HP Takes Three Months To Repair Laptop, Then Ships It To The Wrong Address

Hewlett-Packard took over three months to fix reader Mark’s ailing laptop, which they then shipped to the wrong address. HP charged Mark several hundred dollars for the repairs in July, and gave an expected delivery date of August 5. In early September, Mark was told that the laptop would definitely ship by September 24. On October 10, Mark learned – after sending an email to the CEO and leaving ten messages – that his laptop could not be repaired, and that he would instead receive a new Compaq Presario by October 23. The laptop finally shipped on October 25 to Lavergne, Tennessee. Mark lives in Iowa.

When I was heading off to college two years ago, my parents bought me a brand new laptop from HP (summer of 2005). In July of this year (about a year after the warranty has expired), the hinges of the laptop’s lid started to crack open (despite that I’ve never dropped it and take very good care of it), the touchpad stopped working (the left button would act as the right one, and the right one wouldn’t work period), and the wireless built into the laptop had stopped working over the course of the previous year (it somehow began to degrade in its signal quality). So I talk with my dad (as the laptop was purchased in his name), and we talk about whether I should buy a new laptop or try for repairs. On the 23rd of July we got online to HP’s website and chatted with a representative, informing us that the price for repairing the laptop would be a few hundred dollars (less than half the price of your average college-student laptop). The rep in the online chat was very helpful and set up an overnight delivery for the repairs, and my dad paid (thanks Dad) for the repairs through a checking card. The next day (July 24) a laptop box is delivered to our house, and is mailed out the next day. We soon receive an email (July 26) with a link to a Status Webpage, which stated that HP had received my laptop and would thusly begin repairs. The webpage also stated that the Expected Delivery Date was August 5th.

When August 8th rolled around and my laptop had not returned, we checked the Status page, and the date had been changed to August 21st. After August 21st, the Status page would continually update the Expected Delivery Date by two weeks at a time, and by the time the third date change had appeared, we got on the phone to call HP. Within an hour (after a couple of dead-ends with holding for a living person), we were able to talk to someone who informed us that my original laptop could not be repaired (apparently they couldn’t find any way to repair the hinges of the lid), so they were going to simply custom build me a brand new laptop that would have more RAM and a larger Hard Drive as well as each of the previous features of my previous laptop, which was ordered with a double-size battery and a syned media remote (according to the rep on the phone), but an exact model of the laptop was not specified. The representative also stated that the laptop would definitely be delivered by the most recent date on the Status Webpage (September 24). September 24 rolls around… and… guess what? The date changed again.

Needless to say, we’re each a little frustrated. Over the following three weeks I sent three emails to Mike Hurd, the CEO of HP (or, at least what HP’s website claimed was his email), and my dad had left HP at least 10 voice messages on their machine. As you can guess, zero responses. Eventually it got the point that my dad said, “If they don’t give us any replies by Wednesday, we’re just gonna call the attorney general.” As luck would have it, someone from HP called my dad back on that Wednesday (October 10) to say that the new laptop would be a Compaq Presario, and it would be delivered by October 23 (the most recent Expected Delivery Date). October 23 came, but no laptop. My dad then decided to wait one more week (just for a little leniency time in case of the delivery being late… in relation to October 23). However, the EDD had once more changed to November 7th.

Of course, the reason we noticed the repetitious changing of Delivery Dates was from the Status Webpage. Yesterday, I checked the page, and lo and behold, there was something new! It said that the Scheduled Ship Date (which previous had always said “not applicable”) now said October 25, meaning the new laptop had been sent out. There was even a link to a Tracking Webpage! And today, the laptop arrived to its destination! Lavergne, Tennessee! Except, we live in Iowa. HP (or FedEx, or both) put the wrong address on the package, even though the Status Webpage has a completely different address than the Tracking Webpage.

So, in a short summary: HP received my dad’s payment, got my laptop, decided not to repair it, took three months to build a new laptop, and mailed it to someone in a completely different state (her name, her address, her city, and her state aren’t even close to resembling ours). And they didn’t even tell us, except for our incessant prodding.

Thanks HP!

HP should provide compensation for their untimely service. Call their corporate headquarters, ask for CEO Mark Hurd’s office, and ask HP to refund their repair fees, and to find your now-missing laptop.

(Photo: jenn_jenn)


Edit Your Comment

  1. azntg says:

    Tell them that Tennessee is NOT Iowa!

  2. BigNutty says:

    HP at it’s finest.

  3. girlfriend 6.0 says:

    That was…awful.

  4. North Antara says:

    Email michael.j.holston@hp.com (and michael.holston@hp.com for good measure) – when I sent my EECB, I made sure to CC their General Counsel, as I knew I had legal recourse against them. You most certainly do as well.

    Michael was the one who put me in touch with an executive case manager who was able to resolve the problem.

  5. North Antara says:

    Almost forgot to mention.. My case manager (jeff.utigard *cough*cough*wink*wink*nudge*nudge*) was incredibly helpful.

  6. alyssariffic says:

    Wow… it’s almost like they couldn’t do worse even if they tried. Impressive.

  7. homerjay says:

    @North Antara: Did you also remember to CC legal@weddingdepot.com?


  8. AT203 says:

    I’d recommend avoiding HP-Compaq hardware in any case. I have never been impressed with the design choices, or quality of their products. This originally stemmed from Compaq’s choice of using proprietary and non-upgradeable components in their desktops.

    I would recommend the Dell business line of notebooks, or if you are looking to spend some more money, my Sony Vaio has been solid so far.

  9. parad0x360 says:

    @AT203: You’re telling him to avoid HP and at the same time saying go with Dell? Give me a break…you watch too much TV.

    Dell is worse then HP anyday of the week. In fact there really is no pre-built pc from a big company that is worth what you are paying these days. You are right about Sony, they are pretty reliable but if they break Sony’s customer service is no better then HP’s

  10. LyricalGangster says:

    Similar thing happened to me 3 years ago when I sent off an HP laptop for service. I was in college at the time, and so my mailing address was a college PO Box. Inexplicably, they shipped the laptop back to an entirely different person with a different mailbox at my college. Fortunately, the customer service person I was dealing with went the extra mile to sort things out. (I have other stories in this vein regarding HP.)

    This is why I won’t buy another HP laptop; I got a Lenovo and have so far found the laptop and the customer service far superior to anything I would have expected from HP.

  11. msthe8r says:

    When I worked for a certain nameless big-box store, it was my responsibility to return defective merchandise to vendors. The HP returns address is in LaVergne, TN. Might this be in some way related to the mis-ship?
    I have no suggestions to offer as to why it would take three frickin months to repair a laptop.

  12. amoeba says:

    @parad0x360: I haven’t had a problem with Dell. I just purchase a notebook for my mother as a Xmas Present and it even arrived before. I even had bought few digital cameras from them as well, and their service always have been good to me. I guess some people may complaint why they got their notebook before, but I was quite thrilled.

  13. swalve says:

    @AT203: First of all, Compaq invented the clone computer. So by rights, they are the standard.

    Secondly, the cheaper the computer, the less upgradeable it is. These days, Compaq is HP’s cheap-shit brand.

    Third. If you want a good computer, buy a business line (Optiplex, Deskpro, Latitude, etc.). If you can buy it at a store, it’s crap. And buy a three year warranty.

    Laptop computers are expensive. Pay now or pay later.

  14. Buran says:

    Too bad they paid with a check card. All they’d have to do if they’d paid with a credit card would be to call their bank, describe the problem, and have the bank return the money. Then, they could buy a new laptop on their own.

  15. Exactly why I tell people don’t buy HP or Compaq (Same Company)

  16. rioja951 - Why, oh why must I be assigned to the vehicle maintenance when my specialty is demolitions? says:

    @Papa Midnight: Remember Acer? That was bought by Compaq before they were eaten by HP.

  17. Buran says:

    @rioja951: I build my own, but not everyone can do that. These days, I’m not sure who’s best for prebuilds, but probably Gateway/Dell, if you can buy from their small business division, is OK.

  18. rioja951 - Why, oh why must I be assigned to the vehicle maintenance when my specialty is demolitions? says:

    @Buran: Me too, but I had to stop when my employer struck a deal with HP.

    My friends at work have me build their PC’s and unless they try to go Top of everything, I can get them one excellent PC at about half of a retail one that can compare.

    Down here Gateway doesn’t exist for the general public, we are stuck with the big box ones.

  19. Psqunq says:

    They shipped the laptop back to their repair center. Unbelievable. Yes, HP contracts with a company in La Vergne (The proper spelling) to repair their laptops.

  20. goller321 says:

    I too would advise people to stay away from HP. But I also would advise people to not spend $400 on repairing a laptop. For just a little more money and some bargain shopping, you can get a new laptop.

  21. scoobydoo says:

    @rioja951: Quite simply not true. Acer is not, and never has been owned by Compaq or HP.

  22. scoobydoo says:

    @Psqunq: My thoughts exactly. When I saw where it was sent my first thought was that it was shipped to the repair center, to be sent on to the customer.

  23. STrRedWolf says:

    Acer is being bought by Gateway, I believe.

    In ether case, I also would say I haven’t had a problem with my Dell Inspiron E1505 that I got last year. I configured mine nicely, tried out the ATI graphics card in there, and I’m still glad I can get the parts swapped out (I swapped the ATI with a NVidia 7-series card). No problems with building nor delivery. Just wish they had offered Linux before I bought it. XP Home. EECH!

    HP, however, has the most indecipherable website I’ve seen when trying to buy a laptop that has NVidia graphics on it.

  24. sporks says:

    That’s HP for you. I had the -exact- same experience with their customer service and it was crap. I’m never bothering with HP again because of the lack of response, the constant delays, and unhelpful techs. Ah, just as I typed this, the screen died.

  25. lettersnumbershyphens says:

    Almost the same thing happened with my HP. I’d had several problems and sent it back; their response wasn’t all that great–a week or two–and I sent it back a couple of times. Then the hinges broke, and they kept if for six or eight weeks. By that time, given the few returns I’d had already, about 20% of the time I’d owned it, they’d had it.

    After the warranty died, and the next time it broke, I went out and bought an IBM. I’ve had a lot of trouble with that, too (and every laptop I ever owned, which has been around eight or ten–I don’t abuse them, but I use them…… a LOT), but IBM’s service is FABULOUS–one day there, one day in the shop, and one day back. And the hinges, which are stainless steel (not plastic: I’ve broken every laptop’s plastic hinges thanks to lots of use), are still secure. The IBM’s going to be five years old in February, and I’ll probably replace it with another IBM when it dies, just because of their incredible repair response time.

    For what it’s worth, my DHL guy (they handle warranty returns for a number of manufacturers) says that HP has the least number of shipments via him, and recommends HP on that basis. :-)

  26. cumulus says:

    Dell laptops are fine. Haven’t had any experience with HP laptops recently. It doesn’t really matter what brand the potential is there for parts to fail, if having a working computer day to day is important to you then pay for next business day on-site service. That alone adds great value to the whole laptop experience and completely negates the possibility of sending your machine off for an indefinite period of time.

  27. danseuse322 says:

    No one has a perfect machine but do NOT NOT NOT buy Sony. I am on my 2nd Vaio in a year–and they have been no help. the first had errors on startup–sent to repair and came back broken. The authorized dealer NOT SONY exchanged (jr.com) and my new one died this week after 9 months–and I cared for it well. Then they referred me to a place with kickbacks, I am sure, to retrieve my data–at a RIDICULOUS price. I figured out how to do it myself. I begged and threatened and they sent someone to replace my HD–but it was a nightmare and a half. Sony makes you send it in THREE TIMES and 2 weeks per pop before even THINKING of replacing. Their call centers are mostly out of the US and teh language problem hurts at times (dep. on who you get). And worst of all I can’t get the CEO’s email to save my life. (Anyone have it?) So I basically hate despise and abhor Sony. I ordered a new Dell. It’s the one brand I have had that has never broken.

  28. harleymcc says:

    Well, they did move it all from Canada to India.

    Great work HP!

  29. nightshade74 says:

    You’re mistaken. As a matter of fact Acer
    is buying Gateway (who is buying Packard Bell)

  30. quail says:

    I got a Compaq that had keyboard problems within two months. I won’t go into a long rant here but my experience was less than stellar. I did get a case manager (note: the first thing to do when you start having problems is to ask the foreign tech to assign you a case manager) who finally sent me a new laptop.

    As far as Dell, I’ve had great success with their business side. You pay more but you get a better machine along with US tech support and next day repair at your home or office if need be.

    That’s the key with about all computer companies. If you want bang for your buck with fewer headaches you need to locate their business sales and purchase from there. Even the HP/Compaq case manager said as much about their machines as well. (Side Note: the Compaq laptop they sent me was from their business models, but it was so full of crapware that you’d think it was consumer.)

  31. North of 49 says:

    I heard it was Costa Rica, not India. Although with all that tech support happening in India, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  32. randombob says:

    Hey, uh, would this be a bad time to recommend getting a Mac? Worked for me.


  33. jawacg says:

    I live in La Vergne and while I don’t know about the warranty repairs being done here I do know that HP has a subcontractor here that recycles their computers. Could be that the broken laptop was supposed to go there but they screwed everything up and sent the replacement down here.

  34. so far I have been happy with Lenovo/IBM and apple.

    obviously I am biased since I am an Apple certified desktop/portable tech (unlike the majority) and (like everyone else…seriously) can call ibm’s live service center located in Atlanta, GA). about 95% of the time everything gets repaired on-site (next day), or will have its parts sent to us and we take care of it). Once in a while a part will be backordered or we send it out (to apple or IBM because we are overwhelmed) and it comes back to us within that week.

    Hinges are something that break over time. I believe they should be covered under the warranty (granted they aren’t snapped in half or anything like that). If HP didn’t have them in stock that’s just sad. I think this is a case of poor quality control of their customer service/repairs dept

  35. stopNgoBeau says:

    @LyricalGangster: Sorry, but the representative tracking down the laptop that they missed ship is not “going the extra mile.” Thats what I would call “fixing their screwup.” Thats like saying I was nice enough to help you up off the ground after I kicked you in the nuts.

  36. RvLeshrac says:


    Data recovery is expensive. There is no “ridiculous price,” as it involves *VERY* costly equipment and a clean room. Clean rooms require airlocks and expensive ventilation (filtering) systems, as well as constant maintenance.

    Simple software recovery can run a few hundred dollars (due to the time involved), but clean-room recovery of a drive that has experience hardware failure will run into the thousands.

    Recovery of RAID volumes can run into the tens of thousands. Recovery of classified/SEC/HIPA data or data from ‘secured’ volumes can run into the hundreds of thousands. This is why credit, insurance, and government agencies will spend millions of dollars on redundant data storage facilities. If data recovery was cheap, you’d never hear stories of backup tapes lost in transit.

    The lesson here is that if you can’t live without your data, you need to make backups often.

  37. RvLeshrac says:


    Acer is an independent corporation which now owns Gateway.

  38. missdelite says:

    When I talk to a customer service rep who actually knows what’s going on I feel like I’ve struck gold!
    Good luck getting a hold of said person next time you dial in,though :(

  39. XXX888XXX says:


    Bzzzt, Wrong, HP Bought Compaq, Compaq never bought Acer… Talk trash after you do homework. Acer is 10x bigger then HP could ever be, Have you ever been to Asia, Europe by chance?

    Acer bought Gateway, And gateway bought Packard Bell.
    HP Bought Compaq, Because Compaq was on the edge of Chapter 11 for their s***ty practices.

    Also, Take it from experience, HP’s customer service SUCKS!, Unless you can fix notebooks 100% on your own, I would recommend against HP any day. Sony is just as bad. And dont even get me started about dell… Just get a Toshiba or Gateway… They seem to have the best success rates at Vendor Repairs

  40. MrEvil says:

    @lettersnumbershyphens: Thinkpads’ hinges are not stainless steel. They are tough yes, but they are Aluminum alloy just like everybody else. Lenovo has also started cutting corners recently in Thinkpads as well. They aren’t quite as durable as they were when IBM was making them. Still good machines though.

  41. danseuse322 says:

    @RvLeshrac: I realize it is but $4400? Give me a break. I did it MYSELF and I don’t have any computer expertise. My local guys wanted to charge 55-110 which I found reasonable for their labor, had I not done it on my own. But the fact that Sony said I should “call this # and they will help you recover your data” and then to find out it was NOT even Sony but they wanted $4400 not even knowing the problem. Give me a BREAK.

    It was regular documents and most were backed up. No one with a normal system has everything backed up to the second. I needed a couple documents that were important but in progress. The REAL issues are why I have had to have two new Vaios and get treated like dirt from Sony, and why I was led to believe they would help and essentially pushed aside.

    If it was so had, how come I got every bit of my data for the cost of a $30 flash drive. Please.

  42. RvLeshrac says:


    Oh, that’s probably not “Data recovery,” then.

    The data recovery place will always *quote* you an absurdly high price, just like a mechanic – until they see the actual problem.

    If the drive is in perfect working order, most PC stores will do a backup or sell you an enclosure or IDE/SATA-to-USB adapter. If it isn’t readable, but still spins up, there are a number of consumer-grade programs that will recover data (sometimes a good old-fashioned chkdsk will fix it).

    People wonder why I get upset when I see terms like ‘lag’ misused, and this is why – ‘Data Recovery’ is an expensive process, while reading a drive in another machine just to grab a few files is really something that most people can do, and cheap.

  43. RvLeshrac says:


    Noooooo, not Gateway.

    Get a Toshiba or a Lenovo/IBM. Their service centers are actually allowed to work on them. Everyone else wants the machines shipped off.

    And while I hate Apple, I’ll at least give them props for allowing out-of-warranty parts purchases. HP whines when you try to do it, and Sony/Gateway/Dell give you the finger.

  44. RvLeshrac says:


    I’ve been seeing a lot of problems with the new non-Thinkpad Lenovo units. They’re becoming as bad as HP and Sony. I’m sure the reason they’ve been dropping the ‘Thinkpad’ name is pressure from IBM.

  45. Plat says:

    Creepy! Something like this happened to me in 2003. Wish I’d have known about the EECB or Consumerist then.

    It involved a lot of driving, follow-ups, waiting on hold and unreturned phone calls, but basically:

    Sept. 4: My laptop’s left touchpad button began sticking. In fear of voiding my warranty in a self-fix, I sent the laptop to HP as instructed.
    Sept. 18: After repairing the button, HP sends the wrong laptop back to me.
    Sept. 25: I send that wrong laptop back to HP so it could be switched with my rightful laptop.
    Sept. 29: HP sends me that very same wrong laptop back to me – they performed the switch incorrectly!
    Oct. 8: I send that wrong laptop back to a different HP address.
    Oct. 10: HP sends me a refurbished laptop to replace the one they claimed was effectively lost. Funny, since I was able to contact the other party of the exchange, who had my laptop. The replacement HP laptop has the wrong drivers on it (a Compaq installation, not HP), accompanied by Compaq installation discs and instructions, rendering it useless. The right HP drivers were not available for download.
    Oct. 21: HP ships the driver CDs later than promised, but they work.

    The full story is at:

  46. jwissick says:

    HP truly does suck….

    My HP’s power brick failed. It was like pulling teeth to get a new one from them under warranty. Absolute nightmare. In the last 3 years since I bought it, I have had 4 MAJOR failures with it. The warranty is now expired. When it dies next time, I will take it to the range and shoot the shit out of it with my 1911.

    Screw HP. NEVER buy an HP. You WILL regret it.

  47. sixsnowflakes says:

    When I was a college student, HP also jacked me around for over 1 year on warranty repairs until the warranty ran out. I never buy so much as a single sheet of photo paper from them.

  48. glass says:

    you didnt get screwed, you just unknowingly enrolled in a “Buy One/Give One” program! turns out theres not actually two computers involved. sorry.

  49. gingerdog says:

    Hi there,

    I work for HP, but not in the PC division. If there’s a way for Consumerist to send me this person’s contact information, I’ll try to see I can get this resolved through an employee channel.

    HP does try to keep customers “extremely gruntled” (as Michael Scott would say).

  50. northerndebater says:

    This is similar to what happened to me. I’ve been dealing with HP for the past 17 months, where they have yet to give me a replacement computer that works! I have gone through 5 computers in 17 months, all with serious motherboard problems by manufacturer’s error! Then, when they were sending me the last computer, they sent it to Minnesota, instead of Maryland!

    They told me they would get back to me about how to correct the problem, I waited a week without hearing from anyone, finally had a friend go pick it up from the house they were shipping it to, and mail it himself. HP then told me they couldn’t pay me back for shipping it to myself because I didn’t wait for them.
    I recieved that computer the week of Thanksgiving and low and behold, it had a huge scratch across the monitor, rather than repair it, HP is sending me yet another computer refusing to just refund my money.

    Their products are crap, never buy anything HP.

  51. dougsan2003 says:

    I am an HP retiree (indirectly) and purchased a “big” desktop from them for a good price in 2005. In the first few months it was back visiting HP twice (it got lonely?)! Pretty bad. I have a Compaq Presario laptop I purchased used in 1996 that is still humming along. I have had ZERO problems I didn’t cause myself (broke the screen off — don’t ask). Service back then was through Radio Shack and was excellent, as was tech support. With the newer HP desktop I found HP tech support that works out of India absolutely useless because the “techs” don’t know HP machines intimately and the customer service skills of those I have spoken with (dozens) were lacking. One guy suggested I send my three day old HP to a service company that wasn’t too expensive!

    HP tech support in the US has been excellent. The Desktop is not a machine I would ever recommend to anyone and I couldnot recommend HP because of its lowsy tech support and my belief there is a serious quality issue with their desktops (lots of electrical connection problems!).

    Prior to converting to HP I was a BIG supported of Gateway and have owned at least one Gateway machine every day since May of 1992. At one time Gateway, in my opinion, had the best telephone tech support in the business. With time this deteriorated pushing me to HP.

    The best machine I ever owned besides the Compaq laptop was a Monorail (sort of a laptop without a case and with a separate mouse and keyboard). Never a day of trouble and it was still being used (through a gifting program) when it was 15 years old!

  52. kretara says:

    I was given a HP nc6400 6 months ago from my work and it has been nothing but problems.
    The LCD looks like its anti glare coating was sprayed on incorrectly — making the images look like there are hundreds of reflective blotches all over the screen when viewing anything in a light color.
    The VGA output is really poor quality. I have to use an external LCD because the LCD of the laptop is so poor, but the poor quality of the VGA output makes doing anything painful.
    The mouse buttons squeak when depressed and the touchpad is wildly erratic.

    I love the end of my work day because I can go home and fire up my PowerBook. Ah, something that works correctly. So nice.

  53. elduque says:

    Since we tend to accentuate the negative, I thought I’d mention the positive experience I had with HP. I had a problem with my Compaq laptop and called customer service since it was still under warranty. The next day, a box showed up with a prepaid overnight FedEx label. I sent it back on a Saturday and had a fully functioning laptop back in my hands by Wednesday.

  54. awdark says:

    I sure don’t visit consumerist enough. If I saw this, I might have just ignored the hair and dust particles in my LCD rather than sending it in for in warranty repairs.

    = sent it in on 12/11/07 as of today im still dealing with them. Fun way to spend winter break… waiting for phantom phone calls, waiting for the Fedex guy (not his fault), sending it back out, writing happy letters to different parts of HP and including notes to help the techs see what the problem is.

    =| I figure since HP is pissing me off, I might as well try to share haha

  55. Author says:

    I purchased a new Compaq Presario Feb. 2, 2007, and it literally exploded in my office on Mar. 28th. I called customer service and finally understood enough of their language to return it to them for repair. A bottom of the line replacement computer was returned in seven days — two weeks later it exploded. Anyway, by Nov 15th, 2007 it was repaired by them seven times. The last time it was returned they refused to repair it —
    said the one year warranty was expired although the replacement was received on April 1st, 2007. Each time it was the power supply. I had electricians and the power company check my wiring for shorts and/or power surges. The fault was notin my office wiring. When the tower was returned two weeks ago it was gutted. Everything was disconnected, the motherboard was damaged and parts were missing.
    I’m an author and my living depends on a working system. I’ve lost contracts due to malfunctions and delays.
    It seems users should be able to file a class action lawsuit against these people.

  56. RevRandy says:

    I was referred to this site today, I am so glad I found it. Like many others I have been having major problems with HP repair.

    Last fall my notebook went in for a new motherboard (it was 8 months old), after 3+ weeks I only got it back after emails etc. to Hurd’s office. Less than 1 month later it started acting up again, HP repair says send it back, so I did.

    They have now had the computer 3+ weeks and left me a voicemail today saying it will be at least another 2 before they get to the repair. I did email Hurd and tried to call his office but got routed to customer service instead. Their response was too bad, we can take as long as we want to fix it. How do I get someone to pay attention?

    I am a minister and need my computer for church/work. It is the beginning of Lent, one of the busiest times in the church and I am without a computer. This is so frustrating it is beyond words.