HP Overdrafts Your Checking Account After 4-Day-Old Laptop Breaks

The hard drive of Chris’s HP laptop failed within its warranty period. Technically, it was four days after he bought the brand-new computer, but who’s counting?

He was willing to give the company the benefit of the doubt. HP sent him a replacement hard drive, without including the prepaid shipping label he needed to send the hard drive back. Then…well, that’s when things sort of all went to hell.

He wrote to Consumerist last night:

I recently purchased an HDX 18t Premium notebook. Spending roughly $1,200 of my hard earned cash, I had done my research and felt like the HDX 18 was a perfect fit for me. The sale process was easy-peasy! I figured HP must have their service act together if they take such great care of their sales customers.

About four days after my notebook arrived, the hard drive failed. No big deal, I figured. These things happen, and it’s a good thing it happened inside my warranty period. I called HP support to let them know what happened. The service rep told me I’d be sent a hard drive with a pre-paid shipping label to send the old one back. And if the hard drive wasn’t returned in a timely manner, I would be charged for the cost of the old drive. That seemed a bit hardball, but I can understand a company like HP trying to recoup costs for a bad drive from their vendor. I agreed.

Three days later, my new hard drive arrived, without a return shipping label. I promptly called HP and explained that I needed a shipping label sent to me. After the rep put me on hold for 10 minutes, he came back to let me know a label would be sent out in the morning. Great!

Fast-forward 4 weeks…

Still no labels. I received an email from my bank, letting me know that my checking account had been overdrafted, and funds had been transferred from my credit card to cover the overage… Uh oh. Why exactly? Had I made some accounting error with my bills?

Nope. I pop open my bank account online and there are two new charges from HP CUST SVC staring me in the face. One for $901.31 and another for $825.00. That’s right, HP Customer Service charged me $1,726.31 for a notebook hard drive. Yep, over $500 more than the cost of the notebook in the first place.

I called up HP Tech Support. The nice woman (Jeanette) on the other end explained she was only in tech support and couldn’t help me directly, but she said I’d be receiving a call from their Case Management Dept. Ugh… Another wait.

3 hours later, I received a call from a gentleman that sounded half-baked explaining to me that he was my case manager, Josh. After discussing the details of the problem, the best solution he wanted to offer me was for HP to cut me a check in about a week’s time or so. UNACCEPTABLE, I told him. I explained that I needed the charges canceled since they still hadn’t posted to my account. He said he’d look into it and call me back in the morning.

The next morning, I decided to be proactive and call HP to check on progress myself. A different case manager answered (another Jeanette) and she told me that my half-baked former case manager hadn’t entered any notes about our conversation and said she’d takeover the case herself. Again, I explained my issue and she told me I’d get a call back in the afternoon.

Well, it’s 8:46pm, the Case Management office is closed and the charges should post to my account by midnight tonight. Keep in mind that the moment those charges post, I’m responsible for service fees, PLUS the cash advance interest rate on my credit card. Throughout this entire process, the only person who actually spoke and acted with any sense of urgency was Jeanette in tech support. HP’s procedures and bureaucracy are about to cost me some real cash…

Great job, HP. You walked away with over $1,700 of my money for a 250GB 5400RPM hard drive, and left me owing money to the bank.

There’s not much that I can really add here. Punishing a customer who tried to be proactive and find out why he didn’t receive a shipping label is not the way to invite return business.

(Photo: armydre2008)

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  1. Cocoa Vanilla says:

    Chargeback. Call the bank and let them know what’s going on. And then call HP and threaten to report them to the attorney general of California (I believe that’s where they’re based) for fraud.

    • wkm001 says:

      @Cocoa Vanilla:

      You can’t dispute pending charges. At least my bank wouldn’t let me.

      • joel. says:

        @wkm001: Well if Chris knows his band, then the charges posted at midnight last night. So… problem solved. Now he’s gotta see if his bank will do the chargeback since he paid with a checking account or debit card.

      • Skaperen says:

        @wkm001: It doesn’t sound very pending if they took credit card money to cover the charges.

    • Amish Undercover says:

      @Cocoa Vanilla: This is why you use a credit card. Never give companies direct access to your bank account via debit cards. (Debit cards are just bad news all around.)

      • Galactica says:

        @statgrad: Yeah, debit cards are bad news, what with their “convenience”, “easy of use” and “safety”

      • Optimus says:

        @statgrad: Actually, Check Cards are usually covered by the same safeguards as credit cards. The only real difference is that they are backed by your own bank account rather than a line of credit.

    • dragon:ONE says:

      @Cocoa Vanilla: HP’s based in California, but their case managers are in Canada.

      Just a heads up… the more you know, y’know?

      • Cocoa Vanilla says:

        @dragon:ONE: It shouldn’t matter where the case managers are. The case managers may be in Canada or Bangladesh – it doesn’t matter – they’re acting on behalf of the company, which is based in California.

  2. corsec67 says:

    A great reason not to use a debit card or similar. Credit cards protect you from this kind of thing.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      @corsec67:

      Exactly. Why anyone uses debit cards is beyond me.

      • bagumpity says:

        @NeverLetMeDown: The only reason to use a debit card is if your credit is so bad that you can’t get a credit card. And if that’s the case, you probably don’t have any money to begin with, so you wouldn’t be able to use a debit card.

        So then the only reason to use a debit card must be “it speeds things up.” Haven’t you seen all those visa check commercials where everybody’s dancing and whizzing their way through the checkout lines until some bozo uses cash and disrupts the groove?

        Bullshit!

        Paying with cash is about 4 times as fast as using plastic of any kind (i.e debit/credit/gift card). You never have a problem where your cash turned you down for the purchase and you have to find your other cash. You never have to wait for approval to use your cash. You never have to sign your cash’s receipt. Nobody checks the back of your cash to see if it’s signed. I’ve clocked it, and my average cash transaction takes about a minute and a half less than my average plastic transaction.

        So, uh yeah, there’s NO reason to use a debit card except to put the 2% transaction fee in the banks’ pockets and drive up your prices. Marketing. Pure marketing.

        • bogart27 says:

          @bagumpity: You’re missing the only reason people use debit cards…becuase, unlike Credit Cards, debit lets you spend money you actually have.

          Now, obviously OP got screwed. But I sure wouldn’t walk into a store with $1200 cash in my pocket.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            @bogart27: I have all the money in my bank. I don’t use a debit card, only credit. I’m not sure how saying that people who use debit cards are actually spending the money they have, cause responsible credit card users also have the money.

            • Jason Renda says:

              @pecan 3.14159265: I have a debit card, and nothing else because I don’t have the need for a credit card. I pay bills online and make the rare purchase online with my debit card, and everything else I deal with in cash. I don’t see the point in getting a credit card for those rare situations, and having to pay some other company interest on something that I can afford to pay for without the extra interest included. But that’s just me, if you like paying extra fees to spend your money, more power to you.

              • floraposte says:

                @Jason Renda: If you think you couldn’t use a credit card without incurring fees, then I agree that a debit card is a smarter choice for you.

                However, you’re mistaken about the way many people use credit cards–a lot of us don’t pay any fees, and instead get money back from the credit card, in addition to benefiting from the chargeback protection that would have been relevant here. While the credit card situation may change, right now it’s quite possible to use them without paying interest or fees and with an end result that makes us pay less than you do for products.

                • HogwartsAlum says:

                  @floraposte:

                  Which is why I would like to get a credit card, but not until the Credit Reform passes. But then it will be harder to get one. Catch-22. I’ll wait and see what happens and use my debit card in the meantime.

              • pecan 3.14159265 says:

                @Jason Renda: You seem to be under the impression that getting a credit card means you accrue interest for purchases. I don’t pay any interest…ever. I pay my balance in full, every month.

                I use a credit card because there are rewards that make it beneficial, I do a great deal of shopping online, and I find it much more secure than using a debit card. If someone steals my debit card and runs up a lot of purchases, the money is gone already before I can file a report with the bank. With credit cards, I can file a report as soon as I see the charge and there’s time for them to resolve the fraud problem and my money isn’t gone.

                You may not have a need for a credit card, but don’t go half-cocked assuming that credit cards are only used by delinquents.

                • MinorAnnoyance says:

                  And maybe some of the rest of you shouldn’t assume that people who prefer debit cards are deadbeats with credit so bad they can’t get a credit card. Amazing how it works both ways, eh?

              • ilves says:

                @Jason Renda:

                How exactly do you think credit cards work?

                If you buy something on a credit card and pay your balance in full when the bill comes in, you don’t pay any interest, at all, zero, zilch. It’s only if you leave a balance at the end of the period do you accrue interest on the left-over balance. Plus, if you have a credit card from your bank (or some companies) you don’t have any annual fees. I pay $0 extra to use my credit card for purchases because I always pay my balance off at the end of the month (I don’t spend money I don’t have, its amazing how that works) while accruing airline miles that have so far bought me a few free flights in the last couple years.

              • oldgraygeek says:

                @Jason Renda: My wife handles the finances and the credit cards. She pays them off every month. We don’t pay interest or annual fees.
                She also brought $800+ into the household last year in cash-back allowances, gift cards, and other bonuses. This year, with all our gas purchases returning 5%, that number will be over $1K.

                • henwy says:

                  @oldgraygeek:

                  What worries me with the high defaults and the credit card bill just passed is that annual fees will be par for the course in a year or two. We can shop around now, but I don’t think it’s far off to the point where you can’t avoid them.

                  • johnva says:

                    @henwy: I’m not convinced of that. A lot of propaganda has been flying about that credit card bill (much of it from the credit card industry). I’ll believe it when I see it.

                    • henwy says:

                      @johnva:

                      Nothing we can do now but wait and see. If it does come to pass it’s going to be too late to cry about it then. The credit card companies are losing money at unbelievable rates due to defaults. They have to close the gap somewhere.

                    • johnva says:

                      @henwy: Yeah, but the easiest way to do that would be to STOP LOANING MONEY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE LIKELY TO DEFAULT. Not to charge people who don’t default more, and potentially lose them as a customer. That would be akin to banks raising interest rates on mortgages for people with good credit and no history of default to make up for their losses to people with subprime credit. It sounds good in theory for the bank, but the reality is that the market won’t bear it. SOME bank would step in, see an opportunity, and offer a credit card without the fees only to people with really good credit, etc. And unlike people with bad credit, people with good credit can just leave and take their business elsewhere if their card issuer does something that annoys them like instituting an annual fee.

                      There is too much competition for me to believe that they would succeed in doing this, unless ALL the credit card companies instituted it simultaneously. And if that happened, I’d want to see some antitrust investigations.

                    • henwy says:

                      @johnva:

                      I’m sure you’ve heard it before but leaning money to people who might default was subsidizing all the no-annual fees and reward programs us ‘deadbeats’ were enjoying. It’s profitable when it works right. Of course, now that it’s not working right everyone’s shafted and some of us are being forced to pick up the load for the defaulters.

                    • johnva says:

                      @henwy: Like I said, hasn’t happened yet. But I can tell you right now that I won’t use a credit card if they charge me more to use it than they pay me in rewards. And I know that I’m not alone. That will definitely put pressure on them not to go that route, since they do still make money off of you even if you don’t pay interest.

                    • henwy says:

                      @johnva: We won’t have much of a choice if they all shift that way. There’s no way in hell I’m going to start using a debit card though no matter what happens.

                      Look at the situation with the airlines and those extra-bag charges. It doesn’t take much for the entire industry to move in lockstep for something like that. At first it seemed southwest was going to be the sole (major carrier anyway) holdout, but even they’re starting to tack on fees. I think that the situation with credit cards will be very similar in the end.

              • lotussix says:

                @Jason Renda: i have both and use only my credit card and pay off the balance at the end of the month.

                therefore, there’s no interest.

                also, the protection a credit card gives you is better than cash.

                with my rewards program, i actually make money by using the credit card for purchases.

              • MinorAnnoyance says:

                @Jason Renda: Glad I’m not the only one. I found that statement about bad credit and inability to get a credit card being the ONLY reason for using a debit card mildly offensive.

                • b.k. says:

                  @MinorAnnoyance: I found it more than mildly offensive. Some of us don’t live in the same area as our bank and can’t withdraw cash from ATMs without surcharges. Would you rather wait behind me as I use my debit card (as a credit card) or would you rather wait for me to write out a check?

              • AustinTXProgrammer says:

                @Jason Renda: I hate paying extra fees, but I love it when they are rebated to me!! Get yourself a good rewards card and pay it off in full each month.

                The Chase Freedom card isn’t what it used to be, but its better than no rewards card at all.

                • korybing says:

                  @AustinTXProgrammer: If you can find me a card with good rewards and a credit limit higher than a grand, I’d be all for it. Unfortunately it seems like you have to have a few crappy cards before they let you get nice ones. I don’t have a lot of credit history, I have a card I got from my bank that I use primarily for gas and that’s about it. I was going to make my very first major purchase, a laptop, and I wanted to put it on a credit card in order to help build my credit. However I could not find a card that offered me any sort of decent rewards at all. After looking and looking and being rejected time after time for “insufficient credit history” I was finally accepted for a Discover Miles card, only to find out that they gave me basically no credit limit and I had to split the computer up over my discover card and my bank credit card because neither had a high enough limit for me to put the purchase all on one card.

                  Perhaps if I could find a credit card that didn’t treat me like a deadbeat I’d be more apt to use them. The only fault I can see here is that I did not start charging giant amounts of money to a credit card when I was in college, since I have a record of timely payments and good money management otherwise. I don’t have a lot of experience with credit cards, and credit cards don’t seem to want my business, which is why I usually default to my debit card, I guess.

                  • johnva says:

                    @korybing: I didn’t start charging giant amounts of money in college, although I did get my first credit card then, with a tiny $500 limit. I charged small amounts on it and paid it off every month for several years, at which point they raised my limit to thousands of dollars. I was then easily able to get a “good” credit cards, which gave me like a $15,000 credit limit. That depends on your income, too, though.

                    I can understand the problems you had, but those aren’t problems for most people with good and relatively lengthy credit histories. You might want to check out your credit report and score to make sure there’s no identity-theft, etc. Also keep in mind that too many inquiries within a short period will create a sizable hit to your credit score. It’s better to wait awhile to try again rather than try lots of cards in a row.

                    • korybing says:

                      @johnva: See I didn’t know that trying to apply for several different cards at once would hurt my credit score (does it?). I was just trying to shop around for the best card available to me, and all the sites I went to wouldn’t tell me what I was qualified for till after I made an inquiry.

                    • johnva says:

                      @korybing: Yes, it does hurt your credit, temporarily. “Credit seeking” is seen as risky behavior by the issuers.

              • rellog321 says:

                @Jason Renda: When this type of situation happens to you, you may feel differently. There aren’t any fees associated with a credit card if you pay it off on time.

            • floraposte says:

              @pecan 3.14159265: I think the theory is that some people don’t curb themselves on credit cards; they need the external curbing of a bank’s limit. I wonder, though–if you’re going actually to your limit, you’re going to end up incurring fees, and if you’re not, you’re capable of limiting yourself, so why not get the credit card benefits?

              I think mostly it’s an “it works for me” situation, which I have no quarrel with. It’s just that the defenses tend to involve theories beyond that.

              • henwy says:

                @floraposte:

                I really think a lot of this is how you were raised. My sisters and I were brought up to believe that you paid your bills in full every month. The idea of paying interest was so heinous that none of us would have considered it any more than flushing dollars bills down the toilet. It was just completely verboten.

                • floraposte says:

                  @henwy: I totally get the upbringing thing–my dad was a Depression kid. But paying interest isn’t requisite–I haven’t paid interest on a credit card purchase in years. Is the association with interest so great that cards are just pretty much mentally marked as “Danger!” and therefore you wouldn’t be comfortable with them even if they saved you money? I’m probably about there on an ARM, so I don’t find that incomprehensible; I’m just not clear on whether you’re talking about situations where you don’t pay interest,too.

                  • henwy says:

                    @floraposte:

                    Nah, I use my credit cards, I just make sure to pay them off each month. It was just ingrained in us that you spend what you have and never more than what you have. If you couldn’t afford that new tv or new car or any other item short of food, then you simply didn’t need it.

                    About the only thing that didn’t qualify for this line of thinking was a house and the mortgage that came with it. My uncle used to tell us that our house (when we bought one) should always be the shittiest looking one on the street. The idea being, not that you should neglect your home but that you always wanted to buy into the best neighborhood you could because of all the benefits like less crime and better schools.

                    • floraposte says:

                      @henwy: Sounds like we’re pretty much on the same page. We’re basically using charge cards, not credit cards.

                      I like the considerable savings my credit cards bring me and the protection (plus, as a lazy person, I like the ease of viewing my spending history). I tend to look obsessively at all my accounts anyway (and now I’ll know to look at the frickin’ due date as well, thanks, Discover), so I’m not too worried about piling spending up without realizing it.

                    • henwy says:

                      @floraposte:

                      It definitely changes how you spend money when you look at your credit card tallies online on a daily basis. It’s amazing how it all adds up and just looking at it that way often encourages me to spend less.

                      Ditto with the due date thing on discover. I noticed they had shifted it almost immediately, but I hadn’t realized I could pick whatever date I wanted on the account preferences until a few days ago. I just set it back to something I preferred and no problemos now.

                    • dragonfire81 says:

                      @floraposte: I’m not sure a chargeback would have been allowed here. HP charged him for a hard drive that was supposed to be sent back to them.

                      The snafu was on their end with not sending him a label, but from a chargeback standpoint what HP did was the correct action.

                      I still get confused with the whole credit/debit card system in this country. In Canada debit cards and credit cards are entirely different things. We use one card for debit and another for credit. If I hold up a card from Canada with a Mastercard logo on it, there’s no need to ask “Credit or debit”. If it’s branded, it’s credit. Our debit cards are non branded and double as ATM cards.

                      The concept of a single card that can be either debit or credit was difficult for me to grasp at first and still causes me problems with keeping track of my balance because some transactions (debit) withdraw immediately (which I like) and others (credit) take several days.

                      In Canada anything that came off my bank account came off immediately. Anything that took a few days to post would come off my credit limit on the credit card.

                      I do use debit sometimes, but only in situations where the amount of money being spent is too low to really bother me (ie if I am buying a couple of $5 DVDs out of a bargain bin or something).

                      Also I think it’s rather sad that so many folks have to resort to filing chargebacks because businesses won’t act right.

              • pecan 3.14159265 says:

                @floraposte: I think if you’re depending on a bank to curb your spending, you should re-examine how you’re spending and your impulse level to begin with. And I agree with you; you’d be incurring fees if you overdrafted to begin with, so why not avoid overdraft and reap the benefits?

                Using the “it works for me” angle is fine. But assuming that others are somehow less educated than you are or must love giving away their money because you have no idea how a credit card works is the angle I hate.

              • johnva says:

                @humphrmi: Who cares if he returned the drive? Doing so was only for HP’s benefit, not his. HP has no one to blame but themselves for not getting it back if they TWICE failed to send out a shipping label, and has no right to charge him a single dime, in my opinion. Much less, $1700.

                Yes, he should have contacted them again sooner. But it’s still 100% HP’s fault that this situation a) even occurred in the first place, and b) got so bad. I’m not one that is quick to throw around the “chargeback” stuff, but I would definitely use one in this case. The fact that the charges are so far our of proportion to anything reasonable for a new hard drive makes it 100% fraud (or at least a mistake) and NOT anything to do with paying for the hard drive.

                It’s also possible that these could just be pre-authorization holds rather than real charges.

                • unpolloloco says:

                  @johnva: Returning the drive was part of the contract – otherwise if the old hdd was working, he could just keep it and use it elsewhere, effectively stealing it from HP. That said, HP never was able to let him return the drive, thereby making it HP’s fault.

                  • johnva says:

                    @unpolloloco: Yes, I understand WHY HP wants the drive back. That’s understandable. What I’m saying is that they aren’t justified in charging him anything if they botched the process of allowing him to return it to him.

                    • henwy says:

                      @johnva:

                      ‘IF’ they botched the process. Lets hypothetically say that HP responds to this post saying that according to their records, they did mail the shipping label, twice even.

                      What happens then?

                    • johnva says:

                      @henwy: Hypotheticals are not really relevant to the discussion if their only purpose is to shift blame to the OP. And even that wouldn’t necessarily convince me, because I’ve had enough experience dealing with large corporations to know that their records don’t always match their actions.

                      Regardless, a $1,700 charge is totally unreasonable. $150, maybe. $1,700, absolutely not.

                    • henwy says:

                      @johnva:

                      I had a laptop break recently that I purchased for $424 a year ago from Dell. Dell said the mother board was dead and offered to fix it for $400.

                      Reasonable doesn’t often have much to do with it when it comes to computer repairs. Still, it’s clear from the fact it was billed twice that there was some sort of error somewhere.

                    • johnva says:

                      @henwy: See, I would argue that the $400 for a mother board actually IS reasonable. Unlike in the OP’s case, that’s the main component of the computer and has a lot of other expensive parts integrated into it if it’s a laptop. And it takes a good bit of labor to replace one (taking the whole thing apart, disconnecting everything, installing the new one, reconnecting it all, putting it all back together). $400 is not out of line in that case; it just seems less reasonable because the computer was super-cheap to start out.

                      A hard drive, on the other hand, is a simple, modular part that is relatively inexpensive and can be replaced with maybe 1 minute of work. Anything more than $150 or so is totally unreasonable there, especially since they had no reasonable basis to charge him for labor in this case (since his only “crime” was not returning it to them, not failing to pay them to install it).

            • katstermonster says:

              @pecan 3.14159265: I’ll speak for myself and say that I have a tendency to not be the most responsible credit card user. I stick to a debit card whenever possible so I don’t spend money I don’t have…just a little more accountability to myself for the purchases I make. I look at my checking account at the end of the day and it’s staring me in the face. That’s just me, though.

              • johnva says:

                @katstermonster: But a debit card actually DOESN’T provide “more accountability”. A debit card will still let you spend money you don’t have, and in fact will charge you MORE than a credit card if you overspend (fees, etc). And you can do the same thing (view your current purchases online) with every credit card I’ve ever seen. It’s actually EASIER to predict what your current balance is on a credit card, typically, because all the floating authorization holds are sort of irrelevant (if you have a large credit line in comparison to your spending). You can just ignore them until the end of the month, at which point everything will get “sorted out”. You don’t have to constantly monitor your available balance like you do with a debit card.

                Like I said, personal psychological reasons are a reason for some people to use a debit card. But that doesn’t mean that debit cards aren’t objectively worse. It just means that you’re willing to use a worse financial product because your psychological factors make it worth it to you. I’m not going to criticize you for making that choice, but it doesn’t hurt to get real information about the risks. vs. benefits of doing so.

            • Skaperen says:

              @pecan 3.14159265: I have my money in different accounts, at different banks, then where my debit cards are (well, there’s a small amount in these accounts to keep them open).

            • MooseOfReason says:

              @pecan 3.14159265: That doesn’t make any sense.

              “Responsible credit card users also have the money.”

              They hope to have the money by the deadline. Why would you need a credit card in the first place? You want to spend more money than you have at the moment, thinking you’ll have the money by the time your bill comes.

              That’s not being responsible. That’s hoping you don’t have any emergencies.

          • t-r0y says:

            @bogart27: Apparently, in this OP’s case, the debit card let him spend money he didn’t have!?!?!?

          • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

            @bogart27: ah now, see i use my debit card because there’s no financing charges and i don’t get charged interest.

            • Mina_da_mad_child says:

              @catastrophegirl – manic first time home buyer: And my debit card gives me rewards eveytime I use it as credit.

              I like not spending money I don’t have. As a freelancer, I’m never sure when or where my next check is coming from. So if I have the cash now, I rather pay for it and be done. Just what works for me

        • HiPwr says:

          @bagumpity: @NeverLetMeDown: The only time I use my debit card for a purchase is at the gas pump. What’s so unreasonable about that?

          • oldgraygeek says:

            @HiPwr: Watch out for that debit card at the gas pump.
            Many gas stations do a pre-authorization for up to $75 when you swipe a card: they want to make sure you can afford to fill up your Hummer H2T before they start the pump. On a debit card, this can cause an overdraft.

            • HiPwr says:

              @oldgraygeek: That’s interesting. I wasn’t aware of that. Is this true if you answer ‘no’ when they ask if it is a debit card and have the pump treat it as a credit card instead? I never understood why I would answer ‘yes’ and go through another step to answer my PIN when I can just have them consider it a regular Visa card.

              • johnva says:

                @HiPwr: One of the worst things about debit cards, that people aren’t generally aware of since the banks don’t exactly advertise this, is that how you answer that “credit or debit” question can actually affect your consumer rights. The reason is that the card will get processed a different way if you select debit, and your rights can depend on how it gets processed, depending on your bank’s policies. A debit/check card processed as “credit” will be covered by the Visa guarantees and policies, but you’re not guaranteed that it will be if you choose debit, because debit can be processed in many ways other than the Visa network. So then your only protection is whatever policies your bank has about consumer protection and fraud.

                • HiPwr says:

                  @johnva: Absolutely true. But, going back to my original point: what is wrong with using a debit card to buy gas? I think that is even safer than using a check.

                  • johnva says:

                    @HiPwr: There is nothing “wrong” with it other than the intrinsic problems with debit cards (such as the fact that random merchants, like gas stations and hotels, can put large holds on your own money in your checking account, and the fact that you’re giving more people direct access to your money – the lack of indirection may create an additional security risk). Also, you give up the better consumer protection and rewards that you generally get on a credit card. I get 5% cashback on gas, which I doubt is possible to get on any debit card.

                  • unpolloloco says:

                    @HiPwr: Safer than using a check, yes by all means. Safer than using cash or credit, not at all.

                    • HiPwr says:

                      @unpolloloco: I guess my laziness in not wanting to walk into the gas station and wait in line to pay cash for fuel outweighs my concern over whether I may need to do a chargeback on three ounces of gas that they shorted me when I bought a gallon and pumped it into my car and later discovered it when I emptied my fuel tank and measured how much it contained.

                  • jswilson64 says:

                    @HiPwr: Only thing wrong with using a debit card for gas is if you’re putting your PIN number into the gas pump. If you’re using it as a “credit” card, i.e., no PIN, no problemo. But I don’t put my PIN into a gas pump, nor do I put it in at a POS terminal that looks the least bit hinkey.

        • korybing says:

          @bagumpity: “The only reason to use a debit card is if your credit is so bad that you can’t get a credit card. And if that’s the case, you probably don’t have any money to begin with, so you wouldn’t be able to use a debit card.”

          Untrue! So completely untrue! That’s like saying “the only reason to use checks is because you can’t use a credit card”. They’re different. Some people just don’t see a need to use a credit card for everything, why should that be seen as bad or assume that person doesn’t have any money? I have a credit card, but my debit card is much easier to use, I can view the balance online much easier, when I need some cash I can just go to the nearest ATM, and if there’s a problem I can walk into the nearest bank branch instead of spending an hour on the phone with the credit card’s customer service.

          I don’t want to buy groceries with a credit card and then turn around and pay that credit card off, especially when I have the money right here, right now in my checking account. And I don’t use a lot of cash because I don’t like keeping large amounts of cash on me. Computers and other large or important purchases go on the credit card, but for everything else I use cash or the debit card. I don’t understand why there’s so much debit card hate around here.

          • johnva says:

            @korybing: The reason there is so much debit card hate is because debit cards are objectively worse than credit cards from a consumer standpoint. They don’t offer you the same level of protection, rewards, etc.

            All the reasons you gave are essentially subjective psychological ones or false (in particular, most people who have credit cards have a debit/ATM card too, and you CAN get a credit card from your local bank if that’s what you want). These are more YOUR issues with credit vs. debit than they are real reasons to use debit cards.

          • ryatziv says:

            @korybing:
            I don’t want to buy groceries with a credit card and then turn around and pay that credit card off, especially when I have the money right here, right now in my checking account.

            Why the heck not? What are you gaining by using cash or debit? By using credit you’re floating the money so you get a bit more interest from the bank.

        • MinorAnnoyance says:

          @bagumpity: Sorry, using a debit card “because your credit is so bad can’t get a credit card” is nothing but another generalization… I haven’t had a credit card since my retirement in 1991, at which time my credit was excellent.

          I use my debit card for everything I need and haven’t had any major problems with it yet although my bank, BofA has incurred my wrath often for a myriad of other problems, including trying to ram half a ton of credit card apps down my throat annually until I found a place on their web site to stop them from sending me unsolicited email.

          • eelmonger says:

            @MinorAnnoyance: Well, you’re paying 1-5% more for all your purchases because you aren’t getting cash back from a card. If fraud occurs or you need to reverse a charge with your debit card, the money is out of your pocket until the bank fixes it, whereas with a credit card it’s out of the company’s pocket. Also, unless you’re using your debit card as credit you’re not getting the extended warranties and such offered by the credit card companies.

            If you have the means to get a credit card and are mature enough to control your spending there is really no reason not to use one.

        • trujunglist says:

          @bagumpity:

          Wrong wrong wrong. I don’t have bad credit, I just have very little credit, and they won’t extend me anymore than that, even though I’ve had the very little credit + many other things that should back up a credit report but don’t (such as on time monthly rental payments, etc) for years. It would be impossible for me to purchase a computer with the amount of credit available to me, yet I can easily afford it. The banks seriously do not and have never wanted my loads of cash (almost all of my apps were rejected due to lack of credit, but I did manage to get a bofa credit card… so long as I put down a refundable deposit for the first year…), so I have had to stick to debit.

          • johnva says:

            @trujunglist: Little/no credit history is sometimes even worse than bad credit in getting things approved. It kind of makes sense – you’re an unknown quantity, so they can’t weigh what sort of risk you might be and adjust your interest rate, etc accordingly.

            The only real way to “bootstrap” your credit history is to start small and work your way up. You could do a secured card first (like the BoA one you mentioned) and then apply for a real card after a year or two of having that and paying on time. Or you could try to get a card from one of the issuers known for issuing cards with small credit limits to people without much credit history (e.g., Capital One), though I have no idea what the “subprime” credit card environment is like right now (I’m guessing not good).

    • hegemonyhog says:

      @hexychick: Having had a return like this before, here’s what tends to happen:

      1.) You will get the wrong address, send it to some random facility in the middle of Oklahoma where it will never be seen or heard from again; or

      2.) They have no idea what the address is, and in fact don’t want you to send the hard drive on your own dime for administrative purposes.

      I’m sorry, but the most he could have expected was a $100-200 charge for the hard drive, coupled by a bureaucratic mess. There is no reason for HP to have done this.

      • Skaperen says:

        @hegemonyhog: HP is hurting for cash in the “down economy”. And this is, after all, only a temporary loan. You’ll get your money back after you or your state’s attorney general sues. You’ll probably even get it back before it goes to trial. And there won’t be any interest that you’d have to declare as income.

    • Optimus says:

      @corsec67: Check/debit cards still have the same safeguards as credit cards unless you actually enter your PIN. Again, the only real difference is that they are backed by your own bank account rather than a line of credit.

      • johnva says:

        @Optimus: However, if you do enter your PIN, they do not necessarily protect you nearly as well as it then depends on what your bank’s policies are and what network the merchant processes your transaction through.

        Also, in any case, they are inherently worse from a consumer protection standpoint because it is YOUR MONEY that could get held up, stolen, etc and be in limbo during an investigation. With a credit card, it’s the bank’s money. I don’t give a damn if there is fraud against my credit card because I can get it removed before I ever have to pay my bill. With a debit/check card, it could instantly screw a ton of things up.

  3. bonzombiekitty says:

    Not to go all “blame the consumer” but the article implies he never sent the dead hard drive back because he never got the shipping label? The article said the shipping label would be sent out the next day, and then “fast forward four weeks”. Assuming he never got the shipping label, he should have called HP about it after a couple days of not having gotten the label.

    • Riff Raff says:

      @bonzombiekitty:

      Exactly. There’s no reason to have waited 4 weeks for a shipping label, knowing he could have been charged.

      However, as verucalise points out below, the charges the HP debited are absolutely criminal, ridiculous, and borderline theft. I would hound those bastards until I got every penny, including fees, back. At the most I would accept the cost of the drive, nothing more.

      • Cyberxion101 says:

        @Riff-Raff: I like how you folks appear to be assuming that nothing but the matter at hand could possibly be going on in the OP’s life. It could very well be possible that this was driven to the back of his mind by other things, which is why he didn’t get to it as quickly as you’d expect him to have. ;)

      • Ben Miner says:

        @Riff-Raff: There are plenty of reasons he waited a few weeks after the label was supposed to arrive. I don’t know about Chris but a lot of people have jobs, lives, families, vacations, etc and a laptop hard drive isn’t exactly their #1 priority. Sounds like he spent a lot of time on hold the first time and some people simply don’t have the time to do that. Or maybe he travels a lot and was out of town? HP should not be charging him for their failure to send him a return label, even if it takes him a few weeks to realize it.

        • kexline says:

          @Ben Miner: Not only that, but I would not really EXPECT to see the label for at least a week.

          Also, as to the ninnies asking why he didn’t send the drive back on his own dime — that would be a fantastically stupid thing to do in this situation. If you send the drive back to a large vendor without an RMA label, it *will* get lost. Even if you put tracking and insurance on it, it’s likely to get lost inside the organization. Then what will you do?

    • EdnaLegume says:

      @bonzombiekitty: Agreed. At the very least, send it yourself and fight them for minor shipping charges.

      yeah the new costs are ridiculous but… might have been avoided… ???

    • ShachiAssaracus says:

      @bonzombiekitty: Right. Wasn’t there just a post similar to this about Comcast. I think the lesson was “when a company screws up their side of a business agreement, it shouldn’t automatically absolve you from your obligations.”

      I feel bad for the OP, but HP warned him they’d charge his account if the original hard drive wasn’t returned. It sucks that HP’s customer service didn’t send the return label when they promised, but the OP shouldn’t have given up so easily on trying to get one.

      • henwy says:

        @ShachiAssaracus:

        I especially like how he tries to trivialize it by ‘fast forward[ing] 4 weeks’. That should have slammed the brakes on this fail-mobile right there. I just don’t get the thinking here. Did he think that USPS or whatever was just being extra slow? Maybe he thought that there was a category for 32nd class mail and it would be delivered by pack mule?

      • johnva says:

        @ShachiAssaracus: I have to disagree here. The whole reason for the shipping label in the first place is for HP’s benefit (they want the defective hard drive back). They screwed up on sending it out, so they screwed themselves. That doesn’t give them ANY right to just unilaterally push their problem on the consumer by charging him a bunch of money because THEY messed up.

        HP should just be SOL until they can get around to sending out the necessary materials for the OP to send it back. He perhaps should have been more proactive about getting them to do it, but in the end he has fulfilled his obligation completely. I would a fraud chargeback against HP over this, and then happily send the drive back once they get around to shipping it.

    • Biggbrother says:

      @bonzombiekitty: I have to agree. The phrase “fast forward 3 weeks” just glosses over the fact that the OP ignored the issue for a long time. He could have called HP in a few days and requested that it be e-mailed to him, which most companies do nowadays anyway.

      His other mistake was using a debit card to make the original purchase, and to to process the warranty. At least he could make a claim to his credit card company to dispute the charges. Now he has to rely on his bank’s policy on charge disputes.

      However, I agree that the charges by HP are completely ridiculous. But maybe it’s me, but with all these stories I seem to see at least some fault with the OPs because they make senseless mistakes that get them into the situation in the first place. Maybe this is why stuff like this doesn’t happen to me.

    • Russ Savage says:

      @bonzombiekitty: how the hell was he supposed to know where to ship it if he didn’t get a return label? don’t try and blame shift.. hp is horrible

  4. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    Not blaming the OP, but knowing that he could *possibly* be charged for that hard drive, maybe he should of sent it back on his own dime- just to make sure. I wouldn’t of let 4 weeks slip past without the label, I would of been calling them every week.

    The charges are completely outrageous regardless, and he should file a dispute with his bank. I would of contacted the bank as SOON as I saw the pending charges- never wait that long! Fraudulent charges are fraudulent, regardless of whether they are pending or completely posted. Has he returned the hard drive yet? Technically, they have the right to still charge for that, just not $1700!!

    I also wonder why they still have his credit card/debit card info…?? Do they keep this on file while you have a product under a warranty period, or did the OP have to provide the information to fulfill the warranty? When I bought my laptops thru Dell, they never asked for any kind of billing source when fulfilling warranties.

    It’s too early for analyzing–coffffeeeeee.

    • nucwin83 says:

      @verucalise: To be fair, I’ve had trouble with disputing charges that are pending, specifically with Chase. When I stayed at a resort one time, I was told that there would be one night’s rent placed on my credit card. Long story short, they ate a good chunk of my available credit when they put the entire amount of the stay, plus 50% on hold on my card.

      Checked back at the front desk, they said that it was customary to apply 50% in addition to the amount of the hold for incidentals. After a little bit of back and forth, they “reversed” the hold and applied a new hold on a separate card (since they couldn’t get my original card to take the new hold… should’ve been a sign for me there but I was ready to get back to my room). Call Chase, and nope, hold is still there, and now there’s a new hold on my second card. But I’ll just have to wait until the hold drops off (in 3-5 business days, conveniently at the end of my vacation). I call back and ask for a supervisor, and finally get someone who tells me they can manually remove a hold if they have the merchant’s authorization. Another 30 minutes later, and I finally have available credit again.

      In other words, disputing a pending charge is a pain in the tookus.

      • johnva says:

        @nucwin83:
        Unfortunately, when it comes to hotels, you really need a card with a huge credit line.

        Why anyone uses a debit card for hotels is beyond me. It’s a nightmare for exactly that same reason (huge holds placed, only then it’s a hold on YOUR OWN MONEY, rather than the bank’s).

    • bikeoid says:

      @verucalise: Often, it is not easy to obtain the correct address to send the failed drive back to – it must often be marked with a code number so that the right department processes it, and it is credited to the correct account. (But if you are lucky and get a sharp Customer Service rep, they will give you the right address).

      • ResidentOfDisturbia_GitEmSteveDave says:

        @bikeoid: Yeah, but this isn’t about obtaining an address. It’s about obtaining a label. They were supposed to send the label and it never arrived. The OP should have re-connected with HP sometimes during the MONTH that it didn’t show up. I have received labels like this through companies like Apple and The Sportsmans guide. They usually ship like a regular envelope, and you rip the edges off, and when you open it, the label is inside. You just slap the label on the box w/the drive, and drop it off at any “mailbox” store.

        @verucalise: I wouldn’t go analyzing your coffee using carbon dating. The way Dn’D burns coffee, it will throw off the results. ;)

        • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

          @RideMyDiscoStick?_GitEmSteveDave: Sticks and stones, my Wawa enemy…. sticks and stones.

        • Kogenta says:

          @RideMyDiscoStick?_GitEmSteveDave: I’m surprised they had to mail him (or not) the label at all. Microsoft for example is completely willing to email your the PDF shipping label provided you already have appropriate shipping materials (and obviously the replacement drive in this case must have come in appropriate shipping containment), all you have to do is print it out, attach it to the box and drop it at the nearest shipping center for that particular company (probably UPS).

          But then, I’ve never dealt with HP Customer Service, so I have no idea if they can even do it that way.

          I am extremely interested in knowing how HP came up with their charge figures. There should be no reason to induce charges higher than the value of the product, and unless that’s a super proprietary hard drive, I can’t imagine they cost that much, unless HP contracted the military to hand deliver it by harrier jet or something.

    • MinorAnnoyance says:

      @verucalise: Sending back on his own dime sounds like a good idea but knowing where to send it and attaching all the little routing codes and numbers that the label might have had is a whole other issue.

      I sent back a DVD drive that way once and though we finally tracked it down and got the problem taken care of, it wasn’t easy.

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        @MinorAnnoyance: If it were me, I would call them, say that I’d send the hard drive to any address they provide, but it ain’t staying here. I would include all the information in the box, my name, address, phone number, purchase date, account numbers, phone calls, ETC and write that since HP won’t send the proper return labels, they will have the product improperly returned. Take pictures of the whole thing. Send certified mail.

        Can’t claim they didn’t receive it at that point, they can only claim that they can’t FIND it.

    • pulsar0510 says:

      @verucalise: WHile I understand the POV that he should have kept after HP for the shipping label, I have to wonder at what point should you stop trying? They dropped the ball on the first delivery (not including the label) and he notified them. They agreed to rectify the mistake and failed to do so. I personaly might have pursued the issue further, but really, why should he have to? His laptop failed within the warranty and he went out of his way to let them know they didn’t include a label. THat they don’t have their shit together enough to send it should be his problem.
      And…
      Those fee’s sound criminal.

    • crashfrog says:

      @verucalise: Sent it where? And sent it how, to ensure that receipt was associated with his specific case?

      Four weeks is not an unreasonable amount of time to wait for something to arrive by mail. Four weeks is an unreasonable amount of time to expect the hard drive to have arrived on HP’s end; for other RMA’s with other companies I’ve had as long as three months to return the defective hardware.

      • WiiPoleNotIncluded_GitEmSteveDave says:

        @crashfrog: four weeks is not an unreasonable amount of time to get a letter? In the US? Wow, you really pissed off your mailman, didn’t you.

        • crashfrog says:

          @WiiPoleNotIncluded_GitEmSteveDave: Yes. Four weeks is not an unreasonable amount of time to expect business correspondance, especially low-priority correspondance like the return shipping label for a drive that doesn’t work.

          You must live on a coast or something. Here in the heartland we’re used to waiting weeks for business correspondance. Used to take me a week just to get Netflix.

  5. nucwin83 says:

    I’d really want to know their reasoning for the 1700$ in charges. 100$ for the hard drive, and 1600$ for their (maximum 30 minutes) customer support? That’s one hell of a commission.

  6. humphrmi says:

    LOL gotta love the people who scream “chargeback” regardless of the payment type.

    Did the OP ever return the drive? Because my guess is, even though a couple of HP “case workers” claimed to work on cutting him a check or even reversing the charges quickly, in fact they aren’t doing anything because their systems won’t let them resolve this issue until the drive is returned.

    I realize it’s a lot of cash outlay for the OP, but I’m betting that this doesn’t get resolved, regardless of what their case workers say, until the drive is returned and they can release those funds.

  7. solareclipse2 says:

    You know, I never used to use my credit card for stuff like this and over Easter I was out of town and my wife wanted to buy some framed art. Despite having the cash I used my credit card instead of my debit card. Sure enough, the woman at the register charged us 10x what the picture actually cost. Luckily I put it on my credit card and didn’t send my checking account into limbo.

    Also, I can see someone screwing up and typing 800 or 900 dollars instead of 80 or 90 dollars for a hard drive but making an 800 dollar charge and then a 900 dollar charge is outrageous.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @solareclipse2: But, the woman charged you ten times what the picture actually cost. So you allowed her to do that anyway? You didn’t point to the label and say, “this is only ____, why are you charging me more?”

      • solareclipse2 says:

        @pecan 3.14159265:

        I’ll have to explain better. I decided to put the picture on my credit card because I had one of those feelings something was going to go wrong.

        True to form, when she swiped my card and put in the amount she went “oh shit!” It was an older register that doesn’t have a display so I could see what she was doing.

  8. hexychick says:

    If he still has the bad hard drive then he has no case and HP is in the right for part of the charges, but something is missing from the story. The way this is written, it would appear that the OP still has the hard drive (unless I’m misinterpreting “flash forward 4 weeks: still no labels” comment) so why wouldn’t HP charge him for it? Just because you don’t have a label that doesn’t mean you can’t ship something.

    Why couldn’t the OP call HP and just get a shipping address from them and send it on his own dime? Knowing that you’d be charged for the pricey hard drive if you don’t send it back is worth paying the price for ground shipping. Then he could have argued the shipping costs with HP rather than $1700. Something is missing from the story. The way this is written, it would appear that the OP still has the hard drive (unless I’m misinterpreting “flash forward 4 weeks: still no labels” comment) so why wouldn’t HP charge him for it?

    • hexychick says:

      @hexychick: why that comment has double-posted info is beyond me. I swear I hit preview and it looked fine!

    • Blackadar says:

      @hexychick:

      Stop blaming the consumer. HP didn’t follow the terms of the agreement, not the OP. He followed up once and they still didn’t perform. It’s not my job to ensure that you do your job. And it’s not the OPs job to ensure that HP does their job.

      Why should he pay for it on his own dime? It’s under warranty. Again, it’s only his responsibility to return the hard drive when they send the prepaid label. Until HP does their part, he has no responsibility to return the hard drive.

      I’m tired of the “blame the consumer” crap. The OP is 100% in the right here and HP is 100% in the wrong.

      • Blackadar says:

        Also, I hope if HP doesn’t resolve the situation quickly and refund all bank charges, he sues their blasted butts off. Taking $1700 from the OPs bank account for a broken hard drive that HP failed to get isn’t business – it’s THEFT. And I hope he sues them as such. It’s the only way some companies will learn to stop abusing the system and their companies.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @Blackadar: But he waited four weeks to call back.

        • henwy says:

          @pecan 3.14159265:

          Shhh. You’ll ruin the ‘OP is 100% right’ fail-mobile. Just watch it chug along and grin.

          • nakedscience says:

            @henwy: Lol, yes, because calling HP back and requesting a label, but HP STILL DOES NOT SEND THE LABEL AFTER THE SECOND REQUEST, totally means the OP is at fault. Yep. What are you smoking?

            • henwy says:

              @nakedscience:

              And who knows that HP didn’t send the label? I find it a little hard to believe overall and the fact that he dropped the ball for 4 weeks doesn’t incline me to give him the benefit of the doubt in this case. Most of this stuff is automated once a request is put in for a RMA. If I have to pick which is more likely, I’ll choose a screwup by a guy who waited 4 weeks.

              • johnva says:

                @henwy: You have to admit that HP already screwed up even based on the initial part of the story (they didn’t send the label with the replacement drive). So, assuming that is true, and we don’t have any reason to believe it’s not, HP already screwed up. What makes you disbelieve that they would not screw up again?

                If you don’t think this is believable, then you obviously haven’t had much experience dealing with returns through the mail.

                It’s one thing to blame the OP based on their stated actions (which were not perfect, pragmatically). It’s another to make speculative inferences against the OP and outright disbelieve their story based on nothing more than what seems to be a bias for corporations over an individual.

                • henwy says:

                  @johnva: I’ve returned plenty of things through the mail and have never had a problem. I’ve received my shipping label each time, either through email or the physical label in the mail. When possible, I also pay for additional tracking just to make sure that I have a record that my package was sent and also arrived.

                  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And it certainly beats having to bitch and complain about it later.

                  • johnva says:

                    @henwy: So your reasoning is that you’ve never had a problem, therefore this whole story probably didn’t happen? Just to be clear here.

                    • henwy says:

                      @johnva:

                      Ummm, no, you pretty much asked, remember?

                      “then you obviously haven’t had much experience dealing with returns through the mail.”

                    • johnva says:

                      @henwy: Yes, I remember. I’m just saying that it’s not at all uncommon for companies to screw up like this when dealing with shipping labels, etc.

        • floraposte says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: Right, but they waited more than that to fulfill what they explicitly agreed to. And in my experience, the label actually does include information that they haven’t otherwise imparted to you. Plus life just intervenes sometimes.

          I’m not disagreeing that he could have called. But I’m seeing the situation as HP’s fault whether he could have or not–the question is just how much trouble he might have undergone in order to compensate for HP sucking.

        • Blackadar says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: Reading comprehension is your friend. He called them right after not receiving the label with the replacement hard drive to ask them to send one. HP still didn’t send one – that’s twice they didn’t perform.

          Failure on HPs part doesn’t constitute an emergency on the OPs part.

        • nakedscience says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: “But he waited four weeks to call back. “

          Aaaand, HP waited four+ weeks to not send the label.

          Apparently, it’s the OP’s fault that HP doesn’t do what they are supposed to do.

          Fuck that.

          • johnva says:

            @nakedscience: Yeah, I don’t get this attitude here. It’s like people are so used to getting screwed by corporations that they automatically think it’s “normal”. These comments like “he has no case” are totally inexplicable to me.

            Pragmatically, yes, the OP probably could have assumed HP was screwing it up and tried to contact them again, just in order to protect himself. But he has TOTALLY fulfilled his obligations by asking for it twice and this is entirely HP’s problem at this point, as far as I’m concerned. I’d file a chargeback for sure.

        • Cyberxion101 says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: And that’s relevant how, exactly? Besides being awfully presumptous about his life’s circumstances, the onus still falls on HP to follow through on their part of the deal, and it shouldn’t require the OP to have to goad them into it.

          I’m surprised that you folks aren’t seeing the obvious conflict of interest here. HP has absolutely no motivation to send the return label out in a timely manner. Why the shit would they want to, when they can keep on delaying it and then charge you whatever the hell they want for the replacement drive?

          What I’m getting at is that even if what you guys appear to be assuming about the OP’s circumstances has any merit to it whatsoever, there’s no indication that climbing up HP’s ass over this three weeks earlier would have left the OP any better off than he is now. It could just be that he might have spent those three weeks going around in circles with HP, and the result may very well have been the same.

          So let’s stop harping on him for not calling earlier, please? Thanks folks.

          • johnva says:

            @Cyberxion101: Yeah, the conflict of interest thing was pretty much an unspoken assumption of mine. You’re totally right – thanks for stating it plainly. At the very least, HP has an incentive to drag their feet and make people jump through hoops if they’re legally allowed to charge $900 or whatever for a hard drive.

          • El_Fez says:

            @Cyberxion101: What I’m getting at is that even if what you guys appear to be assuming about the OP’s circumstances has any merit to it whatsoever, there’s no indication that climbing up HP’s ass over this three weeks earlier would have left the OP any better off than he is now. It could just be that he might have spent those three weeks going around in circles with HP, and the result may very well have been the same.

            No, but then when someone goes “Well, why didnt you talk to them”, you can take the high road and say “I did – once a week like clockwork”, and that’ll really paint HP as the Bad Guy. Here, it sounds like theyre lazy and/or forgetful. “Yeah, I did call them once and never heard back from them. Then I sat around for three weeks waiting for something to happen.”

            Seriously, while the consumer is not to blame here, with (potentially) a thousand bucks on the line, why would you not pick up the phone and call a couple of times?

      • El_Fez says:

        @Blackadar:

        Stop blaming the consumer. HP didn’t follow the terms of the agreement, not the OP. He followed up once and they still didn’t perform. It’s not my job to ensure that you do your job. And it’s not the OPs job to ensure that HP does their job.

        Why should he pay for it on his own dime? It’s under warranty. Again, it’s only his responsibility to return the hard drive when they send the prepaid label. Until HP does their part, he has no responsibility to return the hard drive.

        I’m tired of the “blame the consumer” crap. The OP is 100% in the right here and HP is 100% in the wrong.

        While HP is certainly the bad guy here, if I had a potential 700 dollar sword of Damocles hanging over my head, you can bet your bottom dollar that I would have been riding HP like a two dollar whore until I got that label. Waiting four weeks and then complaining when the charges show up on your card may be in the letter of the law (or in this case, agreement), but it’s just stupid and unnessassary risk taking.

        • johnva says:

          @El_Fez: I don’t think anyone would reasonably expect a hard drive to cost anywhere near that much. HP shouldn’t be allowed to just charge whatever they want for it just because they can.

          • henwy says:

            @johnva:

            They’ll usually tell you in advance how much they’ll charge you if you don’t send the part back. At least in all the cases where I’ve had to do a RMA they have. The price is always something outrageous, which is just incentive to not forget to ship the widget.

          • El_Fez says:

            @johnva:

            No, I totally agree that a thousand bucks for a hard drive is completely out of line.

            However, he was told straight up “if we dont get the old hard drive back, we’ll charge you for the new one”. Ethical or legal or not, it’s a statment that does have the potential to cause all kinds of problems.

            I would never assume that HP has their shit together, and even though it’s not my responsibilty, I’d hound them to get my shipping label and NOT sit on my hands for 4 weeks until problems started cropping up.

    • ajlei says:

      @hexychick: I am more surprised that it costs $500 MORE than the original cost of the laptop, for a hard drive. Yeah, he waited four weeks, maybe he’s in school, or something else. I’m finishing up my last term, moving, dealing with a lot of other school stuff, I might forget something like a shipping label for a few weeks if I didn’t have it tattooed on myself.

      • henwy says:

        @ajlei:

        If someone is willing to wait a month on something like this, I’m not all that confident that he didn’t actually receive it and just forgot about it or tossed it out by accident.

        • johnva says:

          @henwy: Now THAT is just blaming the OP for no reason. You’re just making up speculative possible reasons why it’s probably his fault and not HP’s.

          We don’t always get the full picture here on Consumerist, but we should limit ourselves to making a judgment based on the facts as we know it.

          • henwy says:

            @johnva: And what ‘facts’ do we actually know? I think it’s a pretty sound inference that someone who willingly admits he let this go four weeks might not be trusted with having been able to handle his affairs when it comes to a return shipping label. Everything on here is speculation because we seldom have both sides of the story.

            • johnva says:

              @henwy: And I think it’s a pretty sound inference, by your same logic, that a CORPORATION that doesn’t follow its own procedures and promises when it comes to sending out the labels might screw it up, too. Especially since this is not the first time I’ve heard of HP doing exactly this; hell, even on this same thread there is another person complaining of exactly the same thing from them.

              Or are you accusing the OP of completely making up the first part of the story? The only failure here was on HP’s part. THEY failed to send out the label they twice promised to. He probably should have called them to double-check, but it’s still completely their fault assuming his story is true as told.

              • henwy says:

                @johnva:

                Why not? It’s certainly quite possible he lied, misrepresented or simply fudged the truth a bit. There’s no ‘facts’ either way since there’s no documentation or corroboration.

                It’s the same with the guy lower down who’s talking about his bill and whether or not he should pay it because the online account lists a different number. Someone who is that carelessly reckless like the OP doesn’t engender a lot of faith on my part. Companies screw up just like people, mostly because they’re run by people but it’s a two way street. I just find it unfathomable that he didn’t follow up on this for 4 weeks until it was certain he was going to be shafted. How else could this have ended?

                Here’s an example, I sent in for a Coinstar promotion for a $10 amazon gift card back in december. I made a note of it and when it didn’t arrive, I’ve been calling them once a week since mid April. I just got off the phone with them again to check up on the situation. I could just shrug and not do anything, pouting that it’s their job to see that I get what’s coming to me but I KNOW if I did that I’d just get the shaft. So I’m being pro-active about it because that’s how the world works.

                • johnva says:

                  @henwy:

                  We never have all the facts or “documentation” here. But we have to assume what we’re told is true for the purposes of discussion. You may be right that he’s lying, but there is NO evidence of that other than your speculative ideas about what went on in that 4 week period. So it’s both pointless and nasty to accuse him of that. You might be right, but it doesn’t add anything to the discussion to talk about something other than what we’ve been told is the case.

                  This particular case might have ended with HP charging him a reasonable amount for the drive. That much would probably be expected. But $1,700 for a hard drive? Totally fraudulent, if it’s a real charge and not just an authorization hold. He had no reason to expect they would charge him so much and overdraft his bank account (except that that’s always a risk if you use a debit card, which is why I advise against using them).

                  Note that I’m NOT disagreeing with you that he should have called them back (and in fact, we don’t actually know that he didn’t, based on the wording). That would certainly be the smart thing to do in order to protect himself. What I’m calling you out for is going beyond that in blaming the OP speculatively.

                  • henwy says:

                    @johnva:

                    I’m perfectly happy to agree with you that the charges are excessive. Frankly, I’m not even sure what the charges are for since they came in two parts which doesn’t make any sense. Either or could be for the drive but it doesn’t seem right that it would be for different amounts which makes a simple double-billing questionable.

                    My point is simply that anyone with half a brain would know that a screw was coming if they were supposed to return an item for a RMA and then never did. Ounce of prevention.

                    • johnva says:

                      @henwy: I don’t think we have much more disagreement, then. I agree that he should have tried to do something. But I still think this is primarily HP’s screwup. He did make an effort to get them to do their jobs. Unfortunately, this is a common thing in America these days. I FREQUENTLY have had to call back many times to get companies to actually fix genuine mistakes that they freely acknowledged were mistakes.

            • Cyberxion101 says:

              @henwy: Absolutely not.

              See, we have the OP’s side of the story, whereas your speculation is entirely out of the ether. Granted the cynics will say that we have no reason to believe the OP, but we have no reason not to either, so you gotta be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. If you can’t, or just won’t for some reason, you may want to reevaluate why you’re hanging out on a consumer advocacy website.

    • johnva says:

      @hexychick: He might not have even known where to send it, though, without the shipping label. And if he sent it to the wrong place, it’s very possible that HP would screw it up again, since he wouldn’t be following their procedure.

      No, the only acceptable solution here is that HP send the labels, and get nothing until they do.

    • bishophicks says:

      @hexychick: Let’s say the OP decides to send the drive back on his own dime. Where should he send it?

      Also, it needs to be pointed out that the disk drive the OP describes is a $100 item if bought at retail (it cost HP a lot less). In what universe is it OK for HP to charge him over $1,700? As far as I’m concerned they robbed him.

      He ought to take them to small claims court and demand all the money plus the overdraft fees. If an HP representative show up, it would be great to hear how a $100 hard drive equals a $1700 charge. And if someone from HP shows up, he can hand them the broken drive, fulfilling his obligation to return the drive to HP.

  9. missy070203 says:

    you visa/master card check card through your bank still has the same ability to issue a charge back or dispute…. I would dispute the items with the bank and send the old hard drive back certified mail so you have a reciept.

  10. robocop is bleeding says:

    How much onus is on the customer to follow up on outstanding bills?

    For example, I’m trying to pay off an RCN final bill. I have an invoice in hand for 150 bucks, but when I go online to pay (as I’ve always have), the amount due is listed as $0.00 and there is no option to pay. Same account number and everything.

    Why do I have to spend my time chasing down RCN to figure out what’s going on and which amount due is correct?

    • EdnaLegume says:

      @robocop_is_bleeding: because you owe it? there’s this magic pocket aka envelope.. it takes magic sticky squares aka stamps…. just because you “always” pay your bills via online.. if you have the bill in hand, you have the information necessary to get your bill paid.

      lol next you’ll say you don’t owe any money cause your internet was down.

      • robocop is bleeding says:

        @EdnaLegume: Not what I’m talking about, but thanks for playing.

        I have two bills in hand for the same account number. One says I owe 150, one says I owe nothing. The owe nothing bill, as it’s online, I would assume it is more current.

        I have no problem paying what I owe. Of course I’d rather pay nothing, but I don’t see why I have to chase RCN down to figure out what’s what.

        • EdnaLegume says:

          @robocop_is_bleeding: wouldn’t you know if you owe them 150 or nothing…

          and if you want better responses, provide more information. it isn’t the first time online information is not accurate.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @robocop_is_bleeding:

      Why do I have to spend my time chasing down RCN to figure out what’s going on and which amount due is correct?

      Um, because you are responsible for whatever charges accrue on your account, unless they’re false. But it’s your responsibility to check, even if RCN made a mistake.

      Having two disputing statements doesn’t absolve you from anything – one of them is correct. Your responsibility as a consumer is to pay the correct bill.

      Is it really so hard? I mean, would you really fight them so hard on it when it means that if you do in fact owe the $150 and you don’t pay it because you’re going with what it says online, it’s still your fault when it goes to collections.

    • ajlei says:

      @robocop_is_bleeding: I’d personally call them and try to be proactive about settling the difference issue. Yeah it sucks that they don’t seem to be processing stuff correctly, but at least it makes you look proactive.

      • robocop is bleeding says:

        @ajlei: Yeah, that’s what I’m doing. I’m just annoyed that I have to be the one to see clarity.

        I’m not sure where the impression that I’m trying to dodge what I owe is coming from. I only discovered the 0.00 balance invoice when I went online to pay the 150. I expected to pay the 150, but if I can avoid doing that, then yay.

        I’m pretty sure most of us would rather not pay money we don’t owe if we could avoid it, right?

        • robocop is bleeding says:

          @robocop_is_bleeding: Er, seek clarity, I mean.

          I obviously need to keep looking.

          • floraposte says:

            @robocop_is_bleeding: I don’t know what RCN is (Royal Canadian Nostrils? Regionally Crunchy Nurseries?), but my credit card accounts are very explicit that the online account info is approximate and not binding.

            • robocop is bleeding says:

              @floraposte: RCN is a cable company here in New England.

              Yeah, I get that online accounts are often wrong, but I don’t know why that tends to be the case. I mean, if the amount owed is stored on a computer somewhere such that a customer service rep can look it up, why can’t I see it online so I can pay it off?

              And after three tries calling, I finally spoke with someone at RCN who tells me it’s not 0 dollars I owe, not 150 dollars, but 250! And they don’t know why or where that charge came from! And it’s been sent to Collections! So now I have to wait 2 days for someone to get back to me.

              ARGH.

              • henwy says:

                @robocop_is_bleeding:

                Seems to be another good example of someone following the OP’s path. _DON’T WAIT_ when these things crop up. Certainly don’t wait long enough so that there’s almost a certainty you’re going to be screwed by the situation. If you’re sitting around just hoping that the system has screwed up and you won’t owe any money, it’s a pipe dream. The chances are so low that you’d have a better chance playing a slot machine.

                • robocop is bleeding says:

                  @henwy: Heh, yeah, I’m glad I called. Of course, the rep has no idea where the 250 dollar charge is coming from.

              • sweetnjoe says:

                @robocop_is_bleeding: you’re the epitome of a bad consumer. Pay your damn bills on time.

  11. chgoeditor says:

    I’m a little surprised by the initial premise of this question. The hard drive failed on the 4th day he owned the computer and they just sent a new HD and expected him to do the work to swap them out? I’ve bought a few notebooks from HP and dealt with warranty service a couple times…never have they offered me the DIY route for repairing my computer. Just sayin…

  12. RandomZero says:

    This is somewhat tangental to the original point, but… $8-900 for a 2.5″ 250 gig 5200 RPM hard drive? What the hell, HP? Is the case on these things made of solid gold or something? That’s about 9x market value. (My friendly local shop offers a 500 gig 5400 RPM unit for $125, and that’s CAD including disposal charges.)

    • BrazDane says:

      @RandomZero: This is probably not that unusual. I had an IBM laptop where the HDD died a year out of warranty back in 2001. IBM wanted to charge me over $900 for an original 20 Gb HDD. I got a 40 Gb one online for a little over a hundred, I think.

      Regarding the OP’s fault, I think he ought to have been contacting HP about the shipping label much earlier, instead of just forgetting about it and only getting all strung up because they are now charging him.
      I know, he is, strictly speaking, not required to help HP do their work, but in this case the consequences (a charge for the drive) were absolutely foreseeable – and I suspect he would have been complaining even if they had charged him $50 buck for the HDD.

  13. wcnghj says:

    Call the bank/CU and get a form for unauthorized charges.

    They are REQUIRED to give a provisional credit within 10 days.

  14. David in Brasil says:

    I’m old enough to remember that H-P was a brand that engineers and scientists were proud to own. I don’t know of anything that they make now that isn’t a disposable piece of crap (maybe the HP-12C calculator is still something to show off). But my, how the brand has changed.

    • johnva says:

      @David in Brasil: That’s what they were paying Carly tens of millions of dollars for…brand leadership!

    • chris_d says:

      @David in Brasil:
      @johnva:
      Yes, HP used to be the highest quality. I think it started going downhill when the company’s founders retired. When Carly took over, she spun off the test and measuring group into Agilent. That was really the heart and soul of the company.

      I have no idea what’s going on these days, but when I interned there, they did still make some high quality products — the HP 9000 series of computers that ran HP UNIX. Those were computers that were 100% HP. They designed everything from the processor, to the companion chips, to firmware, to the operating system. They were extremely well engineered, and the amount of testing HP did on the hardware and software was unbelievable.

      • johnva says:

        @chris_d: I actually find it really sad that a company that was once as awesome as HP was is in this state. I’m kind of biased, but I think that this is what too often happens when you bring in people to run the company from outside whose “expertise” is mainly in business or marketing rather than actually understanding the company’s products and culture. The mistake that I think HP made was that their leadership failed to understand that they were a company that was primarily focused on advanced R&D, and they tried to run them as something they were not.

  15. pervy_the_clown says:

    I just sent in my computer to HP, the wireless card stopped working. I’ve heard horror stories of phantom charges, so I made sure not to give them my CC info. They called me after they received the computer and said they could fix a chip in the case (which I have after my cat knocked my laptop off the bed) and it would only cost $350. I’m pretty sure they would have just done it and charged me later if they had my info.

    That aside, I would without a doubt file a chargeback. It seems to be the best course of action.

  16. drgncabe says:

    While I would have been on the heals of HP (and he might have, doesn’t say what occurred in those 4 weeks) I know how difficult dealing with the consumer side of HP.

    First, I’d like to say, purchase corporate level HP laptops. Most come with 3yr warranty and they generally don’t place a hold on your card, its a completely different customer service part of HP.

    Now, as for consumer HP. I’ve had the unpleasantness of dealing with them for a laptop when my company was much smaller and cheap. I had a similar issue where they weren’t sending the label. When I would ask where to ship the hard drive when I got tired of waiting, they refused to give me the address stating “we don’t know it, its always on the label.” Eventually the whole issue got resolved by hours of annoying the call center until they did something. If your nice (not cussing up a storm) they really can’t hang up on you but when they can’t help they just kinda pass you around until you get someone worthwhile.

  17. brokebackwallet says:

    “Three days later, my new hard drive arrived, without a return shipping label. I promptly called HP and explained that I needed a shipping label sent to me. After the rep put me on hold for 10 minutes, he came back to let me know a label would be sent out in the morning. Great!

    Fast-forward 4 weeks…

    Still no labels.”

    Heh, HP did the same to me except it was a display issue. No labels, no bills no contact. I ended up with a free 24″ display. There is mucho failuro in HP.

  18. JGKojak says:

    The issue here are the ridiculous charges- $1700 — that’s criminal. What if a thief did that to your account?

  19. bkdlays says:

    Yes, for the hundreth time, CHARGEBACK. You didn’t request the charges, you didnt sign for them, you didn’t receive them.

    Charge it back, better yet change your account number so they cant touch you again. Throw the hard drive in the trash and live and learn. HP is a POS company and you paid too much anyways!

  20. Fuzz says:

    I’ve had to deal with HP support before. They are absolute idiots and have no idea what they are doing. I once received 14, yes 14 CD’s to reinstall XP. And the thing had a DVD drive. They also shipped them to Ontario, which is fine, but I’m in Calgary. So they shipped them again. Oh, after spending about 30 hours swapping CD’s, turned out they sent me the wrong ones. I ended up just buying a retail copy, after 2 months of dealing with those retards. Why they can’t spend the extra 20 cents and include a recovery CD is beyond me.

    So I can sympathize with the OP. Oh, and EVERY time I called, they had to start a new case, because it wasn’t on record. I will NEVER EVER buy and HP product again, and would never recommend it to anyone. As head of IT for a small company, I’m often consulted for casual recomendations. Screw HP.

  21. djkatscan says:

    4 weeks with no pre-paid label? I would have been all over them for the label within a week from the day I was told “it’s going out tommorow”

    To HP: what was stopping them from emailing a printable shipping label? Other companies do that all the time.

    As far as the hard drive price: seems like HP charged him 2x, probably because the shipping label that was supposed to come with the drive = one “order” and the replacement label that was supposed to go out = another “order”.
    I used to work for a service center that did laptop warranty repair, and that is the exorbitant price that the vendors charge for the “core” part to be returned. I never quite understood it myself, but AFAIK it really had nothing to do with the cost of the drive, but was charged to make sure that the parts company got the core back. Parts companies make millions of dollars selling crappy half broken parts and charging inflated prices for them, and the core fees. Then all the do is refurbish the core parts back into more crappy half broken parts

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @djkatscan: Well you can’t charge more than the retail price for the “core”.

    • Fuzz says:

      @djkatscan: That’s what you say now. But you wade through there phone tree hell for an hour every day, talk to a different person who has no record of your case, and try to get a shipping label, and keep doing this until you get one. I’d be very surprised if you lasted 4 weeks, and be even more surprised if you actually got a label from them.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I had this EXACT thing happen to me with a printer.

    I reversed the charges and just kept the printer. Not that I need two…

    They actually sent me a return address label after charging me (and overdrafting me), and then told me that I had to send everything back before they would refund me, and talk to me about refunding me my overdraft charge. Yeah, I believed that.

  23. edrebber says:

    These are unauthorized charges. Just go to the bank and have the charges reversed.

  24. LegoMan322 says:

    It totally sucks what happened to him but couldn’t have you just gotten the address yourself and sent it off to HP? Since you were on the phone with them blank number of times….”where can I send it to if you guys do not send the label”? I mean why did it take 4 weeks to realize?

    But about the whole 1700 money thing, yeah I would be really pissed also. I would make HP pay for all those gay bank fees.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Hi guys, Chris “the OP” here.

    First off, thank you all for the comments about how best to handle this. I’m looking at my bank account now and HP’s charges still haven’t posted to my account.

    I understand that going 4 weeks without contacting HP might not have been the most prudent path, but understand that after dealing with HP support on the matter (twice) and not receiving the shipping label, I counted my obligations met. I work a more-than-full-time job at a small startup and just don’t have the time to make sure HP does their job correctly. I’ve still got the drive, sitting in the box, just waiting for a shipping label.

    If anyone thinks that I have no case against $1,700+ worth of charges, I have to disagree.

  26. grandzu says:

    I’ve always gotten the prepaid label emailed to me. That avoids issues like this. They usually email it a few minutes after the request.

  27. jwissick says:

    Sounds like typical HP behavior to me. I would never buy another HP product again after the run around they gave me over 4 separate incidents I had with one of their laptops.

    HP needs to go out of business. They just suck.

  28. sashazur says:

    If this had happened to me, then as soon as the shipping label failed to appear after a week, I would have shipped the drive back to HP on my own dime and then asked them to refund my shipping costs. I wouldn’t necessarily expect getting that refund to be easy, but fighting over $20 or $30 would be much less aggravating than fighting over $1800 and dealing with an overdrawn account.

  29. Jesse says:

    Laptop bag may contain LOLCat.

  30. Con Sumer Zealot says:

    This is plain. simple. fraud.

    Assuming there wasn’t some agreement OP filed saying HP could withdraw whatever they wanted to when they wanted to, the Attorney General in CA (HP HQ) should be notified, stop payment put on the funds, police report filed. Period.

    There is no reason at all they were entitled to these funds, or any portion of them, as they never sent the hard drive mailer.

    If I were the OP I would play hard ball, get on the phone and threaten whoever processed the payment at HP with arrest, ask for their name, phone, physical location.

    Forget the case managers now, go executive.

    • fantomesq says:

      @Con Sumer Zealot: Because gpoing postal gets results *shakes head* He’s already got a remedy available to him. Return the drive and they’ll cut him a check… he’s out a two week loan of the money? Not worth suing over. Take it as a lesson to uphold your end of teh deal in returning the drive.

  31. Anonymous says:

    You should have just spent the $5 to ship it back and avoided this whole mess. Sometimes when you are trying to “spite” a large corporation by just sitting on the HD without just sending it back doesn’t pay off and creates a lot more work for you than it would have to just got to the Post Office and ship it yourself. I work in IT and it’s just not worth it if they forget the shipping label, just send it and avoid the headache.

    • Sys Admn says:

      @AldaRoloson: Except that if you send it back, you have to send it to the correct location, the correct ‘dept.’, and have the RMA number (sometimes barcode), or they’ll lose it. If you’re going to call and ask a CS rep for that info, why not ask for the shipping label you’ve been promised?

      I would also recommend that he verify they have the correct address. A neighbor of mine was wondered why Sauder shipped him a bag of screws, and I wondered why Sauder wouldn’t send a missing part so I could put a bookshelf together.

  32. Corporate_guy says:

    I don’t get it. If you have a credit card why did you not use it? Why did you give HP access to your bank account? And why can’t the bank deny the charge? Why are they able to charge your credit card?

    Next time use a credit card for the purchase and protect yourself.

  33. TrueBlue63 says:

    FAST FORWARD 4 WEEKS, we see those words a lot. It always makes me wonder about the veracity of the story. If you know that you are on the clock for getting the part back, why not call after 1 week, or 2?

    Though I can easily see losing track of things, and HP definitely shouldn’t have charged him 2X, you have to take care of things.

  34. djkatscan says:

    @Corporate_guy: when it’s a third party parts company providing a part, and not the MFG directly, they can and will charge whatever they want. Remember the guy who bilked Best Buy out of millions in a parts scheme?

    @Fuzz: the OP said he called once and was told he would get the shipping label and “fast foward 4 weeks”.
    I’d wait on hold till the email came with the shipping label. Nintendo did that for me.

    Not to say HP didn’t totally drop the ball here….

    but the core charge for parts (in the PC industry, the automotive industry etc) are crazy high and totally not aligned with the actual value of the parts. And the OP should have followed up, 4 weeks is too long to wait for a label in the mail, especially if the possibility of the charge was communicated up front.

    I’d wait on hold till I got the label in my email and printed it…or just use online chat because that leaves a paper trail of notes for when phone reps dont log the notes.

    • johnva says:

      @djkatscan: What the hell is a “core charge”? I don’t see how a hard drive is “core” anything on a laptop. I also don’t see how it’s not fraud on HP’s part to bill a customer $900 for a $100 hard drive. Their internal business arrangements are not the consumer’s problem.

  35. Skater009 says:

    The Laptop drive could mnot have cost more than 100 dollars – HP is ripping him off big time.

  36. runswithscissors says:

    I read the article and at first was horrified at what had been done to the OP, but THEN I read the comments and learned how the company is angelically innocent and the whole thing is actually, 100% the OP’s fault!

    For:
    a) using a debit card (apparently anything bad that happens to you after you use a debit card – you deserve! Get mugged? Your fault! Cancer? Your fault, you dirty debiter!)
    b) waiting for the company to fulfill their promise and send him an actual RMA label (his means he deserves to be charged 17 times the value of the hard drive – hell, he should have been charged MORE and jailed to boot!)

    Wow! I learn so much here! Thanks Consumerist commenters!

    • Corporate_guy says:

      @runswithscissors: Well if the bank is going to screw you for an overdraft even if the charge was a mistake, then you would be reckless to give someone direct access to your account like you do when you use your debit card like a credit card.

      And you don’t wait 4 week when you know you will be charged for the item if it is not returned sooner than that.

      In the end had he used a credit card, this mistake would not have been an issue. It is only an issue because he used his debit card. Yes, HP screwed up. But screw ups happen. You have to protect yourself from them. And when the protection is just as easy as using the debit card, there is no excuse not to use the credit card.

      No one should ever consider it safe to use a debit card as a credit card.

  37. Garen Thatcher says:

    I had a hassle with HP during the fall and winter. Over the time, they had to send out 3 cd rom drives to me. They kept sending me the wrong one.

    We finally got it worked out and they release the RMA sheets with pre-paid UPS amounts. I never got them, so I just kept the drives. They send me invoices and so I called them back really mad.

    That is when I checked my junk-mail folder and found 6 e-mails from HP with the RMA shipping information included. It was in my e-mail all the time. My bad….

    I wonder if something similar happened here.

  38. Quaoar says:

    HP notebook SATA drives are junk. They are usually a Fujitsu drive that can be purchased online, without discount, for about $50. HP likely gets them for $15 in quantities of one hundred thousand. HP Parts Online probably sells them to their adoring public for $90. If the drive is returned to HP, they get another free from Fujitsu, Sanyo, or whatever bottom level supplier they deal with currently.

    My new-in-December 2007 HP notebook has had two drive failures, one in each drive bay. Both were HP Fujitsu SATA drives. My total costs for replacement were $125 from NewEgg, for better, 7200rpm drives. HP’s failure rate on these drives must be astronomical, but within bounds for their costs for replacement which is negligible.

    Anyway, the most that HP could possibly charge to the customer for the replacement drive would be their cost for a drive plus something for the “service” and shipping. Maybe $50 or so would be appropriate.

    Something is completely out of bounds with the reported double charges on the OP’s situation.

  39. coren says:

    Sounds like HP!

    My folks had a HD in their desktop die a few years back, and HP sent a new one out. They said I had 30 days to send it back, in case I wanted to try data recovery on it (I did, I worked at a help desk and some of my more technical co workers were willing to help).

    Guess who had a charge by day 15?

    Johns and Marys (I got at least two unique of each) that it would be fine all the while contradicting the last information I had gotten. Luckily at that point, I had recovered all that could be recovered and sent it back – they all agreed that if it wasn’t returned in those 30 days I’d be stuck with a new doorstop at double the HD’s market value

  40. res1i3js says:

    Dude… You’re getting a Dell!

  41. Anonymous says:

    I suspect there’s details to this story that haven’t been included…maybe more than a few. RA’s are not rare, even at H-P…and they don’t forget to include return labels. They could, of course, be overlooked and need to be replaced…a phone call with a request for an RA number and return address could have alleviated a lot of problems. And by the way…H-P didn’t overdraft the checking account, either…what has happened to personal accountability in our society?

  42. Smd75 says:

    Just return the computer entirely. I dont want it because you guys dont want me as a customer. Maybe Dell or Apple will be willing to include me as a customer.

  43. mmeehh says:

    first charge is for the hdd yes hp sells them for more than what the notebook is worth and second charge is for non return of the bad hdd