Today I had such an exasperating and annoying experience with Hewlett Packard’s UK customer support, that I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll never buy another HP product again.
14 months ago I bought an Acer Aspire laptop from what I thought was an authorised online Acer outlet. We’d had some issues with the laptop & the customer service was poor. I resolved in future only to buy direct from the manufacturer if possible.
A week ago the hard drive failed & replacing it was uneconomic. So, the search was on for a replacement.
Enter Hewlett Packard
We choose a HP Pavilion DV6 laptop from the official UK HP online store. At £550 it was £150 dearer than the original Acer but I thought that buying it direct from HP would at least mean it was kosher & customer support would be good.
On receiving the laptop everything looked good. Indeed, it worked well. Then I spotted that one of the screen screws was missing. Usually these are covered by a rubber plug, but both the plugs had been removed and a residue of glue was left in each screw recess.
The only reason to remove these plugs is to access the screws to remove the screen in order to effect a repair. Why would a brand new laptop, sold as new, have these screws missing unless it was a refurbed laptop?
HP Customer (Dis)Service
So, I called HP customer support today. I was routed through to technical support, & there spoke to a chap called Dave. On checking the serial number, he asked how long I’d had the laptop. 2 days I reported. Well, that’s strange he said, since the warranty on this machine was already 60 days old. Nor could he remove the rubber plugs on his Pavilion laptop without a screw driver – so somebody had deliberately removed these on my laptop & then forgotten to replace the screw or the original rubber plugs.
That sounds like this machine has been sold once and returned for repair I said. Could be replied Dave, since he could think of no other reason why the screw plugs had been removed and the warranty was more than 2 days old.
So, HP appears to have sold me a return/refurb as a brand new computer, without all the parts (1 screw and 2 rubber plugs, and a shortened warranty). Doesn’t that constitute a breach of contract & various consumer protection laws?
‘Errr’, said Dave as I was then sent back to the complaints department. Here Cheryl (who refused to give her surname due to ‘Data Protection’ – even tho’ they have my name, address, phone number & email address!) raised my complaint & routed me thro’ to another department to hear my rant.
Now Monica listened as I ranted but said they would only send me a replacement laptop after they had collected the original. So you can’t guarantee I’ll be without a laptop for a time. No sir, that’s our procedure. Not in this instance it isn’t said I. You’ve tried to screw me over & now you expect me to be without my laptop while you get your arse into gear.
Well, you could have a refund, retorted Monica. Anyway, back to customer complaints go I, in an attempt to escalate my complaint. At no point would any member of the HP customer service teams agree to escalate this complaint, nor would they pass me onto a line manager or supervisor. Eventually, after more than an hour on the phone, they agreed to get a manager to call me within 2 hours to discuss my complaint.
Needless to say, the call never came. So we called Cheryl again and eventually were passed onto her team manager Dean. He flatly refused to countenance that HP had done anything incorrect. The warranty was apparently from the date of manufacture – Dave in technical support had got it wrong – and the missing screw and rubber plugs was merely a quality control issue. On neither grounds had HP done anything wrong and were certainly not going to talk about compensation, etc, etc.
So, I’m now sending my HP Pavilion DV6 laptop back & I’m never buying HP again. Perhaps I’ll bite the bullet & buy another Mac – at least they know how to do customer service (& at least they’re open about selling refurbed kit)
After asking for a refund, HP managed to send me a replacement laptop! Monica sent an email apologising & told me to just refuse delivery. Once it had returned to base, they would initiate a refund, she wrote. So, I refused delivery of the laptop only for City Link to redeliver it the following day – it was accepted as I was expecting delivery of a Dell laptop that day.
Guess what? On opening the plastic wrapping, I noticed that the seal on the laptop case had been opened, & the box itself had been ripped. It had been ripped in the way that happens when someone is over eager in opening the flaps. Surely HP wouldn’t send me a return or refurbished laptop as a replacement? My suspicion is that they did, but I can’t prove this.
When my new Dell laptop was delivered, it was obvious that this packaging had not been opened before – the seal was intact & the box undamaged, just as you would expect when buying brand new goods. This alone confirms my decision never to buy from Hewlett Packard again.