In fall of 2004 I ordered a Compaq Presario desktop computer online. I waited two weeks for the company to build my computer. When it arrived, it wouldn't boot up. I called tech support and spent hours talking to them. Their ultimate suggestion was that I wait two weeks for an appointment with an in-home technician. I asked if I could receive credit time on my warranty and virus software updates and was told "no", but that I could pay for the technician myself and receive faster service. I demanded a new tower. After two hours on the phone with customer service, Compaq agreed to send me a new computer, but they wanted me to pay more for it because, "that sale is over, ma'am." Finally, I got someone to agree to send a new computer at the same price.
Two weeks after that, my new computer arrived. It booted up! But it never worked nearly as well as the Micron I'd purchased 6 years earlier had worked, despite the fact that the Presario was supposed to be a much more powerful machine. Worn down, I just dealt with it. I had to replace the modem almost immediately. I emailed Compaq about the modem and never received a response. And so I chugged on for over a year until the computer crashed and prompted me to use my recovery disks. The recovery disks didn't work.
To my local computer repair shop I went. There, I was informed that I'd really gotten ripped off. The version of Windows XP on the computer wasn't the correct, more expensive, version that I'd paid for. The motherboard was junk. The fan that cools the processor hadn't been screwed down properly. A screw had snapped off during installation. The fan was never cooling the entire processor chip.
A few hundred dollars later, I have a computer that works better than it did when it came from the factory. I'm reading a lot of similar complaints about Compaq and HP...computers that just don't work at all and support that is most unhelpful and certainly not apologetic. I'm hoping that adding my 3 cents will save at least one person from the grief I've had. As for me, I plan to purchase next computer from my small local shop. Because customers can complain personally, because small local shops have a reputation to uphold in the community, and because they actually UNDERSTAND the products they sell, I feel it is the safest way to go.