Laptop Sets Off Smoke Alarm, HP Just Keeps Putting New Defective Parts In

Ryan tells Consumerist that his HP dv2700se laptop has been problematic, losing wireless connectivity, and overheating a bit. And when I say “a bit,” I mean “tried to set his desk on fire.” HP’s solution? Keep replacing the graphics processing unit (GPU) with the same flawed part until his warranty runs out. Ryan does not find this solution acceptable. Here is his story, with pictures.

In early 2008(?) I purchased a HP laptop that started freezing and wireless would go out etc..I read up and found out the issue was with the GPU and requested a different laptop without the faulty gpu. This was before they were cranking up the fan to increase the life of the units. So they sent me and upgrade! a special edition, 14.1 inch, bigger HD, more memory, it was great. Then I look at the GPU, its an 8400m again. I get pissed but decide that they helped me out and the chances of it failing again were slim. Wrong.

About 6 months in I had the same issues with my dv2700se. It started freezing, getting really warm, mouse stopped working, and wireless. I sent it off and they didn’t find anything wrong. I then sent it off again, very upset, but still was kind over the phone. They sent it back with a new motherboard and the same gpu, even though I requested something with an ATI card. They also applied the bios change so then fan was always on.

Almost-a-fire!!!.jpg

So about 3 months after this repair the battery stopped charging. This was due to over-use of the battery with the fan being on. So 3 months after that it starts overheating again! this time it almost lit a envelope on fire!, charred it black and set off a smoke alarm. Checked the temp and it was running at 82c, thats 180+ degrees.

overheating.jpg

So I call the number I got from [Consumerist], and get a case manager [redacted]. Hes very nice and says they will replace the motherboard, and the LCD as I have a extended accidental damage warranty. I explain the new DV4i with an ATI card would be cheaper than replacing the motherboard and lcd. He said they never replace laptops. I asked why they did the year before? no answer. I ask him about the defective 8400 cards and he says “yeah its been a pain in the rear, but what can we do”. He pretty much said yeah we are just going to put a defective part in it, again, until your warranty runs out.

I work for best buy on the weekends, and run a design firm during the week. The HP is my portable machine I take to clients, and if I need to work on 3d stuff on a plane etc..

I am constantly recommending HP stuff at work, but that is going to end now. It has been almost 2 years and I have never got more than 4 months out of the unit without issues.

Ryan sent an update a few weeks later:

I keep getting the run around from them. They now want me to send it to their engineers. I asked them what happens if the engineers deem its overheating? they said it will go to the repair facility. I said its been there, 3 times, and the same parts keep over heating. Soon my warranty will run out and it will cost me 400$

I haven’t gotten anywhere with them cause I don’t have email address’s to anyone important. One of the case reps even went as far as to call me stupid, saying I cant say that its overheating without being a HP certified tech. Even though I’m a certified tech and have been working on and with computers for over 15 years.

Ive pretty much given up, and my 1,000$ is now a waste.

An extended warranty and executive customer service have failed Ryan. Unfortunately, it may be time for him to escalate to some serious hardball. We’ve published stories in the past about readers with similar self-destructing laptop issues (or other problems that were HP’s fault) who have found success through filing in small claims court. Ryan’s computer wasn’t one of the notorious dv6000 models, but this draw get their attention to the fiery lemon that they sold and keep not repairing.

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Fab lawyer Sam Glover wrote a guide to taking a big scary company to small claims court for Consumerist: read it and learn.