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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Trash talking HP

I'm still waiting for a replacement hard drive for my HP Pavilion notebook PC DV2840se. The drive was supposed to arrive on Tues, Aug 19, but it did not. I called HP, got a ticket number, and was told that someone would call me back. No one ever did. So, I called back the next day. Finally, late in the day yesterday someone left me a message that the hard drive was not available, and there would be another 2 week delay. I strongly suspect that after 2 wks, I'll just have another delay.

So, I call back this morning and get bounced around HP's Indian call center. Julias passes me to Rickie who hangs up on me. I call back, and Sudia puts me on a half hour hold. I finally realize that she is not coming back on the line, so I hang up and call again and this time talk to Samnia.

Every time I call (and how many times has it been in the last 3 days now?) it is the same. What is your ticket number, what is your name, could you spell that for me (what, don't you have it on the computer screen right there in front of you?), what is your email, your phone, etc. Then, may I put you on hold for 2 minutes, that then stretches into 5, 10, and 15 minutes. By this time I have become increasingly frustrated and agitated, which probably does not help me in gaining assistance from tech support.

These are underpaid outsourced workers in India who don't understand how dependent I am on my computer, and probably frankly could not care less. They just read off a script, and their primary purpose seems to be to block me from getting to someone who can actually help solve my problems. In a way, I understand. After all, right now I'm supposed to be at Major's Day at Truman, but being an underpaid exploited worker does not do much to inspire me to make a 16-hr trip for a couple hour meeting.

Finally, after about 2 hours Samnia finally puts me through to her manager Bosker who after another 15 minutes puts me through to Susan in HP's case manager system in Canada. I tell Susan that I've been without my computer for almost 2 months, and the way this is going the warranty could expire before I actually get the hard drive replaced. I say I either want a new hard drive now or I want to return the computer. After all, I can get a new and faster computer with a larger hard drive at a cheaper price than I paid for this one 3 months ago. The laptop is quickly devaluing as it sits unused. Susan says she can't (or, I want to remind her, won't) do either of those.

But she offers to let me buy a replacement hard drive and HP will reimburse the cost. Unfortunately, there is no place in town to buy one, but I can order one from at a good price. So, I do that. The next challenge is faxing the receipt to HP. The old fax machine in the basement doesn't work, so I bike to Kinkos & shell out another inflated chunk of change for the fax. Newegg offers overnight shipping, but of course that is shipping. They don't tell you how long it will actually take them to prepare to ship the order. Someone really should sue these companies' butts off for misleading advertising when it comes to overnite shipping. All of this has wiped out my entire morning and more, when what I need more than anything else is time.

But I've easily ordered a replacement hard drive that HP claims is unavailable, and I'm left wondering why in the world they did not let me do this in June when I was in Ecuador? Is it really worth the few pennies they have saved to create an extremely disgruntled customer? And why do they limit their technical support to the U.S. when, apparently, none of their technical support services are actually located in the U.S.?

I would say after all this that I will never buy from HP again, but what would be the use? The entire computer industry appears to be equally bad, both in terms of quality of equipment and technical support, with some companies much worse. A kicker on all this is that apparently ITS (speaking of poor technical support) has a new Apple MacBook waiting for me at TSU that hopefully I can pick up next week, which may make the whole issue of getting this HP laptop back up and running moot.

In the end, none of this makes me more of a luddite, but it does make me more of an anti-capitalista. It is clear that HP just cares about its corporate profits, and in the process makes the lives of us normal people absolutely miserable. Only under capitalism are profits placed before people. That is so absolutely wrong, and needs to change.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hewlett-Packard doesn't care about me

I just received a phone call from HP that my replacement hard drive probably will not arrive for another 2 wks. This, of, course, does not make me happy.

Just a brief recap: Bob Jones, Associate Dean at Truman State University, refused to provide me with a computer sufficient for my needs, so I was forced to purchase my own computer (even though I use it primarily for job-related tasks). I purchased a HP Pavilion laptop. It was just barely out of warranty when the motherboard failed, forcing me to purchase another laptop. I perhaps made the mistake of purchasing another HP Pavilion, but I did so largely because of the accessories I had purchased for the first laptop that I wanted to continue to use. After a month of use, the hard drive failed on the second laptop.

Unfortunately, the hard drive failed just after I had arrived in Quito for a month long research trip. Even though HP uses a call center in India, they will not provide support for laptops while outside of the United States. So, I had to wait for a month to request a replacement hard drive. HP requires that the failed hard drive be returned within 15 days, but now they are taking more than 15 days to ship me the replacement drive. The underpaid staff in the Indian call center, of course, could care less about the delay.

So, once again, Corporate America wins out against Us the Citizens. They sell inferior products, and then fail to provide sufficient technical support. Remind me, why shouldn't I be pissed about this entire situation?

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