How David Got A New Laptop From HP

David and his wife got stuck with one of HP’s lemon laptops, and since the repairs just kept involving more faulty parts, they weren’t solving the real problem. Here’s how he eventually got a brand new laptop–different model–from HP.

In June of 2007, my wife and family returned to the US after spending four years overseas in a third-world country. Just before we left we sold or gave away all of our electronics including both of our computers. As soon as we could, we purchased a new laptop so we could stay in touch. Rather than wait 2-3 weeks to receive an online order we purchased a Hewlett Packard DV6000 laptop (specifically a DV6400) from a big-box office supply store. Other than being saddled with Vista, it was a good laptop for the price we paid for it. I came with a one-year warranty.

Fifteen months later the wireless card stopped working. In doing some research I determined that many people were having the same problems with this model laptop. I also learned of a “Service Enhancement” program HP had started that included this laptop. I called and learned that this laptop did indeed qualify and would be repaired for free (including shipping both ways by FedEx). In addition the warranty of this laptop would be extended almost an additional eighteen months from that date making it covered for two and a half years after I originally purchased it. I was quite happy at this point.

Unfortunately, the breakdowns continued. Eight months later the video card failed. A month later the wireless card failed again. I had been doing more web research and learned that HP was just replacing the motherboard with the exact same defective parts and this is what it kept failing. I called the same HP technical support number and was told the laptop was still under warranty and all they could do was replace the motherboard again. I tried to explain that this “repair” was not solving the problem. It was explained to me that there was no one else I could talk to and this was my only option. So I allowed them to “repair” it again.

Two months later the laptop failed to turn on. I learned through The Consumerist of a contact web page for Mark Hurd, the CEO of HP. I wrote a very short succinct note explaining my situation and asked if there was someone I could talk to. Within a few hours I received an email from HP saying I would be contacted. One business day later I was contacted by Gerald, an HP Case Manager. While the other HP support people I had talked to were positive, they didn’t seem to be able to go beyond their script. Gerald was genuinely helpful and encouraging and asked if I would allow HP to repair the laptop one more time. He notated the ticket and asked that a senior technician look at the laptop this time which usually resolved these problems. Gerald explained that if this didn’t resolved the problems, he would replace the laptop. Since Gerald was so encouraging and helpful, I agreed.

When I received the laptop back a week later, it wouldn’t power on. After a few tries it started. Two weeks later it died for good. I called Gerald and relayed the sad news. He immediately agreed to replace the laptop. He picked a new laptop from a list of available models and emailed me the specifications to make sure I would be happy with this replacement. Included with the laptop was a one-year warranty.

So two and a half years after buying the original laptop, I have a nice new HP laptop and I am again happier with HP all because HP responded to my enquiries and provided me with better customer service than I was experiencing.

Some things I have learned through this process:

  • Patience and civility go a long ways. Getting mad does not solve anything.
  • Keep good records – Document the problems and keep track of who is helpful.
  • Be persistent – Just because someone says “no” doesn’t mean no one can solve your problem. It just means they can’t.