After Massive Runaround, HP Sends Your Laptop Back Filled With Viruses

HP is known for its incompetent repair process, but what makes Aaron’s case special is that at the end they decide to kick it up a notch. When he sends his computer in and gets it back from the repair center, HP has so ever so graciously filled it with free spyware and viruses.

Aaron writes:

The very first computer my family bought was a Compaq Presario from RadioShack many years ago. Due to my recommendation, the first laptop my dad, and my wife, bought was an HP laptop many years ago. The first desktop I bought was an HP, many years ago… etc, etc. We have each had at least one or two more HP products since then.

I have a fairly large social circle, which often turn to me for recommendations as to what kind of computer to buy. I can think of ten people just of the top of my head who have bought HP products because that is what I recommended to them.

I have had a few problems in the past (like a hard drive breaking or DVD-Rom drive not working) and have never had any significant problems with the service on my problems. This in part is why I have recommended this company. They have great value and up until now have always had great service resolutions for me.

My product:

I am a computer geek, love electronics, and am working on a career that relies on computers. This past fall I decided to buy my very first laptop. I have never actually spent the money for a laptop. I have had many powerful desktops, an HP ipaq, and some pretty amazing phones – but no laptop. I wanted to buy a high-end device that would last for awhile and fulfill some of the requirements I needed for my business. After comparing different models from Lenovo, Sony and HP I decided on the HP EliteBook 2730P; it is a small, powerful, tablet-pc.

My issue:

On October 3rd I gave HP $2,036.94 for the brand new 2730P. A week later (October 10th) I got an email stating my product was delayed and would not meet the original delivery date. It arrived nearly a week later on October 16th.

I played with it for a month or so until I was vacationing at my relatives for Thanksgiving (end of November.) While I was there my computer’s screen had froze one day, and after manually power cycling it, it would not turn back on. It tried to power on, but would flash some kind of blue screen (The BSOD!) and then just cycle over and over. I put it away for the duration of my visit and planned on fixing it later when I was home.

I am in sales so November and December are a busy time for me. I never got around to trying to fix my computer until December 19th. It was on this day I found out the problem was more serious than I had hoped. I ran the computer’s built in diagnostics and it failed the Boot Test. I called HP technical support and went through the process of waiting, and trying basic steps to fix my problem. The Tech support agent determined that it indeed was my hard disk drive that had failed and that I would need a new one. I was given the option of sending in my computer to be fixed, or having a new hard disk drive mailed to me. Since I am rather computer savvy I chose to perform the operation myself.

My problem:

The agent told me that my part was backordered and could easily take a week or so to get to me. A couple weeks and all of the holidays go by and I still do not have my new hard drive. On January 9th I get an email saying that the shipment date of my part would be January 16th. Of course I did not get the part so finally on January 30th I call tech support again and inquire about my replacement part. I am told that it is still back ordered and that my case (3604305572) was being escalated and I was even assigned a customer relations case manager (Nancy van de Wall.)

Nancy must have done a great job because she managed to have a part shipped directly from the manufacturer to me. It arrived February 2nd (51 days after the original request.) But to my sadness it was the wrong part. They shipped me a physically larger hard drive, attached to part of a case with a USB port on the part of the case.

I called Nancy back and left a voicemail but she never got back with me.

An agent called me a few days later on February 5th asking about my part, if it worked, and offering instructions on sending the old part back. I told her it was the wrong part and she quickly transferred me back to tech support and they ordered the right part.

The next day (February 6th) I again got an email telling me the part was backordered and would ship on February 14th. I called back and told them it was not acceptable so they again escalated my case and ended up getting my part to me on February 10th.

It gets worse:

I install my new hard drive and attempt to install the operating system but my computer will not read my external DVD-Rom drive (I know this drive works with my system because I previously used it to clean install Windows Vista, since my computer incorrectly came with the XP downgrade pre-installed.) My computer would not recognize an external device, no matter what BIOS and start-up settings I changed. I then tried booting from a USB stick, SD card, and even tried a friend’s external DVD-Rom drive. Nothing would work.

I call HP tech support again, and go through the diagnostic process. The agent determined that there are more issues with my computer than just the hard drive, and told me that my only option would be to send it in for them to fix. I did not want to do this at this point (after reading other stories on the comsumerist.com about HP keeping products for even months to fix) so I waited until Monday to talk again to a customer relations agent.

The agent insisted that I had to send it in, and that they could not just replace it since they had not repaired it three times prior yet. So they overnight me a box, I overnight it back, they take two days with it and overnight it back to me on February 27th.

Here is where I lose all respect for HP:

After using my newly working computer for ten minutes or so I find that I am getting a lot of Windows permission popups asking for weird-named programs to run, and then getting odd pop-up ads on sites like google, and yahoo, and others who would never have popup ads. My first instinct is to install Spy-Bot Search & Destroy. It finds 5 problems; Trojans and spyware. It was unable to remove all of the issues so I downloaded and installed AVG Anti-virus. It found even more Trojans and attempted to remove them but was not able to. HP sent me a computer back filled with malicious programs!

This brings me back in a circle to where I was previously, (see above topic: “It gets worse.”) I again cannot reimage and re-install an OS. I boot back into windows safe mode and proceed to reinstall Windows from there, but after copying the files to the hard drive, and restarting itself I am left looking at:

A disk read error occurred
Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart
_ (blinking underscore)

This is where I am at now; 72 days later with no way to start my computer or read from an external device (I cannot even run a live Linux cd to at least get a little usage out of my machine.)

What I want: I want HP to send me a brand new computer, and an apology. And I am hoping that the attention that the consumerist.com garners will allow me to have this.
Completely disappointed,

-Aaron N