. I sighed and convinced myself that the cosmetic damage would probably happen over time regardless… which is actually quite unlikely.

If I hadn’t been a geek, I would have used this laptop thinking it was a slow piece of junk without knowing that it had a defect. The customer service staff might be right that I could have gone to the manufacturer if there’s a missing part in a refurbished item that came in a sealed box, but I expected a reseller to be so, so much better.

You get what you paid for, I guess.





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