HYANNIS, MASSACHUSETTS -- We have a HP Pavilion computer that was purchased at Best Buy. We also purchased an extended service plan. Shortly after the computer was purchased, the hard drive failed. It was still under HP's warranty and the hard drive was replaced. When the computer started acting up a year and a half later, behaving in the same manor that it was when the hard drive failed the first time. I tried a few things from home. We were unable to do a system recovery, the computer crashed as soon as we started it and we got a grey screen. I tried to do a full restore, I wiped the drive and attempted to re-install the system software. The computer crashed. I brought the PC to Geek Squad and told them what was happening. I was told I would get a call. I got a phone call a few days later, saying the issue was a software issue and that was not covered under the service plan. I would have to pay 129.00 for them to re-install the software. I asked the individual, Mr. Hope, what kind of software issue would exist on a hard drive that had been wiped? He told me I was attempting to obtain a free service. I told him that I was not, as we had paid for the extended contract. What this person does not know, is that I had already spoken to a tech about this problem and he said it was the hard drive. Anyway, despite trying to get an answer from Mr. Hope about what diagnostic was done on my computer, what did it say, in other words, information I had every right to have: What did you do to determine what was wrong with my computer? I used to work on Macs. I could be able to tell the customer exactly what kind of diagnostic software I used and what it said.
So, Mr. Hope tells me I can pay the 129.00 to have them restore the system software. I say, no thank you. I am perfectly able to install software. Something was really bothering me about this, so I called the 1-800 number for Geek Squad. After having my phone calls routed here and there, I finally speak to Chris. I tell Chris exactly what is going on and what we have attempted to do. He asks me, "You wiped the hard drive?" Yes. "The computer crashes the second you try to install the system software?" Yep. He said, "That is a hardware issue" Unfortunately for me, Chris did not make this note in his computer, only that he was going to refer me to Customer service to talk to someone there. I get a lady on the phone, before I could explain what was going on, she puts me on hold to call the store. I was not party to this conversation, but when she comes back on the line, she is rude. She said, that she spoke to Mr. Hope and I was told what was wrong with my computer. I tell her what Chris said to me, and she said that he didn't make a note of that. She would not call him to find out what he said either. So, I asked to speak with her supervisor. I was put on hold again and then when the supervisor came on the first words out of her mouth was, "What was not clear about what the other rep had told me?" I was shocked. I told her what was happening and that all I wanted to do was get my computer fixed. She told me that I was told what was wrong with my computer. She told me I could take it somewhere else to get fixed and if it was a hardware issue, I could pay to have it repaired and send the invoice to them.
I could not believe that a customer had been talked to the way I was. I then got on chat with an HP tech. I wanted a printed record of every attempt to fix this computer. The techs at HP and I tried several steps to recover the computer, including a manual restore and restore via the manufacturer's menu. I printed out each chat conversation. The last tech I spoke to told me it was a hardware issue.
I called the store manager and told him everything I had been through and that HP is also saying it is a hardware issue. He was the first nice person I spoke to. He told me to bring it back and in have a new diagnostic done. I did. I get a phone call a few days later saying it is a software issue and they restored my software for 129.00. I told them I didn't want them to do that. He told me he assumed that is what I wanted since I brought the restore disks in. I told him the manager told me to. They would be needed if I needed a new hard drive. He said that it said on the paper that I wanted the software restored. I told him we had just been through all of this and why on earth would I want to pay for them to re-install my software. He said the problem was disk 6 of the restore disks were dirty. I asked him how that could be the problem since the system crashed as soon as we started to restore the software. We never, ever got past disk one, let alone disk 6. The disks were only used once, when they replaced the hard drive before. I also asked him why it was still thought to be a software issue when HP had walked me through every step in restoring the drive, including re-formatting the drive and we still could not load the software. There was no software left on the hard drive to be a problem. This guy told me that HP was wrong. The tech probably just wanted to get me off the phone he said. I reminded him that I chatted with the techs on a different computer, hence the print outs of the tech support conversations I left when I dropped off the computer. He still insisted that the HP techs were wrong.
At this point I was tired of arguing and went down to pick up the computer. When I got to the store, I went to the customer service desk and asked to speak to the store manager. I did not get the store manager that I asked for, but rather they sent me Mr. Hope, the same man who accused me of trying to get free services when all I asked was what kind of software issue exists on a hard drive that has been formatted. Once again, I asked him this question and he said he was not going to tell me. I asked him to see print outs from the diagnostic report. He said there were not any. I asked him for some copy of the paperwork that indicated what they had done on my computer and Mr. Hope told me they stayed in the store. I could not have a copy.
Since they had my computer hostage at this point, I had no choice but to pay them. I was not going to be allowed to see the store manager. MR. Hope told me that that store manager was not going to be able to help me anyway, as Mr. Hope in charge of that store.
Incidentally: My computer started doing the same thing. It would not restore and it kept crashing on restore. The difference is that I bought my computer at Staples and it has the Staples extended plan. I called the tech and after trying a few times to restore the computer via boot disks, formatting and the like, (the same thing I did with the HP) The tech tells me that it is the hard drive. He said that crashing as soon as you start a restore is a hard drive failure. He will have someone call me to arrange for a tech to come out to my home.
Hmmm.... It kind of makes a person wonder what really happened....