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.