For the issue of returning the company laptop, an easy practical solution that usually works is to just hand it over to your team leader (or senior colleague) who works at the same client location. Of course, you should inform your boss by mail with the team leader in copy, and get the team leader to reply to the email confirming that they have received the laptop.
If there are no senior colleagues1 working at the same location or they are unwilling to cooperate, then you will have to follow the laborious "by the book" solution. Below is the order in which you would usually go about it in an Indian IT company. (You have already done some of these.)
E-mail: Send your resignation by email to your manager. This email should contain:
- Your employee number
- Your last working date
- Details of the company property in your possession. In case of the company laptop, this should include the serial number and other identifying information (not a generic "company laptop").
Ask for the proper procedure to return the laptop to the company, and clearly mention a reasonable date by when you need this information.
Send a copy of this mail (and any responses/followup) to your personal mail. In the unlikely event that the matter goes to court, this email will be evidence to show that you did not intend to "run away" with the laptop.
Phone : If you do not receive any response within the reasonable time mentioned in the mail, call the person to ask for a response. If he doesn't answer the call, respond to the same email stating something like the below:
I tried calling your official number 1234567890 at 11:15am on 23/Sep/2017, but did not get a response. Please respond to my previous mail or call me back on 0987654321.
Personal visit to the office: If you were working from your company's office, this would pretty much be a no-brainer, but since you work from a client location, you will have to unfortunately bear this inconvenience if there is no response after a couple of attempts.
If they are deliberately ignoring you, it is possible that this would
not help much as the boss could "coincidentally" be out of office
when you reach there. Again, if that happens, keep a paper trail as in case of the phone which got no response.
Registered Post: A final option is to send them a paper letter through registered post (with acknowledgement due). Keep a copy of this letter for your future reference.
What should I do about this laptop when I leave the company?
If you are unable to return the laptop by your last date despite all the above reasonable efforts, you will have to send one final email to the boss like below:
Today is my last working day with the company, but the company laptop (serial number: 12345) is still in my possession. I shall keep it in my possession until it is made clear to me how and when I should return it.
When you are ready to receive the laptop, please call me on 0987654321 or send me an email to my personal mail email@example.com, so that we can figure out how the laptop can be returned to the company.
I can hear you and the readers exclaiming, "that's a lot of hoops to jump through for a trivial issue", but the unfortunate reality is that since the company property is in your possession, you have to bear the brunt of their lack of professionalism.
Will there be any legal issue?
Being in unauthorized possession of company property will definitely be a legal issue in almost(?) any country. Moreover, if you are working for the Indian arm of a foreign-based company, then the laptop is most likely procured with special tax exemptions provided under the Special Economic Zone or the Software Technology Park. This could create additional legal issues if you are in "private" possession of it.
However, given the expensive and time-consuming legal process, it is highly unlikely that the company will take you to court over a laptop. Most likely, when they realize that getting the laptop back might actually be a good idea, they will just politely ask you for it. Nonetheless, if you have enough evidence to prove your reasonable efforts, it will avoid getting you into legal trouble.
This is question is not just about returning the laptop to office but it is what should I do in this situation when company is ignoring you.
Given that you do not really want a relieving letter, your issue is actually just returning the laptop. If you were not in possession of the company laptop, you could have just handed in your email resignation and stopped showing up to work after the specified date.
I hope I have done the right thing as well.
Telling your boss and HR that you will start looking for a new job was not a good idea. This is especially worse when done right after raising an issue that they did not solve. Whether it was your intention or not, it makes you come across as a bit of crybaby. Take this as a lesson, and in future, if you are not happy with the work, do your job search stealthily.
1 The concept of "seniority" is significant in the Indian IT culture. Handing over the laptop to a "junior" or a peer could be seen as irresponsible.