5 Ways To Get Your Laptop Back From HP

We think we’ve cracked HP’s business model: they clean up laptops that are sent in for repair, then resell them to a new wave of victims! It would explain both the consistently poor quality of their laptops and the repeated stories of customers who never see their computers again after sending them in for repair. On that note, yet another customer has written to us to say that HP has held on to his laptop for 2+ months now and won’t give him any information on when he’ll get it back. We think that’s probably because they’ve already repackaged it and sold it, Jake.

Jake asks, “Do you have any suggestions?” Below is a summary of what we know so far about how to get a response from the world’s worst computer company.

First, here’s Jake’s story:

I bought an NC6120 professional labtop from them when I started law school. I’m not in my final year. So far, I have had the mother board, hard drive, and dvd player replaced.

A couple of months ago it just started shutting down. Two weeks ago I sent it in at the recommendation of tech support. After the first week I contacted them and asked if they could let me know roughly when the labtop would be returned. No luck. I have been following up with them and escalating my problem and I still haven’t had any luck.

This term is a tough one for me. I have to write multiple papers and its really difficult not knowing whether I should go ahead and buy another labtop (although the one they have is still under warranty). Furthermore, after reading some of the stories regarding HP on the Consumerist I am really concerned they are going to keep my laptop for three months.

Today, finally, I received word from one of the folks I had escalated my problem to that they are really busy and they can’t tell me anything about my labtop or when it will get back to me. I need to get started on these papers and I can’t get my labtop back. Additionally, I was given a new case # and I tried contacting executive customer service and they said they don’t have any record of it. I don’t have the original case # and now I feel like I am really at their mercy. Do you have any suggestions?

We feel for you Jake, and if you can afford it you might want to just grab a new budget laptop for your immediate typing needs while you deal with HP.

Here’s what we have so far for HP, in no particular order:

1. “Call this number for your problem: 1-303-649-5406
It is the number of Jeff Utigard. Leave a message if he doesn’t answer, and politely explain your situation.” (Thanks to Cell523)

2. “Try calling this number: 877-917-4380 extension 94 in order to get their corporate case managers. If nothing else they are based in Canada and you can understand them. The person you get will be assigned permanently (for as long as they work there, whatever that is worth) to your case. The gentleman I have been dealing with has been very professional and actually seems to sympathize with my problem.

Also, file in small claims court, they will generally give in at that point and it only costs about 25$ to file. Good luck.” (Thanks to smalleyd01)

3. Try asking Consumerist reader Jebster for help. He claims to be an HP employee/customer advocate, and he offered to help another reader about a month ago.

Note! If you do contact him and he agrees to help, we recommend you ask him to provide an HP corporate number and extension and/or HP corporate email address to protect yourself from scams. (No offense, Jebster—if that is your real name.)

4. Try contacting the HP Quality Case Managers:
“These are the guys at HP to call if you need to expedite your warranty repair if regular customer service fails you. Note that you need to already have a case number in the system.”?877-917-4380?x 79 goes to Desktop case manager?x 94 goes to Notebooks

5. Try suing them in small claims court, if it’s possible and affordable in your state. Read more about one man’s success story here:
“Man Gets Brand New Laptop After Suing HP In Small Claims Court For Losing His”

Bonus. Here’s HP’s warranty information online: h10025.www1.hp.com (Thanks to Jordan Lund)

(Photo: Getty Images)


Edit Your Comment

  1. SkokieGuy says:

    If he is being given no answers answers to the whereabouts of his property and is well beyond reasonable repair time, can the OP legitimately report this as theft to his local police department?

  2. sgodun says:

    Does anyone know what a “labtop” is?

  3. codpilot says:

    First: HP sucks.

    Second: Hmm a LAW?!? student?!? You really need to be precise in your usage of the English language if you want to be a lawyer (presumably a good lawyer?).

    Repeat after me:
    First – it’s laptop, I am not using this computer on top of a lab (spell check perhaps?).

    Second – I will keep all pertinent records regarding expensive electronic equipment and their repair.

    Third – As a student of higher education I will learn how to use search engines and become more self reliant, rather than sound like a blithering helpless whiny child.

  4. Toof_75_75 says:

    It’s like a desktop, that you use in a laboratory…obviously :-p

  5. SkokieGuy says:

    @sgodun: Everyone but you.

  6. bsalamon says:

    quite funny considering that law school finals are pretty much over…
    And that is why I have a spare laptop just in case – my first laptop, that is 5 years old, and a dell

  7. gacompguy says:

    I tried the 877-917-4380 extension 94 number a while back with an nx6320. The person that answered the phone said he could only help for the consumer-grade laptops. He redirected me back to the same line I had been calling.

  8. DekaFire says:

    HP doesn’t have any “labtops” , so there’s nothing really for them to give back. On the other hand, if the guy had been asking for his laptop or notebook or pretty much any real product…

  9. quail says:

    When dealing with their repair department I spoke to several nice foreigners who were unable to assist me. When my laptop finally came back with cardboard dust all over the keyboard and the screen, and with the wrong drivers for the brand of laptop I had it took me 2 calls to finally get my case escalated. At that point they give you a person in the US to deal with your call ~ quality will vary. The first lady I dealt took my information and asked that I call her back on Monday and she’d have a resolution for me. When I called back she’d started her vacation. The second person I got in touch with took pity on me after reading my case file and she sent a new laptop off to me. The old one got returned. I pity whoever got stuck with that one. I pity myself, and can’t wait until this one goes past its usable life and I can, without feeling guilt, buy a new one.

  10. cortana says:


    no, you have to use it ON TOP of a laboratory.

  11. jake456 says:

    Thanks for the helpful and of course unhelpful comments. The email message was written on an iphone, which explains the spellings errors. Summer term started for our law school three weeks ago.

  12. SamataNanger says:

    Back in ’05 – ’06 I used to work for a company called Solectron Global Services in Memphis, TN. We handled about 50% of all hp laptop warranty repairs (The rest went to Solectron’s facility in Canada). I do know for a fact all of HP repairs are contracted out, and at the time Solectron had the contract on _all_ HP laptops. The way the process worked was the consumer would call HP tech support in India, tell them a problem and India would send them a box to ship it to us in, with a supposed 3day turn around time. Now India would 95% of the time say the problem description was “CD drive not working” which had to be the first option, because no matter what the problem actually was, our information said “CD drive no working” and to top it off, we we’re not allowed to call customers from the repair bench. The only person (yes, one person for 2000+ laptops a day) that could call the customer was the NFF (no fault found) technician, which gets the laptops we can’t actually find a problem with….. Now, the catch is, when I worked there, they were slave drivers. We were on mandatory 12hrs a day 7 days a week, or you had to make your numbers, which was something like 25 laptop’s that had to pass QA and be shipped, most people would average one ship per hour, and our posted times were one ship per 45mins. So the numbers to leave early were insane anyway. So… anything that went to NFF didn’t count as a ship for you, they got shipped by the NFF technician, and we were required to do at least an hour of testing before we could move it to NFF. Needless to say we had such a high employee turn around that we would hire 8 people a week and still stayed at about 120 employees. I ran a training class on one model type for the 8 new people one week, and NONE of them had previous computer repair experience at all. And everyone there was unhappy with they’re job. We got paid $9/hr with all the overtime you wanted, which isn’t bad considering cost of living in Memphis, but way below what it should have been for the stress and job. Back to earlier about the ship numbers, we would regularly get in a laptop that says “CD drive no working”, test the cd drive and it works, we have no other problem description and can’t contact the customer, so would we run burn in tests for an hour then move it to NFF? No, we would through a new stick of ram in (took 2minutes to replace, tops) write in it was blue screening or freezing up, and ship it. And when you consider 95% of your 25 computers said the cd drive was bad, and maybe only 10% of them actually had bad cd drives, the rest you had no clue what the problem was, and replacing memory takes about 2minutes, you could actually make you insane ship numbers and go home in 8 – 9hours :) This is what the majority of the people there thought. And to top it off, QA only checked to make sure the laptop powered on, cd drive worked, sound worked, and no physical damage/scratches that weren’t noted when the unit first arrived.

    Another thing, Solectron’s contract with HP stated that HP would pay them higher per unit we shipped, (something like $17) assuming we meet our turn around time of %85 that came in that day had to go back out that day, BUT.. Here’s the kicker… we had to supply our own parts…. SO… do have a steady supply of new parts coming in? No, we take that bad parts from the day before and they go to our “parts recovery center” in the back of the building (which was some older guys with soldering irons) to “repair” and circulate back in to stock as “new” parts to go in. So no matter how much you complain, you more then likely will not get new parts in your brand new laptop if you have to send it in for repairs. Which leads to the parts that just got replaced, going bad again about 6months after you get it back. The other thing was that the OEM’s (TSST, Hitachi, WD, Quanta, Compal, Winstron, etc..) would not give our parts recovery team blue prints for the parts, so they were just kind of winging it. Yeah, we know how that turned out…

    The other thing was that when our stock finally did dwindle down do to parts being on repairable (broken boards, spill damage, etc..) We never had new replacements, I don’t think the one person we had in charge of parts had an inventory system, when there were no parts a tech would walk up to her and inform her, she would go to parts recovery and if none were there, she would order some, this leads to many laptops being put on back order. The parts would generally take two weeks or more to come in, they would be shipped from the OEM, usually in Taiwan or China, to Alaska by BOAT, go thru customs in Alaska, get shipped from Alaska to Solectron’s headquarters in Milpitas, CA, then shipped to us. Now since they got paid based on what got set out on the day it came in, back orders got put off ’til Saturday’s and Sunday’s when we had no inbound shipments. And it was usually this time when 10 or so people got fed up with it and didn’t come in on the weekend and would get fired and the people that did come in knew they would be there all 12hrs anyway and just slacked off.

    I think that covers most of it… Oh, Solectron Memphis had a contract with HP laptops, Dell laptops, IBM laptops, Sony laptops, Sony desktop refurbishment, Sony parts fulfillment, and wise dumb terminal. The only one worth a damn was IBM. There were actually IBM reps stationed in the building and they would cater them steak dinners when they met their numbers for so long and if they had to work weekends (they usually didn’t) IBM would provide them with food and drinks and IBM had the only contract where they paid less per computer shipped but IBM supplied they’re own brand new parts all the time. So they were never out of parts and there techs were generally more knowledgeable.

    There’s also in Memphis, “Flextronics” which does apple laptop repair, Motorola cell phone repair and HP printer repair and “Jabil Circuits” that does dell monitor repair and I don’t remember what else. There’s also a Fujitsu and Sharp repair facilities are corporate owned and never hiring because the few people I know that work there say it’s actually nice, but you have to work thru flex and Solectron and Jabil for depot experience and wait ’til a spot opens at the fujitsu or sharp places.

    You can google the horror stories about “apple’s” Memphis repair depots too….

    If there’s any further questions or anything that needs explaining feel free to contact me but don’t post my name or this email (it’s a place I like working at)
    Feel free to correct my bad grammar too…

  13. Toof_75_75 says:

    Good point!

  14. bukz68 says:

    The mobo on my HP laptop (bought 5 years ago) just crapped out so I’m in the market for a new machine. I liked the HP product I had and so I’m interested in buying another from HP (with the extended warranty because I know shit happens) but like the OP I’ve been put off a little by the shitty HP stories I’ve been reading on here of late. The problem I have is that I seem to read a LOT of these stories from all of these big computer companies. Who has a suggestion on where I should buy my new machine? I’d appreciate the advice very much as I’m going to start grad school in the fall and I’d like something that won’t break in 6 months since I probably won’t have cash lying around to by another so soon.

  15. Hayes says:

    HP has sales reps in most major electronics stores (Best Buy, Circuit City, Fry’s, Office Depot, Staples, etc.) on the weekends. Best Buy is your best bet to find one of them. When you do find one, tell them what your having an issue with. They have a specific number they can call to escalate your problems which can go directly to a technician, bypassing the usually customer service if you were to call the general HP support line. I’ve had more luck with this method than others. (Former HP employee. I have tons of HP stuff that all still work perfectly. Knock on wood.)

  16. e.varden says:


    Re the “labtop” speling error:

    You really are a pissy little schmuck, aren’t you?

  17. turtyle says:

    I just went through 4 months of this hell with HP and my laptop. I had to send in my computer 4 times and finally they issued me a new laptop because of the “lemon law.” I had all the same problems as the posters. Funny thing, after escalating my complaint the first time when they had my computer for 3 weeks and couldn’t tell me where it was, I asked the foreigner to allow me to speak with his manager. He told me he didn’t have one. I told him he had to. He would then tell me that he could help me (he couldn’t) and we would go around in this circle for about 25 minutes. Finally, I would interrupt him when he would start speaking and I would say,”I need a manager.” He then said to me,” Why do you hate asians? You must hate asians?” Shocked at this, I responded with, “no, I just expect to speak with someone on the same continent as my computer, so that they can find out what happened to it.” With that, I was transferred to his manager in the US. Since then, everytime I called HP (which was about 10 times a week for 4 months) I was always immediately transferred to either the US or Canada, so apparently in my case file it must read that “I hate asians.”

  18. realistfella says:

    why oh why do some people leave a comment about A SPELLING ERROR! it is so pathetic. i mean, this story, much like comsumerist, deals with real issues that affect real hardworking fellas who are being screwed around by big companies (and such), so why do we have these types of people who are so inept at actually getting a life they pick on the itty bitty nitty gritty sad pathetic details like a small spelling mistake. i mean think about it… they go through all the trouble of logging in, username, tab, password, hit enter, post useless message, submit! and what for? to seem smart? to have a giggle? to be “cool” or “witty”? it can’t be because this person is none of these things. for those of you who do that… here’s some advice that stands the test of time… If you haven’t got anything nice (or constructive) to say… be quiet and go away. ok rant over. i hope it all works out for you jake. and it was codpilot who got me going on this rant! so hope you’re listening codpilot! (what a name… more like a dead halibut…)…please understand i don’t wanna start a row here. there’s worse stuff happening in the world than a spelling mistake… so let’s just leave it at that shall we and move on….

  19. roadapples says:

    @bukz68: I have owned a computer repair shop for 5 years now, you are retarded if you buy one, not only does there customer/tech support blow goats, but there computers do as well.

    Here’s the breakdown of the major brands. Dont forget that all of these company also have awful support but that goes without sayin

    HP – suck and plagued with hardware failures

    Sony – way overpriced and run hot

    Compaq – made by HP and suck just a tad more than HP

    Gateway – no one has bought one in the last 5 years

    Acer – made cheaply

    Toshiba – used to be good years ago,

    Dell – good value (not the best quality) and you can build it online and get XP, parts are cheap as well if you need them.

  20. Xerloq says:

    Is it just me, or is number 2 identical to 4 and 5?

    The case managers are consumer notebooks only. I’m surprised you’re having issues with the professional grade stuff.

    When you talk to the case managers, be nice. Ask for things in writing, and get their last name. Be persistent and nice (call every other day if you have to). Get them to commit to a replacement if you haven’t received your repair by the promise date. HP’s target for warranty repairs under Total Care is 3-5 business days, though the reps will tell you it’s 7-10. If your return date is beyond that, and you’ve had 3+ problems they’ll usually send you a new one if you ask (though it will take 3-6 weeks to process the replacement.)
    Say something like, “Hey, M(r)/s case manager, if you had the laptop in for three repairs, and it’s delayed beyond the 10 day target, wouldn’t you expect to have your laptop replaced? Will you replace it if I don’t have a tracking number by that date?”

    Good luck.

  21. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    @SamataNanger: If I were you, after I quit I would have sent a similar write up to the FTC, BBB, and/or AG’s offices. I’m sure as an employee they may have a clause that you can’t talk about that stuff, but I’d think the company’s right (if any) and expectation of privacy would be outweighed by benefit of the greater good.

    Important: IANAL!!!

  22. ncc74656m says:

    HP’s customer support, both consumer and corporate, are really a joke. I’ve dealt with both on extended cases, and they are known for sticking to a script (both for troubleshooting and service issues), and they actually resent you for asking to speak to a manager/supervisor, even if you’re asking politely and have jumped through their requisite hoops.

    I know several people who’ve had their laptops swallowed by the HP monstrosity, and so far, two of them have been issued new laptops (no word on their data or original unit), and others have (eventually) gotten their unit returned. The cases where they were issued a replacement (always an upgrade) are when they’ve asked to speak to their legal department.

    Because the related stories are light on details, it’s difficult to say what your specific course of action needs to be, but my advice is to be a constant thorn in their side until resolved.

    My advice? Get a replacement no matter what you have to do, and at this point, that shouldn’t be impossible. They will likely issue you an upgrade (brand new, usually top of the line), whereupon you should sell the unit and get a Dell.

    Consumer support from Dell isn’t sparkling still, but their warranty is actually worth something, and if you get the onsite support, they will send a tech to you to fix it, usually within two days.

  23. icantreplyright says:

    Here is contact info for a case manager at HP: Andrea 713-300-3000 extension 4037. The 713-300-3000 number is apparently their outgoing number. When call it you can enter an extension. They are 4 digits long. She has not been of any assistance to me at all.