HP Denies Your Warranty, Accuses Amazon Of Selling You A "Fake" Laptop

There’s something deeply wrong with HP these days. It seems that instead of just fixing your laptop’s overheating issue, they’d rather accuse Amazon.com of selling fake HP laptops and deny your warranty. Reader Floria says that even though she got a letter from Amazon stating that there’s no possible way they sold her a fake or refurbished laptop, and then escalated her complaint to a “senior case manager” who approved the repair, HP still hasn’t fixed her computer. Is anyone in charge over there?

Floria’s letter is pretty long, so we’ll quickly summarize it for you:

  • Floria, a systems administrator, bought an HP laptop on June 25, 2007, from Amazon.com. The laptop has overheating issues so she sent it to HP to be repaired under the 1 year warranty.

  • HP denied warranty coverage because “”HP only covers Software, and since we need to replace your motherboard which is hardware, we’re not covering it,” and tried to charge her $746.86.
  • She checked her warranty, saw that it covered “hardware” and called back. She was again told that HP doesn’t cover hardware. She pressed for more information and was told that her motherboard didn’t have a serial number, so her laptop must be refurbished or “fake” and therefore not under warranty.
  • She calls Amazon.com and they write her an letter confirming that they did not sell her a fake laptop.
  • She calls HP and is told that HP warranties only cover software. She tries to escalate her complaint and met with much resistance. Finally she gets a “senior case manager” on the phone. He approves repair on her laptop.
  • HP then contacts Floria to tell her that her motherboard doesn’t have a serial number and they are voiding her warranty. She tells them a senior case manager approved the repair. They have no idea what she is talking about.

On June 25, 2007, I received my first HP Pavilion tx1220us tablet pc bought at $1400 sold by Amazon.com, when this product was just released to the market for a week. It was brand new, HP factory sealed. I checked the serial number on the back of the laptop, and it matched the box and in the bios configuration. I was able to register with HP, and activate the 1 year warranty which will be ending on June 26, 2008.

We rejoin Floria on the day her laptop is supposed to come back from repair for an overheating issue:

On April 29, 2008, it’s the expected delivery day of my laptop. I checked the online status and found out they decided to charge me $746.86 because my laptop is malfunctioning and “Out of Warranty”. I called the number immediately at 11:30pm. They said someone tried to call me and left me a message on my voicemail yesterday. I said I gave you my cell phone number, and I never received such call or message. I asked why I was being charged because my laptop is still under warranty. The lady said “HP only covers Software, and since we need to replace your motherboard which is hardware, we’re not covering it.” I was shocked. I told her this is not what the warranty terms are when I purchased my laptop. I asked if she can send me the piece of information. She transferred me to another department which was closed at that time.

So, I quickly gathered all my Amazon.com receipts, product description, even the HP warranty information on the hp.com website. It clearly shows that 1 year parts and labor, 30 days for software. And when entering my serial number, it shows my warranty is going to expire in June 26, 2008.

I called again and thinking this would be a quick fix, but I almost got a heart attack. I told the representative that I called previously and the lady said only software is covered, which is incorrect. The guy said, HP only covers software warranty. I said, no it is not because I have my warranty information to prove it. So, he said, “the motherboard is a component of the computer that HP is not covering it.” I asked “why is my motherboard not covered when it’s a part of the computer?” He said “It’s because we do not cover hardware” I almost fell out of the chair and asked “Could you please tell me why the motherboard is not covered? What’s wrong with it?” He pulled out the technician’s note and said “First of all, your motherboard does not have a serial number, and that’s why we are not covering it.”

I said, “My laptop came with a serial number matching the box and warranty information, what are you talking about?” He said “the motherboard serial number is different than the laptop serial number.” I said “so, how would I know why the motherboard does not have a serial number?” He said “Maybe your seller just swapped the motherboard or sold you a refurbished one?” I said “There is no way that my laptop is not a brand new. It’s HP Sealed and sold by Amazon.com. Are you telling me the HP seal is a fake one too?” He said “Probably.” I asked, “With my laptop serial number, does my laptop match every specification on your HP database?” He said “Yes.” I said, “That’s what HP built and sold to me. As a customer/consumer, who will take their laptop apart and check if there’s a serial number on the motherboard before they buy?” He argued, “But HP will not ship anything without a serial number.” I do not want to argue with this nonsense, and asked to speak to his supervisor. He refused and said “my supervisor cannot help you because this will not change the fact that your motherboard does not have a serial number.” I said, I want to talk to them anyway because this is just not right. He asked me to call Amazon.com and see why they swapped my motherboard. I said, I will call but I still need to speak to your supervisor. He said, call back the next morning to talk to a case manager.

So, I hang up and called Amazon.com. Matthew was on the call with me and I told him I bought a laptop from Amazon in June last year, and the laptop is overheating. So I sent it back to HP for repair, however they do not want to honor the warranty due to the product you sold me does not have a serial number on the motherboard. They said it’s either refurbished or fake. At first, he said it was past the 30 days return policy and he did not want to deal with it. I added, “Look, HP is telling me you sold me a laptop that is not brand new. I cannot use my warranty and this is misrepresentation. I know it sounds stupid, but that is what HP did to me and they asked me to contact you.” So, Matthew went researching the case for me and told me they got their stock directly from HP. They sent me an email to indicate they sold me a brand new product and they got directly from HP.

I connected back to my online chat at 1:45am. I told them what happened to me. They checked, my laptop is still under warranty, and they said they will escalate my case to “Concern Department” and guaranteed I will receive a call within 48 hours. It is almost 2:30am when everything is done. I was so mad and could not get to sleep with all these “unbelievable” things happened to me for the last 3 hours.

The next morning, I called and tried and asked to speak with a case manager. They are not letting me unless I re-explain what happened again. So, I finally got a hold with a case manager named Kenneth Cooper. He said he will call me back within 48 hours once he obtained a quote from the Repair Department.

The same night, I called again to HP Total care and asked them a “is motherboard part of the parts warranty.” Without even giving them the case number or my serial number, Parry Viti immediately told me “HP Warranty only covers Software.” It’s the third person telling me HP Warranty only covers SOFTWARE. I said, “That’s not right, you are the third person in the department telling me HP Warranty only covers Software. I need to speak to your supervisor.” She said “My supervisor is not going to help you.” I said “I need to speak to them.” She refused to transfer me when asked for 5 times. At the end, she said “My supervisor is not working at this time, none of them is here right now.”

So, 48 hours had passed, and no one call me from the “Concern Department.” So, I get onto online chat again and gave them my case number and asked “why no one is contacting me?” The technician once again escalated my case to the Concern Department.

I did not get a call from the senior case manager, Kenneth Cooper. So I decided to call him on May 2. Although he gave me his work extension number, my call is screened by another person before he is willing to transfer. He said he will leave Kenneth a message and call me back as soon as possible. 3 hours had passed, and I still haven’t received his call. So, I called again, and finally got him on the phone. He said, I got the technician notes, I checked and I saw your laptop is under warranty, I have sent them a note to fix it.

I asked, why did 3 different HP Customer Rep say HP only covers Software in their warranty?. In addition, when asked to transfer to their supervisor, they all have the power to reject the customer’s request. I asked if I could speak to Customer Satisfaction. He said there is no such department. I asked, what about quality control? He said no. So, I asked “I know HP has a Concern Department, is it possible if you could transfer me to them?” He said “No, we don’t have such department.” I said, “My case was escalated to the Concern Department twice and you are telling me that department did not even exist? I wonder where my case got transferred to.” He laughed. I added, “So who could I talk to with the service that I had received in the past week?” He said “you will be given to a link to a survey once the case is closed.” I asked “Could I talk to someone live about this?” He laughed and said “No, even if you write an email to the CEO, your email will come back to our department.”

I said, “I am very impressed with how poor the HP Customer Service is, and HP does not even have Customer Care/Satisfaction department.” He said “Yeah.” I added “I would make sure this will be my first HP product and definitely will be my last HP product.” He said “Okay.” I added, “I could not recommend any HP products anymore to my users, clients, friends and family.” He answered “Alright, if that’s what you chose to do.” This is how a HP senior case manager is treating their customers who definitely have purchasers influence.

On May 5 at 6:30pm, I finally received my first call ever from the HP Order Status department, he told me “your laptop’s motherboard is missing a serial number, and due to that our warranty does not cover that.” I told them a senior case manager had sent the repair department a note to go ahead and fix it. He said, “Oh really? When did that happen?” I said “Last Friday.”

May 6, I tried calling the senior case manager again but he was not available to take my call. (I am glad about this) I talked to another case manager named Jean who picked up the phone, she is a much nicer person and she pulled out my case. She found out Kenneth did not give proper authorization to the repair department to fix my laptop.

My best guess is HP wants to wait until my laptop warranty expires before they want to fix my laptop. I have been out of my laptop for a month already, and I need it for a trip in mid May. I once recommended a HP laptop to my friend, and she came back and told me “HP sucks!!!” I asked why and said my laptop is fine and that I had no problems so far. I did not knock on wood for that, and I got my turn to experience the service from “Award-Winning HP Total Care support” – and they definitely got the “Worst Customer Service ever Award”. Now, I just have to join her and say HP sucks!


Well, Floria, now that you’ve gotten all that off your chest, we’d try writing a concise email to HP’s executive customer relations department. Here’s some contact information for you:

Daniel Bulnes
Executive Customer Relations
Palo Alto, Ca.

Anyone else had HP tell them that their 1 year warranty on a new laptop “only covers software?” That’s a new one for us.

(Photo: wlodi )

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