HP's Repair Depot Fixes The Wrong Problem, Charges Me Extra $200

Dheeraj hasn’t owned his HP Envy ultrabook for very long: barely a year and a half. But the computer, with an upgraded display and purchased for photo and video editing projects, began having overheating and video problems early on. He accepted that gaming on the computer wasn’t going to happen, but sent it in for repair once the other problems became unbearable. After a lengthy stay in the HP Hospital, the computer came back with a new, inferior display and the top panel repaired at a cost of $200. Which is nice and all, but neither of these were the reason why Dheeraj had sent the computer in. And it still had all of the original problems.

I bought a HP Envy 2xxx with the Radiance display sometime in February last year, primarily for my photography and video editing work. It did work well for the first couple of months, but then started giving me all sorts of problems.

The first issue I encountered was with gaming. Any game would run fine for about 3-4 minutes, after which the laptop would become unresponsive with weird green lines on the screen and a
loud screeching noise from the speakers. I assumed these glitches were due to graphics drivers, as everything else worked fine. A lot of troubleshooting was done which did not work. I came to terms with it and stopped gaming on the laptop.

Around March this year, I started having heating problems. If I tried to run intensive tasks like
photoshop or watch HD videos, the right side of the unit would heat up abnormally. I did some basic troubleshooting like dusting the air vents and reinstalling the OS, but it didn’t help much. The problem eventually got worse, to the point where even casual browsing for 15 minutes would heat up the laptop abnormally and put it into hibernation. Even cooling pads and external fans didn’t help.

I also started noticing a thin gap between the screen and the top panel (where the HP logo is). The glue which held them together started to come off, probably due to the heat generated by the laptop. I spoke to a customer care rep and explained the whole situation. He told me this was possibly a motherboard or heat-sink issue, and asked me to send the unit in for repair. I asked him if parts were still available for this model, and he checked and said yes. He also assigned me a case manager.

I shipped the laptop to HP on Jul 22. On Jul 31, the case manager calls me and tells me the unit has physical damage. He sends me pictures of the damage. I can see a wide gap at the precise area where the glue started to peel off. The gap is now so wide that one could fit in a hand. Also, the “delete” key is missing from the keyboard. I try to tell him the gap was tiny when I sent the laptop in, and it was caused due to the heat, not physical damage. He refuses to believe my argument and charges me 200 bucks for the repair. At this point, I try calling HP Corporate Office and explain the situation to them. The lady who I speak to tells me the case manager has the final word, and there is nothing she could do. When I request to speak to someone with higher authority, she says rudely, “Why is it so hard for you to understand there is noone higher than the case manager?!”

I decide it’s not worth the hassle and pay up 200 bucks. Case manager assures me the other heating issues (the reason I sent the laptop in the first place) will also be looked into by an ‘experienced technician’.

On 14 Aug, after three weeks of sending in my laptop, I get a mail from HP saying the repair is done. I speak to the case manager and inquire what repairs were done. He tells me the display and keyboard were replaced, and the bios was updated. I’m kind of surprised that HP replaced the whole display assembly, which was working perfectly fine, instead of just sealing the gap. I ask him if it was the same radiance display, and he says it should be, because there is no mention in the case notes otherwise. Also, he tells me the new bios should solve the heating issues.

15 Aug, I receive the laptop and unbox it, just to find that the replaced display is actually the inferior ‘Brightview 1366×768′ instead of the original 1600×900 Radiance. All the heating and
graphics issues are still present. I promptly call the case manager and ask for an explanation. He apologises and tells me there’s nothing he can do now, as the original part is no longer available. When I ask him why I was not notified of the unavailability of this part before HP decided to replace it with an inferior part, he says it’s HP’s policy to use the next best part available. He offers to send me another box to ship the unit back so they can look at the heating issues again, but there’s nothing he can do about the display.

I feel totally scandalized and ripped off by HP. The reason I sent in the laptop for repair was because it had heating and graphic issues. They ignored the main issues which they were supposed to rectify, charged me $200 for secondary issues saying it was physical damage, and replaced my Radiance display which was working perfectly fine with an inferior display. The very reason I bought this laptop was for the Radiance panel. It never served it’s money’s worth, and when I tried to get it fixed, HP made it worse. I’m considering my options at this point.

I’m willing to take HP to small claims court. Please advise what will be best to do in this case.

Small claims court is a good idea, but try escalating within customer service first. Some readers have found success with an executive e-mail carpet bomb launched at HP first.