How David Got A New Laptop From HP

David and his wife got stuck with one of HP’s lemon laptops, and since the repairs just kept involving more faulty parts, they weren’t solving the real problem. Here’s how he eventually got a brand new laptop–different model–from HP.

In June of 2007, my wife and family returned to the US after spending four years overseas in a third-world country. Just before we left we sold or gave away all of our electronics including both of our computers. As soon as we could, we purchased a new laptop so we could stay in touch. Rather than wait 2-3 weeks to receive an online order we purchased a Hewlett Packard DV6000 laptop (specifically a DV6400) from a big-box office supply store. Other than being saddled with Vista, it was a good laptop for the price we paid for it. I came with a one-year warranty.

Fifteen months later the wireless card stopped working. In doing some research I determined that many people were having the same problems with this model laptop. I also learned of a “Service Enhancement” program HP had started that included this laptop. I called and learned that this laptop did indeed qualify and would be repaired for free (including shipping both ways by FedEx). In addition the warranty of this laptop would be extended almost an additional eighteen months from that date making it covered for two and a half years after I originally purchased it. I was quite happy at this point.

Unfortunately, the breakdowns continued. Eight months later the video card failed. A month later the wireless card failed again. I had been doing more web research and learned that HP was just replacing the motherboard with the exact same defective parts and this is what it kept failing. I called the same HP technical support number and was told the laptop was still under warranty and all they could do was replace the motherboard again. I tried to explain that this “repair” was not solving the problem. It was explained to me that there was no one else I could talk to and this was my only option. So I allowed them to “repair” it again.

Two months later the laptop failed to turn on. I learned through The Consumerist of a contact web page for Mark Hurd, the CEO of HP. I wrote a very short succinct note explaining my situation and asked if there was someone I could talk to. Within a few hours I received an email from HP saying I would be contacted. One business day later I was contacted by Gerald, an HP Case Manager. While the other HP support people I had talked to were positive, they didn’t seem to be able to go beyond their script. Gerald was genuinely helpful and encouraging and asked if I would allow HP to repair the laptop one more time. He notated the ticket and asked that a senior technician look at the laptop this time which usually resolved these problems. Gerald explained that if this didn’t resolved the problems, he would replace the laptop. Since Gerald was so encouraging and helpful, I agreed.

When I received the laptop back a week later, it wouldn’t power on. After a few tries it started. Two weeks later it died for good. I called Gerald and relayed the sad news. He immediately agreed to replace the laptop. He picked a new laptop from a list of available models and emailed me the specifications to make sure I would be happy with this replacement. Included with the laptop was a one-year warranty.

So two and a half years after buying the original laptop, I have a nice new HP laptop and I am again happier with HP all because HP responded to my enquiries and provided me with better customer service than I was experiencing.

Some things I have learned through this process:

  • Patience and civility go a long ways. Getting mad does not solve anything.
  • Keep good records – Document the problems and keep track of who is helpful.
  • Be persistent – Just because someone says “no” doesn’t mean no one can solve your problem. It just means they can’t.

Comments

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  1. osiris73 says:

    Enter text..You wrote about my HP laptop story several months ago. I sent you the update and what they did for me about a week ago, but my story wasn’t as glamorous. They just replaced my motherboard immediately after you posting my story, and made me swear not to tell anyone that they’d done so.
    I’d been repeatedly posting the contact information for the people at HP who made this happen on HP’s boards and HP kept taking my posts down until they blocked my account. I did get the information out to many people though, who in turn got their problems taken care of. Yay me.

  2. keepher says:

    Great they got a replacement.

    What is not great is that it had to go this far before something was finally done. Incidents like this is why I will never buy another HP product. At least not until they figure out how to provide customer service when their products do not live up to some sort of reasonable expectation of performance.

  3. citking says:

    Twice now I’ve been declined repairs through the “normal” channels.

    The first time, I had to escalate through Mr. Hurd, wait 3 months, call and call again, and finally got them to send me a new laptop for free, saying they’d hold onto the one sent in for repair since parts were taking a long time to get. 2 weeks later the repaired laptop was shipped across town to an address I hadn’t lived at in 2 years. Thankfully the apartment complex knew how to get a hold of me and, somehow, I had gotten two laptops for the price of none.

    The second time I called for a friend. The call center guy said that the warranty on the DV6400 was over so they wouldn’t fix it, even under the enhanced service agreement. Cue another email to Mr. Hurd and a letter to the Department of Consumer Protection in Wisconsin. With the holidays I imagine it’ll be a bit longer but I do expect a call from a case manager soon. If not, it’s off to small claims.

    I’ll play HP’s games. Carly Fiorina destroyed the company a few years ago and, since then, they’ve never climbed back. What were once great printers are now plastic pieces of s***. Now their once OK PC and laptop lines are crap too.

  4. larkknot says:

    I also had to repeatedly replace/send in for repairs an HP laptop. I forced Best Buy to replace it with a laptop from a different manufacturer after the 4th time in 6 months that I had to take it in – and by “it” I mean original laptop, and then replacement laptops 1 & 2.

  5. osiris73 says:

    Here, let me post this. When I got a post of mine with my email address spelled out to stay up on the HP website for almost 6 hours before being wiped, I got a lot of response from people who wanted their HP laptops fixed. Here was the mass reply I sent to them all. Maybe it will help some of you who still have problems with your HP issues:

    “Wow, it looks like this method worked. I have a number of responses so forgive me for the form email here. After posting my story on consumerist.com, I received an email from HP contracted PR people. They asked for my contact information and after a day I received a call from Jeff Utigard. He’s apparently high up in the HP Customer Service organization. His number (which I believe it his direct home-office number) is 303-649-5406. He basically asked me what I wanted to make me go away. I told him I wanted it repaired at no charge and that it should have been covered under the previous recalls. He said he’d take care of it and send out a box overnight for me to send it back. Sure enough, the next day I received a box, sent it back and within 10 days from his call it was back and in working order. Nothing was wiped on the HD either.

    Before the box to send it back in arrived I got a call from what appeared to be a preferred customer customer service HP group. I spoke with Dave Tweety @ 877-917-4380 ext 93. They were very helpful, actually, with great follow-up.

    I wish you all the best of luck and I’m glad HP didn’t wipe my posts this time before people got to read them!”

  6. CompyPaq says:

    HP case managers do tend to stand behind the computers by offering replacements. Usually they make sure you exhausted the normal route and can’t get a resolution. I got 3 new computers from HP from them (all upgraded beyond what I had before). Eventually, I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble of dealing with always failing computers anymore and a customer support and a repair center that made me want to kill myself every time my computer broke, so I took the last one and sold it on eBay still in the box, then bought a Mac.

  7. MickeyMoo says:

    One thing I learned from your process:

    * Avoid HP laptops like rancid shellfish.

  8. Guppy06 says:

    You were one of the lucky ones who had their components fail within the warranty period.

    I’m saddled with a dv62xx and the third(!) motherboard managed to last until about a month after the warranty they were willing to put on it, but then (as the OP experienced) the wireless card, always flakey, died. I tried pointing out that it was the exact same problem I experienced that triggered the first motherboard replacement, I tried pointing out that the “defect” with regards to the warranty was not the failing wireless card but the defective nVidia chip that they shipped me (which was what caused the wireless to fail), I tried pointing out that they knew they were shipping notebooks with overheating nVidia chips, I went through the BBB and through the corporate support desk that contact me during the process, and I’m still saddled with a notebook destined to brick itself in another year or two. I got absolutely nothing but lost time and repeated tech support people refusing to help me, meeting me with incredulity that I actually expected the thing to so much as power on after the warranty expired.

    So, I learned two things:

    1.) Do not buy HP. Ever. No exceptions. And when I get into a position to input on corporate IT purchasing decisions, I’ll make sure to do all I can to keep my employers from making such an abysmally bad investment on hardware that the manufacturer all but guarantees will fail completely five minutes out of warranty.

    2.) When a warranty says that a manufacturer will warrant that a product is “free of defects,” they actually mean “free of symptoms of defects.” This is as true of the Xbox 360 as HP’s hardware. So at the first sign of something unusual happening, some little blubber, some slight hiccup, get on tech support’s case immediately and be as miserable to whatever human you reach as possible until something productive is done, because if it manages to muddle through to the end of the warranty for a manufacturing defect to truly make the device unusable, you are the one left holding the bag.

    HP put out bad chips, they knew they put out bad chips, they knew about it well before they even announced it to their shareholders, and they still refuse to do a recall. About the only avenue left to me at this point is forwarding my story and copies of this and other associated articles to my state’s AG, but even then I’m not holding my breath.

    • proliance says:

      ” I(t) came with a one-year warranty.” and,

      “Fifteen months later the wireless card stopped working.”

      I’d say HP did a fine job of repairing/replacing an out of warranty laptop.

  9. anime_runs_my_life says:

    I wish I could give Executive Customer Service the praise it deserves, simply because they failed me when it came to resolving an issue with ordering a recovery disc after my laptop refused to recognize the ones I’d made when I first got my copmuter last year. They also failed to resolve an issue with the supposed extended warranty I was sold that ended up not being an extended warranty, but simply an accidental damage protection plan. I had been misled by the rep helping me when I was making my purchase online.

    I don’t think I’ll be looking HPs way when it comes time for my next laptop purchase, and I’ll certainly be looking at other printers when my inkjet finally bites the dust.

  10. themichael says:

    Not to toot my own horn, but here is my story: http://bit.ly/6dLOuM

    • Boberto says:

      Wow!
      Good for you!
      I did the exact same thing with Apple, after they offered to replace a logic board for the 3rd time. I’ve also bought many Apple products since that time and have been very satisfied.

  11. RickN says:

    I also had a dv6000 issue. It was repaired for free once outside the warranty period, but failed again 12 months later with the same overheating problem. This time, HP wanted $259 to “repair” it again. Support would not budge on their “it’s not our problem” stance.

    I EECB’d and ended up with the same offer from Executive Support. But, one of the VP’s responded directly to my EECB. I dropped an email directly to him expressing my frustration with Support’s option and that the following week I would be filing in Magistrate’s Court to see if a small claims judge would give me a better resolution.

    I got call the following day and a $1000 gift card for a new computer by week’s end.

    I just had to convince them I wasn’t going to just let it drop or pay money to repeatedly fix a manufacturing defect.

    As far as HP, I own over a dozen of their desktops, laptops, and printers. The dv6000 was the only one to ever give me problems, so I have no problems buying from them again.

    • Carol says:

      @ RickN,

      Do you have names or addresses for the people you dealt with ? The case manager I just spoke to today said if I want to contact someone I would have to look it up on the web myself. He flat out refused to give me a name for a senior customer relations executive. Surprise! No one with “customer” or “support” is listed on the web site. Any information would be greatly appreciated!

  12. nautox says:

    “Patience and civility go a long ways. Getting mad does not solve anything.
    Keep good records – Document the problems and keep track of who is helpful.
    Be persistent – Just because someone says “no” doesn’t mean no one can solve your problem. It just means they can’t.”

    I work at a dealership, these ‘virtues’ work well when dealing with car problems as well.

  13. DontCrossMe says:

    Sad part of this story… You got another HP laptop good luck!

  14. MakaAlbarn says:

    I’ve been having a nightmare with HP. Last April I bought a dv4t-1300se laptop via their online website. I was unable to pick it up until July. You see I bought it because it was the special edition version. However, I live in the UK and since it was shipped to my parents house in the US I could not get the laptop until I visited them. So after I visited I bought the laptop back with me to the UK, thinking I’d be fine since they have a worldwide guarantee.

    Around August Vista blue screened and I installed Windows 7 RC 64 bit. A month later the laptop started to randomly shut off on me, no blue screen or anything. No matter how long I left it to cool it would shut off after about five minutes after pushing the power button. In order to save my files I had to transfer them bit by bit within those five minute intervals. I formatted the laptop with Windows 7 RC again to have it actually start up properly and stay on.

    I sent in my laptop for repairs and received it back 2 weeks later. They had done nothing to repair the issue, but at least the laptop was working for the time being.

    Flash forward to December, the laptop started to shut off worse than before. Whether it was in Bios, Windows or after Post it would suddenly switch off. I tried formatting once again only to have the laptop continuously shut off mid install. So now an OS would not even install!

    So December 16th 2009 I had it sent in again. A month later I had not heard a single thing from HP and I was getting fed up. Considering the laptop can remained untouched until July I had not even used the laptop for very long before these problems started. I contacted them asking what happened to my laptop. They claimed they had tried to reach me to ask if they could install a UK version of Windows. I had received no calls at all. I asked for a replacement and was told to contact the UK sales team. So after sitting on hold for awhile the sales representative told me I needed to contact another number. The next number led me back to the tech support team who told me because I bought my laptop in the US they could not replace it. The warranty says replacements are covered worldwide. They told me I’d get my laptop back soon. Three weeks later I had not heard anything more from them so I started to email HP US support. Despite filling out the relevant information via the email form, the tech support person did nothing but ask me for that SAME info I had already listed in the form. The rest directed me back to HP UK. So UK HP said I needed to deal with the US team, the US team said I needed to deal in the UK. I finally got an email telling me that they’re still waiting for a part for my laptop and they are unsure when they’ll get it. So I sent a letter including my original email and their responses to the UK HP Home Office. I want a refund at this point, I’m never buying another HP product again.

    But the thing is, since I bought this laptop in the US, can I even file for small claims court here in the UK? I need SOME sort of force at this point…