Man Gets Brand New Laptop After Suing HP In Small Claims Court For Losing His

HP seemed to have “lost” David Barzelay’s laptop when he sent it in for repairs. After a month of no laptop, HP wouldn’t replace it or return it.

So David filed suit against them in small claims court. Without even contesting it, HP sent him a brand-spanking new laptop. All it cost David was $14 in filing fees.

Small claims court. Use it. It’s for you, it’s easy, it’s awesome. Here’s a list of states and info about filing such a claim.

I’m A Plaintiff and I Win! Me: 3, HP: 1 [Barzelay.net] (Thanks to Brian!)

Comments

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  1. In some jurisdictions, small claims court filings are fairly expensive. (For $14 I’d sue everything in my path!)

    You can also attend small claims court to get the 411. A lot of people are intimidated by it, so call the clerk, find out when it’s in session, and go sit for 20 minutes to see how it goes. It’s very informal and non-threatening.

    (The clerk is also your friend for filing and will tell you how to do everything.)

  2. eldergias says:

    I have a Sony PCG-GRZ630 which has a public and known defect of overheating a ruining the motherboard and processor. Sony itself has stated that this is a defect on the manufacturing of all of the PCG-GRZ series laptops, but never did a recall. My computer has died three on me because of this flaw, and has been repaired (new motherboard, processor, and heat-sink) by Sony under my warranty. My laptop is on the verge of death again it seems, and I am out of warranty. Would it hold water in court if I took Sony to small claims court for providing me again and again with a product that has a known and public acknowledged flaw that causes it to overheat and destroy it main components? I would seem that if a company said, “yes, there is a flaw with this product that every single unit has that causes it to not work properly” and did not do a recall of the product, that the courts should hold them liable. Could I take Sony to small claims court for my laptop due to their acknowledged error even though it is out of warranty, or would it be a “frivolous” lawsuit?

  3. rbcat says:

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how the court system is SUPPOSED to work. An actual wrong is committed, the offending party refuses or is unable to fix the problem, so a legal filing is made. Sure, it shouldn’t have taken this fellow two months to get his computer fixed or replaced, but in the end he got exactly what he was looking for.

    As for filing against Sony, you may have a valid claim, especially if you have some proof that Sony has made the statements you claim they have. (IANYL – I am not your lawyer).

  4. mac-phisto says:

    @eldergias: are you sure you are out of warranty? many times a warranted repair reages the warranty (at the very least on the parts that were repaired/replaced).

  5. LawyerontheDL says:

    WOW. About five years ago, I too had a laptop lost by HP. Is this a habit? I had sent it in to have the power cord repaired about a month before exams and it never came back. Everytime I called, I would get the runaround about how it was en route. Eventually, I insisted that they give me the tracking numbers and it turned out it had been lost in transit. I too got a new laptop, but at least I didn’t have to sue. I think that I might have done better in my exams if I’d actually had my computer while studying!

  6. Hoss says:

    Most of us probably know this — in many states you can send a formal notice that you intend to file a claim (called a Demand Notice) which requires a response in a certain number of days (30 days in my state). If the party receiving the Demand Notice does not respond, they are subject to more damages (treble demands in my state) You can do this at no cost. Look on your attorney general’s web page. (I live in Massachusetts.)

    The result is that even in relatively minor issues, parties do what you’re asking to avoid calling on legal counsel.

  7. NeoteriX says:

    Kudos to David Barzelay for putting his legal education to good use already :)

  8. nels.anderson says:

    At least in Canada (I know this Consumerist is generally States-side news, but I’m sure at least some of the readers are up here in the Great White North), small claims court requires you file in the jurisdiction of the part you’re suing (http://www.canlaw.com/scc/smallclaims.htm).

    Is it possible to do this without actually going there in person? I’m currently embroiled in a dispute with a company in Ontario (I’m in Vancouver) and the amount is less than what it would take to get out there. I’m quickly running out of options as their customer service has been stonewalling me for months, too much time has elapsed for a credit card chargeback, etc. Any Canadians out there (or Americans if it’s the same way in the states) filed in small claims court against a party in another part of the country?

  9. celyn says:

    In Washington State, there’s a clause in the state legal code (RCW 4.12.025) which basically says that an individual can bring suit against a corporation anywhere the corporation “transacts business” or in the county where the “tort was committed.” Check your local legal code for information on “venue.”

  10. WannaGetMatzoBalled says:

    I am SO going to take my drunk-idiot-unemployed-waste-of-a-life neighbor to small claims court for kicking my car in some apparently drug-induced euphoria. ($812 worth of damage.) Even if they end up putting a lien on his/his parents’ house, it will be worth it to me. I sent a registered letter to them and they refused it. I also have a police report. Only problem is getting other neighbors to sign something that says they saw him do it. I did see him do it, but I don’t think it will work without other witnesses. If there is such a thing as a “warning” about taking him to small claims court, I might try that first.
    (I’m such a wuss…here I am intimidated by what they might think of ME if I sue him..when I’m the one with the damage. I need my head examined….)

  11. digitalgimpus says:

    I’m surprised his warranty didn’t require arbitration (which of course is chosen by the vendor). Interesting.

  12. pnyc says:

    Last year my Hard Drive went bananas so I mailed my laptop to HP for repairs…they had it for 3 weeks then mailed it back without a hard drive in it. The Rep asked me if I was sure it didn’t have one. She even suggested I get a screwdriver and check before I mailed it back.

    I should have known they were trouble when I had to resubmit my rebate and they told me I had to mail it because they didn’t have an email address.

  13. The Bigger Unit says:

    Ahh yes. Good ‘ol Alabama is the only state without any type of link listed on the page. What a surprise.