Dear HP: It's Been 6 Weeks Since I Last Saw My Laptop Can You Please Return It?

Reader D misses his laptop. A lot. He hasn’t seen it in 6 weeks. Despite tirelessly working to escalate his complaint up the ladder at HP, he keeps getting shuffled back around to “Jim,” an executive customer service rep who just keeps repeating the same old story about a delayed part.

Yes, that’s right. It’s the Case of the Disappearing Laptop again.

I have (had?) an HP pavilion notebook that had a wireless card fail on me 10 months into the manufacturers warranty. I look in the HP business support forums via wired network, and find that it is a problem with the motherboard design and that replacements through HP service is the only way to fix. I call up HP directly and they authorize the in-warranty service repair and they send out a box for Fed-Ex pickup, telling me I will have it returned in 5 business days at no cost to me. Great!!! I think I can handle that. That was February 18.

They send me a handy little order status link to my email which I can monitor my repair, but in short order, the “Expected delivery date” turns into a moving target for which HP has been regarding as a vauge idea. Since the service order was opened, this date has moved back 4 times now, the latest “expected” date being 04/17/08. The explained reason for the delay:

Hewlett-Packard is awaiting the arrival of a part to complete your product repair. Once the part is received, Hewlett-Packard will expedite the repair of your product and its return to you.

Now, if there is a delay in parts – I can accept that excuse…..once. But not four times now. As I work in manufacturing, we hold our suppliers accountable to on-time delivery of parts and quantities. We issue purchase orders to them with expectations that they have to deal with. If they are beyond their due date – they expedite the shipment at their cost, even with parts coming from Asia, but I digress.

Calling the customer service phone number listed on my order status page, I enter HP Hell. After explaining the situation politely to the accent on the other line and how the delays have been unacceptable, the response was to repeatedly read from their scripted screen saying that “I should be happy to get my notebook back on [date]“. Again, I explain that it is unacceptable. Asking to speak with a supervisor gets me sent to a wide array of agents who hand me from one agent to the next. I feel like I am talking to an echo. Although the ever helpful tip of reminding me that my warranty was about to expire while not solving my problem was greatly appreciated [/dripping sarcasm]. After a few hours, I give up for the moment and decide to try again another day.

Calling back, I encounter the same runaround. No one has an answer beyond their screen. Several more attempts over various days, agents and transfers to who knows where, one agent offers to escalate my repair to a case manager based in the U.S. Perhaps now I can finally get some answers. I am given a case id # and a ‘direct’ phone number (877-917-4380 x94 the same which has appeared on Consumerist). My hopes for getting better answers were short lived.

The case manager assigned to my order is the “only one” authorized to act on my case. Others simply have to defer to ‘Jim’. I explain to Jim my frustration in that as the promised 5 business day return was extremely overdue. He again repeats the ‘delayed parts’ information saying they were due by [date] but would not guarantee that date. I ask him to check with their purchasing department to verify their purchase order and promised delivery date. I really need this notebook back with tax season approaching (yes, I did a backup but without hardware a backup is useless). He says doesn’t have access to that, so I ask to be transferred to someone who does. Little did I know that ‘Jim’ was also known as Mark Hurd, HP CEO & Chairman of the Board [/more sarcasm] as ‘Jim’ says that he is as high as it goes in the company. Yet he was powerless to do anything beyond echo his screen. Countless attempts have been made to get my case assigned to another case manager, with no success.

To add insult to injury, April 2 I get a notice that HP is issuing a ‘Limited Warranty Service Enhancement’ on the very issue my notebook was in service for, saying “After HP receives your notebook PC, HP will use its best efforts to repair and ship your notebook to you within 10 to 14 business days”. Oh joy, another “best effort” to the masses now.

To say I am livid is an understatement. Calling the Executive Customer Relations phone number (800-756-0608 option 7) to issue a complaint results in them simply sending me back to the case manager who is not empowered to do anything – let alone call back when he promised. Calling Mark Hurd’s office (650-857-1501) also lead to a dead end.

It’s been over 6 weeks with no notebook, and now I am missing the tax deadline. There has been no urgency on HP’s behalf to resolve this through reliable information or replacement and it appears no one at HP can be bothered to care. After reading previous stories on Consumerist about HP, it seems like the lesson in customer service needs further explanation to them. *All* I want is my notebook back in working order or a replacement with my original hard drive and memory upgrade so I can conduct my business in peace. Is that really too much to ask?

Is it too much to ask? No, we don’t think so.

Hey HP, can you shake loose another laptop for us?

(Photo:Carla216)

Comments

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  1. Verdigris says:

    Sounds like too much to ask of a failing computer company…

  2. chrisfromnl says:

    It will prob be covered in pubes when you get it back too, or was that dell?

  3. heavylee-again says:

    Isn’t there some kind of criminal charge that pertains to a person or company that will not return your property when the owners requests so (fixed or not)?

  4. ludwigk says:

    Buy a mac with pro care. Best repair turnaround time in the industry. That is, if things like reliability and competent, timely service are important to you.

  5. YourFuzzyGod says:

    I would check [partsurfer.hp.com] to see if the part really is back ordered or if they are trying to delay your repair until the warranty runs out.

  6. LawyerontheDL says:

    Several years ago I sent my laptop to HP for repairs. I kept calling to check on the status because I had exams coming up. They kept telling me it would be sent out soon, until one day I called and they said it had been sent two weeks before. It turns out that FedEx lost it – or at least that was the story. Moral of the story – keep checking back, sooner or later you might get a straight answer. Alternate moral of the story – don’t buy HP

  7. YourFuzzyGod says:

    I would check [partsurfer.hp.com] to see if the part really is back ordered or if they are just delaying until your warranty expires.

  8. nikabad says:

    I am going through the same hell with DELL after I sent in my brand new Inspiron 1525 for repair due to faulty ethernet port. I was promised that I would get back my laptop with 5-7 days but it has been 14 days now. Each time I call Tech Support the rep and his supervisor “ASSURE” me that they will call and let me know the status but no one ever did till date. I demanded my money back and that when they escalated it to Level 2 support. Now I am just waiting to hear from them (which is all I can do) and to add to it.. I leave the country tonite for a 4 week vacation.

  9. redhelix says:

    The general rule of thumb in notebook shopping is to avoid the big four:
    Gateway/eMac
    Dell
    HP/Compaq
    Toshiba

    Go with a reputable company with a solid warranty service like Asus or Spartan.

    And @ludwigk: buying a mac is not the solution to every PC problem

  10. gamehendge2000 says:

    umm, what if it’s really just a delayed part? You want the manufacturers to expedite shipping a box full of pieces, or do you want the whole part?

    but I digress

  11. redhelix says:

    That’s true. If the part is delayed, it’s delayed. Nothing HP can do about it. When I worked for GS one time we had a Westinghouse TV sitting at the manufacturer’s facility for 3 months waiting for parts. Yeah.

  12. formatc says:

    @ludwigk: Even without pro care, turnaround on RMAs under the standard warranty is speedy from Apple.

  13. xerotope says:

    The solution is to buy from their “Small Business” section, and then pay the $200 or so for on-site support.

    Every time I’ve had a problem with my Dell, they were able to diagnose the problem over the phone, shipped the part overnight to a local tech, and then the tech would come to my office and fix the computer in front of me. Result: no lost laptop.

    As to the tax problem, you should be able to file an extension.

  14. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    You sent it off with the original hard disk? Brave, brave man. Hope you keep current backups.

  15. aront says:

    I used to buy HP/Compaq laptops – they really used to make a quality product

    One constant theme in my experience with HP repair/CS is the “delayed part” excuse. No matter what the problem was with my laptop – optical drive, keyboard failure, wi-fi card. You name it, if a part needed replacing you can guarantee it was on backorder.

    The best decision I ever made was to get a Mac. NOT just because I prefer OS X; I have Windows on a virtual machine that I use DAILY. Apple’s goal (trust me I know) is to make its customers happy because Apple wants its customers to “spread the word.”

  16. dumbwhore says:

    @Jaysyn: He stated that he had backed up the info, but as he also stated, hard drive without a laptop is pretty useless.

    And while many of us posting commenters have multiples systems, some people can only afford one box and it’s pretty important to them.

  17. North of 49 says:

    Sounds like their parts department is ignoring their CSRs again.

  18. viqas says:

    My friend had good luck with lenovo, but he had to send in his laptop for a mother board repair 4 times in the past 3 years. But it was just as fast as getting a mac back.

    I do love Apple’s turn around time when you deal with them on the phone. I just hate dealing with those bastards in the store.

  19. Cell523 says:

    Dear Reader D and Meg,

    Call this number for your problem:

    1-303-649-5406

    It is the number of Jeff Utigard. Leave a message if he doesn’t answer, and politely explain your situation.

    You can thank me later.

  20. kjherron says:

    @redhelix: You know, you can buy a Mac and run windows on it.

  21. QuantumRiff says:

    When ordering a business PC or laptop, I have always thought it was a good investment to upgrade to “onsite” nextday support. I usually have them send the part, and decline to have a tech install them, but it is available if its something I don’t want/know to do. Then they are the only spot to troubleshoot. I don’t have to worry about them claiming its a shipping problem, etc.

  22. Daniels says:

    Buy a mac with pro care. Best repair turnaround time in the industry. That is, if things like reliability and competent, timely service are important to you.

    But then I’d have bought an obscenely over-priced laptop.

  23. Scuba Steve says:

    @Daniels: But that’s ok, if the business springs for it, and there’s a valid business reason.

    It would be up to his IT department, I imagine. I’m sure he’d have no problem convincing a bunch of bosses that a Mac with Windows XP would run exactly the same and have better reliability as a normal notebook.

  24. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    @gamehendge2000: You seem to assume “good faith” on HP’s part, but I can’t see that anywhere in the story. As the OP has waited 6 weeks for his laptop, HP released information to customers stating they might receive their laptop back in as little as 10 business days.

    Obviously, HP knows that is not the case. As far waiting for parts, that’s not the customer’s concern. The customer isn’t doing business with Vendor #9343934934 – they are doing business with HP. If HP can’t get the parts in any timely fashion from their vendor, they need to find a new vendor.

    If HP was acting in good faith, they would be informing customers that: they are recalling the laptops and customers are advised of lengthy delays to repair the problem.

  25. f0nd004u says:

    The title is grammatically incorrect. It should read:

    Dear HP: It’s Been 6 Weeks Since I Last Saw My Laptop; Can You Please Return It?

  26. jamar0303 says:

    @redhelix: If you can afford it, Panasonic is worth every penny. Been happy with my T5 for 2 years now. Plus it’s a heck of a lot more durable.

  27. jamar0303 says:

    This is why I love my Panasonic laptop.

  28. Buran says:

    @Daniels: The myth that Macs cost more was debunked ages ago.

  29. Jebster says:

    Contrary to what Verdigris might believe, HP is not failing. If the author of this article can put this owner in touch with me, I will do what I can to get this unit back quickly. Yes, I work for HP and am a Customer Advocate.

  30. MrEvil says:

    @nikabad: Are you sure the Ethernet port was bad on the laptop? I’ve had a rash of calls on systems where Dell assumed that the Ethernet port was bad and it turned out to be an issue with the customer’s ISP. The direct cause was either defective ISP equipment, or ISP issues with IPv6 (which is enabled by default on Vista). Dell won’t attempt to troubleshoot your ISP equipment and they don’t know that IPv6 makes some ISP’s go batshit. Dell once had me drive 100 miles out in the middle of nowhere only to find out that disabling IPv6 fixed the customer’s satellite internet connection on their new computer.

  31. thatguyjr says:

    I just recently had an issue with my HP laptop, and it actually went very well, much better than I expected.

    Essentially, due to a manufacturing/firmware/bios issue, or something like that, my motherboard died. I went online to the HP site, looked up my symptom and model number, then called up HP tech support and told them what was up. I was protected by an extended 2-year protection for this specific issue, since it was an issue with their machine, not my use.

    Anyways, two days later, I had a box, free of charge, the next day, I shipped it off, and two business days after that, I had what was basically an entirely new computer back. In fact, I’m almost certain they gave me an absolutely new computer, not just repairing mine, rather than replacing random parts, so they didn’t repair what I sent in, but the turnaround was amazing. Absolutely amazing, IMO.

    Additionally, they told me beforehand at the chance of losing what was on my hard-drives, so I backed them up before I shipped everything in, and had absolutely no problems.

    If I had to say, I’d guess that HP probably doesn’t repair their Pavillions if the issue is something relatively big. Maybe they’ve got a back-storage of them, because it sounds like they shipped one to me right when they got my old one it. I guess wifi problems aren’t too common.

  32. wesrubix says:

    a friend of mine at work has a Dell Vostro whose display latch failed. Dell sent him a replacement with the expectation that he returns the old one. I don’t know if other laptop manufacturers support this practice. It’s actually what I do at my office too. Although, we don’t take our customers’ credit card numbers in case they don’t send the replacement back (but that’s because we’re a different kind of shop, with different kinds of customers…)

  33. amv09 says:

    Oh my gosh this EXACT same thing is happening to me again except that my warranty is over but they said they would do it for free. I sent it in on March 7 and it was supposed to be delivered 2 weeks later but they keep telling me they haven’t recieved the part and I really need it for my exams. Can someone PLEASE help us with this?

  34. gsmumbo says:

    Dear God, you have to wait for parts. So? Go to a public library. Go to a friends. File somewhere not on your computer. Normally I would say you bought a SERVICE, not REPLACEMENT plan, but in your case, it wasn’t even that. It is just the standard warranty. If this problem really is as widespread as you make it seem, then it seems reasonable that parts just might be scarce. BTW, the 5 day estimate you got originally is for shipping to the SVC. How the hell do you expect to ship, get it fixed and get it back to you in five days?

  35. Buran says:

    @gsmumbo: It’s not that. It’s that they’re not keeping their word.

  36. rjflyn says:

    A couple posters keeps mentioning onsite service, thats not going to do anyone much good if the part is on back order and they don’t have it to “send out”.

    One thing though is no mention how old of computer, just that it is 10 months in to the warranty. If it was a discontinued model it may just be a bitch to get parts for. If thats the case hey just tell me that then.

    rj

  37. SpoiledGirlieGirl says:

    Last month I had the exact same problem with my daughters HP Pavilion laptop. Wireless card was not working and after checking on HP’s site I figured it was the motherboard. I was nervous because it was four months out of warranty but it looked like on the message boards that this was a problem with the laptops and some people were getting it fixed out of warranty.

    I did a chat with customer service and they agreed to fix the laptop for free. The next day they sent out a box and the fed ex guy was patient enough to wait five minutes while I packed it up. We had the laptop back in three days.

    I can’t imagine the living hell I would be experiencing if my 16 year old had to live without her laptop for six weeks.

  38. davecrawley says:

    I too have experienced HP’s dredful customer service. It took 2 months of calling customer service daily to get the laptop back and then it was still broken. The laptop failed another 3 times. The Nadir came when we (my girlfriend and I) called up HP’s service center and they said that they couldn’t help us because their computer systems had crashed.

    What was effective was to threaten HP with legal action. Generally most juristictions have a easy to access small claims court system which can be used for these sorts of matters.

    After 30 mins of online research I found that to initiate this process in the UK all we had to do was write a letter to HP telling them that we were giving them 30 days notice to remedy their woeful ways or they we would go to court. It was a miracle that 3 days after sending the letter someone actually called us. The laptop was sent via express courier 2 days after. I never even got to the simple and easy court application. Sure the thing still failed twice more and we eventually asked (and got) an entirely new unit but it was much more satisfactory than sitting on the line to a clueless call center hearing about other broken computers on their end.

  39. realyst2k says:

    I bought an HP scanner. Every time I plugged it in this loud sound would ceom from my PC speakers and the scanner would have a 50/50 chance of failing halfway through.

    Especially due to the humm, it sounded like it was a problem with the DC adapter. As soon as I plugged in the adapter, whether the scanner was connected to it or not, the hum would persist (and it was loud).

    I got a hold of HP, first via chat where I was chatting with someone who could only copy and paste pre-typed sentence fragments until I gave up and called. The agent I talked to was adamant in his belief that it was the scanner and offered to replace it. I said sure and shipped it off, so that they’d finally give up and send me a bloody DC adapter(it wasn’t even branded HP, it looked like it may have been swapped by accident).

    To my surprise, they got a courier to pick it up only 2 days later and I got it back 3 days after that. I was impressed…..except that, as I expected, the scanner still didn’t work and the adapter still hummed(since I had already proven the bloody thing would do it regardless of the scanner).

    I call again and again find myself arguing with the rep as to what it was that was broken(Look, I plug it in, no scanner or anything, and it hums like mad.) However, not to be outdone by a simple customer, the agent argued with me that it was in fact the cable that plugs into both the USB port and adapter that was at fault(“Look fella,it hums even if I don’t plug it into that. I’m very sure it’s the adapter. I only lack the oscilloscope to prove it with pictures.”).

    Alas, he won’t take my observation or logic to heart and ships me the dongle cable. As expected, it does not work.

    When I call again, urged all the while to use their online chat(with Mr. Copy+Paste), I finally get a hold of what may have been the same rep(I’m thinking maybe the reps go on a case by case basis, explaining Jim?)

    He tried again to either blame me, blame my wiring or my inability to use my computer(nevermind that I did this as a living). Wanted me to ship the whole thing back. No matter how many times I told him it was the bloody 16V adapter. It seemed like it would have insulted his ego to admit that maybe, just maybe I knew what the hell I was talking about.

    Finally, I put on my angry face(remaining civil and even humoring them to this point). I told them I refused to send my scanner back and would only agree to send back the 16V adapter if they wanted it back but that I demanded a functioning adapter immediately and that this call was going to get real escalated real fast and he’d have to explain to his supervisor why he had to escalate a call in which he spent company money shipping everything EXCEPT the goddamn problem item on account of his ego.

    He finally agreed to ship me a new 16V adapter. And what do you know: the damned thing worked.

    To this day I’ve no idea why they had such a hard time accepting an obvious conclusion for no reason other then my hypothesized motivation of bruised ego.

  40. mmeehh says:

    service enhancement is for dv2000,dv6000,dv9000 and compac v6000
    and others any hp notebook with an amd processor built in the last 18 months is defect and will eventually crash,lose wireless device,or have a video card failure and yes they kept shipping them when they where aware of the defective motherboards (appollo)

  41. Marko_Vulvic says:

    ha!

    *try* getting support on business desktops! we use HP workstations here at my office and if you have a failed Hard Drive, the only way they’ll take it back is if you submit an error code from their built-in tools…. and of course, it’s tough to run on a FAILED HARD DRIVE!!

    Three weeks of head-to-wall interaction and we got our three dead machine’s drives replaced…. by complaining to our *SALES* guy.

    He made the repairs happen within 24 hours once we said we couldn’t renew our lease in good faith with such a shoddy product ;) I’ve never seen a warranty replacement happen so fast!

    Morals learned here:

    1.) “Business Class” warranty does not prevent failure.

    2.) Sales people for corporate accounts can get anything to happen with a $100 K contract hanging in the balance.

    3.) You get what you pay for. With 50% of our office (all creative / writing staff) on Apple we’ve had but ONE warranty issue in three years. ROI on the Mac’s is much higher from all that constant uptime and work getting done ;)

    Garbage in, Garbage out as they say.

  42. SpoiledGirlieGirl says:

    @mmeehh: What kind of “service enhancement”? Is this written any where on there site?

  43. Ihatehpwpassion says:

    I’m sorry, when you get your computer back it still won’t be fixed. It might even get so hot that it will burn your comforter. You must remind your (new?) case manager that this wasn’t why you sent the computer to them in the first place. They will take another 3 weeks to fix it. It still won’t be like how it use to be. In fact, it will be worst.

    Also, the case managers are completely useless. The one I got connected to disapeared the next day, never to be heard from again (Kevin Berg – RU OKAY?!?) After that, trying to set-up an additional order (after the burnt comforter) was a four-hour event (with numerous new case managers!). Not to mention all the new case managers I met with the daily calls about the additional delays. I hate HP and all my new case manager friends.

  44. smalleyd01 says:

    This is quite unnerving. I made a service request on April 1st. and was assured that my computer was to be returned to me within 2 weeks… APRIL FOOLS!!!! It has been 2 weeks now and I have the same status as everyone else, waiting on a part. After being hung up on twice when asking to speak with CSRs’ managers(and being very polite when doing so I must add), I finally called the corporate number listed on this site. This got me a “case manager” by the name of Matthew instead of Jim. He is supposedly going to check the status of the part by Wednesday and contact me. If not I am supposed to call him. Well I hope this goes better than it has been with everyone else but I have the sinking feeling that in 2 days I will hear the same story and get the same runaround.

  45. smalleyd01 says:

    @smalleyd01: Got a call today, pushed back to the 29th. Still waiting on Matthew to get me an expected part date.

  46. Ihatehpwpassion says:

    I think I had Jim. I really liked a Stephen. I still never found out what happened to Kevin and now I got stuck with a fedex bill for $80. Oh Kevin…

  47. amv09 says:

    @amv09: so yeah I just got a call from hp and now the delivery date is set for april 28 and I’m sad to say I’m almost 100% sure it won’t be delivered by then my world is so empty without my computer and oh yeah I have finals coming up pretty soon so yeah I really need it but I don’t think there’s anything I can do

  48. smalleyd01 says:

    I was told by Matthew that the part is supposed to be in by the 28th as well. The good news is that if it is not here by the 5th they will “seek alternative options” which I hope means just send me a bloody computer. Unfortunately, I have to go a full month without a computer.

  49. chrishans says:

    I also have/had an HP Pavilion dv2000 series laptop with the same issue and the same excuse. My computer broke early February, HP sent me a box (without a mailing label) and I tried calling all month of February trying to get them to send me a mailing label before I decided to eat the cost of mailing my own laptop. HP received it Feb 29th. Every other Thursday at 10am they have called me to delay repair for another two weeks… Mar 13th, Mar 27th, Apr 10th, (today) April 24th, and now “ETA” May 8th.

    The first time they called me to delay it two weeks, I didn’t even catch the fact it was two weeks, I just assumed it was a concrete fact that they would have the part they need by that date. Wasn’t until they did it again when I noticed they don’t have a clue, they just add 14 days.

    I’ve tried being polite and patient with them, but my patience ended in March. Now I just call when I’m in a bad mood to harass the Indian fellow on the line. If they seem nice I’ll play the fool (yesterday the man told me I need to call back tomorrow so I could talk with the appropriate person who could “escalate” the manner, and although it is unknown who or what this person does to “escalate” matters, I just kept asking dumb questions like “So when I call back tomorrow, do I ask to speak with the escalator?” Heh heh, I doubt they got the pun.)

    The lady who called me today was in a bad mood before I called her, so I felt no remorse in giving her a hard time and letting her have it.

    I heard that HP has a formula to determine whether or not to help customers, in which they weigh the price of helping a customer against the price of not helping a customer. So I continually let them know I will make sure no one I ever come across ever makes the mistake of buying an HP product. I mean, I got past the point I would ever buy another HP product after 1 month of their B.S., but once he start heading on month 3 I become concerned with the welfare of other consumers.

    It sucks not having a laptop.

  50. smalleyd01 says:

    @chrishans: Try calling this number 877-917-4380 extension 94 in order to get their corporate case managers. If nothing else they are based in Canada and you can understand them. The person you get will be assigned permanently(for as long as they work there, whatever that is worth) to your case. The gentleman I have been dealing with has been very professional and actually seems to sympathize with my problem. Also, file in small claims court, they will generally give in at that point and it only costs about 25$ to file. Good luck.

  51. kalikidtx says:

    i smell a class action here whose in with me?

  52. smalleyd01 says:

    Well, I called Matthew again today and he was very irritated by the fact that I had not received my laptop back yet. He told me that he will get a hold of the service department and try to find out what is really going on. If they cant get him anything satisfactory he said that he will send me a replacement, and that if I do not hear from him to give him a call on Wednesday and he will just send out a new one. Keep trying guys! Just because the company sucks does not mean that everybody who works for them has to.

  53. smalleyd01 says:

    Finally it is over!! I just got off the phone with Matthew and he is sending me a brand new notebook as well as my old notebook. As soon as I get my new notebook, all I have to do is ship the old one back in the same box. Thanks and good job Matthew, but HP will be receiving no more of my business from now on.

  54. smalleyd01 says:

    @smalleyd01: The intel model of my laptop is much, much better than the AMD version was. Now I can see why they have decided to recall them.