HP Didn't Tell Me About Recall, Won't Fix My Computer

Andy’s HP desktop computer had a faulty graphics card that was recalled. Now he’s missed the window and is stuck with a broken computer that HP won’t help him fix.

He writes:

I’ve owned my current desktop computer, an HP 9500, for about 18 months now. It worked well for the first six months or so, but then the cooling fan on the graphics card would have ‘spurts’ where it would make horrible noises while running, but after a few days or so it usually would settle down.

Imagine my surprise when, on September 16th, a window I had never seen before opened up. It was an HP program that apparently was supposed to let me know important news regarding my system. To my delight, I saw that there was a recall on my graphics card because of known issues with the cooling fan. Imagine my greater surprised when I saw that all claims must be made by July 15th, 2010. Of course, this notice appeared just a day after the fan had begun another of it’s hissy fits.

Regardless, I contacted HP support to explain that their program had never notified me of a recall, and asked if there was any way I could still get a replacement. Of course, the response back was “All claims must have been made by July 15th”.

When my Chevy car had a recall, Chevy sent me a post card every month for half a year and was happy to help me when I brought it in finally. Now HP won’t help someone who was never notified because there own program apparently can’t work as intended.

HP urges those who missed the recall window to contact HP at this site for more information. The outlet hasn’t worked out so well for Andy thus far.

Comments

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  1. trey says:

    yet another reason I stay away from HP like the plague. worst computer company out there in my opinion.

    • jacobs cows says:

      amen to that and watch out for their printers-JUNK

      • kobresia says:

        It really doesn’t help that they went from being a mediocre computer company, to purchasing the worst computer company out there (Compaq) and then saved so much money on manufacturing by letting quality take a dive.

        I still like their printers, for the most part, though. Especially hp Laserjet printers that are about 8+ years old, they’re great and just won’t die. Xerox, on the other hand…I have never seen worse quality laser printers and workroom machines.

        • Griking says:

          I laugh when I read comments like this one. The quality of parts in Compaq computers are no different than the quality of the parts put in HP Pavilion PCs. They’re just generally slower yet more affordable. Besides, other than the case pretty much all of the parts are made by 3rd parties. The CPUs are still from Intel or AMD. The hard drives are still from WD or Seagate. The video processors are still Intel, NVIDIA or AMD. The graphic issue in the OPs PC was a NVIDIA quality issue, not an HP one.

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            Not an Nvidia problem, as they don’t manufacture any cards themselves. There’s a laundry list of companies that make video cards with Nvidia chips though…granted that you’re dealing with a major OEM computer, you can be sure the lowest bidder was selected without any concern for quality.

            Of course, the good news is that a comparable replacement video card for what came in that major OEM PC will probably set you back about $50 or less, and would take a monkey only about 5 minutes to replace.

            • kujospam says:

              I have bought hp for the last 8 years and they have been great. But of course I always replace the on board graphics with a real card. Generally it’s cheaper then putting one together, and I get the best of both worlds. Are the computers top the of line? no, do they play games near the top resolutions. yes. All for under 1000 dollars usually. That includes a nice monitor.

    • MNGirl says:

      It’s why I stay away from any brand of computer, I always build my own. It’s usually cheaper, and you can get exactly what you want/need.

      • red3001 says:

        While I never worry about warranties, when suggesting to people what computer to get/build, the very first question I pose is if they want a warranty. if so, buy a brand based on warranty experiences and longevity of the warranty (not extended warranties, factory only). The same reason I bought a Acer LCD monitor was for the 3 year warranty. But I built my last computer to save a couple hundred dollars.

  2. sadolakced says:

    He’s likely got an nvidia graphics card.

    http://www.nvidiasettlement.com/index.html

    He may be able to get a complete computer replacement from HP.

    • Shadowfax says:

      OP has a desktop. That’s a laptop recall.

      • hansolo247 says:

        There were plenty of nvidia chipsets and GPUs affected. The 6100 series was the most widespread, and that is in desktops too.

        Anyway, if it is a desktop, $40 will get you a new GPU that is an order of magnitude better. If it’s the chpset, that means new motherboard. Not expensive, but if you go anywhere but HP, the OS will stop working.

        All this is part of the reason I never recommend anyone get a laptop unless that’s what they need. There are simply too many points of failure in a laptop that results in a total loss.

      • nwgray says:

        No – it covers laptops and desktops. I got the same email two nights ago.

    • Nisun says:

      Thanks for posting this link. My fiancee had a HP dv9310 that has been all messed up for a while now. We gave up on HP Support and ended up just going and buying a new one. I saw your link so I broke out this old piece of HP trash and verified the Product Numbers and hardware configuration. Thanks for the link, looks like you might have helped my fiancee get something back.

  3. Hi_Hello says:

    one question… did he ever register his computer when he bought it?

    • aloria says:

      Good point. If he didn’t buy direct from HP and never registered his computer with them, it’d be pretty hard for them to notify him about the recall.

    • BlisteringSilence says:

      You shifty cretin! How dare you go about asking for some actual facts! This is the Consumerist, not some neutral nabmy-pamby new website. We only blame large corporations, the consumer is always right!

    • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

      I’m guessing the answer to that question would be no…funny how the OP left that bit out…just wish people would take responsibility for their mistakes and own up to them…instead…it’s easier to play the blame game…

    • RxDude says:

      If the HP software (most likely pre-installed) on his PC informed him of the recall, why didn’t the notice appear before the cut-off?

      • Griking says:

        A lot of people uninstall or disable all of the “pre-loaded crap” on name brand computers when they buy them. In fact, people pay the Geek Squad to remove these kinds of programs for them. My guess is that this program was disabled from starting automatically in the msconfig utility or perhaps the customer ran a restore recently which would have reinstalled it.

    • Griking says:

      Bingo!

      HP has no clue who buys their computers and how to contact you if there are recalls if people don’t register their products..

  4. PunditGuy says:

    Assuming the OP is talking about the Pavillion m9500, and assuming it came with the stock 9500GS video card, you can get a 9500GT that’s very similar with passive cooling for about $50. So assuming you can’t get HP to pony up a new card, don’t let anyone charge you more than about $50 to get this fixed.

  5. KillerBee says:

    Chevy’s failure to notify someone of a recall could result in someone getting killed. I doubt HP feels that kind of pressure.

    • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

      Years ago when I worked for this University…we had this purple high end desktop (Integraph). There was a certain CD-R that when used in these machines….would explode inside the CD-ROM drive and with a couple of them…actually blew the front panel off the drive and sent shards flying through the air.

  6. stevenpdx says:

    I’d stay away from any company that begins a message with “Dear Value Customer”.

  7. ostaguph says:

    So for about a year the fan on the graphics card would make horrible noises and the OP never thought to call HP? I’m sorry, but when you hear something that doesn’t sound right and it keeps happening, you need to act.

  8. dandadan says:

    I agree, HP took a perfectly good computer company (Compaq) and then outsourced its production to China using the absolute cheapest boards (Many HP desktops use OEM Asus boards) and components. They are hoping to leverage the final bit of brand equity out of the HP name. In my opinion, that well has run dry long ago.

    Look at their track record..

    HP DV series laptops, sold millions of them, most with inadequate cooling causing failure about 2 years after purchase. Funny how that is as long as they usually extend the warranty.

    HP Desktop computers with their wacky boxes full of useless components that either never work or have no drivers available for them unless you read Chinese.

    HP Customer service.. need I say more.

    How about a vote for the worst computer company in the world. HP has got to be in the top one or two of that category.

    I am a computer technician and have literally dumpsters full of HP computers, laptops and desktops. They are throw away junk good for the warranty period; maybe, and that is a big maybe because most of you must have read how combative and disingenuous they are about servicing the crap that is still in warranty.

    Either purchase a business class machine with a decent warranty or a Dell. At least Dell computers have a decent service network and parts are standardized and reasonably priced.

    Dan the computer guy

    • AnonymousCoward says:

      Agreed, except for the part about buying a Dell. I’ve had marginally better luck with consumer grade Dells than with HP’s, but not good enough to recommend actually buying one. Personally, I stick with the business grade stuff. It costs more in the short run, but I end up keeping the computer for longer.

      • Shadowfax says:

        Really, the above is a good reason why learning to assemble your own computer is not a bad idea. It’s not hard, you get all the parts you want, you know the quality of the parts (rather than wondering who really made the generic crap in the Dell/HP boxes), and generally you get a lot more power for about what you’d pay for a Dell.

        If you don’t build it yourself, you probably have a friend who does. Buy the parts and a pizza for him and have him do it.

        • kryptonianjorel says:

          The putting together part is the easy part, let the friend do the parts buying

          • Gramin says:

            Hahaha… agreed. I put together my beast in a couple hours. Purchasing everything took forevever. And it’s still not complete. Want to throw in a Bluray drive and might change the power source and chassis.

        • RxDude says:

          But DO NOT call the friend who assembled your computer when you get your system infected with malware because you have to install every browser toolbar and screensaver you come across.

        • MNGirl says:

          +1

        • Griking says:

          Yes, please have you friend build a PC for you. My shop gets these PCs in for repair all the time after there’s any sort of complication and the friend is counted on to actually diagnose and do more than simply screw a peripheral card in.

    • crazydavythe1st says:

      My memory may be a little bit shifty, but I seem to recall Compaq being full of fail too before the merger.

      • ShadowFalls says:

        Nah, your memory seems to be on track. Compaq has been producing junk for years. Though they at least didn’t fall below Emachines…

    • chargerRT says:

      I had an HP CRT monitor act up within warranty. While it was away, I upgraded to an LCD. When the CRT returned, I sold it to my boss, and of course it crapped out again, right after the warranty period ran out. Thankfully he saw the humor in it, as he was looking to upgrade anyway.

    • PsiCop says:

      One caveat about buying from Dell: Consumers should buy from among Dell’s “small business” offerings (including their Vostro line). The standardizing of parts and the support channel you mention, are decent only for those products. Their consumer offerings are all over the map, and their support for consumer products much poorer.

    • MNGirl says:

      I feel the exact same way about Dell. Pure junk,

  9. mcgyver210 says:

    You might wont to check on the NVidia Proposed settlement if you computer qualifies. Good thing I kept my failed HP LapTops since they may actually be replaced under this agreement.

    My answer to a manufacturer that doesn’t stand behind their products is to not buy from them again. Currently I no longer buy HP Computers, Printers or any HP branded products. The last draw was 3 Laptops that I purchased that all have problems well known.

  10. AnonymousCoward says:

    He can buy a comparable, new graphics card for about $40. Regardless of whether or not he can eventually get HP to do the right thing, he has an 18 month old computer. I wouldn’t waste my time with HP. I’d just buy a new graphics card and be done with it.

  11. Amy Alkon says:

    Another computer company does things a little differently: My iMac, long out of Applecare warranty, had bulging capacitors, and I missed the fixit period, but my boyfriend wrote to Apple and they fixed it, free.

    • hansolo247 says:

      for everyone like you, there is someone with an Nvidia-based Macbook that Apple won’t help.

      • OutPastPluto says:

        When my nv9400 mini needed a brain transplant, I just wanted a refund and to be done with it but I was stuck dealing with their “warranty service”. I think I would have been better off with a Dell. Probably would not have been much worse.

  12. BettyCrocker says:

    HP used to be a great company with excellent customer service. About 4 years ago they started to decline and have only gotten progressively worse.

    I used to be an HP fangirl – bought nearly everything here in the office from HP from printers to laptops to desktops.

    After them giving me the run around over and over again when something would happen, I finally told them I’d had enough and stopped doing business with them.

    Late last year I needed to buy 3 laptops and 3 printers for some new hires and I broke my rule and ordered them online because the deal just couldn’t be passed up. 1 printer and 1 laptop was dead on arrival. 1 printer fired up but had issues with the belt the runs the print heads back and forth. 1 laptop had a broken battery latch. So out of 3 of each, only 1 of each was usable upon receipt.

    They didn’t give me any issue sending them back and getting new ones – but the new employees did not have their equipment when it was needed. All HP’s fault.

    • mcgyver210 says:

      It doesn’t matter even if you purchase locally since I remember purchasing a AIO Business Jet which was dead on arrival. So I called HP & they preceded to tell me it was dead as I already said after a while on the phone.

      Next they told me they would replace with a refurbished not new printer. I then said I just purchased less than an hour ago so I wouldn’t accept a Used refurbished printer since I just paid for a new one. The tech didn’t care so I said I would just return to Costco where good service was still available. I ended with Thanks for nothing.

      Again best way to make manufactures change is to not purchase their products.

    • citking says:

      Carly Fiorina destroyed HP several years ago and, since then, they’ve never recovered (nor will they without some serious leadership. Mark Hurd couldn’t do it and I suspect the next CEO will engage in a similar hands-off “I’ll be on my yacht” leadership style).

      Their printers used to be in a class of their own. Steel frames, thick gears, easily replaced parts turned into plastic, molded, cheap POSes that break consistently and, when you call HP about it, they tell you to buy a new one.

      I won’t recommend HP or Compaq anymore. I just cannot do it in good faith.

  13. chargerRT says:

    I missed out on a settlement regarding Continental tires that wore out prematurely, but Continental still did the right thing and paid to have them replaced…no thanks at all to Chrysler, or the dealership, which sold me the car with the bad tires DURING the settlement period, then offered to replace them with the same exact tires again, at full price!

    Anyway, what was I getting at? Oh yeah, I’d give up on HP at the moment (forever?) and try contacting nvidia or whoever made the bad card.

  14. crazydavythe1st says:

    Those “spurts” on the fan can be extremely serious. The fan on my graphics card starting making a loud noise and about 30 seconds later I heard nothing. I looked down at my desktop to see what was going on and suddenly saw sparks and smoke. In the span of a minute, my graphics card had started making noise, sparking, and finally smoking.

    So yeah, take it seriously. As far as HP goes, just keep pushing – they’ll give in. EECB them and/or sue them in small claims court if you have to.

    • ShadowFalls says:

      Makes sense, it probably was overheating when the fan stopped working. Most graphics cards have a heatsink that is accompanied by a fan. The fan is necessary to cool down the heatsink so it does not continuously heat up from the GPU. Once the fan stops working, it heats up to the point where the components start to melt starting with your GPU and welcome to your risk of a fire hazard.

      People tend to forget that all fans will eventually stop working. You just hope it doesn’t happen before you end up replacing the component. In many cases that is true, others it is not.

  15. ktetch says:

    I did the recall on my HP Pavillion A6535c(was a refurb, got it 18 months ago). Did it first week f the recall program, and it was fast and quick.

    It’s the crap plastic fan housing on the nVidia GS9500 cards, that would warp when hot, and bind on the fan, screwing the bearing.

    Igot the replacement about a year ago, and not had a problem since.

  16. Spook Man says:

    HP’s are going the way of Dell; screw the customer while we bring in the dough.. We switched to mainly HP’s after a MAJOR failure rate of the Dells (popped motherboard caps; look it up).. Now, the HP’s we are getting are crap.. Their laptops now have some kind of stupid keyboards and the screen is just awful.. Time to move onto another company..

  17. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    No way I’d let HP or other software connect to the Internet without explicit permission. The HP window would not have opened without the OP opting in for notifications (sometimes blocking is an opt out) and also having a firewall that permitted the connection. If the OP made a recent firewall or security setting change that could explain the pop-up,

    No way I’d depend on a pop-up to warn me of a recall.
    Fill in the paper or online registration form – with your snail mail and email info – when you buy something.

  18. GLaDOS says:

    HP products have all sorts of problems, because “good enough” is too expensive for HP Quality Control. I know. I have a defective 2nd-hand Slimline Desktop from them.

    Here are some helpful links:
    1: HPlies.com – How to file a small claim guide: http://hplies.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=775
    2:HPlies.com – What to do in small claims court: http://hplies.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=850&start=0
    3: http://HPlies.com

    PS:
    HP’s trade secrets

    Secret 1: Outsource everything.
    Secret 2: Employees are interchangeable.
    Secret 3: Good enough is probably too expensive.
    Secret 4: There is still at least enough good will for the HP name to milk another five years.

    HP, company run by morons intent on destroying self: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3346103

  19. nygenxer says:

    I’ve got an HDX9300 – the ridiculously huge (16 pound) and expensive “laptop”/desktop replacement sold as a one-stop entertainment center purchased mid-2008.

    HP has flatly refused to offer a Windows 7 update for the computer despite that, since the entire 64-bit system was specifically designed around Vista, most of the machine’s functions are rendered unusable until ALL the drivers are manually updated before attempting the Windows 7 installation. Miss updating a single driver and you have to reload Vista to the factory settings and start all over again.

    I was mad at HP for refusing to update the blu-ray software, forcing me to either purchase another blu-ray player or cease being able to use the optical drive, and I was mad at Microsoft for Vista and at having to pay full price for Windows 7.

    But for turning my top-end HP machine into an unsecured >$3500 paperweight with an extended two-year warranty, I have to say: “Fuck you, HP. Never again.”

    • ktetch says:

      OR you could have just continued using Vista.

      Going to Win7 was your choice, no-one elses.

      • nygenxer says:

        Universally-despised Vista is “no longer supported” by Microsoft which means major security vulnerabilities.

        YOU might have low expectations of stability and security, however most people would have a reasonable expectation of both in a new $3500 system. I am angered at having to choose between being able to utilize all of the functions of my new HP’s “one-stop entertainment system,” or risking the security of my home system. This says nothing of HP’s (and Microsoft’s) lousy attitude toward their high-end customers.

        BTW, your comment is very dickish. Next time, don’t bother. Thanks.

  20. mikells43 says:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150392

    25$ after rebate. alot less hassle than dealing with hp’s indian cust service. come on get real

  21. John from Huntersville says:

    Several years ago, we had a Maytag Neptune washer (the first one). We bought it new and registered it immediately with Maytag.

    Our washer developed a problem a few years after we purchased it, and I was looking online to find a local Maytag repairman to have the problem fixed. I found a pointer to website that explained the symptoms and cause of failures like mine. There was a class action lawsuit because of the problem.

    The problem occurred because a small motor that operated the lock on the door failed (called the “wax motor problem”). When the motor failed, it took out the circuit board, requiring a fairly expensive repair. The washer also had fairly serious mold problems.

    After I found the problem online, I tried to sign up for the lawsuit, but was told I was too late to do so. I asked why I wasn’t notified of the lawsuit (I still lived at the same address where I registered the washer). I was told that notification was published, and that Maytag had met the legal requirements of notifying owners that model of washer.

    Consequently, I was out about 350 dollars for the required repairs.

    So – notification to owners of recalled equipment is not quite as straightforward as one might think. I don’t know what the legal requirements for notification are, but it would be easy to miss lots of owners by “meeting legal requirements” (which doesn’t necessarily mean contacting all registered owners).

  22. Destra says:

    I had the exact same problem, but I made it within my window of recall. My HP laptop had been having screen and sound issues for months, and I’d spent just as long contacting their tech support to get it fixed. Finally, at the tail end of 4 months, I called back tech support to be told that my motherboard had been recalled. I’d received no information via mail, email, or on my computer about the recall prior. I wouldn’t have known unless I’d been so diligent about following up with my calls.

  23. Destra says:

    An update: I just got a postcard in the mail: my laptop is now part of a class action law suit due to the malfunctioning motherboard. It was apparently due to a part from NVIDIA. Check out the details at: http://www.NVIDIASettlement.com