A few weeks ago I found a really good deal on a Thinkpad T520. One that was $100 below the price point of purchasing one. So what the hell. It didn’t have an SSD hard drive, so I went ahead and ordered one. Everything else was just right.

The funny thing is, when it arrived it did have an SSD hard drive. Weird, right? It also had the wrong version of Windows, Home Premium instead of Home Basic. A win! Then I looked at the corner of the screen bezel to see if it was a W520 or a T520 (I couldn’t remember which I’d ordered), and I saw it was a… T510. I looked to make sure that it had the 8GB of RAM, and while it did I noticed that it had an i5 rather than an i7 processor.

So… I must have gotten the wrong computer. Truth be told, the specs were kind of a wash. Better OS and better HD, worse model number and processor. Should I say anything? I decided to go ahead and contact the seller. Maybe I could get them to knock off $25 or something from the price. Or maybe he needed to know that he had sent my computer out to someone else. And if I were the seller, I’d want to know.

I got a very, very panicked response in a few minutes. He asked me to send the computer back and he’d throw in an extra hard drive with the right computer. For a few reasons, namely that working out the timeline in my head the computer would not be arriving until after a trip we’re taking later in the month, I didn’t want to do that. I wrote back saying that I either wanted to buy the computer he sent me, or if he’d sold it someone else, I would prefer to just get my money back.

I admit that I pressed my advantage a little bit because I knew he was panicked. At the same time, I told him that as long as we came to a satisfactory resolution, he wouldn’t get a negative review. It was obviously an honest mistake. It was also apparent that English was not his first language, and I have a real soft spot for immigrant entrepreneurs. We haggled a bit over the price of the machine that I’d been sent. He looked up other T510’s and saw that they were selling for about $175 less than I’d purchased. But, he pointed out, I’d gotten a better hard drive than is in most of those machines. So we added the cost of the hard drive upgrade and that was that. I could have pressed harder (considering that he’d offered me a new hard drive!), but I also could have mentioned that some of the specs on the machine were unusually good (specifically, the 1920×1080 resolution) and that was worth more to me than the hard drive.

The end result is that it was a pretty good deal all around. I would have paid the T520 price for the T510, but instead got it for $120 less than I was willing to pay. He, on the other hand, did not get a negative review and I suspect would have been willing to sell it to me for the $175 discount if I’d pushed him on it.

Category: Market

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