This HP Customer Service Rep Thinks He's A Genteel Salesman

A Consumerist reader called HP to ask whether they could help him with a broken computer. They couldn’t, of course, but that didn’t stop the CSR from trying to ever-so-politely upsell a brand new HP computer at a low, low price. Thanks for calling HP Total Care for Desktops! What can we do to put you in a new computer today?

Kingston S: Welcome to HP Total Care for Desktops. My name is Kingston. How may I assist you today?

Consumerist Reader: hello my compaq has expanded leaking capacitors

Kingston S: Hi [redacted], how are you doing today?

Consumerist Reader: my compaq has expanded leaking capacitors

Kingston S: I understand your concern. Let us go through the issue and check how best we can resolve it.
Kingston S: In order to understand the issue better, please let me ask you few questions.
Kingston S: May I confirm your email id as: [redacted, but misspelled]?

Consumerist Reader: it’s [redacted]

Kingston S: Alright. Please let me know if the operating system in your computer is Windows XP.

Consumerist Reader: it’s xp

Kingston S: May I know when this issue started?

Consumerist Reader: it’s been intermittent for a while it’s gotten progressively worse with the compter hanging or not starting

Kingston S: May I confirm the model number of your computer facing the issue as: Compaq Presario 6010US Desktop PC?

Consumerist Reader: that’s correct

Kingston S: [redacted], I am sorry about that but I will not be able to assist you in this regard as it is out of my support boundary. Shall I share my views with you instead?

Consumerist Reader: what?

Kingston S: [redacted], you can contact the Authorized Service Providers and they may be able to do something for this.
Kingston S: This is because this was one of the best computer model when it was released.

Consumerist Reader: is there a phone number?

Kingston S: Now, that it has become old, and the options for taking it for a bench repair is not left at all.
Kingston S: The phone support is a paid support.
Kingston S: [redacted], don’t you think it is high time to upgrade your PC?
Kingston S: Why I suggested that because HP is selling new computers at attractive discount prices which has got all the Advanced features and latest technology support.
Kingston S: It is also shipped with the latest Windows Vista operating system.
Kingston S: There is an instant rebate going on with HP. You will get computers from HP even with the latest Windows Vista operating system preinstalled starting from $ 350. Isn’t that an awesome offer?

Consumerist Reader: I think I’ll buy a Mac
Consumerist Reader: Compaq/HP obviously doesn’t support what they sell.
Consumerist Reader: I’ve heard there are nothing but problems with Vista

Kingston S: If you are getting an operating system with same features and if it more user friendly, you should go for it. I am sorry. This product has become obsolete. So, Authorized Service Providers may be able to assist you.

Consumerist Reader: So you/hp can’t help me?

Kingston S: I am sorry. I can only assist you with a PC upgrade now. If you are interested, we can arrange a call back only for upgrading to the up to date PC which we support completely.

Consumerist Reader: This is the last hp product I will ever buy.

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. scoobydoo says:

    Every time read or hear anything about HP I am amazed they are still around.

  2. Meg Marco says:

    I love this.

  3. ImCrying says:

    The entire conversation hurts my brain.

    Just go to NewEgg and build the computer yourself.

  4. NightSteel says:

    I’d be willing to put money on one of two possibilities.. 1. the ‘support’ person is actually a salesperson who has enough access to find out whether or not a particular system is within warranty, or 2. it’s a ‘real’ support person who is mandated by company policy to try and upsell people, and who farking hates that fact.

    Oh, and..

    Kingston S: This is because this was one of the best computer model when it was released.

    Not if it was manufactured with defective components. Douchebag.

  5. sean77 says:

    you’re talking to a bot. Either it passed the turing test, or you failed it.

  6. Aox says:

    So this guy has a machine that’s 6 years old, and 3 to 5 years out of warrantee, and he’s upset because HP won’t help him other than to direct him to a place that will support him for money…

    This is like being pissed off at Microsoft because NT4 won’t run Exchange 2007…

    Freakin upgrade already… Sheesh… Can you say “entitlement”?


  7. 2719 says:

    But his PC is obsolete! It’s cheaper to buy a new one unless he has some kind of super extended warranty. And I doubt he does. Also buying a Mac won’t help him either. Every product has its lifetime. The warranty expires and several years later all support is discontinued. What do people expect? 10 years of support?

    Employee was probably just doing his job. They probably get pushed to up-sell and no surprise there.

    His best bet is ebay and try to get a replacement motherboard or if he’s capable maybe replacing the caps in question. Other than this there is really no other viable option with PCs getting cheaper and cheaper every day it just does not make sense to pay for repairs and maybe that’s why every small PC repair shop that I know of has closed.

  8. xerent says:

    @Aox: How can he not upgrade with all of these AWESOME OFFERS!!!

    I can imagine the Don on the other end of the line…. “I’ll build you a laptop you can’t refuse.”

  9. legwork says:

    Hey, I’ve heard nearly verbatim game from HP by telephone, and for a failed machine that was less than a year old. Sad state they’ve fallen to.

    “Innovate” takes on a whole new meaning.

  10. xerent says:

    @2719: Agreed 100%. The PC is 6 years old and well out of warranty. I’m not quite sure what the OP was expecting on this one, seems like he was just wanting to be upset about something.

  11. kentnmiller says:

    It sucks that this person didn’t get their service needs met, but HP has recently replaced my 50″ plasma even though it was out of warranty. After writting Mark Hurd an email explaining my frustration, I shortly received a phone call from their case managers. Get this, he offered to replace, deliver and install the TV, free of charge. And for that great costumare care, I am forever greatful. HP has shown that they are a company that stands behind their products.

  12. ImCrying says:

    @Aox: Oh, his computer is 6 years old? Who the hell complains about a broken 6 yo computer? That’s fine for a bottom-level consumer-level computer. Actually, I’m impressed that a Compaq lasted so long.

    So, I guess both HP and the writer get the HURRRRRRRRRRRR award.

  13. rs91 says:

    It’s a 6 year old computer. Why would you expect a company to support a computer that’s that old?

    If they did, it would have to cost a fortune. It would cost a fortune because it would cost them a fortune to keep obsolete parts for every potential issue that someone calls in for 6 years later.

    The call rep left out that part of the conversation.

    Most people would find what the rep did helpful. Basically — “it’ll cost too much if you could find someone to fix that one, however new computers, with a lot more capabilities, are currently startinf at $350.”

    Most people would prefer that honest answer up front versus spending a lot of time looking for someone to fix the computer and then to get hit with the high repair costs.

  14. sickofthis says:

    The same thing happened to my dad when he called for support for an HP multi-function device. They managed to up-sell him to a newer model.

  15. ImCrying says:

    Actually, re-reading the entire piece again, it comes off a tad slimy, but the phone support person is actually doing Kingston a favor.

    I redact my HURRRRRRRRRRRRRRR award to HP (but only in this specific case, they’re still a lifetime achievement winner of it) and put the HURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR award specifically in the name of Kingston. Your complaint sucks. Please never write Consumerist again.

  16. ImCrying says:

    @ImCrying: ***I meant “Consumerist Reader,” not Kingston.

    Also, I can’t wait for this guy’s next email to Consumerist.

    Reader: “I bought this Chevy Cavalier 15 years ago. Its transmission is broken.”

    Chevy: “Well, you could take it to a service center and have it replaced, but we also have some great financing options on used cars at a local retailer.”

    Reader: “I’m buying a Toyota. It’s clear that Chevrolet does not support its products.”

  17. Gosh darn, ever hear of Moore’s Law?

    The 6 year old computer would use an early generation Pent 4 CPU.

    Oh yea, let’s use a CPU that is power sucking, heat generating, 2 or 4x slower than today’s slowest chip. Makes lot of sense. Not.

    Yes, the CSA has been listening to corporate dogma and trying to aggressively “soft-sell” an upgraded product. Tsk, Tsk. But at the same time I must wonder if it was a regular tech support CSA as those outsourced geeks seldom do more than “give me credit card” statement prior to transferring ya to paid tech support whenever they encounter an out of warranty appliance.

  18. Ein2015 says:

    While this conversation is utterly retarded, it really is time for the guy to go buy a new computer…

  19. shorebird says:

    Are all of you (except Sean77) unable or unwilling to understand that “Kingston S is a Bot. Remember I am just sharing my view with you.

  20. ffmariners says:

    I think my favorite line is:

    Kingston S: [redacted], don’t you think it is HIGH (emphasis mine) time to upgrade your PC?


    isn’t that an AWESOME (emphasis mine) offer?

  21. geoffhazel says:

    I had to call HP support recently. Well, online chat. My Compaq desktop (same vintage as the OP) had an XP recovery CD that I had sat on by accident and cracked. I called for a replacement CD.

    I was informed they no longer made those, perhaps I could find one on ebay.

    That was it. Period.

    I was SOOO glad they sent me an email a few days later to tell them how satisfied I was with their support!

    They got a lot of “1”s — where 1 is the lowest score possible.

  22. @geoffhazel:

    Gotta give them some 5’s to make those 1’s standout.

    One of the metrics will measure your average score and the determine the largest deviants from the average as the areas that the company is doing the best (or worse).

    Wanna fark somebody over? Give them all 5’s… except for a single 1. The employee or department earning the 1 will be looking for a new job.

    I know, ya really hate on HP. Give them a better score for meaningless stuff …. 5 for a prompt response. 4 for courtesy. Those 1’s will be much more dramatic when there is something to compare the 1 against.

    BTW, one call center supervisor told me the company just rejects perfect failures because the reviewer may have confused the ranking system. In addition they can and will reject a score that is across the board all 3’s as it demonstrates little thought by the reviewer.

    So give them a good score, and then give them finger. It is much more meaningful.

  23. Quatre707 says:

    This article doesn’t say whether the “consumerist reader” still have a valid warranty with HP. If you call HP for support and are out of warranty they will try to sell you a new PC, then try to sell you paid repair/support services, and than explain that the product is out of warranty.

  24. BondJBond says:

    @NightSteel: The unit is 6 years old. If it was Manufactured with defective components, they would have caused issues before 6 years passed, dontya think?


    That is a link to the specs of said PC

    Here are a couple highlights
    AMD Athlonâ„¢ XP Processor Model 1600 (1.4 GHz)
    256MB 266MHz DDR DRAM – 2 Total DIMM Slots Upgradeable
    40.0 GB UltraDMA Hard Drive
    16X DVD-ROM Drive
    Integrated NVIDIA® GeForce2™ Graphics with 32MB shared system memory
    Comprehensive product protection plan : 1-year parts, 1-year labor, 1-year end-user replaceable parts (EURP)
    January 2002

  25. darksunfox says:

    What are the specs on the PC? If it’s worth fixing, you can order a new motherboard. Unfortunately, capacitors bubbling = new motherboard, not much else you can do unless it’s on a plugged in component.

  26. BondJBond says:

    @Quatre707: He did not have a valid warranty, nor could he have, the unit was past end of life, and unrepairable by HP.

  27. darksunfox says:

    Dang, somebody beat me to it… yeah, just upgrade, although you could make a fine test box/server out of it if you’re into that, that machine is pretty obsolete.

  28. samson says:

    has the consumerist jumped the shark

  29. BondJBond says:

    Or Nuked the Fridge

  30. Coelacanth says:

    I still don’t like the reasoning the CSR used. Simply state that the computer is long obsolete and out-of-warranty. Other repair options may be costly. If Kingston wished to share his viewpoints, I don’t think selling Vista was the most compelling argument he could use.

    Nor does it surprise me that the English spoken in the chatroom seems laboured and a bit off. A system that’s much faster, with newer features, for less than the probable repairs make for an excellent point. Instead, he drones on about an OS. =/

    One more reason to hire native speakers – they pick up on context much better!

  31. geoffhazel says:


    -> Gotta give them some 5’s to make those 1’s standout.

    Oh, I did. Responsiveness of support, ease of understanding the rep (overseas), timeliness of support all got 4’s. Overall satisfaction was a 1. They had a fill in box for general comments which I used to good effect (I hope).

  32. geoffhazel says:


    -> Instead, he drones on about an OS

    If HP was smart and sold lower end boxes with XP Home, they could probably turn some of these out of warranty 6 yr old boxes into actual sales.

  33. I’m sorry, but that is ridiculous. Of course they no longer support ye old ancient computer.

  34. Quatre707 says:

    This is like someone complaining that their analog cell phone no longer working because wireless carriers shut down their ancient analog networks.

  35. BondJBond says:

    @geoffhazel: Until June 10th HP did
    And still does if a customer busy a business machine (which honestly, anyone should)

  36. Not Alvis says:

    If the capacitors are going bad in SIX YEARS, they’re defective, and HP needs to replace it. Solid-state hardware should last for decades, not years.

    The ONE time I’ve had to replace caps was in a 20-year-old arcade monitor. In such a high-voltage environment, I expect caps to go bad YEARS AND YEARS down the road, but I’d never expect such a problem in consumer electronics.

    I wouldn’t call such a system “obsolete” either. I just set my mom with up with a 10-year-old PC of mine. It gets her online just fine and runs the same software as any recent PC. “Limited use” perhaps, but obsolete? Hardly.

  37. @geoffhazel:

    There ya go. Effective use of those surveys. A scattering of 1’s is always best.

  38. BondJBond says:

    @Clold: HP doesnt need to replace it. HP (and dell and acer and sager and tohiba) warrants it will replace it if within the first year of ownership the defect in workmanship is brought to light.

  39. lestat730 says:

    I always thought HP’s were nice and have owned several over the years (plus recommending them to friends.) However, I bought a HP pavilion d4790y desktop about a year and 4 months ago and recently the motherboard, cpu, or both failed. Of course I didn’t buy the extended warranty and it really hurts that this happened just 4 months out of warranty. Thats life I guess, I didn’t expect them to help me… but a friendly support person with a little sympathy would have been nice. Instead HP immediately cuts me off after hearing what the problem is and they tell me that I’m looking at $700 to $1000 to fix it including shipping both ways. Needless to say, I decided to buy a new machine instead. Only this time I got an Alienware Area51 and 2 years of warranty. Alienware has exceptional support and people who speak perfect english which is very refreshing. While its not necessarily HP’s fault it failed, I def wouldnt buy or recommend them to anyone else from now on. (Not counting my friends recent experience of a defective laptop being sent for repair over and over without getting the issue fixed!) Man, sometimes I hate computers as much as I love them!

  40. TorrentFreak says:

    LOL the irony is the CSR is right, if you want to upgrade and use Vista you need an outrageous amount of RAM.

    Don’t be sheep! Get the latest and greatest. They are right, a new computer would fix that. Gotta love HP lol.

    Linux FTW

  41. sisedi says:

    What we should focus on is not the crappy CSR but the crappy computer’s capacitors which were most likely not leaking as fault of the customer. Shitty builds from a shitty company.

  42. planet2334 says:

    Sounds like he was a WONDERFUL CSR, and we should promote him to a diplomacy job in Iraq “I’m sorry we’ve blown up your country today, would you like to buy a new one from us?” It might solve our National Debt problem…. send salesmen to the middle east.

  43. Fallen_Angel6 says:

    You know as a person from customer service I looked at this and said wow that shouldn’t have happened. Then I decided to research a little. The desktop the customer had was not made within the last ten years. Standard OS that came on this was Windows 98. I’m sorry DUDE, but no matter where ya went it would have been the same answer. My grandma would have looked at you and said “Are you stupid?” Please do all us that know how to use computers a favor and don’t own one, okay?

  44. chiieddy says:

    @2719: My Mac is at the end of its product lifecycle (probably another 18 months left before the next OS upgrade won’t support it), yet it’s over 5 years old. Oh yeah, and I expect I’ll get another 4 – 5 years out of it. So, why should it be unexpected to get support on a system that old? Apple will repair my Mac if I ask them too. The latch is broken. I decided the cost of the repair wasn’t worth it since it’s not a fatal flaw. Big deal.

  45. fredzorz says:

    @TorrentFreak: I agree that Linux is way better than Vista. But, I do have a spot in my heart for Windows ME. Yes, it sucked, but it had a certain nostalgic appeal. Anyways, the computer I am writing this on is a Compaq, and I’ve never had any problems, except for the fact that some of my hardware isn’t supported by Ubuntu (for Pete’s sake, you’d think the computer’s /FAN/, of all things, would work). But, that’s not their fault. If it weren’t for the fact that I’m gonna build my next computer, I would buy from HP again.

  46. baristabrawl says:

    What the hell is an expanded leaking capacitor? They should send a paper towel for that.

    And I support the decision to purchase a Mac.

  47. GothGirl says:

    Give me a break! How old is your system 5-6 years old? Buy a new computer and stop moaning!

  48. jackal676 says:

    It’s one of a few things on the motherboard that looks a bit like a AA battery sticking out sideways, and something that caused me nearly a year of cursing and head scratching before I diagnosed it as the problem on my old computer. Faulty capacitors can bulge out at the end and this crusty brown stuff leaks out, much like when you go poopoo.

    My question to the OP:
    When you see the words “I am sorry about that but I will not be able to assist you in this regard as it is out of my support boundary,” why didn’t you either ask for a supervisor or close the chat?
    Unfortunately your computer is old. It broke. Life sucks. Buy a new one and quit angling for some special service to which you’re not entitled. Best of luck getting Apple to fix your iMac when it’s five years out of warranty.

  49. I have to say that it was at least refreshing to see that he was polite and didn’t seem to be promising anything that they couldn’t provide, like fixing your monitor over the internet.

  50. Shadowman615 says:

    This whole conversation looks like a setup to me. There’s no way that computer was still under warranty or anyone could expect it to still be still supported. I bought a similar compaq 6330 about 7 or 8 years ago which was relegated to secondary status in 2004 and has been completely collecting dust for slightly over a year now.

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t expect an old computer to work sometimes, just that it’s completely unreasonable to expect tech support on any product that old. I’m sure they don’t sell warranties for more than 5 years.

  51. Not Alvis says:

    Fine; this isn’t under warranty. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a legitimate reason to be upset.

    Capacitors DON’T usually fail like this. There were many reports in the early 00’s of poorly-made caps coming out of China and going right into motherboards. These were the exceptions that proved the rule.

    Would you not get upset if a you bought some statues, and then a few years later some suddenly turned to mud? I’m shocked at the number of people defending a poorly-made product just because it’s out of warranty.

  52. ImCrying says:

    @Clold: I think it’s the point that the person thinks that HP should service a 6 year old computer. The person is batshit insane if they think HP owes them anything.

  53. Rusted says:

    It was probably just the power supply with leaking capacitors. Just amble down and get a new PS at any computer store. It’s what I did for my creaky old Athlon. Didn’t stop me from building a new dual core…..

    6 years, maybe the person was angling for a freebie.

  54. thebiglife says:


    Don’t you know they’re just trying to make a living like everyone else?? No doubt the dude had a very tight script he HAS to stick to on every call…and obviously don’t train them worth jack. It’s the management that causes these fiascos, not the schlup on the other line.

  55. HOP says:

    i just got a new hp…the one it replaced was 6 yrs old….the new one has vista home premium…so far i’m satisfied with it…i never had a bit of trouble with the old one either…never had to call hp for support….the old one just kinda wore out, and i didn’t think it was worth upgrading…..sorry, at this time i can’t knock hp…..tho i can bitch about the high cost of their printer ink…..

  56. mac-phisto says:

    i don’t see a problem with this at all. he gave the guy options – try authorized service providers or buy a new comp. he even sidestepped the mac bait. probably the only mistake was not suggesting that he could “downgrade” to xp when the OP expressed reservations about vista.

    overall, not a bad convo.

  57. 2719 says:


    The holy Apple comes to the rescue!

    Or not.

    Do a search for “iMac Lines” on google and you’ll see what I mean.

    Apple has a very limited line of products. They charge a lot of money for average hardware. You *could* get your machine repaired if needed but it would cost you $500-$1000 easily.

    HP produces a lot of different models and with the price coming down it just does not make any sense to support 6 year old PCs since you can buy a new one for $300. Seriously how many people would opt in for a repair at $500-$1000 if they can buy a brand new, updated machine for that money?

    BTW it does not matter what part failed. If the warranty has expired you are responsible for repairs. Of course there are exceptions like the XBOX red ring of death etc but this only happens when there is a widespread hardware flaw.

    Now am I missing something or are there 1000s of people complaining about their 6 year old PC not working due to caps leaking?

    Consumerist dropped the ball with this one.

  58. Angryrider says:

    I’m happy I got an HP before the s- started to fly. Five years and it works like a charm. At least I never got a, ugh, Compaq. How much it sucks.

  59. AnderBobo says:

    @Clold: Your analogy doesn’t hold up. Computers have a lifecycle, like cars. After a certain amount of time it takes more money to keep it going than it would to just purchase a new one. Nobody buys a statue knowing that one day it will turn to mud. People do however buy computers knowing that it isn’t going to last them a lifetime.

  60. mike says:


    People do however buy computers knowing that it isn’t going to last them a lifetime.

    I’m actually quite surprised how long my Dell desktop has lasted me. I bought it about 6-7 years ago and still works great! It’s got 3gb of RAM, a decent video card…really no complaints!

    I’ve been looking for a new PC but really had no reason to buy.

  61. theblackdog says:

    WTF? I don’t believe this conversation is real.

  62. freejazz38 says:

    PEOPLE, don’t you know? THAT’S THE HP WAY. Flood the market with their crap, because they know uneducated morons will buy them. I just had a client yesterday with one. This guy is an HP and Circuit Shitty saleperson’s wet dream. Had a $1500 Hp Media Center piece of crap, bought ALL the useless extra software a CC salesscmuck could sell him, and got NO recovery CD’s. Of course, he needed them, and the awesome recovery CD’s HP gives you take FIVE hours to install!!!! WHAT A GREAT COMPANY OF INCOMPETENT MORONS! And idiots STILL buy their crap

  63. freejazz38 says:

    @2719: A. You can buy a new Piece of CRAP for $300. A decent computer, however, will cost you a little more than twice that. B. It doesn’t cost $500-$1000 to repair it.

    It is usually a good idea to check facts BEFORE opening your mouth. Makes you look LESS like a schmuck, although the know-it-all moniker is attractive to some

  64. ShadowFalls says:

    Wow, the issue here is with the caller. Sure the support person has a conflict of interest, but wasn’t trying to scam or anything.

    I mean, that computer is so far out of date, I would suggest the person buy a new computer too. Take it to get it repaired, you are looking at $300 – $400 for what most places charge. Might as well buy a new computer at this point. Even a low-end for that price would outperform the relic this person has.


    Believe me, there are plenty of people who don’t need to even spend $500 for their computer. The biggest investment for most is one capable of playing games. For simple stuff, people don’t need that much.

    But for those getting Vista, be sure to load it with 2GB of Ram. It is fairly cheap now, and you will notice the boost in performance.

  65. BoomerFive says:

    @freejazz38: Wow, you are a bit of a jerk. I think 2719 was right on except for the repair charges being a bit high. I also think that if the OP is making due with a computer that has a 1.4ghz Athlon xp cpu, 256 mb of ram (if they havent upgraded) and a 40gb hard drive, a 300.00 computer today would be a significant upgrade. (These were the original specs that came with that model)

    I will agree with one thing you said though, it is good to check YOUR facts before opening your mouth. Makes you look like less of an arrogant ass, though that moniker is attractive to some.

  66. BoomerFive says:

    This computer is also 6 years old, a bit of a stretch to ask for support 6 years later. I would have done exactly what the HP rep did, because the OP obviously needs a new computer!

    How did this end up on the front page? It’s a total non-issue.

  67. SacraBos says:

    I bought my wife a Dell (my very First Dell!) from MicroCenter, and it has capacitor problems, too You can look up “Optiplex GX270 bad capacitor” in Google, and find out that nearly every GX270 motherboard they made failed due to cheap capacitors. Called Dell, and they can’t help me, as the replacement program ended a couple of months ago. I can’t order a new motherboard – they don’t have any. However, I can have an on-site service tech replace the motherboard. At a cost that exceeds what I paid for the system in the first place. They should have recalled them.

    My first Dell – likely my LAST Dell.

    Took an old PC case, put in a motherboard/CPU combo I bought for less than $100, loaded Linux. My wife’s happy.

  68. Sockatume says:

    Those damned capacitors. A bunch of component manufacturers started pumping them out maybe 5 years ago now, stopped maybe 3 years ago when people cottoned on, and now they’re lurking everywhere waiting to be a pain in the arse.

    FWIW, I don’t mind my own HP laptop hardware-wise. The crapware is awful and I’m wary of their customer service, though.

  69. JeffM says:

    Why was this posted?

    This is the exact same advice I’d give my friend if they were having the same problem- and I’m not even motivated by profit.

    HP is offering the best solution here…

  70. SacraBos says:

    Forgot to mention – the Dell rep I talked to was just like this HP rep. Except she tried to sell me cameras, printers, even more memory for the computer that didn’t work.

    Sounds like “Support” is backwards now. Today, you call the Support Center in order to support the company, not you call them so they can support you.

  71. TPS Reporter says:

    It’s not really obsolete in that the parts can’t be had anywhere, but it will be obsolete as far as HP is concerned after 6 years. I built my own 6 or 7 years ago and I put close to top of the line in there. I can still get upgrades and replacement parts, but I also bought name brand stuff. But it’s not like I expect Maxtor or ASUS to be supplying the same parts they did 6 yearsa ago.

  72. mavrc says:

    Companies are trying to offset the cost of free support by selling support customers more junk. This is pretty typical of the computer industry these days, with a few very rare exceptions. It’s even common among parts vendors these days. The rep may or may not want to share these things with you, but more likely than not, they’re being ordered to as part of their job. There’s no point in taking it out on the rep. Far more effective to take your objections to the executive level, because that’s where the decisions are being made.

    In addition to that, unless you’re dealing with an insanely expensive system to begin with (i.e. a server or extremely high-end desktop system) it is never, ever more cost effective to replace a system board with a part purchased directly from the manufacturer. OEMs charge so much for replacement parts you could buy a whole new system for what the replacement part would cost. Perhaps two. Better to get a part number for it and search eBay, as parts are often available there for a fraction of what they cost from the OEM directly (the downside being no warranty, and the usual risk of eBay. But it’s still better than buying direct from an OEM.)

  73. sega8800 says:

    Guys, HP doesn’t even do software update after you bought the PC/Notebook. Don’t expect them to service your computer after 6 years. If you really need computer, buy a new one for like as low as 199 from Fry’s when they have this deal. It’s way cheaper for you to spend the time on the phone or online with the customer service and pay for the repair. Think about it, time is money. The time you spend on waiting, you can spend it somewhere else where you can generate the cash you need to help your problem.

  74. 2719 says:


    Agree 100%. Even that $300 CRAP PC will outperform his old one. BTW I know of at least once case where Apple wanted $738 to replace the logic board on an Apple computer (not sure what model).

  75. sam1am says:

    This model came out in January 2002 and came with 256 Megs of ram (32 shared with video), 40GB Hard Drive and a 1.4Ghz CPU. Although it’s a dinosaur by computer standards, it would still be a usable PC if it worked and you upgraded the ram to a gig or so.

    That said, when you buy a Compaq you’re not going to get a lifetime warranty. These are cheap-o computers where the manufacturer uses the cheapest parts they can source from the cheapest factory in China THAT DAY. I know, because I worked for HP and saw how bad their consumer line was.

    The CSR was right. I new motherboard would probably cost the guy more than just buying a new computer. Not that mobos cost that much, but they do when you’re getting them replaced through an authorized whatever-ma-goo.

    What is more disturbing is the OPs apparent technical knowledge, yet the fact that he thinks HP is going to support a 6 1/2 year old computer.

    Guess what, Apple isn’t going to support anything after 6 years either.

    You could probably find a comparable compaq at your local salvation army for around $25, though.

  76. Alereon says:


    This is actually an exceedingly common failure mode for electrolytic capacitors. While there were some notable bad capacitors made by Chinese manufacturers due to issues with a stolen electrolyte formula, this problem affected the entire industry due to the rising power requirements of CPUs during this timeframe. Power usage of a processor went from 30W to 60-75W (and on to 150W+ today), and this additional load places a lot of stress on the motherboard’s electrical components. The actual problem is that water in the electrolyte is broken up into hydrogen and oxygen, and the catalyst designed to “mop up” these compounds either doesn’t work or eventually stops working. This causes an increase in pressure inside the capacitor, eventually breaching the pressure relief valve and venting the electolyte. This appears as a orange-brown dried gunk on top of the affected capacitors. Prior to the venting of the electrolyte, the tops of the capacitors will be visibly bulging upwards.

    Modern, high-quality motherboards use solid ceramic capacitors that can never fail in this way. Cheap computers, especially OLD cheap computers, don’t. The system exceeded its 5 year expected lifespan, so the capacitors didn’t even fail early by any reasonable expectation.

  77. BoomerFive says:

    @2719: Yep, you are right. I was thinking pc parts and service, as was jerky boy there I’m sure. It certainly can cost an arm and several legs to get Apple to fix anything.

  78. mike-w says:

    As the OP of this article I’d like to make a few points:

    1. I’ve had other manufacturers i.e. Dell and Gateway replace a motherboard with defective capacitors well after the warranty was expired – that’s what I was inquiring with HP about. I’m certainly not stating that Gateway or Dell’s support is stellar – far from it.

    2. If anything, the chat session with HP demonstrates the incompetency and extremely poor mastery of English at these outsourced call centers.

    3. To answer the analogy comparing the computer to a car, a more appropriate comparison would if a component on a car was defective the manufacturer would issue a recall regardless of the age of the vehicle and fix it for free.

  79. BondJBond says:

    @mike-w: Mike, to address point 3 where you compare a computer to a car.

    Computer = 1 yr warranty
    Car = Generally 10 year warranty

    6 1/2 year old Computer = 65 Year old car.

    When was the LAST time, you saw ford, repair a ’43 free of charge.

    When was the last time, a car manufacturer issued a recall on a component even 20 years old?

    Dont compare cars to PC’s

  80. BoomerFive says:

    @BondJBond: Testify!

    @mike-w: I would like to point out that a defective capacitor will probably not kill anyone, while a defective car part just might.

    You said, “Compaq/HP obviously doesn’t support what they sell.” Maybe so in a lot of cases, but that is a bad inference here. This item is over 5 years outside the warranty. Bottom line, you expected something you had absolutely no business expecting and you got mad when you didn’t get it.

    You also expect me to believe that this is your third run in with bad caps since supposedly dell and gateway repaired boards with this issue for you? That’s some bad luck. Maybe you should stay away from computers all together.

    And lastly, you say this demonstrates “incompetence” on the part of the rep? Well I think he was polite and offered the only solution that he could.

    As I stated previously, I think the HP rep did exactly what he should have done.

  81. GothGirl says:


    You state that a car company would repair a defective car… even years later… OK I’ll give you that. But this isn’t a defect, its normal wear and tear. Or better yet, its the usable life span of an electronics item. I’m sorry your computer broke but I think your being a big cry baby. Companies aren’t responsible for every little thing after the warranty expires, they have to make a profit! It would be one thing if it was like… oh a month or even a year after the warranty was over… but come on! 5 years? Buy a new computer!

  82. ImCrying says:

    I hope Mike-W doesn’t reproduce and instill his expectations in his children.

  83. ShadowFalls says:


    Wow really? A computer manufacturer is only going to offer such a kind of service if it is a common problem for that particular line. The comparison as mentioned is quite bad. Faulty car parts can cause death, can you really say that about most electronics?

    Only biggest recalls have been batteries which caught fire and what does that do? Oh yeah, that is right, threatens lives.

    1. Your expectations are simply way too high of any OEM company. Did you expect them to give you a whole new computer? I doubt they have those motherboards just laying around just for you… I am assuming you were expecting them to service the thing too…

    2. I didn’t really see any issues with “English mastery”. Perhaps you say that because you didn’t get the response you hoped for. To be honest, I would be hell surprised the guy didn’t just break out laughing when you expected HP to fix a 6 1/2 year old computer.

    He offered the only solution he was able to offer. You took this as offense when it was not and you are now looked on as someone who lacks intelligence.

  84. BoomerFive says:

    I think we have beat up on this guy enough. At best he just didn’t know what to expect. After all, he hasn’t been in the market for a computer for 6 years.

  85. Fallen_Angel6 says:

    @geoffhazel: There’s a big problem with that. HP as a whole would have, but it’s not their choice. Do you know who Microsoft is? Yeah they develop that software and when they stop(oh wait they already have) HP would be up a creak without switching to Vista because no one would have used it and then would be yelling that they would have liked the chance. As a whole HP made the right choice I say.

  86. Fallen_Angel6 says:

    @Angryrider: <——At least I never got a, ugh, Compaq. How much it sucks.

    You know HP owns Compaq, right?