HP EECB Leads To Complete Refund For Defective 2-Year-Old Laptop

When Rick’s 2-year-old laptop failed for the second time due, he did not roll over and buy a new laptop or pay $400 for the repairs. This particular model of laptop had been recalled due to this very flaw, and that was not acceptable to Rick. He fought back, and shares his tale of triumph.

I love my HP computers. Over the past 9 years, I’ve bought ten of them and all of them have worked wonderfully. With one exception.

I bought a heavily-customized dv6000 laptop from HP in 2007 for $1000. Fifteen months later, the motherboard failed. It was out of warranty but the dv6000 had some many overheating issues that HP had a special program to repair them. It took about 10 days start-to-finish, cost me nothing, and I was happy. Twelve months later the motherboard failed again.

This was when I found out that HP had not fixed the overheating problem, but merely replaced the failed parts. It was less of a repair than a delaying tactic, since the warranty on the replaced parts was only 90 days. This time HP Support said the special program had expired and now it would cost $400 to replace the motherboard. “But, wait! We’ll give you a special price of $259.” I declined, reasoning that it would just overheat again in another year, and pressed for another option. Support wouldn’t budge.

On December 7, I sent an EECB to 10 HP executives, outlining my dilemma and my long-time support of HP’s products. I requested, as an opening position, that I be given a refund or a credit for a replacement laptop due to the repeated problems. Multiple executives sent my email to the Executive Customer Response (ECR) group, but only one responded directly to me. His response was that ECR would contact me, but it was a personal response.

The next day, ECR made me the same offer of $259 that Peon Customer Response (PCR) made. They also tossed out the “there are no other options” line: a patently false statement, since HP has all kinds of options regarding its own products. They also seemed mystified as to why I thought a yearly $259-400 repair was excessive on a $1000 laptop. I declined their offer.

On December 9, I sent an mini-EECB to the VP who had emailed me. This time I expressed my regret that PCR and ECR would only offer one unacceptable resolution. I said I was sorry that HP and I couldn’t work out a solution and the following week I would file in magistrates court to see if a small claims judge would provide a better resolution.

ECR called me that afternoon to offer me a free repair (See — there were other options!). I said I would accept the repair if they would back it up with a longer warranty. If they really believed the repair would fix the problem, then the extra warranty would cost them nothing. I thought I’d be calling again the next year when the new motherboard overheated, so a 90-day warranty was useless. At this point, he stopped talking about repairs and offered me an HP gift card for the total purchase price of the computer. Not prorated, no strings attached — $1000. I picked my jaw up from the floor and immediately accepted. I got the gift card and ordered the replacement computer three days later.

This entire process occurred over one week and involved a half dozen phone calls and a dozen emails. Everyone I spoke with was polite and professional and I responded in kind. It just took time to reach the right person and convince them that I wasn’t going to left the issue drop. Persistence pays off.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.