Old Fujitsu Siemens laptops to be replaced for free

Buyers of LifeBooks will be able to get a free, new laptop every three years, while Esprimo purchasers are being offered complete repairs and refunds if their machines fail within the warranty period

Fujitsu Siemens is offering buyers of its latest LifeBook laptops a free, new laptop every three years for the rest of their lives. The manufacturer is also offering buyers of its Esprimo notebooks and desktops free repairs and a full refund if their systems fail during the standard warranty period.

The 'LifeBook4Life' programme, aimed at both business and consumer customers, was announced on Wednesday. According to Paul Hoey, Fujitsu Siemens UK's product marketing chief, the idea is to promote the "complete confidence" the manufacturer has in the quality and reliability of its systems.

"LifeBook4Life is quite simply our way of showing customers that we value their business and their loyalty, and ensuring that, providing they have been happy with what their LifeBook has delivered over those first three years, they have no reason to switch to any other vendor," Hoey said in Wednesday's statement.

Those wishing to take advantage of the LifeBook4Life deal, however will need to upgrade their warranty from a one-year to a three-year collect-and-return policy. Using the LifeBook S6420 as an example, this will mean a £33, plus VAT, surcharge over the original cost of the machine, which is roughly £1,000, depending on the dealer used.

David White, Fujitsu Siemens UK's head of marketing operations, told ZDNet UK that the warranty upgrade was necessary "to ensure that the laptop [Fujitsu Siemens takes] back in three years' time is in a serviceable condition".

The free, replacement laptop after those three years will be of comparable specification and value, according to Fujitsu Siemens. In addition, the value of the replacement laptop will include a 10 percent premium to reflect inflation, a spokesperson for the manufacturer said on Wednesday. So, for example, the free replacement for a laptop that was bought for £500 could be up to £550 in value. The spokesperson added that, given the passage of three years between laptops, the replacement would have higher specifications than the original machine.

LifeBook4Life is available for all new LifeBook models in the S, T, E and P ranges. The Esprimo Promise deal covers all new Esprimo notebooks in the U, M, D and X lines, as well as all new Esprimo desktop machines, except for the entry-level P2400 and P2500 lines. For both deals, buyers will need to register their machines within 21 days of purchase and keep their receipts.

Under the Esprimo Promise deal, if the machine suffers a failure that would be covered under standard warranty terms, Fujitsu Siemens will not only repair it without charge, but will also give a complete refund of the purchase price. This will be valid within the standard one-year warranty period and, if that warranty is extended to three years, it will also apply for that full term.

"Customers who purchase Esprimo systems are more likely to be SMEs or individuals who are spending their own money on systems, and the Esprimo Promise takes away any risk or potential inconvenience that they would be caused if the systems were to fail at any time," Hoey said in Fujitsu Siemens's statement.

Asked whether some customers might deliberately cause system failure in order to claim the refund, White told ZDNet UK that, "when the notebook comes back for repair, if it looks like it's been maliciously damaged, then obviously [Fujitsu Siemens] would refuse the claim".

White said that Fujitsu Siemens had no firm plans for what the company will do with the old machines they replace under the programme.

Those wishing to take advantage of the LifeBook4Life or Esprimo Promise deals will need to do so before the end of March 2009.

The first day of April next year will probably also mark the date on which Fujitsu's buyout of Siemens' stake in the joint enterprise will be completed. White assured ZDNet UK, however, that the end of Fujitsu Siemens as such would not affect the promotional offers.