Heartland America a mail order company turned online retailer is now pushing so-called factory refurbished IBM Thinkpads. I strongly advise people new to thinkpads and/or novices to online electronic buys to avoid buying from Heartland. I've tracked this outfit since its beginning.
They were formed from the remains of a once great discount mail order company, Damart. I was a regular satisfied Damart customer. In the earlier days of computing and factory refurbished electronic product retailing, I saved a lot of money through Damart.
At first, I bought items from Heartland (this was several years ago) and I was happy. About two years in I discovered Heartland was slipping away from Damart quality products and customer service and resorting to what I consider flim-flam level membership pushing. I dropped my membership status forever when I got a surprise credit card bill for a membership I did not agree to. Companies did not do sneaky automatic subscriptions then. In fact, the Heartland experience was the first I learned of changes in Federal law that allowed such unethical practices (I tried to press charges against Heartland for what I saw (and still see) as criminally keeping record of my credit card information and then criminal use of my credit information). Yes, what is now considered a common practice was criminal not that many years ago. Anyone who suckered a person into a free trial of something and demanding a credit card for S\H, so they can auto over charge later for more product like many TV snake oil quack medicine advertisers do today would have gone straight to jail before the Reagan across the board deregulating debacle. Two things are killing America today. Left wing wackos who claim they jus wanna help you and Republicans who swear the way to run things is not to run things. Both ways result the same. The average guy gets ripped off and suffers greatly.
I bought from Heartland much less often, only when I caught a truly good deal and never again with a credit card. The last three years I buy nothing from them and advise others to avoid them, especially when it comes to computing products. So far they stuck mostly with off brand netbooks, pushing them to PC ignorant parents for their older children like they were no different than notebook or laptops. In fact, they called them mini-laptops, a name that did not exist among manufacturers.
Last year, I discovered Heartland reached a new low when people I know were stuck with useless 7" portable TVs they thought they bought at a great price. They were analogue units! Adding insult to injury they did not get the brand name they paid for. This year Heartland went into selling refurbished and off lease notebooks. Given the backward tech of the IBM and Dell models (they never provide model or any real detail other than raw specs) these can not be the recent off lease and factory refurbished PCs they mislead buyers into assuming they are. Unlike legit retailers, Heartland doesn't stick to using manufacturer descriptions or ads. They write their own, a practice that should set off alarm bells that there be rotten fish affoot here!
I hate the idea of some unwary person looking to buy their first IBM Thinkpad only to be stuck with an overpriced outdated unit with cosmetic damage. I sum it this way. Visit resellerratings.com and read the many highly negative buyer comments for Heartland. I find no claim there that doesn't match what I have heard from people I know who risked buying from Heartland America. If you want to throw some shopping dice, your odds of a lucky roll are better at eBay!