It happens every day.  A customer calls into our help centers and finds out that his system needs a repair that is not covered by warranty.  Perhaps the warranty has expired.  Perhaps the system sustained accidental damage and was not covered under our Accidental Damage Protection Service.

In any case, the customer is faced with buying a replacement part and is told how much that part + labor (if Lenovo is performing the work) will cost.  The next reaction is predictable and follow’s Kubler-Ross’ famous five steps.

  1. You must have put the wrong part number in.  Check again.
  2. Why does this part cost so much?  You guys are ripping me off
  3. Please oh please make an exception for me!
  4. I should have never bought this crummy model
  5. Fine.  Take my credit card and send me the part.

While we can’t act as your psychiatrist, we can at least help you understand why spare parts may cost more than something generic you can find on Amazon. 

When you buy parts from Lenovo, you’re buying an original, genuine part that has been regression tested with your particular model of machine.  This testing is performed during our initial development and continues through the life of the system as we receive warranty parts back and test for ongoing defects.  We guarantee that the replacement part you put in your system will work as intended and assume the same warranty as the rest of the system.  (If your system is out of warranty, our parts carry a 90 day warranty.)

In addition, we keep spare parts around for five years (or longer) after end of production for a system.  This means that a few years down the road, you’ll still be able to maintain your beloved 4 year old ThinkPad R61 with the same parts available when it was new.   Stocking, inventorying, and forecasting demand for old parts does cost us money.  We scrap millions of dollars of obsolete parts per year.  It’s a cost of doing business, but that cost does need to be accounted for so that we can guarantee you’ll have that 40GB PATA drive when you need it.

So how do you protect yourself?  Keep your system in a case or a protective sleeve, which will prevent most cumulative damage.  We’d also be happy to sell you an extended warranty or Accidental Damage Protection, though you need to buy those during the original warranty period when your system is working – not when your system is already in need of repair.  Some people have luck on eBay buying old systems, though if you have a ThinkPad, you’ll know that even our old machines hold their value, so don’t expect too much of a deal.

In the end, Lenovo parts aren’t the least expensive parts out there, but they are the best choice if you need your system up and running again the first time.  You can take a risk on 3rd party parts, but at least half of the time, we’ve found that incompatibilities force people to pay twice to fix their original problem.  Our legal team would say that “using non-genuine parts will void your warranty,” but if your 4 year old system is broken, it’s kind of too late for that anyway, right?