Can Owning A Cat Void Your HP Warranty?

Chris sent his HP Elitebook in for repair, only to learn that he had done something to void the warranty, and it wouldn’t be repaired. What was his heinous offense against technology? He owns a cat, and there’s fur inside the computer, causing HP to declare his computer a “biological hazard” and send it back un-repaired. He sent along photos that HP took of his disassembled computer and used to make the case that his computer wasn’t repairable.

After 3 weeks of HP support-hell, I finally reached someone who could give me a little info on why my laptop wasn’t repaired. I sent an elitebook in for repair, which was sent back unrepaired, with no explanation. It’s been very frustrating trying to speak to somebody who can actually DO SOMETHING, let alone transfer me to someone who can.

The powerpoint attached is the powerpoint that support reps see when they view my case. Those are the only photos HP took, and that’s their basis for voiding my warranty. [Click here to see a PDF version of that slideshow.]

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The supervisor I spoke to started with “So, you have a long haired-cat?” I in fact have a short haired cat. He then said “Wow, I’m surprised that fan turns at all.” I scoffed, and told him he was crazy, and that all the hair in the computer (the very tiny bit in there) was what I sent it in with. I never blew it out or cleaned it, but he seemed to think otherwise. I was looking at the powerpoint at the time, and the amount of pet hair in the vent was hardly enough to make it slow down even 1/1000 rpm.

Anyway, I kept arguing with him about how that was really not a lot of cat hair. He told me that it was “covered” and that he was positive that the computer had overheated (multiple reps told me the same thing). I knew it was all a lie, I was looking at the same photos he was, and there was hardly any hair in there. I kept saying that, and I told him the computer cooled itself fine.

He seemed to relent later, and he pretty much agreed with me, so he talked to his supervisor (to make an appeal). Then he gets back on the phone with me and says that the supervisor said that there was SO MUCH cat hair that it’s considered a biological hazard. That’s absolutely ridiculous, and he wouldn’t even give me the number for his supervisor or transfer me to him (why not?).

I probably have more cat hair on my shirt than what was in the laptop. Am I a walking “biological hazard”? I don’t think so. Why don’t they lock me up and throw me in jail for sending such a dangerous computer into HP’s service center? Oh wait… because that’s just an excuse to get out of a warranty.

Cat hair or not, I just want my computer fixed. It’s a manufacturing defect, and it just so happens that the laptop is sprinkled with a bit of hair.

I’ve pretty much called every number that was made public. I need to know where to go now. Small claims court, perhaps?

Other readers have gone above the level of tech support and had their warranties un-voided through the use of the executive e-mail carpet bomb. Try that tactic before going to court.