9 More Hewlett-Packard Company Secrets From A Former Employee

A former Hewlett-Packard worker who could barely wait for their non-disclosure-agreement to end so they could spill company secrets to The Consumerist has more, along with clarifications about what was posted yesterday.

Everything I have given is accurate as of the last day I worked there. It’s not that HP is a bad company. People just need to know what they are getting themselves in to when they buy HP.

1: Yes, the imaging drum/image transfer assembly will stop the printer from working if you go over the page count. Anything with the word “transfer.” Be careful with the NV ram reset because it erases everything.

2: Support for home computing products is done via flow chart.

3: HP considers countries like Canada to be not worth the time or effort to market to. The market base in there is equivalent to one of the smaller American States. If you are calling in from Canada, you have to prove that you are in warranty and some of the features that Americans get, Canadians don’t.

4: Often heard from US customers: “Thank god you speak American! You’re not someone from Inja(India)!” Even CSRs hate dealing the HP outsource center in India. I wasn’t joking about speaking a “variant of American.” Yes, I speak English.

5: Back door link to HP. Only for onsite Tech Support: http://learning.compaq.com/wbt/e9-10200-wb/default.htm
This has stuff like how to field strip your products. Info varies by products.

6: Outsourced companies pay their people crap and like all things, you get what you pay for. If it were to become unionized, the company would fold up like a house of cards.

7: With regards to HP Parts: Here’s an example of a conversation had by a CSR: “Oh, you haven’t gotten your wingding yet? Okay, you should have gotten that a couple of days ago. Can I put you on hold while I deal with that?” (uses other line to call HP Parts, sees on his screen what is in his inventory) “Hey, this is Dude over in CSR, how come Mr. Yoda hasn’t gotten his wingding yet?”
“Oh, we’re all out.”
“No you’re not! I can see 16 on the availability!”
“Oh, sorry, I meant its on hold cause its a duplicate order.”
“No its not – its the first order done for this customer in a year.”
“Oh the customer must have ordered it wrong then.”
“No, we did the order for the customer.”
“Well, there’s nothing that we can do then.”
“Tell ya what – go do the job you were trained for or my next call is to your supervisor and he will do what he was trained for and fire you. Now get that wingding out Pronto!”
“You can’t do that.”
“I’m HP Internal, and I have a customer on my line. You will do it now.” (back to customer) “Sorry, for the delay sir. I will have that wingding out to you via (shipping) right away. Can I call you back in a couple days to make sure you’ve got it?”
Now, multiply the above by many calls and many irate CSRs per day and you’ll wind up with a memo on your desk that says CSRs can not talk to Parts.

The most frustrating part of being a CSR at the outsource center is when you call up the customer a few days later and no, they haven’t gotten the part you promised them they’d get and then you get your ear chewed off.

8: I just wish I could give you the “stupid customer stories” because some of them are hilarious. Others are hair pulling. There’s the one customer who used an HP printer from Eastern European country and plugged it straight into an American electrical socket and the magic blue smoke came out. Then there’s a customer who thought that printing cardboard was a good idea because the sales guy told them so.

9: In training our trainer said that if it takes longer than 30 minutes to troubleshoot (low end printer) we are then costing HP money and should just replace it.


Previously: 14 Hewlett-Packard Company Secrets From A Former Employee


Edit Your Comment

  1. Eugene says:

    1. The imaging drum is intergal to the toner cart in an HP printer. What stops the printer from printing is a Maintenance kit, it consists of the fuser, transfer roller, and the pickup and seperation rollers. It will notify you that service is required early so you can order a maintenance kit. You can get those from a few different third party companies who sell refurbished kits for cheaper than HP.
    2. Any first level tech support goes by a flow chart. I used to service printers and even my service authorized tech support number had a first level flow chart, I pretty much had it memorized so I would call and give them the answers in order before they could even read the questions and then get sent to the next level.
    3. Any large company will do a market study to see if they want to market to different countries/areas/market segments. Doesn’t matter if its HP, Ford, Toyota, etc. They all have certain countries they will sell or not sell in.
    4. Most any consumer level and first level tech support is outsourced, doesn’t matter if its HP, IBM, Dell, or your bank.
    5. Most service manuals are available by drilling down through the support options. I download the service manuals for anything I buy, be it my laptop, printer or cordless drill.
    6. Duh, thats the whole reason to outsource, to save money. Same with making products in China, cheaper labor.
    7. Unfortunate side affect of large companies, parts ordering is always a pain. Try ordering a knob for your washing machine, or part for your TV.
    8. There are a couple web sites like help desk funnies, everyone in the tech business has had their share of funny stories.
    9. True with any low cost product. You pay a help dest tech $15-$20 an hour to trouble shoot a $100 printer and you have just lost all your profit. Same with anything in the computer/tech business. If your mouse is broken, they just send another one, not worth trying to fix/troubleshoot. I had a request one time to clean a keyboard, manager saw it and put a note on the repair ticket “keyboard is cheaper than labor, suggest replacing keyboard”. Would you pay a PC shop $65 an hour to clean a $15 keyboard?

    So where are the “secrets” these are nothing more than the first 14, just normal common sense things, nothing special/secret.

  2. rickgrx says:

    Would it be more cost efficient to design a printer that doesn’t suck? Of course, I mean that for any printer manufacturer, because for my purposes, HP has made the least sucky printers I’ve destroyed in the last 10-15 years.

    And why did I read #6 as un-ionized?

  3. Nygdan says:

    Its too bad he didn’t snag a copy of the flow chart anway.

  4. Nygdan says:

    Regardless of whether it was a dazzling secret or not, its too bad he didn’t snag a copy of that flowchart so it could be posted here.

  5. Maulleigh says:

    This still sounds too conspiracy theory to me: like restaurants installing seats that hurt your butt after 20 minutes. I’m gonna keep checking http://www.snopes.com for this one. I need more facts.

  6. Amy Alkon says:

    The readouts about a HP printer don’t work on Macs. In my experience.

  7. imajoebob says:

    The maintenance readouts are usually on the printer. The HP people just gave me the steps to reset it over the phone. Their CSRs have always been great; no recollection of where they were from.

  8. Eugene says:

    Usually the page count is on the “config page” first option on the menu.

    @Amy, Don’t the new macs use cups now. My Hp inkjets I can pick up ink levels and such from the hp toolbox for cups on my linux machine.

    QMaulleigh, read my post, I used to service HP printers but didn’t work directly for HP so I was never under any NDA and never had anything to hide.

  9. grovberg says:

    “Can I call you back in a couple days to make sure you’ve got it?””

    I have never, ever, under any circumstances gotten called back by any CSR who has promised to call me back from any company. Never. Not one time, despite the dozens of time’s it’s been promised.

    I had just come to the conclusion that this meant “I do not wish to talk to you now. Please hang up and call back two weeks from now.” in CSR.

  10. grovberg says:

    @Eugene, CUPS is installed but not usable by default. If a “real” driver exists, that’s used instead and it’s a nightmare to try and tell the Mac OS otherwise.

  11. MonsieurBon says:

    When I worked right next to the HP guys, most of them were making over $12/hour. People who had been there longer were making even more. It was still a soul-sucking place.

  12. swalve says:

    “1. The imaging drum is intergal to the toner cart in an HP printer. What stops the printer from printing is a Maintenance kit, it consists of the fuser, transfer roller, and the pickup and seperation rollers. It will notify you that service is required early so you can order a maintenance kit. You can get those from a few different third party companies who sell refurbished kits for cheaper than HP.”

    This is incorrect. NO “maintenance kit” will stop the printer from printing. And some color laserjets do have separate imaging drums from toner cartridges. The 45xx series for example.

    (Cheap) Inkjets may well have an OFF setting, because every time a (cheap) inkjet begins a print or does a cleaning cycle, it squirts (wastes) ink into a trough to make sure the nozzles are clean. This is true for all cheap inkjets, regardless or manufacturer, that I have serviced. Usually, the trough gunks up. I have never seen an inkjet just stop working for no good reason. More expensive inkjets have servicable troughs, also called service stations. Large format Design Jets actually call this part a spittoon.

  13. sillybgoat says:

    I work at a IT wholesaler in Australia. HP might not care about Canada much, but they don’t seem to even know Australia exists. I have never managed to get promotional material from them.

  14. Bythemountains says:

    HP Commission Accounting Practices ‘lacking’ in paying correctly and keeping commissions they can’t decide who to pay to…

  15. mmeehh says:

    its called a logic flow and its a joke every one has system restore and recovery for options.