Mysterious Black Hole That Is HP's Repair Division Swallows Yet Another Laptop

We’re starting to suspect that HP’s repair department consists of a giant warehouse inside of which is a nothing but a black hole that eats laptops. Stephen Hawking is their receptionist, and he makes sure the techs don’t accidentally cross the event horizon when they’re chucking your computer into oblivion.

Reader Katy writes:

I purchased an HP Pavilion dv2014 notebook computer in August of 2007. I was about to leave my home of Auburn, WA to work as a volunteer for the Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Baltimore, MD. I felt I couldn’t justify spending the 13,000 dollars on a new MacBook, so went for the HP that was 700 dollars on sale, before tax. What a deal!

Well, about a month into my volunteering adventure the “m” key fell off my keyboard. NEVER had I realized that I used the “m” key so much before this happened.

Still, I had no car, and getting to a Best Buy on the Inner Harbor involved taking my laptop with me on the bus, for a long ride, and then walking to get to the store. I felt I could live without the piece of plastic. I continued to use my computer and noticed it got ridiculously hot when it was on for any extended period of time. Since I live with other volunteers in a provided house we don’t have things like desks, or really any personal space. So most of the time I used my computer it was to watch movies or use the internet while sitting on my bed. My lap started to get very uncomfortable with the heat. However, I didn’t want to make a big deal because it was so difficult to take care of.

Then, in March I came home for Easter to visit my family and my computer wouldn’t turn on. My Step-father is a systems administrator and nerd extraordinaire so he decided to take a look at it, but didn’t want to destroy the still valid warranty. When I got back to Maryland I called HP. They told me it was the hard drive and sent me a box to ship it to them. I was told it was a very easy fix and would be sent back in 2 days. I DID get my computer back, but they had only fixed the keyboard, the computer still wouldn’t start.

I immediately called HP back, was told it was possibly the motherboard and sent yet another box. That was on April 4th. HP has had my computer since April 9th and I have yet to get it back. This is due to a part being on backorder, although I have been told twice that the part was there and the work was done, yet my computer still has yet to be sent to me. The ship date continually gets pushed back, the most recent being May 15th. I know I won’t get it on May 15th because it would have to be shipped today, and I spent a large amount of my day (of which I am on vacation) on the phone with HP.

I have sent multiple polite, yet angry emails about the situation and have been given the number to the executive complaint line. I was even given a case manager who gave me his name and his number and promised to keep me updated and give me a fantastic new warranty for free. I attempted to contact him today and was disconnected 3 times while on hold, and then finally told that someone would “message” him and he would call me back. This was early in the day today. In my recent email I have asked/demanded for a refund. I doubt I will get one, but a girl can always wish. It has gotten to the point that I just want to cut my losses and by a freaking Mac. I never had any problems with their customer service or with my iBook in general before it died a slow natural death. My sister suggested that I contact you and after reading your site I agree that this is a matter that needs to be known.

Thank you for your work in keeping the public informed!


Well, HP. We think it might be time to admit that your current strategy isn’t working. Can you shake loose another laptop for us?

PREVIOUSLY: HP Denies Your Warranty, Accuses Amazon Of Selling You A “Fake” Laptop
Dear HP: It’s Been 6 Weeks Since I Last Saw My Laptop Can You Please Return It?


Edit Your Comment

  1. wickedpixel says:

    <crossing fingers>my HP laptop is out for repair right now. </crossing fingers>

  2. tortcat says:

    Can you imagine if there was a way to install a small powered GPS locator into your laptop… could track it down wherever it went..

    “Ugh..Mr Fire doggeeksquad guy…I show my pc as being in your backroom the past 90 days”…….sigh

  3. Gann says:

    I can’t wait for the “girl tricks HP into sending her free laptop by writing letter to consumer friendly website” headline.

  4. Buran says:

    $13K for a Macbook? Methinks you’re a little TOO believing of the falsehood that Macs cost too much.

  5. SBR249 says:

    I see that HP’s warranty repair service still hasn’t really improved since the last time my HP conked out and I ended up with a replacement. I guess the silver lining in all this is that after enough complaining and delays HP is usually very willing to cough up another brand spanking new laptop with upgrades.

  6. oldgraygeek says:

    Many of the DV-series laptops (including my DV9000) had defective system boards… they’re probably out of replacements.

    (Hint: If your HP laptop dies just out of warranty, call and ask them about the “One-time Service Enhancement Program.”)

  7. cronick says:

    Now just think of all the extra money you’ll spend on high blood pressure medicine when you buy a PC. Not to mention acid reflux and ulcers.

    Ooooh. And, there was a hot chick in *that* Black Hole. Farrah Fawcett. And a really cool robot! I’ll bet HP doesn’t have Farrah Fawcett and a robot.

  8. outinthedark says:

    @Buran: Did someone delete a post you replied to?

    Macs are about 20% more but they also retain their value more as well.

    I’m going to be updating my computers soon and I don’t think I will get anything other than a mac book pro for my laptop of choice. Just had to order two thinkpads for the office…lets hope the fact they haven’t been on Consumerist as much as HP or Dell is a good sign.

  9. B says:

    @Buran: It’s the new MacBook Gold. Sure it’s a little expensive, but the shiny gold case is worth it.

  10. trujunglist says:


    Methinks it was a typo. She’s already owned an iBook.

  11. scoobydoo says:

    I sent an HP DV9000 series in for repairs last month. I called them on Friday, got the shipping box (overnighted) on Monday. I sent it to them on Tuesday, and they had the damn thing back to me on THURSDAY (CA to IL).

    I had fully expected to have to write to Ben and start an EECB, but for some insane reason they did everything right. They even noticed a dirty keyboard and monitor bezel, so replaced those for free.

    I can’t say it has restored my faith in HP, but it certainly did impress me.

  12. camman68 says:

    @outinthedark: Just Curious? You say that Macs retain their value. Is this beneficial?
    I can see buying a car that will have a higher resale value – but a laptop?

  13. subterrene says:

    @cronick: Dude, you’re thinking of “Saturn 3”, not “The Black Hole”. They were both awesome movies though.

  14. sleze69 says:

    Boy I bet all the government employees using NMCI are excited that HP is buying EDS. Raising the bar of excellence…

  15. Murph1908 says:

    I am sorry to tell you, Maximillian has fallen in love with your laptop. He too found her ‘hot’, and despite her missing M key, she was still able to give him capital O’s

  16. Murph1908 says:

    dammit. Missed part of the joke.

    He also found her hot in bed.

  17. trujunglist says:


    It depends on what you see as beneficial. Personally, I think computers should at the very least run for 10 years. Whether or not they will be able to perform tasks, albeit slower, on the same level as a newer model is a different story. I can still use my ’98 Lombard with OS X. Do I want to? Not really, but several years ago it did allow me to skip the entire G4 series.

  18. Thanatos- says:

    Recently i sent a company HP laptop in for repair (April 22). I remembered i hadn’t heard anything on the status in awhile and after a full afternoon (May 12) of getting redirected to the wrong department i finally got an answer of its status. HP screwed up the shipping label and instead of the laptop going to the HP repair center it went to the HP recycling center, within 4 days of calling them i had a replacement laptop sitting on my desk that is 2x the quality (and features) of the one we sent in. So it was a pain but the payoff was nice.

  19. Buran says:

    @outinthedark: Look closely at the actual post: “I felt I couldn’t justify spending the 13,000 dollars on a new MacBook (…)”.

  20. Buran says:

    @trujunglist: Oh, I know, but it was too good to pass up!

  21. outinthedark says:

    @camman68: I sold my 3ish y/o G5 for $600. Cost me $2100 when I bought it new.

    I don’t think I will buy a prebuilt Windows machine anymore. I built my workstation for nearly $2k less.

    Just my experience.

  22. outinthedark says:

    @Buran: Geeze I must have skipped over that. I was like where the heck…! I kept searching 13k not 13,000…blah I’m tired…


  23. donkeyjote says:

    Technically, Any black hole the size of a warehouse would have a relativly short event horizon, probably around two or three feet infront of it, but the gravitational pressure produced by it would extend alot further out. They would die a bone crushing death (Which they deserve) well before they get a chance to chuck it across the event horizon.

  24. Buran says:

    @outinthedark: I’m stuck at work for an hour. I want to go home … sounds like we’ve both got the Fridays.

  25. outinthedark says:

    @Buran: I’m here for another hour or so. Things just can’t wait until next week it seems.

  26. i just read ‘the world is flat’–you know that it’s actually ups who is doing the fixing.

  27. Here’s one thing I have never understood about companies who don’t repair things properly.

    How do you send something back that isn’t working? Isn’t the one rule you’d think no one could mess up: make sure it works before mailing it back?

    Nope. I can’t even list how many time I’ve had electronics repaired under warranty and receive them back still not working – or in even worse condition than I sent them.


  28. phil28 says:

    I’m a technology columnist for a newspaper and when readers ask me what notebook to buy I’m reminded of all of the problems people seem to have with the HP brand. So these stories really resonate and take on a life of their own. I hope HP will fix their customer service. They’ve been near the bottom of the list for customer satisfaction in the current Consumers Report.

    From my experience Apple is so much better. I had a defective computer under warranty and they were terrific. Got right through in less than 4 minutes each time I called. Sometimes you get what you paid for (or less).

  29. Xerloq says:

    Dear OP,

    Check this post: [Consumerist] Call them and give them your shipping case number. Usually the case managers are nice people, and have power to effect change. Last time I called them they sent me a new laptop and fixed my old one and sent it back, too.

    Otherwise, launch an EECB, but that hasn’t been working too well against “haitch-pee”.

    BTW, a hard-drive on a DV2K series is user-replaceable.

  30. dxaxn says:

    Gees, I just got through with a battle with HP myself, so I know how you feel. I was out since January and I just received a replacement today.

    The key to it all is getting a QUALITY Case Number (NOT a regular case number) and have a Quality Case Manager assigned to your case. My Quality Case Manager was excellent and made sure that things got done.

  31. unpolloloco says:

    I’ve found Dell to better than Apple or HP in build quality (all of my friends with macbooks have had at least one screen crack on them – sometimes just from changing temperatures).

    Also, so long as you know what you’re doing around computers, you can “guide” the Dell techs to the problem.

  32. Scatter says:

    HP has been having many problems with certain lines of laptops and can’t meet the demand for replacement parts for them. That’s probably why this laptop hasn’t been fixed yet.

    Of course when you have all your parts made in China there tends to be a delay in getting replacement parts made in a timely fashion.

  33. planetdaddy says:

    That is an awesome movie.

  34. jwissick says:

    I have had nothing but problems with HP. Simply, they suck. I will never buy an HP product again. Their service sucks. Their product is unreliable. My last HP laptop malfunctioned 4 times before I gave up and mothballed it. The last time is when the power brick overheated and nearly caused a fire. I called to get a replacement and they told me the power supply was not covered in the extended warranty as it is an “accessory”. It took nearly a week of hell to get them to admit the power supply is a vital component as no laptop will function long with out it… and send a replacement.

    Never again.

  35. CompyPaq says:

    HP outsources their repair center, and none of HP’s employees actually have any idea what happens at this repair center. HP Sucks. Your Case Manager is unlikely to be able to give you a full refund, but he can give you either what HP thinks the computer is worth, or a brand new computer of an equivalent or better model straight from the factory. Just ask your case manager OVER THE PHONE because emails don’t work very well with a COMPUTER company.

  36. P.T.Wheatstraw says:

    “HP PC” means “Highly Priced, Poorly Constructed.”
    I recommend Lenovos (ThinkPads)…my company has issued me three of them, they have all been beat to hell and gone, and no issues to speak of.
    Were I to buy a computer for my own use, I would probably save up for the MBP and tri-boot it (OSX, XP, Ubuntu).

  37. ColdNorth says:

    No wonder my IT people cringed when I suggested an HP laptop…

  38. whuffo says:

    I was going to switch to a Mac but received a HP DV2000 as a gift. I’ve had it a little over a year now and it’s failed twice. Fortunately (for me) I’m a laptop tech so I repaired it myself. I’m already too familiar with HP’s “service” to bother with them.
    One keyboard and one DVD recorder later it’s working well enough; I’m typing this message on it now. But when this thing develops an expensive problem it’s going in the trash and I’m buying a Mac. HP’s service has been bad for years – and there’s no reason to believe it’ll improve at any time in the near future.

  39. greghayden70 says:

    @oldgraygeek: @oldgraygeek:
    Has it been power supply related where any command from start menu (Vista) to shut down or reboot makes the computer act all crazy?

  40. Ryuujin1024 says:

    Well i handed my laptop infor repair because one of the hard drives was about to fail, when i got it back it only returned with one hard drive – the other had been stolen/lost ect.

    I must say though this has been a great laptop, never crashed – with exception when it came with norton installed *cringe…

  41. kretara says:

    HP/Compaq do make some crappy laptops.
    I’m writing this from my work supplied NC6400. Never a bigger piece of shite have I used.
    The LCD is absolutely sad. Lots of issues with the laptop in general. I hate this f’ing thing. Makes me wish my company had stayed with Dell (never thought I would say that).
    We have taken to fixing these HP/Compaq POS in house since we were having so many problems with getting our new HP desktops/laptops serviced by HP.

    Don’t by anything from HP/Compaq unless you want constant frustration.

  42. sega8800 says:

    I think while HP improved the overall looks of their laptops, the quality is just getting worse especially the over heating problem. I bought one for my girlfriend last July for her birthday. It was 699, pretty good deal I thought since the only thing she does is type, internet, and watch streamed videos. Oh noooooo was I wrong. I spend 30 dollar on a coolermaster notebook cooling panel and I bought her one of these tables that you can use on bed and it still enough to boil an egg. Not to mention that when I use my Dell Vestro on that notebook cooling panel that my laptop doesn’t even feel warm. I am thinking about sending the notebook back to hp for a check up because it had been shutting down lately due to over heating but I didn’t want to do it before she is graduated because there are a lot of paper and stuff on it. I am crossing my figures for doing that. God bless me.

  43. sega8800 says:

    I don’t know if I would really want a mac, since I have some bad customer service experiences with them before, but over all, i guess mac laptop is better for a price.