Hewlett Packard Product Support Angst

Posted on 5th April 2008 by Ryan Somma in Science Etcetera - Tags:

I wrote this post several weeks ago, but witheld posting it until there was a conclusion:

I’m going to rationalize this post as being related to information technology, and therefore something I can legitimately blog. I simply don’t have any other recourse for the incredible frustrations I am feeling towards HP’s Product support for the hell they have put me through in time and money wasted.

Time Line of Events:


I purchased one Compaq Presario F700 Notebook PC F732NR DT. This AMD 64 X2 with 2048 memory. It runs Windows Vista slower than than my 433mhz OLPC Laptop, but I am basically happy with it:

Ryan Buys a Laptop
Ryan Buys a Laptop


Laptop dies. Just dead. Deader than a doornail. I call HP and their tech support walks me through giving the laptop life support. No. It’s just dead. They mail me a box to send them the laptop in, since it’s covered by a warranty. I put it in the mail, and then I then wait.


HP Service and Repair Center calls to tell me that the reason my laptop is broken is because I spilt something on it and I can either pay them $800 to clean it or they will let me buy two-years worth of insurance for $260. It is true that I spilt some coffee on the laptop, but that was the first week I owned it, so I wasn’t satisfied that this was the problem. Why would the laptop continue running more than a month after the accident? Oh well, they were nice enough to let me buy insurance after the accident, so good for them:

Ryan Buys Insurance
Ryan Buys Insurance


HP calls to tell me my laptop’s in the mail. Yay!


A note on the door from Fed Ex, tried to deliver laptop, you weren’t home. I call Fed Ex. Can they drop it off in the afternoon? No. Where can I pick it up? At a location an hour and a half away. No thank you.

I call HP. Can you send it UPS or USPS? Sorry, no speaky english, please hold. Can you send it UPS or USPS? Sorry, no speaky english, please hold. Can you send it UPS or USPS? Sorry, no speaky english, please hold. Can you send it UPS or USPS? I speak english, but I can’t help you. Can we have someone call you back? Sure.

2008-01-28 through 2008-02-26

HP calls, Says they’ll send it USPS. I get another note on the door from Fed Ex. Call HP. What happened? Turns out they can’t send it anything but Fed Ex. Send it to my mom’s house. Okay.

Get a call from HP. Why did the laptop get returned? Because you’re supposed to send it to my mom’s house. What’s her address? I told the last guy, can’t you get it from him? No. Okay.

No laptop. Call HP. Where’s my laptop? The service center hasn’t mailed it. Why not? We don’t know, can we call you back?

No phone call. Call HP. Where’s my laptop? The service center hasn’t mailed it. Why not? We don’t know, can we call you back?

No phone call. Call HP. Where’s my laptop? The service center hasn’t mailed it. Why not? We don’t know, can we call you back? No. I don’t think you’re going to call me back. You haven’t called me back the last 4-5 times you said you would. HP tech gets infuriated, “How dare you say I won’t call you back? After keeping you on hold working on this for half an hour!” Okay. Okay. Calm down. Call me back tommorrow.

No phone call. Call HP with the intention of screaming, “WHERE THE #$%@ IS MY #@$%ING LAPTOP YOU &%$#ING @#$%S!!!” Instead I stay polite. May I speak to your manager? No, we are the managers. I explain my last two months of grief. They put me on hold for 30 minutes. The laptop is in the mail, we promise.

These are the calls I could find from my cell phone bill. The 3 total hours on the phone with HP put me way over my limit, incurring penalty charges of $0.45 a minute. This list does not include all the calls made from my work phone or my mother’s phone:

Date/Time Minutes Charges
01/25/2008 4:22PM 2 0.00
01/26/2008 12:28PM 5 0.00
01/28/2008 7:05PM 4 0.00
01/28/2008 7:10PM 31 0.00
02/06/2008 5:23PM 7 $3.15
02/06/2008 5:31PM 12 $5.40
02/07/2008 3:24PM 18 $8.10
02/08/2008 2:15PM 4 $1.80
02/08/2008 3:35PM 5 $2.25
02/16/2008 11:59AM 3 0.00
02/16/2008 12:02PM 10 0.00
02/21/2008 5:19PM 34 $15.30
02/22/2008 1:55PM 1 0.45
02/26/2008 5:29PM 37 16.65
  173 Minutes $51.30 Charges


Mom calls. Laptop has arrived. Yay!!!


Visiting my mom for the weekend and get to see my laptop. I open the box, plug it in, and…


It should be noted that I was asked my name, e-mail, phone number, and how would I like HP to contact me EVERY SINGLE TIME someone answered the phone (A lot of effort to get contact information from a company that NEVER CALLED ME BACK). There was a Dilbert comic about why companies do this: to shatter any illusions you may have that they know anything about information technology.

I’m not quite up to Sour Swinger’s list of laptop issues (See also here and here), since I’ve only got one issue, but I think I’m setting a record for frustrations trying to get my one issue fixed.

If I believed in that supersition called “God,” I would totally think I was being punished for buying Windows Vista, instead of going with a Dell Linux Laptop like my conscious told me I should.

UPDATE 20080402: After speaking to HP’s Case Manager, and letting them see the endless grief I was put through. They agreed to send me a brand new, upgraded laptop and refund my insurance money. The new laptop is a significant upgrade, and I am placated; however, Windows Vista still sucks (Clicks on IE, Vista responds, “It looks like IE is attempting run. Should Windows allow it?” Grrrrr…).


  1. This is why I build desktops. If a part breaks, I can find the absolute cheapest replacement online, and fix it myself, usually in 30 minutes. Of course, it’s kind of heavy for taking places……… :)

    Comment by ClintJCL — April 5, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

  2. Clint, I am lazy and ignorant. You should build me the best desktop ever for intense gaming purposes. Or at least tell me what that would entitle!

    Comment by Nick Hamden — April 6, 2008 @ 9:27 pm

  3. Well, this isn’t that, but this is what I did in 10/2007:
    Of course I would probably get newer versions of everything, assuming any came out. I’m not positive that I wouldn’t be better off with an nVidia card, but I have used ATI for close to 15 years. It’s given me a few problems in conjunction with my 52-inch HDTV that I use as a monitor…

    Comment by ClintJCL — April 6, 2008 @ 11:14 pm

  4. ^^ that was $1100, & i reused the dvd-rom and cd-rom from 2 old dead computers…

    Comment by ClintJCL — April 6, 2008 @ 11:15 pm

  5. ah..I just bought an HP =[ hope there aren’t any problems..

    and you can disable the vista security things easily.

    Comment by Matt — April 8, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

  6. @Ideonexus
    Wow, the amount of phone calls you did was absurd. Why were you being charged for them? At least you got a new laptop out of this. I’m still waiting for that one. Though granted, I’ve been two busy to proceed with the next step following my previous issue/post. Should probably do that tomorrow. Btw, you should downgrade to XP. Vista is pathetic.

    I used to build computers instead of buying whole ones and I found it still as annoying. You’d run into odd hardware compatibility issues. It was time consuming process whenever a something did go wrong. My time is limited and as such I suggest for everyone to switch to a mac. My life has been so much easier. Its nice to have things to just work.

    You can get a pretty kick ass gaming machine via a mac. Use their Boot Camp software to install XP and you can play all your PC games.

    Comment by sour Swinger — April 8, 2008 @ 11:13 pm

  7. @Sour

    I just bought a Macbook Pro two days ago. So far I have found it to be a very pleasant experience. It’s nice to not have to remove crapware (windows OEM) from a machine and have it just jump on the network without having to search for some driver somewhere (linux).


    Comment by BMF — April 9, 2008 @ 7:56 am

  8. Of course, if you install windows yourself, you get no crapware.

    Comment by ClintJCL — April 9, 2008 @ 11:53 am

  9. @Clint – when is the last time you built a laptop?


    Comment by BMF — April 9, 2008 @ 1:43 pm

  10. @Clint
    If the only Windows CD you get is the one that came with your computer, you’ll still have that crapware when you do a fresh install.

    Comment by sour Swinger — April 9, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

  11. That’s why you don’t purchase an OS when you purchase a computer. If you want full control of things, you do it all yourself. Including the “obtaining” of windows.

    Comment by ClintJCL — April 9, 2008 @ 5:59 pm

  12. @SourSW: P.S. I’ve only ever purchased windows with a computer once in my life — and guess what? I got no CD! XP Home OEM gives you no cd. when your harddrive crashes, you have no recourse, and you have lost the copy of XP you paid for.

    Suffice to say, the one time I pay for Windows with a computer, Bill Gates screws me. I’ll stick to my “used” copies from now on.

    I’ve never built a laptop, because portable devices have no use for my lifestyle. Similarly, I have not owned a watch since the 1980s, a working portable music player since the early 1990s, and have never owned a cell phone, portable mp3 player, or PDA. The farthest I will go is a 1G flash drive.

    Comment by ClintJCL — April 9, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

  13. @Clint – As I recall, my install CD of Windows 98 included programs for signing up to AOL. When it comes to the OS, you get what the manufacturer sells. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Honestly, all this boils down to what you are willing to invest in to a new computer. I choose money to save time. You choose time to save money. Ryan chose money to save time and got robbed on both accounts. ;)


    Comment by BMF — April 9, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

  14. Very true. : )

    Comment by ideonexus — April 9, 2008 @ 11:04 pm

  15. LoL

    Comment by sour Swinger — April 10, 2008 @ 11:42 am

  16. Windows install CDs that come with AOL are not normal windows distributions.

    If you get an OS separate from your computer, it’s just the OS.

    Comment by ClintJCL — April 10, 2008 @ 5:04 pm

  17. My son’s bday was 5-5 and is graduating from H.S. bought the HP Presario F700. He was so excited. Then played with it, ran the battery down, and tried to turn it on… Dead, plugged in the power supply, DEAD. Please tell me this is not happening. I appreciate your info. I will take it back tomorrow. Bestbuy, here we come! I am so sick and tired of Bestbuy and other places trying to sell me extended warrenties. Of course companies do not stand behind their products when they sell a lap top for $500 and then want to sell you a $250 2 year warranty. Give me a break.

    Comment by Bart — May 7, 2008 @ 1:23 am

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