Until last month, I had a relic of a computer on which I used Windows XP Professional. I liked XP; I found it reasonably easy to use. Of course, I learned most of my computer skills on XP, so I admit that I am partial to it for that reason. When I replaced that computer, I purchased a Lenovo that came with Windows Vista installed and the promise of a free Windows 7 upgrade. My husband replaced his relic PC at the same time. We had heard terrible things about Vista, so we sent away for our free upgrades as soon as the computers were unpacked.
The first problem we had with Lenovo's Windows 7 upgrade program is that it is not entirely free. We had to pay about $24 USD for materials (discs, I presume) and shipping for two upgrades. Alright, but why couldn't we just do a totally free download? I mean, Microsoft sells downloads of all their software, why not just give us a code for a free download? Of course, it's nice to have discs, and we still wanted our sort-of free upgrades, so we paid it.
Which is interesting because Mentor Media, the company that Lenovo has contracted to handle distribution and fulfillment of the free Windows 7 upgrades, charged our card a few days after we placed the order, but they didn't send us shipping information. So we checked our order status and for nearly a month it just said "Fulfillment in progress." For a month, Mentor Media has had our upgrades and our money.Editor's note: I tried to reach the Mentor Media Web site in Singapore, but it was down. Not a good sign.
So we checked with Lenovo, because Lenovo is the company that we, the customer, understood we were dealing with. They referred us to Mentor Media. We tried to contact Mentor Media, but, alas, it is based in Singapore and many of the phone numbers listed for the company are out of service. We started investigating and found that the problem is not limited to Lenovo customers — Acer's customers are also facing the ordeal of getting their goods from Mentor Media. Like Lenovo, Acer doesn't seem to be doing much to help their customers either.
Lenovo's Mark Hopkins tried to update customers on a Lenovo discussion board. It seems that in early January they thought they had the situation under control, but then a lot of orders came in from people who got computers for Christmas. Now the best information that Mr. Hopkins can give is that Lenovo hopes that by early March, Mentor Media will be on top of the order shipping. Some people have received their orders, but for many, paying the fees has not equaled getting the goods.
Many people experiencing this Windows 7 distribution problem have one major concern — that we've been ripped off by Mentor Media and the companies that we were told we were doing business with either aren't bothering to help or are simply inert to do anything. People who have tried to cancel their orders and get refunds have been unsuccessful. So, like a sneaky drug lord, Mentor Media now has the money and the goods. In short, we've been handed an empty briefcase.
Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conducting science experiments at home. Nicole has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Transylvania University, and has experience in copywriting for education, print, business, and the web. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter via @HuTerra.