After Massive Runaround, HP Sends Your Laptop Back Filled With Viruses

HP is known for its incompetent repair process, but what makes Aaron’s case special is that at the end they decide to kick it up a notch. When he sends his computer in and gets it back from the repair center, HP has so ever so graciously filled it with free spyware and viruses.

Aaron writes:

The very first computer my family bought was a Compaq Presario from RadioShack many years ago. Due to my recommendation, the first laptop my dad, and my wife, bought was an HP laptop many years ago. The first desktop I bought was an HP, many years ago… etc, etc. We have each had at least one or two more HP products since then.

I have a fairly large social circle, which often turn to me for recommendations as to what kind of computer to buy. I can think of ten people just of the top of my head who have bought HP products because that is what I recommended to them.

I have had a few problems in the past (like a hard drive breaking or DVD-Rom drive not working) and have never had any significant problems with the service on my problems. This in part is why I have recommended this company. They have great value and up until now have always had great service resolutions for me.

My product:

I am a computer geek, love electronics, and am working on a career that relies on computers. This past fall I decided to buy my very first laptop. I have never actually spent the money for a laptop. I have had many powerful desktops, an HP ipaq, and some pretty amazing phones – but no laptop. I wanted to buy a high-end device that would last for awhile and fulfill some of the requirements I needed for my business. After comparing different models from Lenovo, Sony and HP I decided on the HP EliteBook 2730P; it is a small, powerful, tablet-pc.

My issue:

On October 3rd I gave HP $2,036.94 for the brand new 2730P. A week later (October 10th) I got an email stating my product was delayed and would not meet the original delivery date. It arrived nearly a week later on October 16th.

I played with it for a month or so until I was vacationing at my relatives for Thanksgiving (end of November.) While I was there my computer’s screen had froze one day, and after manually power cycling it, it would not turn back on. It tried to power on, but would flash some kind of blue screen (The BSOD!) and then just cycle over and over. I put it away for the duration of my visit and planned on fixing it later when I was home.

I am in sales so November and December are a busy time for me. I never got around to trying to fix my computer until December 19th. It was on this day I found out the problem was more serious than I had hoped. I ran the computer’s built in diagnostics and it failed the Boot Test. I called HP technical support and went through the process of waiting, and trying basic steps to fix my problem. The Tech support agent determined that it indeed was my hard disk drive that had failed and that I would need a new one. I was given the option of sending in my computer to be fixed, or having a new hard disk drive mailed to me. Since I am rather computer savvy I chose to perform the operation myself.

My problem:

The agent told me that my part was backordered and could easily take a week or so to get to me. A couple weeks and all of the holidays go by and I still do not have my new hard drive. On January 9th I get an email saying that the shipment date of my part would be January 16th. Of course I did not get the part so finally on January 30th I call tech support again and inquire about my replacement part. I am told that it is still back ordered and that my case (3604305572) was being escalated and I was even assigned a customer relations case manager (Nancy van de Wall.)

Nancy must have done a great job because she managed to have a part shipped directly from the manufacturer to me. It arrived February 2nd (51 days after the original request.) But to my sadness it was the wrong part. They shipped me a physically larger hard drive, attached to part of a case with a USB port on the part of the case.

I called Nancy back and left a voicemail but she never got back with me.

An agent called me a few days later on February 5th asking about my part, if it worked, and offering instructions on sending the old part back. I told her it was the wrong part and she quickly transferred me back to tech support and they ordered the right part.

The next day (February 6th) I again got an email telling me the part was backordered and would ship on February 14th. I called back and told them it was not acceptable so they again escalated my case and ended up getting my part to me on February 10th.

It gets worse:

I install my new hard drive and attempt to install the operating system but my computer will not read my external DVD-Rom drive (I know this drive works with my system because I previously used it to clean install Windows Vista, since my computer incorrectly came with the XP downgrade pre-installed.) My computer would not recognize an external device, no matter what BIOS and start-up settings I changed. I then tried booting from a USB stick, SD card, and even tried a friend’s external DVD-Rom drive. Nothing would work.

I call HP tech support again, and go through the diagnostic process. The agent determined that there are more issues with my computer than just the hard drive, and told me that my only option would be to send it in for them to fix. I did not want to do this at this point (after reading other stories on the comsumerist.com about HP keeping products for even months to fix) so I waited until Monday to talk again to a customer relations agent.

The agent insisted that I had to send it in, and that they could not just replace it since they had not repaired it three times prior yet. So they overnight me a box, I overnight it back, they take two days with it and overnight it back to me on February 27th.

Here is where I lose all respect for HP:

After using my newly working computer for ten minutes or so I find that I am getting a lot of Windows permission popups asking for weird-named programs to run, and then getting odd pop-up ads on sites like google, and yahoo, and others who would never have popup ads. My first instinct is to install Spy-Bot Search & Destroy. It finds 5 problems; Trojans and spyware. It was unable to remove all of the issues so I downloaded and installed AVG Anti-virus. It found even more Trojans and attempted to remove them but was not able to. HP sent me a computer back filled with malicious programs!

This brings me back in a circle to where I was previously, (see above topic: “It gets worse.”) I again cannot reimage and re-install an OS. I boot back into windows safe mode and proceed to reinstall Windows from there, but after copying the files to the hard drive, and restarting itself I am left looking at:

A disk read error occurred
Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart
_ (blinking underscore)

This is where I am at now; 72 days later with no way to start my computer or read from an external device (I cannot even run a live Linux cd to at least get a little usage out of my machine.)

What I want: I want HP to send me a brand new computer, and an apology. And I am hoping that the attention that the consumerist.com garners will allow me to have this.
Completely disappointed,

-Aaron N

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. ezacharyk says:

    Yeah. If I ever got a computer back from a service center filled with viruses and spy-ware, I woudl ask for a complete refund of the PC and all related costs then never shop from that manufacturer again.

  2. MerlynNY says:

    I used to be a big fan of HP, but the recent purchaes and return of two of their computers has completly soured me towards them.

    • penuspenuspenus says:

      @MerlynNY: Ugh, I just finished dealing with HP last year. Bought a DV2500t last year, and a week out of warranty, the GPU fails. Call up HP, and they kept telling me it was an accident, therefor not covered by them. I kept repeating, “What the hell are you talking about? How did I accidentally break the graphics card? And why are you saying I broke it?”

      So we went around and around with this, with me reading articles over the phone and telling them that it is BS that the laptop generations before and after with the exact same stupid card are covered by their extended warranty, just not mine.

      I gave up and talked to AMEX. After 2 weeks of testing, they refunded the purchase price.

  3. shepd says:

    Booting from USB is often iffy (although it’s getting better). Remove the DVD drive from the enclosure, pop it in the machine, and boot that way. But first, download the ultimate boot CD. Use the HDD tool for your HD to check for errors. If it finds any, it’s up to you if you want to deal with HP anymore assuming it isn’t a truly OEM drive to the point it has no branding on it. The HDD tool should give you an option to zero the drive (if not, download and use DBAN), that will guarantee no more virus exposure (of course, it’ll erase the HDD, but it sounds like that is preferable in your case)..

    Then give the PC a real good memtest (included on the same CD). If it passes that, you should now to able to install your OS.

    If course, it’s all up to you if this is worth it. If I were re-installing it I’d upgrade to XP rather than using Vista (or, better yet, I’d dump windows altogether).

    One more useful suggestion: Once you are happy with your setup, acquire Norton Ghost and make an image of the HDD. You will be happy to have it…

    • nakedscience says:

      @shepd: Or he should just demand that HP send him a new laptop.

      • shepd says:

        @nakedscience:

        Missed that it was a laptop–a bit more difficult not to use an external drive if it’s not built in, although I would hope a laptop’s BIOS has been vetted for USB.

        In that case, I’d remove the HDD from the laptop, do all the HDD tests on a “normal” PC (you’ll need a 2.5″ -> 3.5″ adapter, or possibly some sort of sata adaptor, all very cheap) and if it passes, figure out a method of installing to the HDD from the HDD (partition hell, but it can usually be done if you want) or installing from the network (probably harder than it used to be).

        I’ve never bought a namebrand PC since about 1992 so I’m just used to 30 minutes turnaround times from broken to fixed. I couldn’t stand waiting for days while crap gets mailed around, it’d drive me insane.

    • ScottRose says:

      @shepd:

      Remove the DVD drive from the enclosure, pop it in the machine, and boot that way

      Now, I ain’t no computer-knowing-guy, but I don’think that drive will fit in that thar tablet PC.

    • solareclipse2 says:

      @shepd:

      It’s a tablet. He can’t put the drive in the machine.

    • yggdriedi says:

      @shepd: If I were re-installing it I’d upgrade to XP rather than using Vista (or, better yet, I’d dump windows altogether.

      Can we stop bashing vista, please? It’s a fine operating system now – I daresay better than XP in a lot of ways. Way more user-friendly, for one thing.

      /has both vista and XP on two computers, does not play favorites

      • shepd says:

        @yggdriedi:

        Maybe it is. But that’s not my experience. I installed it on quad-core system with 1 GB of RAM with 5 HDD SCSI RAID and it runs so slowly that when I connect to terminal services on it via the LAN it is slower than doing the same via the VPN at work. And that’s just to establish the connection. God forbid I try to open notepad and edit a file…

        • ameyer says:

          @shepd: Vista and 1 GB of RAM?
          No wonder Vista’s slow.

          Not that any OS should need more than 1 GB of RAM.

          • shepd says:

            @ameyer:

            Yeah, I can’t buy RAM for this machine anymore. Takes ECC-SDRAM, and getting it used is just not worth the $$$. But considering there’s a grand total of 2.8 Ghz of P3 CPU power behind it (Equivalent to about 4 Ghz of P4 CPU) it still do a HELL of a lot better than it is.

          • captainfrizo says:

            @ameyer: No kidding, 1GB of RAM isn’t going to run Vista very efficiently at all.

            shepd has a quad-core processor which is a great first step. Drop 4GB in that computer and then get back to us about how slow Vista is (hint: it should be at all).

          • penuspenuspenus says:

            @ameyer: Was that sarcasm? OSX Tiger was one of the first OS I used where maxing out ram was the only way to get it running comfortably. I’m seeing this as one of those “just the way things are going to be” type of deals.

            • trujunglist says:

              @sodomanaz:

              Depends on your system, but back in the day (a year or two ago) I had OS X running on 256mb. Slow? Yeah, but the laptop was over 9 years old, so what would you expect exactly?
              Obviously more RAM = better, but only to a certain point. I stopped seeing any major performance gains once I hit 1.5gb.

        • B1663R says:

          @shepd: Vista needs at least 2 gigs of RAM at minimum

        • RvLeshrac says:

          @shepd:

          a) You have Vista installed on a machine which uses SDRAM. Why would you install a brand new OS on an 8+ year old system? And why would you run a desktop OS with ECC? ECC is slow. Ass-slow.

          b) You have a quad-core P3? Wow, I didn’t even know they made dual-core P3s. And in exactly which universe is a P3 faster than a P4 at the same, or higher, clock?

          c) Obvious troll is obvious.

          I seriously don’t know where people are coming from with the “Vista is slow” nonsense. The trick is to run your modern OS on modern hardware. A P3 running Vista is the generational equivalent of 386 with XP.

          • shepd says:

            @RvLeshrac:

            a) The machine runs all other “modern” OSes at an acceptable speed. I do not expect nor require extreme performance from the machine. However, I believe I have a perfectly legitimate expectation that low resource things like RDP and notepad will run at least as fast as they did in the previous OS revision. ECC or not, the refresh speed of the RAM will be the same or the machine would lock up.

            b) The P3 is well known, clock for clock, to be faster than the P4. The only reason the P4 was invented was to increase clock speeds. Since the maximum performance intel could sap out of the P3 topped out at about 1.33 Ghz, the only way get more speed from the same core was to decide to either sacrifice efficiency for stability, or sacrifice stability at higher speeds for more efficiency. The decision to go with the first one was certainly a good one, as clearly a 3+ Ghz P4 beats the pants of ANYTHING the fastest P3 could do. Unfortunately, the CPUs suck a lot more juice, explaining the need of intel to invene the Atom.

            I don’t feel like doing research for you, so I’ll leave it up to you to discover this fact. Tom’s Hardware might be a good place to start.

            As for quad P3, it’s an IBM Netfinity 6000 with 4 x P3 Xeon CPUs (The P3 Xeons were known to be basically identical in performance to normal P3s, which is a bit of a letdown, however, I did only pay $15). That makes four cores. All of them are 700 Mhz, of course.

            c) Yes, your troll suggesting that ECC ram is somehow slower (How could it be on a standard von-neumann architecture? That’s a silly suggestion) and that the P4 is a more efficient processor is noted.

            Vista is slow because, on the same hardware, XP is faster because the performance difference is clearly notable.

            It sounds like you’re suggesting Vista’s performance is non-linear (especially when it comes to memory), that at some point it will absolutely kill XP for performance. That might be true. However, to be honest, if your OS has performance problems so bad this is the truth, it isn’t primetime at all and it requires serious re-engineering.

            I can run linux or XP on a machine with 256 MB of RAM (heck, even as little as 64 MB of RAM for linux! Even less if I forgo graphics), and, assuming I am only interested in CPU and HDD “power”, it will run no slower than a machine with 4 GB of RAM. RDP and notepad (well, on linux, X+VNC and emacs) are examples of these applications that should not require 1+ GB or RAM. Dump vista on that machine and magically it will run slower than a dog and beg for another few GB of RAM. Why?

            Because it is badly designed. I say that with the full confidence of knowing that there are many other even *more* modern OSes than Vista that do not magically slow EVERYTHING down just because there is a limited amount of RAM in the machine. They only slow down applications that require significant amounts of memory, which makes sense, since at that point it’s your hardware and…

            …not your OS slowing things down. And that’s the point I’m making. XP is faster because it doesn’t slow your apps down as much as Vista does. It lets your hardware slow them down.

            And if your OS just “requires” 2GB of RAM it is broken unless it offers significantly more features than the modern competition that requires less than 1/8th that amount of RAM for the same (if not higher) number of features.

      • IT-Chick says:

        @yggdriedi:

        Vista is crap. I will never stop bashing it. It is a resource whore.

        Had it on my business machine for 9 months before downgrading back to XP.

      • TechnoDestructo says:

        @yggdriedi:

        Vista compares favorably with ME. That’s about it. Every other NT-based Windows has been better.

  4. HogwartsAlum says:

    Yikes.

    HP printers rock (they last FOREVER), but apparently their computers, not so much.

    • deejaypopnfresh says:

      @HogwartsAlum: working in retail ive seen the quality come waaay down on hp printers but there officejet pros are still freakin awesome and I recommend them for most people over lasers and they come back and thank me again and again

    • tc4b says:

      @HogwartsAlum: The printers must be going downhill too; I just had a <2 yr old laserjet 1200 die on me yesterday. Although, that means back to the backup, an hp deskjust 930c I’ve had for… 5 years?

      • HogwartsAlum says:

        @tc4b:

        LOL. I have an 842C that is still going strong after nearly 10 years. The 3600 series I got free with my desktop is in the bottom of the coffee table. I don’t use it because the ink cartridge is so small that it uses up really fast. And it’s no cheaper than the big one!

        Printer shrink ray!

    • tangent4 says:

      @HogwartsAlum: HP printers from the 90s are built like tanks. My printer from 98 still works great! Newer ones are much more cheaply made.

    • HadleyFloyd says:

      @HogwartsAlum:
      The old HP lasers are great. Newer ink jets not quite as good. I got a photo cartridge that was defective. 2+ hours of testing online with them via IM and they agreed to send me a new one. That was before Christmas. I need to followup. Shouldn’t need to.

      My HP has a USB port that died after

  5. reuvenb says:

    After dealing with some of HP’s enterprise grade hardware (enormous cluster&(*& that I don’t think I’m really allowed to talk about), I resigned to never buying any of their products ever again.

    • lawnmowerdeth says:

      @reuvenb: Same here, and also included are dealing with their desktops and laptops at places of work.

    • kretara says:

      @reuvenb:
      I agree.
      I have worked with a Superdome for the past few years and that thing is SO unreliable.
      The HP desktops and laptops that my company uses are also very trouble prone.

      HP = junk

  6. aguacarbonica says:

    I’ve always had issues with Compaqs and Laptops so I gave up on them. The last Compaq I had, I forced Best Buy to replace before the lemon clause kicked in because I called them and HP out on their absolutely incompetent repairs: (For one, the CD Drive stopped working, I sent it back to BB, and when I got it back, the drive FELL OUT of the computer after about a week.)

  7. MyPetFly says:

    HP = Hunk o’ Poo

  8. Ben Talbot says:

    I’m willing to bet they put in another users Hard drive all nicely loaded with viruses. I highly doubt HP would take the time and effort to load your hard drive with that stuff, so why not use a different hard-drive that they have just sitting around leftover from another repair?

    • GrandizerGo says:

      @Ben Talbot: HP DEFINITELY replaced his HD with another…
      My office mates laptop had problems, with the HINGE on the screen, she sends her laptop in and they send it back with a wiped and formatted HD. Her thesis and papers gone from the system. She had backups of her work up to 2 days prior, but I called them up and reamed them a new one. NOWHERE did the CS state we are going to wipe out the users data for NO REASON.
      She was escalated to a tech manager and ANYTIME she has had more problems with the system, she calls him directly and don’t have to worry about stupid tech support formats.
      He did tell her though that the drives are supposed to go through a machine that dumps an image on the drive from their pristine images from that system…
      Either someone was running behind on this or someone grabbed a drive from the wrong bin…

  9. glennski says:

    So you get your 2,000 dollar laptop back after all of that hassle, and you go right for the porn upon startup? Can’t really blame you, and with a lap top you can access internet pron on the crapper.

  10. mkguitar says:

    HP- I’ll never spend a penny on your stuff again.

    I have found the printers to be unreliable and very expensive to use ( ink).

    I made the mistake of “updating” software with HP and found functionality and ease of use to be greatly diminished.

    MK

  11. deejaypopnfresh says:

    jeez! you spent 2 grand on an hp laptop (after comparing with sony hahahaha) and then installed vista on it. hahaha too funny

  12. Zeke_D says:

    I had an issue similar to this with Gateway, but consumerist refused to post my story and didn’t say why. Sadly my laptop has not been repaired.

  13. sleze69 says:

    Dell onsite tech support rules for just these types of shenanigans. Small Business FTW.

    • SacredByte says:

      @sleze69: Agreed. I haven’t even had a tech out for service in over a year — whenever they start to suggest it, I let them know that there is no part on this machine haven’t/can’t replace(d) myself. The most any techs have ever said about that is that by doing it myself I am liable if I screw up….

  14. GuinevereRucker says:

    You bought a computer infected with Windows!

    There’s your problem right there.

  15. citking says:

    I went through a similar issue myself with HP. I e-mailed the CEO and a day or so later was in contact with their executive support. Be concise. mention and service/ticket numbers, and they’ll be happy to help you out.

    Good luck!

  16. Android8675 says:

    2 words bud..

    AS US…

    Just bought a G70, amazing laptop. plays all my games at 30+fps, has a subwoofer, and it’s no bigger than my Toshiba 15″ (and it’s got a full size keyboard with a keypad).

  17. Dethzilla says:

    I hope he paid for it with a credit card. I would totally dispute the charge. You ordered a Laptop, not a piece of Crap.

  18. Trai_Dep says:

    Wow. Apple buying someone a full suite of CS4 out-of-pocket because their sales rep inaccurately described a confusing Adobe promotion within a day or so of communication seems SO irresponsive now.

    • penuspenuspenus says:

      @Trai_Dep: And poster with a star omitting that the person had to fight like a cornered dog to get it…

    • trujunglist says:

      @Trai_Dep:

      I’m a big time Apple user. I’ve been using them since before they were Macs. I’ve been using them since they were popular… the FIRST time around. I’m obviously an Apple supporter and will probably always buy from them, but…
      No, just no, don’t bring Apple into this, you’re going to open up a can of worms bigger than anything they sell at Costco. I’ve had generally positive experiences with Apple, but 1 time I was so dicked over by them that I seriously considered abandoning EVERYTHING at that point (because I was all Macs, hds all Macs, CDs all formatted to HFS, etc) because of the terrible shit they put me through. It does happen. However, at the same time that was happening, I had to deal with Alienware, who were being complete tools and totally unhelpful, whereas at least Apple eventually fixed the problem. So, I’ve stayed with Apple. They owe me big time for all that I’ve done for them (what, you think those first iMacs sold themselves? iPods were cool and not just horribly expensive? hahaha), so honestly at this point I expect way more than any other company could ever give and am probably just setting myself up for disappointment the next time my shit breaks.

  19. Apathy says:

    I’m no great fan of HP (particularly not their typical half-hearted blind stab at customer support), but this sounds like a mixed case of HP sucking and a user getting in way over his head when trying to repair things. I’m taking this both from his terminology (“They shipped me a physically larger hard drive, attached to part of a case with a USB port on the part of the case.” – you mean a desktop hard drive?) and his apparently mystified reaction to things like the old “A disk read error has occurred”. That’s not to say HP would have definitely done a lot better if he’d just mailed it in to them in the first place, but I wonder if a replacement laptop and an apology are entirely warranted.

    Then again this is the Consumerist, and the spirit of service is that the customer is always right, but… I can’t help but see this story partly as a reason not to go fiddling with things you’re not entirely familiar with, or can’t Google up in a pinch.

    • drdom says:

      @Apathy: I completely agree. I feel sorry for this guy to some extent. And HP obviously didn’t get the job done as they should have. But here’s where I think part of the fault lies with the customer:

      First of all, when he describes himself as a “Computer Geek”, that’s where my first clue was. Anyone who self-describes themself with an outdated term probably isn’t one.

      As we go through his story, having a problem on Thanksgiving and trying to fix it yourself almost a month later is also not very geek-like either, but I digress.

      It became apparent to me as this story progressed that he was in over his head from a technical standpoint, and that the computer should have gone in for depot servicing. If that was done to begin with this might have turned out differently.

      I don’t condone poor service on HP’s part. But this guy compounded his own problems by being one of those people who has that little bit of knowledge that makes them dangerous.

      Being somewhat saavy with operating systems or software does not make one proficient in hardware diagnostics and repair.

      I first became certified as an Apple tech in 1985, and have kept up until about 2-3 years ago. When I have that rare problem pop up with Apple hardware, even I know when it’s time to take it in and let the experts deal with it. Of course, HP doesn’t have a Genius Bar, on the spot servicing or a bulletproof operating system, so I guess the answer is, next time buy a MacBook.

      • trujunglist says:

        @drdom:

        ugh… buy a Mac, go through iMac fan hell, or G5 logic boards melting, Apple inappropriately disabling your graphics card, then only partially re-enabling it after getting hit with a class action lawsuit, failed G3 hard drives… the list goes on, you know it already. I will say that Apple generally has good tech support, but the genius bar should rename themselves to fucking idiot bar with how helpful they can be when you have a serious problem, and the phone support isn’t much better.

  20. RedwoodFlyer says:

    Consumerist keeps ignoring my issue..the one where I sent a 3 week old laptop for repair to Gateway, in October…and they are STILL claiming that the new motherboard is “on order”!

  21. irish_stickman says:

    wow if that happened to me i would drive down just to slap somebody, it would be worth the prosecution

  22. katiat325 says:

    What kind of a computer geek are you? I understand bying a made laptop, but you even buy ready made HP desktops? All the computer geeks I know build their own computers, and all avoid HP and Dell products when it comes to laptops. Sucks for the OP, but the OP should shorten the letter and forward it to executives I guess in an EECB. Even though I’m not a computer geek, it would have just been easier to request a refund for a defective product rather than go through a warranty process, so that way you could have bought the same thing again (probably on sale later).

    • majortom1029 says:

      @katiat325: Real computer geeks know that dell XPS laptops are much better quality then their inspiron lines (except for the 1520 which was a complete fluke and was a great laptop) and that xps tech support is american tech support and much better then their normal home tech support.

  23. Xerloq says:

    If an EECB doesn’t help, call back support and ask for an escalation to the case managers: [consumerist.com] 877-917-4380 x 93

    You need a ticket/transaction number to get through to them, though I’ve had luck calling directly, giving my support number as all the information I was given.

    I just got a brand new laptop from HP because the depot scratched my screen, then refused to repair the “out of warranty” damage because I wasn’t covered for accidental damage.

    I eventually got through to a customer service representative who said, “I’m sorry there’s nothing I can do, except feel bad for you.”

    I pressed, and was escalated to a case manager, who replaced my entire machine.

    You won’t get an apology, but you should get a new laptop easily – at least compared to your journey thus far.

    • Xerloq says:

      @Xerloq: Oh, and to echo the other respondents in this thread, shorten your letter and stick to the facts. HP doesn’t care about how skilled you are with electronics, and they are less likely to help if you insult them. Also, it’s highly likely that the HD they put in your machine was from another customer and they forgot to wipe it rather than the malice of a repair tech.

      Simply state you’ve had the laptop in a non-functional state for 71 days since you purchased it (nearly 50% of the time), it’s had two parts exchanged, one repair attempt that gave you access to another customer’s data (including viruses and spyware) but that the issue persists. You may point out that HP has not kept is SLA (Service Level Agreement) with you by not reparing the laptop.

  24. paulrules says:

    Not a fan of HP. Last time I bought a laptop from them they sent me the wrong one, and then sent me the wrong one AGAIN. Asked for a refund and the lady just kept on trying to get me to send it back for a replacement.

    Bought a Toshiba….came fine and worked fine. I dropped it on the floor accidentally…..still worked fine.

    And after 2 years it’s still running AWESOME. Try to do that HP.

  25. Michael Worth says:

    I only use and recommend Dell; but either Lenovo or Apple could edge Dell out and get the nod for the next round of laptops.

  26. cupcake_ninja says:

    About a year ago my at-the-time brand new HP laptop all of a sudden fried, not allowing me to back up my data. I sent it in to HP for service just for them to send it back to me claiming to fix it only to have it fry again within a week. Sent it back only to have them send it back to me with the RAM not properly seated, a screw loose rattling inside, and my hard drive completely wiped…all for a fan replacement issue. Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be complaining about that anymore.

  27. MarvinMar says:

    OK, Not to bash the OP but, there are some serious issues with the story as is.
    Firstly, I think we can all agree that he is no “Computer Geek” He just did not know enough about computers to properly troubleshoot something like a BSOD.
    Also, when HP says the BSOD is a hard drive failure..We will send you a new one. BAH!
    The hard drive is working enough to try to boot windows and get to the point of Blue Screening.
    Did he try to format at that point? Restore disks? Safe Mode, Spinright 6?
    What was he doing when the machine locked up the first time?
    When he finaly got the corect hard drive and used the machine for 10 minutes, Did he have to install Windows first? Were his files already on the machine?
    Why the hell would you try to install Windows from within Safe Mode? I hope you choose to FORMAT the drive or delete and recreate the partition before installing a new copy of Windows onto a infected drive…

    Where to start…
    Next time send it in, or have a “REAL” computer geek friend check it out first (Without voiding any warranties of course)

  28. MyopicRaiderfan says:

    As an HP employee(not in consumer products) I sent this in as a voice of the customer issue. Every employee can do this. I hope you receive satisfactory resolution.

  29. azsumrg1rl says:

    When HP took over Compaq they “lost” documentation of my extended warranty. I was in grad school at the time and moved twice a year, so I no longer had the receipt or documents proving my mother purchased the extended warranty from them. As such, they would not repair my laptop and it ended up in the junk pile. Unfortunately, this was not the first time I had had issues with Compaq/HP (experiences from prior purchases), but I made sure it was my last. My next computer was a Mac (my next laptop, which I bought solely on price several years later, was an Acer).

  30. devsgurf says:

    Hrm. I was hoping to upgrade my old laptop to an HP but this article has me thinking again. Where does one turn for quality computer + service?

  31. B1663R says:

    i have owned nothing but HP computers and never had a problem… if something breaks i fix it (desktops anyway) on my laptop however, i have a laptop guy at work, and a system admin that i hang out with

    i never had the pleasure of dealing with HP tech support yet…

  32. clickable says:

    Wow. Now I’m thanking the powers that be that my HP story had a happy ending so far. My under-warranty laptop had to go in for repair 3 times before they finally actually addressed the problem. It cost me so many hours on the phone that during Round No. 2 I got laryngitis. But the third time they did address the problem and swapped out the motherboard, and for now – four months later – so far, so good.

    Now I see I can count my blessings that even though it was out of commission for months, at least they didn’t send it back with little bonuses of viruses and Trojans.

  33. HPCommando says:

    Buy HP, always buy the ADP (Accidental Damage Protection) CarePack within the first 30 days of ownership, if not at time of purchase. This would have resolved all problems due to coverage.

    Always buy COMMERICAL. If its Presario or Pavilion, its CONSUMER, which is cheaply built in comparison, even overpriced over Commercial models.

    Use the built-in and online diagnostics provided at no added charge. These keep you updated on drivers and mods from HP, as well as Windows updates specific to your system.

    And always get a case number when you deal with Tech Support. That number can save you time on any additional calls from having to explain the same things over and over again, as well as documents your machine for future action.

  34. Marshfield says:

    Just remember rule 3 in Dealing with customer service:

    Don’t threaten “I’m NEVER buying your product again” because then they figure you’re lost and there’s no point treating you decently.

    You may actually intend that, but keep it a secret until your issue is resolved.

  35. cccdude says:

    I hate HP computers – I always have. I cringe when a friend has one and wants my help. They come with more preinstalled craplets then any other system I have ever seen. Their tech support website is a mess and they never come with an OS re-install and drivers disk.

    Dude..ya shoulda bought a Dell. They have their own problems, but you can plug the SN into their support website and find a wealth of support options unique to your system at your fingertips.

  36. quail says:

    Agreed. When you talk to HP/Compaq make sure that they escalate you to a case manager. You’ll then get a single person to handle the case and they can make the decision to send you a new PC or not.

    Not all case managers are good though. In my dealings with them the first one I ever got told me I needed to call back on Monday to resolve the issue. Funny thing was was that she was on vacation starting that Monday.

    Within my limited experience with HP/Compaq and their quality of repair work for warrantied equipment I’d never buy one of their machines ever again. My experience was so bad that the next printer I got was a Canon

    When it comes to any computer purchase try to buy from the business side. Dell, Compaq, Toshiba, etc. The machines are more expensive, but they’re better made and warranty work is 100% better.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I have a compaq laptop where the HD tanked out just before Christmas. I bought it at Microcenter, and they called me the day before Christmas saying it’s being shipped out that day, and the day after new years day, they called and aid it was fixed and back in their store. I use Linux, so I don’t worry about all of that virus/spyware nonsense. It’s worked great since.

  38. Cary says:

    I am a dealer and former Authorized Service Provider for HP. A little over a year ago they de-authorized about 90% of their ASPs because we weren’t selling enough extended warranties.

    Since there is no one left they are still sending me several referrals A DAY for warranty service they won’t let me provide.

    I have absolutely no US-based human to speak with at HP anymore. The dealer reps are gone. Tech support is India only. The printers are turning to crap and their drivers are bloated and unstable.

    Their corporate laptops are still good (made by Compal) and their corporate desktops are good (Asus, I believe). You can keep the rest. They even hired a bunch of HP sales reps and populated CDW with them to drive their dealers out.

    They are doing their best to alienate their business partners as well as their customers. Finally – something they excel at.

    • majortom1029 says:

      @Cary: Well we got our current pc’s from hp via cdwg. Cdwg is much better to deal with then hp themselves.
      Cdwg makes the hp’s themselves supposedlyy cdwg has all the hp parts and puts them together themselves.

  39. arl84 says:

    I haven’t had good luck with HP either. My computer’s hard drive has been failing and I had to spend almost 4 hours on a chat with a rep to have a replacement drive sent out. He kept trying different angles to get me off his chat(restart your computer, my system is down, etc) before finally transferring me to a supervisor to have the replacement sent out.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Wow, that’s pretty bad. Maybe you just got a crappy technician.

    HP repair isn’t completely incompetent though. I sent in my laptop to get the adapter jack replaced and they did it relatively quickly. There was no damage when i got it returned. :O Maybe i was extremely lucky.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Last Christmas I got a new computer. I called HP, with whom I had a service contract, to tell me how to make the font on the screen bigger. I was put in touch with a man with an Indian accent. he took three and one-half hours to figure out how to do it. HP is a total ripoff

  42. EaglePuncher says:

    When I got my HP pavilion laptop back in November, the RAM corrupted a few weeks into use so I called tech support. After about 45 minutes on the phone with Bombay, they determined that I had to send it in. They overnighted me a box and I shipped it back to them. Within two weeks I had my laptop back at 100% working order. Had it back just after Christmas. So either I got lucky or everyone else got unlucky. I couldn’t have had a better experience with their tech support personally.

  43. Stephen Yang says:

    ultimate fail. i hope they send you 10 new laptops.

  44. FuryOfFirestorm says:

    At least it’s not pubes…

  45. Mike Turner says:

    Having also had a recent run in with HP support I feel your pain. I bought a HPDV9910US which unfortunately is apparently only available with Vista. I contacted their help desk so that I could start the downgrade process and their agent, while nice enough to send me a list of drivers, none of which even came close to working. Lucky for me I am in IT and was able to prowl their site and manufacturer sites until I got all the right drivers.

    If I was paranoid I would think that their support makes the process as difficult as possible so that people just give up and stay with Vista.

  46. majortom1029 says:

    Cant be any worse then dell .Yes their tech supp might be decent but their pc’s suck. We are on our second model of pc’s that have bad parts. On our optiplex gx 620′s they have bad power supplies and are blowing one after the other and instead of dell replacing them all at once we are stuck waiting till each one dies.

  47. Anonymous says:

    My HP dv6000 wireless connection failed and it was out of warranty. HP checked it online, found the problem, sent me a prepaid shipping box, repaired my computer, and had it back to me in less than a week with no charge. My experience is that it does not get any better than this. My next computer will definitely be a HP. Jerry Johnson

  48. stuphology says:

    I also use tablet PC’s. I’ve had two Gateway’s – the first one failed because the screen hinge wore very quickly and the flexing physically broke the screen, the second one I sent back for only a partial refund because their proprietary pen technology is so, so awful. Since then I’ve had an HP that I bought refurb, and it works great. And I’ve had, and recommended, a variety of HP PC’s, both personal and for business, and they were solid.

    That said, I’ve never, ever, had a successful interaction with HP tech support. Case in point, I ordered an external DVD for my tablet, and got an internal DVD for a completely different laptop model. I called tech support, and they sent the wrong replacement part not once, not twice, but three times before I gave up. I still have the last DVD (it’s designed to slot into an enclosure, not much use). HP hardware is solid stuff, but if you’re not prepared to fix it yourself you’d be better off shopping somewhere else.

  49. jdjonsson says:

    I lost all interest in the story when he said he actually upgraded to Vista from XP on purpose.

  50. fett387 says:

    I have 2 HP laptops. One of them stopped working (bad motherboard). They overnighted a return box to me to ship the laptop to them. They fixed it and overnighted it back to me. It only took 5 days. I’m sorry that many people had bad luck with their repair services, but I was very impressed with what they did for me. I plan to stick with them.

  51. GrandizerGo says:

    I smell a little crap on this…
    It seems that while on vacation it might have gotten a bit mishandled…
    You are so busy for months that you don’t worry to get a 2,000 purchased repaired. (which means that it could EASILY have been sent in for repairs during that time with obviously no concern from OP…
    Then you wait MONTHS more for a part that in anyone who is a “computer geek” would know that if that part is bad, there is a GREAT possibility that other parts further down the boot chain are bad as well.
    You were asking for it not to be fixed properly.

  52. Brad Endsley says:

    There used to be a couple of things I would buy from HP. I would get their CDRW drives (they used to kick ass), their inkjet printers, etc.

    Now, I haven’t seen an HP cdrw in quite sometime, and I’d rather just buy LG or Lite-On. Their deskjet printers suck because they make you install SO MUCH SOFTWARE and you’re really unable just to install the drivers easily. Dell, you need to take note on this too.

    Their higher end color laser printers and plotters are hands down the best out there, but these items must be made by the intelligent people at HP.

    I don’t use them, but have heard their servers and whatnot are quite good as well. I would not be opposed to using their blades or servers in my company.

    Except for their laserjet products and servers, I stay away from HP and pretend they don’t exist.

  53. turtledude558 says:

    HP quality has really REALLY gone down.

    We used to have an HP Pavilion ZE4908us. It was a wonderful computer; reliable, built well, and durable. This was around 2005-2007

    Then we chose to “upgrade” to a newer PC (2008) and decided on the TX1308nr. We chose this as it was a tablet and wanted to try something new (we also have an ultra-portable Sony Vaio T350p – amazing laptop).

    Compared to our previous HP product, the new one was complete crap. It creaked, parts flexed, and it constantly ran HOT. Finally, it would just start shutting itself down due to overheating and then the wireless card failed. This all happened just a month out of warranty.

    A low quality product combined with their horrendous customer service has made me forget about ever considering another HP product in the future.

    I was able to fix the computer, though.

    Chucking it against a wall seems to have cured it of all its problems and I couldn’t be happier. :)

  54. Evan Cordes says:

    I actually had the same exact problem, and got my laptop back from the HP repair center around January 20th or so. I received it back with a “wiped hard drive” and instead of it being clean and new it was loaded with viruses and was forced to do a complete system overhaul and re-install windows. Apparently HP’s massively infected, or doing this on purpose to mess with their customers.

  55. deejaypopnfresh says:

    haha my comments never get approved I guess im too mean for laughing at the guy for spending 2 grand on a hp laptop and then installing vista on it

  56. Anonymous says:

    Receiving dozens of donated computers each month, since 2000, on which I immediately install Linux Mint, I find no trouble with HP, Compaq, or Dell systems, other than the kagillions of Microsoft virus/mal-bots/trojans.

    The problem seems to me to be that too many computers have Microsoft installed, which was NEVER intended for network/internet connection!

    Solution is to do as Microsoft, run Linux on ALL systems that connect to the Internet, and run Linux Firewalls on ALL internal networks!