That's not unusual. My cousin gave me an IBM Thinkpad to repair for his daughter. It was dead. I subsequently bid on E-bay and obtained a new motherboard. I got the laptop running and got into the BIOS but the hard drive was inaccessible due to a supervisor password. Now this is no ordinary password. You can't get rid of it by shorting out the CMOS circuitry. This was a password housed on the BIOS chip. IBM knows how to remove it, but it will cost you anywhere from $100 to $400. There is a guy in Australia who built a box to do it, and the plans are on his site to build the box. I opted to buy a new hard drive. I fixed the laptop, but my cousin didn't want it when he found out what I'd spent. I have me a nice laptop.
There are so many unsuspecting business owners who never properly wipe the hard drives on these laptops. That's the pathetic part about the information age these days.