HP Won't Repair My Out-Of-Warranty Laptop — Do I Fight Or Bail?

R would like to press HP to fix his broken 3-year-old laptop because he’s found forums on which several other users have experienced the same breakdown, but feels skittish about fighting because his computer is long out of warranty. He’d like to test the Consumerist waters to see which way he should go.

His story:

I’m having an issue with HP over my dv9200 laptop and I’m not sure if an EECB is warranted or what my next move should be. Long story short: I purchased a laptop 3 years ago that according to many consumers (after the fact, of course) has had over-heating issues. The display went out two weeks ago and HP is refusing to repair it for free saying it’s out of warranty. HP Executive Customer Service is no help either and I’m not sure what my next step should be.

I purchased a customized HP Pavilion dv9200 (dv9000 series/Part #EZ345AV) laptop from Costco in June 2007 for roughly $1400. Less than one year later, the display went out and the only way to see anything was to hook up an external monitor and boot into Safe Mode. HP customer support determined the motherboard needed to be replaced and they would send me a box to ship it back. A few weeks later, I received my repaired laptop and all was good. Until two weeks ago when the same thing happened.

There have been a few threads on Consumerist on over-heating issues with HP dv2000, dv6000, and dv9000 models. HP went so far as to extend the warranty on certain model/configurations to cover what I think is a defect, but my particular laptop was not a part of this enhancement program. I think it should have been because I’m experiencing the same problem numerous other people are complaining of.

I called HP support who said that since the laptop is over 2 years out of warranty, there is nothing they can do and I would have to pay for the repair ($398 plus tax). I told them that was unacceptable and he offered to escalate it to a case manager. The case manager called me the next day and said the same thing but offered a 25% discount on the repair making it still an unmanageable $300. I told him this was also unacceptable and he said he was the last person I could talk to about this and he could give no further discounts.

I then called HP Executive Customer Service from a number I found in this article on Consumerist: http://consumerist.com/2009/01/reach-hewlett-packard-executivce-customer-service.html. They answer promptly and the lady listened to my complaint and sounded very sympathetic. She said she would talk to the case manager and see if anything else could be done. After a couple of minutes on hold, she told me she was transferring me to a case manager who would further assist me and gave me a new case number.

The new case manager reviewed the notes and said the exact same thing that the previous case manager said. She added that she was a 2nd level review and now that 2 case managers were in agreement, there was nothing else HP could do. I called HP Executive Customer Service again and spoke to someone else who basically said there is nothing more she could do either since the case manager’s word is final.

I tried reasoning with her that this is an issue that has been cropping up on many of these models and there are numerous threads online (here is one: http://forums13.itrc.hp.com/service/forums/questionanswer.do?admit=109447627+1280853622541+28353475&threadId=1270806) about the same issue. She dismissed my claims, saying any company that sells so much in volume is going to have a group of users with similar issues. She further stated that my laptop was not part of the extended warranty and there was nothing more she can do.

Now here is my question: what should I do? I really like this laptop and I intended to keep it longer than 3 years. Should I accept that this is a piece of machinery, and parts go bad, and I am liable of repairs after the warranty period has expired? Am I being obtuse in not recognizing my laptop is 2 years out of warranty and HP doesn’t have to do anything for me? Or should I continue to fight and send an Executive Email Carpet Bomb to get HP to fix my laptop for free (which is all I want)?

Let’s poll it out: