I have had a problem with a laptop repair that I setup through Future Shop, a subsidiary of Best Buy, to be sent in to Hewlett-Packard. The CSO number for this repair is, B48645.
I brought my laptop in for a simple resoldering of the AC connection on November 15th, 2004 as it had become loose to this store:
Future Shop, Store number 0060
1695 Merivale Road
I told the technician who took my computer that the computer was still under manufacturer's warranty as it was only 6 months old.
I asked how long the repair would take and I was told that I would probably be called in the next day to come and pick it up because they had no back log of repairs.
Three days later I called wondering what was taking so long as no one had called me and was told that my computer was fourth in line and would be looked at that day or the next. The following day I received a phone call from Future Shop stating that the computer now had to be sent in to HP because it was still under manufacturer's warranty and that they couldn't touch it if it was. How they expected to fix my computer in a day by sending it to HP and back I don't know.
About a week and a half later I called Future Shop again inquiring as to what was taking so long and was told that they hadn't heard anything from HP at that time. Five minutes later they call me back saying that HP has told them that due to customer tampering (Many screw holders of top case were broken, requires replacement of top case) that my manufacturer's warranty had been voided and that there would be a repair cost to me of $244 + tax!
You can imagine my surprise at this news seeing that how I never have and had never needed to open my computer in the six months that I have had it. I immediately called HP to find out what was going on and that's when they explained to me the damage that had occurred to the computer.
Trusting HP's honesty and good customer service (I only purchase HP computer based products and have recommended HP products to my whole family) and the fact that they take pictures of all products before they repair them in case of legal formalities, I deduced that the damage probably occurred by a new, gung-h*o technician at Future Shop (Probably the one who told me the computer would be returned to me in one day), who attempted to repair my computer not knowing it was still under manufacturer's warranty (Side note: On the technical services repair sheet that I was given by Future Shop when the computer was repaired under warranty status it said, NA).
I explained the mix-up to HP and was told it was out of their hands and that I'd have to take it up with Future Shop. I then called Future Shop and explained the problem to them and they said that it was out of their hands, saying that absolutely no technician attempted to repair my computer, and that I'd have to take it up with HP.
You can imagine my outrage at this point. For damage that I did not cause to my computer (I live alone and the only people that have ever had access to my laptop have been Future Shop, HP, and myself), Future Shop and HP were trying to stick me with a bill of $244! Both of whom were taking no responsibility, blaming the other party because they didn't want the take the blame for it.
I kept receiving phone calls from Future Shop stating that I had to make up my mind regarding whether or not to accept the repair cost and have the computer repaired, and that if I didn't make up my mind within three days that it would be sent back to me, not repaired and with this supposed internal tampering.
If it had been sent back to me in that condition, not only would I have to start this whole process from the beginning again, that it would be ten times harder to prove that I had nothing to do with the tampering that had occurred.
Under duress on the last day of the ultimatum I was given, I made the decision to tell HP and Future Shop that I wanted the computer repaired and sent back to Future Shop. At no point did either company say if I AGREED to pay $244, just if I agreed to the repairs. I know it's a fine line, and they were both under the assumption that I knew the repair costs, which I did, but I had no intention of paying a repair cost for damage that I didn't cause.
On Saturday, December 11th, 2004, Future Shop called me saying that my computer had been sent back repaired and that I could pick it up. Since I was working the whole weekend, I didn't have a chance to go to pick it up until Monday, December 13th, 2004.
I arrived at the store at 2:45PM. I told the employees at Future Shop that I was not paying for a repair cost for damage that I did not cause to my computer. I was told that if I left with it without paying that it would be theft and they would call the police. We were in a stalemate. I wasn't going to leave without it, and they weren't going to let me leave without paying. Future Shop said that it was something I'd have to take up with HP because I had already agreed to pay the $244.
After being on the phone with HP from the Future Shop store for two hours, until the HP office closed at 5PM, Future Shop and I were still in a deadlock. Before they closed, I was told by HP that there was nothing they could do to resolve the situation that day, but they would make a note in my file that the case had been escalated to end in a resolution. After the HP offices closed at 5PM, I had no other options left but to call the police. They showed up at around 8:20pm.
The police talked to the assistant manager, Ian, and the main technician, Paul (Who I had been arguing with all day), privately, and then talked to me, privately. After talking with the police (Who couldn't do anything because it was not a criminal matter), I had two options. I could pay the $244 and then keep taking it up with HP and Future Shop to which I may or may not have gotten the money back for anything short of taking it to small claims court, or I could leave it there overnight until we could all talk again the following morning (The store was almost closed at this point).
I decided that it was in my best interest to leave the computer there, because I never would have seen my money again if I had paid it and it would have been like I had admitted to the tampering if I had paid it. The police officers made me copies of the repair details to which I have in my possession.
Future Shop is one of, if not THE main HP retailer in Canada, and both of the companies can not afford to get bad press because of this. The police have already been involved and that was just the beginning. I'm seriously considering taking legal action for defamation of character from the events that happened at the store that day. I was in Future Shop for six hours and I felt belittled by the employees of Future Shop because they were basically accusing me of doing something that I had just not done, along with all the employees whispering and pointing at me like I didn't notice them doing so. Legal action will be an absolutely last resort because I know that Future Shop's and HP's name will be dragged into a legal confrontation and that it would be negative PR on both companies' parts.
The following day, I sent a very long letter to both Future Shop and HP head offices explaining what had happened. HP has basically done nothing stating that it's not really their problem, and Future Shop just keeps giving me the run around saying that I because I had accepted the repair cost, that it is my responsibility to pay it no matter what the circumstances were surrounding the damage that I didn't cause. The repair technicians at HP even told me that the damage done could not have occurred any other way than physically opening the laptop and that puts me in the clear because I have never opened it up before.
When I told this to Ellie Fakhari, one of the customer support coordinator's from Future Shop head office she said it still didn't matter and that I should be lucky that the repair cost wasn't more than it was because it was a laptop and that the repair costs for laptops are usually closer to $1000. I couldn't believe she said that! What an attitude! I finally convinced her to talk to the store manager and see what she could do. The store manager refused to foot the bill and she called me saying that she couldn't tell the store manager what to do with the store's own money. I asked her for Future Shop head office to send the Future Shop store I was dealing with a cheque for the amount of the repair and she said that head office couldn't do that. For a head office of a company to not be able to tell a store what they can and can not do doesn't make any sense to me.
It's now January 12, 2005, and my computer has been sitting at Future Shop for a month, totally fixed and repaired, but since no one wants to pay the repair bill, it is just sitting there.
Please help! I want my computer back, but I'm not paying the repair cost for damages that I didn't cause. If this isn't Rip-Off Report material, I don't know what is!
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