HP Gives Consumer the Middle Finger

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Update: While the below entry will remain for archival purposes, HP has answered the call and the computer will be recieved on Friday – early enough for Thomas’ trip.

I’ve always recommended HP as a manufacturer of great laptops. They generally work well and are durable and compared with the competition, they have always been reliable computers that stand up against time. However, their customer service is abysmal and the story that has been related to me by Thomas confirms, and even enhances that statement.

Thomas is a business consumer. He works for a small organization, a non profit, and travels a fair bit. He has a lot of influence in his sphere and has been a long time consumer of laptop computers. He asked me a few years ago about recommendations for computers, and I turned him on to HP.

Recently, that laptop, had a freak accident and the power socket that is connected to the motherboard stopped receiving a charge to the battery. The only option without spending $500 for a motherboard repair was to purchase a new computer as the old one was out of warranty. On February 17th, Thomas ordered a new HP Pavilion dv2000t.

Thomas made an important mistake in not paying attention to a detail that stated that the laptop would not be built until February 28th, however HP in their disastrous way, made a more critical mistake in not paying attention to their customers.

See Thomas is going on travel on Monday, March 4th and as a business traveler, it is critical to have his computer. I can relate. I can’t go get coffee without my computer, much less on travel and when I travel, the laptop is never more than 3 feet away from me. Laptop computers are the center of the world for business travel. Contact info, ability to connect to associates and family via email and Skype, calendar information, etc. This is your world when you’re a business traveler.

When Thomas recognized that he failed to note the build date, he attempted to talk to HP about getting the computer expedited. No dice. He then was willing to pay for overnight shipping, something that HP was not willing to do. Why they are not willing to change shipping methods is beyond me. Isn’t the point of doing business to establish and maintain your customer base which pays for you to exist? Considering the computer has yet to be built, surely adjusting the shipping method when the customer is willing to pay is an easy target to hit. And it would demonstrate amazing customer relations.

Here is an email string that occurred between Thomas and HP Customer Service (reprinted with permission):

  • Thomas:
    Order Number: H9439196
    Feedback: I think it is ridiculous that it is going to take to the 28th of Feb to build my computer, when I ordered it on the 17th. I cannot understand such a delay. So, customer service does not seem to be a priority to you. I buy two to three cmputers a year, but probably will not go through you again. I am very disappointed.
  • HP Customer Care: Dear Thomas,

    Thank you for contacting the HP Home & Home Office Sales Center.

    I understand your concern regarding the build date of your notebook and apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. Thomas, I would like to inform you that you have ordered a customizable notebook, hence, it will require some time to build the notebook as per your requirements. I would also like to inform you that the build date is the estimated date and if your notebook is build earlier and shipped, we will notify you via e-mail. I appreciate your patience.

    Please reply us back if there is anything else we can assist you with.

    Thank you for your interest in the HP Home and Home Office Store, we value your business and support. Our goal is to continue bringing you quality products and solutions.

    Best regards,
    Michelle
    Email/Chat Representative
    HP Home & Home Office Sales Center

  • Thomas:
    I am wondering if I can change the shipping for my computer, to expedite delivery. As it is taking you FOREVER to build it, I will not have it for my next road trip, which begins very early on Monday, March 5. Further, if the computer were to arrive when I was away, there would be no one to sign for it.

    The computer is for business, not video games!! This is as frustrating as it can get…I will not forget this.

    So, how can I upgrade to get the computer delivered by Friday, March 2?

  • HP Customer Care: Dear Thomas,

    Thank you for contacting the HP Home & Home Office Sales Center.

    I understand that you want to expedite your delivery. I would suggest you to call at the number listed below, so that they can help you to resolve your problem.

    I hope this information has been of assistance to you. Please reply to this message if there is anything further we can do. For your convenience, you may also call the HP Home and Home Office Sales Center directly at 1-888-999-4747 Monday – Friday: 7:00 AM – 2:00 AM EST and Sat and Sun: 8:00 AM – 1:00 AM EST.

    Lastly, if you are interested in hearing about new product offerings, promotions and special discounts, simply reply to this email and I will be pleased to sign you up for our award winning e-newsletter. Providing us with your full mailing address will also allow you to receive our catalog, which is issued several times annually.

    Thank you for your interest in the HP Home and Home Office Store, we value your business and support. Our goal is to continue bringing you quality products and solutions.

    Best regards,
    Denise
    Email/Chat Representative
    HP Home & Home Office Sales Center

  • Thomas:
    I called as you said, and they would not change the shipping option for me. Any more suggestions?
  • HP Customer Care:Dear Thomas,

    Thank you for contacting the HP Home & Home Office Sales Center.

    I understand you want to change your shipping method. I would suggest you to call at the number listed below and ask for a supervisor, so that they can help you to resolve your problem.

    I hope this information has been of assistance to you. Please reply to this message if there is anything further we can do. For your convenience, you may also call the HP Home and Home Office Sales Center directly at 1-888-999-4747 Monday – Friday: 7:00 AM – 2:00 AM EST and Sat and Sun: 8:00 AM – 1:00 AM EST.

    Lastly, if you are interested in hearing about new product offerings, promotions and special discounts, simply reply to this email and I will be pleased to sign you up for our award winning e-newsletter. Providing us with your full mailing address will also allow you to receive our catalog, which is issued several times annually.

    Thank you for your interest in the HP Home and Home Office Store, we value your business and support. Our goal is to continue bringing you quality products and solutions.

    Best regards,
    Denise
    Email/Chat Representative
    HP Home & Home Office Sales Center

In other words, HP is not willing to take the time to answer customers questions with anything other than boilerplate responses. They do not care about you or your business. They think that merely collecting your money is enough.

This issue is even more complicated when we get down to the warranty issue. A warrant was purchased additionally for the computer that is tied up in HP-land and when it arrive, it had someone else’s name on it. When Thomas called Customer Care, they told him not to worry about it because it was his warranty. Now, my feeling is is that, like Apple, the warranty is tied to the serial number and not to an invoice. However, how would anyone know that? And what about business expenses. Thomas may have a difficult time claiming an invoice that doesn’t have his name is actually his expense.

Does HP care? Not so much as long as you buy stuff. Denise’s emails above have the same boilerplate info about buying more stuff from HP.

Tell me why I should recommend HP to anyone? Managers and Executives at HP, are you aware of this disinterest in the needs of your customers? Do you expect to continue to enjoy market share when you flippantly disregard customers. Just ask your competitor Dell who has fallen from consumer grace and now is the lowest tier in the consumer-based computer market. Did ignoring their customers get them far. Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.

No one is asking for anything for free. But interest in actually helping your customers do something other than remove their American Express card from their wallet would go a long way. Surely, you can use some good press right about now after getting blasted on the left and right. Maybe now would be a good time to make due.

The order number is referenced above.

Additionally, Tris points us to his worthless HP experience of just days ago.

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Comments

  1. Carol says

    When she suggested that Thomas call the number for the second time, she also suggested that he ask for a supervisor. I daresay he was probably as rude to the supervisor and threw yet another tantrum, so she/he was probably just as unwilling to help him as “Michelle” and “Denise” were. When you start a relationship with the words “I think it’s ridiculous…” well — what exactly do you expect will happen? Whatever happened to “Please”? I don’t recall seeing “Thank you” in Thomas’ emails, either.

  2. Carol says

    Well duh, of course we don’t know. But it would be pretty amazing that someone as demanding and prissy as Thomas behaved would suddenly turn into sweetness and light. Bottom line is that he behaved badly when he should have started out on better footing.

  3. DeathBeaver says

    ” Does it really matter how customers behave when it comes to customer service? ”

    This, this right here is the problem. If you do not understand how just asking this question is plain wrong then you will always have a hard time with customer service people.

    You wouldn’t last a week working customer service.

  4. says

    Nor would I want to, DeathBeaver. I have no aspirations to customer service which is why I’m being an ass to you right now. You seem to think the consumer OWES the CSR something. The customer owes nothing to the CSR. The fact that the customer bought something and is a customer is payment enough. On the other hand, companies that handle customers don’t generally hire CSRs who “put the customer int heir place” or who “can win an argument with a customer”.

    Show me one company that does and I’ll show you a miserable failure of a company.

  5. Jordan Lund says

    I think there are some fairly large pieces missing from the story. Was the laptop in question a stock model or was it heavily customized? If it were stock then there’s no reason for a huge delay (not that I consider 10 days ‘huge’ when you’re talking about a custom build.)

    If, OTOH, he wanted a whole bunch of custom hardware and software then it’s going to take time regardless of who he purchased the laptop through.