As part of my desperate efforts to salvage as much as I could after nasty laptop theft I quickly proceeded to let all relevant companies know that my laptop was stolen. When reporting a stolen laptop, I first thought of contacting Microsoft with the serial number of the operating system as Microsoft releases regular updates for Windows and if the thief or her accomplices broke into the laptop successfully, there might be a request for update from this particular serial number when it is connected to the internet. I certainly thought Microsoft may be able to trace the attempts to upgrade Widows Vista my laptop had installed (given unique serial number) and report it to the police or better yet, lock the operating system as it could be done with proven pirated copy.
Secondly, I reported stolen laptop to Samsung because they are the makers of it. Again – I wanted them to have my laptop’s serial number flagged as “stolen” in case there is a request for support or any other contact made using my laptop’s serial number. I knew the thief herself would not attempt to contact Samsung, but she was no computer user. She clearly stole it with intentions to sell it. And buyer of stolen laptop may eventually attempt to contact Samsung support which could lead to solid traces and possible recovery of the laptop.
Finally, I have also reported stolen laptop to Future Shop where I purchased the unit. Given that I also paid more than $300 for extended service plan, I thought they’d be willing to at least show some form of support to their loyal customer.
Sadly, each of the reports resulted in response that didn’t help. Microsoft Canada responded in less than 24 hours for which I commend them. Amazing support with fast response times. The response was written in an understandable language and to the point, sadly I was informed that due to privacy commitments, Microsoft cannot trace lost or stolen software when used by another individual, even if used illegally and was advised to report the theft to the police (which I have already done in the meantime). So much for high hopes with Microsoft, but their response was understandable. If they acted otherwise, everybody would complain that they invade their privacy too much and have too much remote control over their property. Ahh well.
Response from Samsung was way more useless. I got an email a few days later stating the following:
Unfortunately, the number “10126029-J502” is not the correct serial number, we are unable to accommodate your request at this point.
Well duh – it is not a valid number, but all other information I have provided when reporting stolen laptop was information exactly matching information I have registered my laptop with. I have also applied for free upgrade to Windows 7 that was provided complimentary by Samsung so they had all my information on file – my name, address, postal code, phone number, when it was purchased, where it was purchased, the model number, my email address, etc. Samsung has all this info on file yet their rep didn’t bother to verify it. At the time of reporting, I only had the receipt issued by the Future Shop which listed the item number in place of the serial number and that caused all the confusion. But it’s not like I had the laptop so I could flip it upside down to provide verified serial number. The rep could have at least gone through hassle of looking up my info to see that all other details provided were bang on, except from the serial number I had no means to get right. Useless Samsung rep and they do it just when you’re stressed the hell out of this world.
This was still nothing compared to the response from Future Shop. These guys simply did nothing. No response, not even as much as a middle finger. Just complete and thorough ignore on my desperate situation. Even if they just did as much as Microsoft – apologize that they are not in the position to help but would advice me to go to the police and file a report with them. This is polite and shows professionalism. Future Shop and professionalism are obviously two terms that don’t belong together. Future Shop only cares about getting your money when selling you the product but once they got the money, their care for you ends. Complete and utter disappointment there. Ignoring my report entirely is the lowest blow of all.
I followed up with Samsung by responding to the email which told me that they won’t do anything because I didn’t provide correct serial number only to find it back in my email inbox two weeks later. It bounced so no one did anything about it. I ended up calling them when I got back to Canada and my case was escalated to higher management who then contacted me via email to apologize for mishandling the situation and assured me that my serial number is flagged in their system and will notify me as well as the international police should they hear about my unit in some way.
What could I have done better when reporting stolen laptop? I was in the foreign country where I got robbed. I needed to file reports as soon as possible because the time was against me. I did my best given that I didn’t have the actual unit on me to verify correct serial number. None of the reports did me any good. Microsoft was the only company that responded in timely manner and did it very professionally. I’m still in further talks with Microsoft to see if there is anything that can be done. Samsung was a disappointment given the urgency and distress accompanying the report. Above all, Future Shop proved to be the worst electronics vendor in the world. Horrible, absolutely horrible mishandling of situation on their part.