Beware Of HP’s Free Nook That Isn’t So Free

On Cyber Monday, Brian called HP about their selection of computers, and ended up selecting and ordering a computer of his own. The salesman offered him a promotion: a free Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader with the purchase of his Ultrabook. Well, as long as it’s free… The problem came when he decided the computer wasn’t for him, and returned it. HP wouldn’t take the Nook back, and insists on charging him the $99 plus tax that it costs. 

So I purchase an HP laptop during their promotional “Free Nook” event on Cyber Monday. They have an extended holiday return policy that runs until January 16th. This is what HP considers “Free”:

I called HP Home and Office to inquire about their laptops on Cyber Monday and ended up being convinced that the HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4t was right for me by the salesman on the phone. The gentlemen even offered me a “Free Nook” with my purchase (though I never asked for it), except the terms of the word “Free” was never discussed.

Soon after the purchase I received an email showing that the “Free Nook” was actually $99 plus tax. Called HP back to inquire why this was shown as a purchase separate from the laptop, and I was given the response that it was just the HP system processing my order but that it was indeed free. After receiving my laptop, I soon discovered that it wasn’t right for me and I attempted to return the laptop. The person in the Returns Dept convinced me to keep it for a little while longer in case it was just my not getting used to Windows 8 and the laptop functions yet (no mention of the Nook and the terms to return the Nook). I did, and after 3 more weeks of using the laptop I still did not quite like it.

I called to finalize my return and was hit with a “I’m sorry, the Nook cannot be returned and you will not be receiving the $106 you were charged for it.” I was told by [N] in the Returns Dept (or Supervisor in the Returns Dept) that it didn’t matter that I ordered the laptop over the phone and was never told about the non-returnable, non-refundable “Free Nook” because the information was posted somewhere on the HP website (in fine print, of course) and that he, as a supervisor who talked to his supervisor after I complained, could not do anything about it but apologize for me not receiving this information.

Before this purchase I had a favorable view of HP, which is why I wanted to buy an HP laptop. Now I absolutely despise this company for the way I’ve been treated! Not only will I never purchase an HP laptop again, but I will tell everyone about my experience and convince them not to purchase an HP laptop. I will also write on websites and blogs about my experience in an attempt to bring to light the way HP conducts business and treats their customers. This is my attempt at biting back!

Sure, he could sell the Nook at a loss, or give it as a gift, but that doesn’t change the essential unfairness of the situation. Perhaps approaching the company from a different direction would work: in the past, HP has been receptive to executive e-mail carpet bombs.