The $150 laptop saga: Where's this mystery laptop?

In July I ordered a $150 Linux-powered laptop in what appeared to be the deal of the century. I'm still waiting.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

In July I ordered a $150 Linux-powered laptop in what appeared to be the deal of the century.

I'm still waiting. And waiting. But my order is coming--really.

As background on July 25 I was almost euphoric about getting a laptop for $150. Then came the immediate buyer's remorse as I really didn't know who I was buying this laptop from (Medison, a Swedish company). But I forged ahead anyway given that the CEO of the company was chatty (crooks aren't so visible) and there was even a Yahoo Group (which was recently shutdown). Meanwhile, the company moving the orders, a reseller called 2Checkout.com, has been upstanding the three times I have called.

So that brings us to today where I almost forgot I ordered this Medison laptop (my credit card hasn't been charged).

I called 2Checkout and learned the following:

  • Medison has shipped a first batch of these laptops in mid-July, says a 2Checkout rep. "A few customers have received them," she says. As an aside, I'd love to hear from the 100 or so of you that have actually received one of these things.
  • The second shipment has been delayed and the rep didn't know how much longer it would take. Shipping is still sketchy.
  • Medison doesn't have any scale. The 2Checkout.com rep said that these shipments are 100 to 150 laptops at a time. If you assume (optimistically) that Medison takes four to six weeks to ship a batch of 100 laptops your timeline will be something like forever if there are more than 1,000 orders still outstanding. Getting a laptop sometime in 2008 may be a miracle if people actually kept their orders.
  • I can cancel my order at any time, says 2Checkout, which sounds resigned to hearing about a lot of cancellations. "It's up to you what you want to do," says the rep.

I decided to give it another week and see if 2Checkout can contact Medison and figure out what's going on. Bottom line: This whole experience is a comedy of errors. Luckily, I like comedies (even ones at my own expense). If I hang in maybe Medison will give me a tour of their facilities--likely to be some one-car garage in Sweden.

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