Hewlett-Packard Company Complaint - Warranty/Customer (dis)Service - Pavilion Laptops
Note this is a long saga with multiple issues involved. A briefer conclusion is at the bottom.
I bought a Hewlett Packard HP Pavilion DV2000 Laptop from Costco. When I first had it it functioned well. I was able to easily do a home landscaping/architecture program and surf the internet quickly. At the bottom of the screen however there was a small irregularity to the screen about a millimeter in size. One day I left it upside down on by couch so it wouldn’t overheat and when I went to work on it the next day there was a black spot in the LCD screen near the irregularity.
I tried calling Costco but they were closed. I tried squeezing in some of the liquid crystal from the screen into the black spot, and a crack or two radiated out from the irregularity, and then there was very little of the screen that worked anymore… About a ½ cm by 2cm at the top was all you could see. Desperately trying to get a back up of my program onto another computer, I tried to attach it to another computer and TV screen but I couldn’t get it to output to a screen that way either. I think you needed to be able to get into the Control screen to do this, and I couldn't see much of anything so there was no way to do this.
Next day I called Costco Service Number and they quickly got a three way call going with HP/ Hewlett Packard. I described the screen issue to the HP representative and was told that the screen would be replaced free of charge. I also told him that I was worried that I hadn’t been able to get anything off my hard drive and that I had some important work on it. He told me that because all they had to do was replace the screen, Nothing would happen to the hard drive.
A box was sent to me the next day to send to them. My computer was supposed to get back to me in 4-5 days according to the HP rep. After a week and a half the computer still hadn’t come and I had to go on a trip without it. When I returned it was now 2 weeks, and hadn’t come back, so I tried to find out what was going on.
They had sent me an email that said that I had to approve a 751$ repair fee for the screen. Even though they had my computer and my phone number they hadn’t called me to inform me of this.
I called them back and explained that I had already been told that the screen would be repaired for free. I was told that I would need to discuss this with a Customer Service Representative Case Manager. After 2 days I received a message with the number to call to talk to the case manager, Cathy Walker, 18779174380 x 94 x1.
When I called she told me that because it was a screen it wasn’t covered by their warranty. I explained that they had already told me it would be free which was why I sent it to HP instead of returned it to Costco in the first place. She told me that I had been misinformed.
I was told that I could either pay for the repair or have it shipped back to me. Since this was nearly the same price as the original computer I wasn’t going to pay that much to repair it. She told me that I shouldn’t have left it upside down and that this wasn’t HP’s problem. By this time I only had 1-2 days left within the 90 return policy at Costco so I asked if the computer could be sent to me to arrive in time for me to try to return it there.
She said that it’s return could not be expedited. And that she expected it would return after that time period. I asked if she could call Costco and explain the delay in my returning it. She told me they probably didn’t accept returned computers with broken screens. I asked her to call anyways and told her the store’s location where I had bought it. She called them, Spoke to the manager, and told me that I should speak to the manager when I tried to return it, but that she suspected they didn’t accept returns on broken computers. I asked if HP could do anything about getting the program I needed off my computer and was told that they were not responsible for doing that.
She told me that if I didn’t repair it the screen would become more black with time, so that I should expect it to look worse when it came back to me. She asked if there was anything else she could do to help me. I told her that given what she had already told me that there didn’t seem to be.
While I waited for my 1st computer to return, I was told by a friend that the hard drives are easy to take out of the computers. I decided that I would buy the same computer again so that I could switch the hard drives.
I had thrown away the information on the computer screen repair and Cathy Walker’s phone number so while I was at Costco ready to buy my new laptop I called them up to make sure I got the same model number. My prior model number had been DV 2213 CL. Costco now had a DV 2313 CL instead of the prior model. I explained my whole prior computer’s issue and how I needed to switch the hard drives over to get my program off the computer. The HP rep, “Robin”, I talked to told me that my old hard drive was incompatible with the new 2313 model. After having to put me on hold to talk to various people he told me that the only computer he could say would be compatible was the model DV 2410, for 850$ (and an additional 350$ for extended warranty and then more for tax ).
I asked for them to ship it quickly free of charge because of the prior issues and was told I would have to pay an expensive additional shipping fee so I had it shipped standard.
When it finally arrived I went to switch the hard drives and found that the computer that had just returned from HP no longer had the two screws that hold the hard drive in place. Also there was a notification that HP had performed a Complimentary 22 point inspection of my computer, but I didn’t know what that meant. I switched the hard drives but the new computer wouldn’t start properly. I called 1(800) HPINVENT to explain the new hard drive issues.
At this point in time I wanted to 1.) Get the program off my old computer. 2.)Use the old computer to work connected to my TV (since my conversation with Cathy had left me under the impression that it was likely a waste of time to go back to Costco to return the computer so I tried to find some other use for it). 3.) I wanted my two screws back.
I explained the prior problem and why I needed to do this. The HP rep/repair specialist, Ram, was super nice and helpful, but explained that this wasn’t something that HP had to help me with. He said that because I had been told it would work by the sale’s person he would help me out. We spent an hour on the phone trying everything to make it work. He diagnosed the models as incompatible. He talked about something that might be able to be done to get the program off my old hard drive and make the hard drives both work on the new computer. He told me that he would discuss this with his manager and call me back in 30 minutes, and that the manager would call me back in a day or two.
He didn’t call me back. I didn’t hear from a manager in 2 days. On the 3rd or 4th day I called, concerned because I needed to know if there was a way to make these work so I could get my program off, or what I was supposed to do. I was told that I had to wait for the case manager to call me. I asked if there was a number, or email address, I could call to speak to the case manager, or if they could email me the information, because I was going on a trip where I wouldn’t be able to answer my phone. I was told I had to wait for the call from the case manager.
I did receive a ‘review your case manager’ type of form (I think by email) and HP gave me 10% off another HP product. I noted she had been very “professional” but not actually helped me. I called HP and they let me apply this credit to the computer I had just bought.
The trip came, I returned. No messages had been received. It had been 14 days.
Additionally, A new problem had developed with my new laptop. I was getting “unexpected shut downs” on my new computer that started after I tried to use my iPOD Video for some movies. And on my HP pavilion I couldn’t download photos to my iPod either.
My main problems remained making the old computer work without the screen/ getting the program off the old computer, getting the screws back, and getting one of these computers in for a refund.
I called 1(800)HPINVENT again and explained this issue to a rep, Joy. She told me she would transfer me to her manager, but I was disconnected instead. I went through the same thing again to get ahold of and explain the issue with Rep Patrick, and asked him if there was a number I could call directly so that I didn’t have to go through the whole introductory HP answering machine to talk to a manager or to him if I was disconnected/ had issues. I asked him what the direct phone number would be. He told me that if I was disconnected I could call 1(800)474-6836. (AKA 1(800)474-6836.)
When I got a hold of his manager/case manager Susan she was very nice. But told me that there was nothing she could do because another case manager was already assigned to my complaint. I asked her if there was a way to get another case manager since the current one hadn’t called me in 2 weeks and because of that I didn’t actually want to deal with whoever it was; I wanted someone who would actually call me. I was told there was not a way to change the case manager, and that I should give her a chance to help me. I was told that if I still wanted to complain I could email corporate from the hp.com website.
She told me the case manager’s name was Cathy Walker and her phone number was 1(877)917-4380 x94 x1. At the time I didn’t even recognize that this was the same case manager as before.
In the meanwhile it had occurred to me that I might never be able to get a hold of someone at HP who could help me make these things work together, but I could check on the internet how to change over the actual LCD screen in order to try to get the information off my old computer and then the hard drives might not need to match to do what I wanted. The LCD screens on ebay were about 250$. After an easy 10minute install process I had a new LCD screen in my old computer. But it wouldn’t turn on. It stayed black, even though it worked in another computer. I wondered if HP had somehow turned off my computer’s ever being able to use any screen when they had it.
Eventually after all these phone calls I was able to speak to Cathy. It was now about 27 days after my Costco return policy had run out. I explained what had been going on.
1.)She told me the fact that the hard drives weren’t compatible wasn’t HP’s problem because I was supposed to have called her back with any problems I had. She said that the two models I had were completely different so even if the hard drives were the same shape they wouldn’t work together. When I expressed frustration about having been told that they would work she told me, “well you were misinformed” She told me that it was my fault that things hadn’t worked because I had called the 1800HPINVENT phone number instead of her.
I told her that I had been under the impression that she was supposed to be in charge of just the computer screen repair issue. She told me that any problems I had with the prior computer should have been brought to her attention. Since they weren’t it was my fault.
She said I had never mentioned any desire to get things off my hard drive when talking to her about the screen problems and that I was supposed to have taken the computer back to Costco as soon as I got it. She noted that she “had gone out of her way” to get a hold of “Kim” at Costco and explain everything to her, and how “Kim” had been receptive to helping me.
2.) I told her I still needed to get information off my hard drive and that I had found out that my computer now no longer worked even when an unbroken LCD was placed in it. She told me this was my fault because I hadn’t repaired it soon enough and the LCD screen fluid would have leaked into the whole computer by now “corrupting” the system. By now it could include the hard drive too.
3.) She told me that the program on my hard drive had probably been erased when they did their diagnostic testing anyways. I told her I had specifically asked about that and been told that nothing would happen to the hard drive prior to sending it to them. She told me I had been “misinformed”.
4.) I was told once again that it is not HP’s responsibility to take care of people’s files.
5.) I asked her why I wouldn’t have been told about the LCD screen corrupting the whole computer previously when she had told me about the screen getting blacker. I asked why they wouldn’t have given me the option to disconnect the screen to have saved the computer from further damage. She sounded flustered and told me I was supposed to take it back to Costco so it didn’t matter.
6.)I told her that two hold the-hard-drive-down screws were missing from when they had my computer and that I would like 2 replacements shipped to me. She said “No we’re not doing that”. I asked this a different way and got the same response. (HP wouldn’t even send me back 2 tiny screws they forgot to put back in my computer!)
7.)Based on what Cathy Walker was telling me there was only a slim chance that my program/project was on my computer, less alone able to be transferred to a working computer. I asked if she would call Costco back and explain why the delay was so long. She said that she couldn’t. That I was too far past my return policy date and that I wouldn’t be able to return it at this point. I asked why she couldn’t call them anyways and at least explain what had been going on. She said “I can’t”. I noted that it didn’t actually seem impossible to pick up the phone and talk to someone at Costco. Finally she said “I don’t feel like it”. She noted that she had already gone out of her way for me the first time.
8.)I let her know that I would like to return the new computer then. She told me that I wasn’t able to do that because it had been more than 21 days since I purchased it.
When asked why they wouldn’t extend it since I was waiting to know if the situation could actually be corrected so that things would work for me, and
when I asked why it was my fault for it taking so long for her to actually call me back/ so long for me to actually be able to get a hold of some one -She noted that this whole situation was my fault because I had called 1800HPINVENT when I was having problems. She told me she had given me her phone number when I had the problem with the screen so that I needed to call her back with problems. I noted that I was under the impression that she was only in charge of the decision about the screen repair refund. With a hostile voice she responded to the effect “It doesn’t matter what you thought, you had to call me.”
10.)I asked if I could speak to her supervisor at some point and she told me that she was “the end of the line” that there was no one I could complain to, that all complaints would go back to her. She pretty much yelled at me over the phone.
It occurred to me that I had already sent in my feedback on her “professionality”. This seemed shortsighted suddenly.
11.)We looked into when the computer had arrived at my house and I had actually only had it for 19 or 20 days as it turned out so she said that I actually could return it and gave me the phone number to call. I called the 1(800)892-6608 opt 4 phone number (and yes they tried to get me to buy another HP computer), but they told me that I was past the return policy date and couldn’t return it. I explained I had just reviewed this with my case manager and they checked with their manager and said I couldn’t return it.
12.) I called Cathy back and she said that if that was their policy then that was their policy. She noted it wasn’t her department it was up to them. I had to ask her to call them and talk to them for me to get it straightened out. She talked to someone and within a minute or two someone from the return department was apologizing for my having been informed that I couldn’t return it when I still had time to do so. Finally someone took my information about my return… And then tried to sell me another HP computer.
I returned the second computer.
13.)I went to Costco, crying, because Cathy had convinced me it was a futile effort. I asked for “Kim”. I was told that they didn’t have anyone named Kim at that store in Vancouver Washington, but that there was a “Kim” Down in Portland, Oregon Store which was the next closest store. I explained half of what I had been through, they cut me off and gave me a full refund. (And a paper towel with which to dry my tears.)
I returned the first computer.
13.)I tried to contact HP corporate like Case Manager Susan had told me I could do. So that they would get some feedback to make it so that their customers weren’t treated like this, But I couldn’t find a place to actually get a hold of anyone in “corporate”. I called HPINVENT to ask them to walk me through how to do that. They told me they weren’t trained to offer support in that regard. I asked to speak to one of their managers and after being on hold a little more was told that their manager wasn’t there currently and told me I could call back. I did a google search to see if I could get more information about who her supervisor was or what options I had and found another complaint against her on my3cents.com. In that complaint it noted her acting pretty similarly, and that when the person had submitted a complaint through the website it had gone right to her and she had called him back and yelled at him for complaining about her.
14.)I tried contacting someone in their PR department by email. But I haven’t heard back from them. I noted I was concerned that she might be severely depressed, suicidal, or unstable in some way, that they may want to at least let her manager know problems are going on.
1.)I had multiple problems with HP.
2.)I bought their computer because it was cheap and had all sorts of nifty features.
3.)It wasn't worth it. I had both hard ware and soft ware problems. But most of all I had a bad customer support experience. I was very lucky to be able to return the two computers at all. And am happy to be rid of them.
4.)Some of the people at HP were very nice, about 1/2 of them were difficult to understand because of foreign accents (mostly from India), Ram was the best/most helpful, by far. I hope he does well in his life.
5.)HPs customer service should get a new name. Or perhaps Cathy Walker just needs a new job. On the phone she seems like a very angry unhappy uncompassionate person. She admits at times that doesn't want to help customers and that there is no recourse to take about this fact.
6.)You can’t trust anything they tell you on the phone. Misinformation is rampant.
7.)There is no good feedback system regarding their case managers. There are actually multiple systems in place to make it so you can’t give feedback about case managers, such as notices on the Public Relations site that only media members can call them.
8.)If you get a case manager who is unhelpful you are out of luck. Mine, Cathy Walker, wouldn't even send me back my two small screws, let alone help me with bigger issues.
9.)It would probably have cost them about 100$ and 10 minutes of time to fix my 900$ computer, instead I talked to their staff for hours, eventually returned everything to them, told my friends about my hassle, and helped get some people to buy computers other than HP.
10.)I never got the program I had worked on for about 40 hours off my first computer, but I’m sure I spent that much time trying to work with HP to fix the problem.
11.)If you have to go through some of the same things I have, I recommend that you look upon the whole frustrating process as an opportunity to practice being a more patient or calm person in the face of adversity.
12.)Meanwhile, Costco treated me like a human being. I’m very appreciative to them. If they had treated me like HP did, I would no longer be going to that store.