ED Magedson – Founder
Hewlett Packard Company3000 Hanover Street Palo Alto, California United States of America
A sad tale of woe.
I bought a high end customized HP desktop in Jan 2009. It was an expensive system costing more than $1500. (Quad Core, 8 gig ram, RAID0 drives, 1g NVidia graphics card, Vista x64, 3 Year In Home Warranty).
In Feb 2010 I began to have intermittent hardware problems. Sometimes my USB devices (keyboard, wireless mouse, wireless headset and webcam) would not be recognized when the system started up. A quick workaround was to unplug any of the failed devices and immediately all the other devices would be recognized and then re-plug in the one device and it would be recognized too. By March the failure rate got to about 60% of the time so I called HP Tech Support and thus embarked on a long and tragic series of phone calls.
First Contact: My first contact was with Sam and it went very well. He seemed to understand the problem and even though I had already run all the diagnostics that came with the PC he ran them again. He uninstalled/reinstalled all the devices and drivers. Finally he pronounced that it was a CMOS problem and that it was not a software problem as the system was not recognizing the devices on startup before Windows even got initiated. He instructed me to change a CMOS setting and said that should fix the problem. If not, to call back. (Sadly, I would never get to talk to him again)
Next Contact and Ad Nauseam: My next call was to inform Sam that the fix had helped but it did not completely fix the problem. The failure rate was 25%. This call was THE BIGGEST MISTAKE! I still did not understand that I would never be re-connected with the same TS Agent EVER! Each time I called in I would get a new TS Agent and the entire history would be repeated. The words We have a Global Routing System means if you find someone who can help you DO NOT HANG UP glue the phone to your ear and hope the Tech doesnt have to go home anytime soon.
So, Grace was next in line and I began to learn how HP TS really works. It doesnt matter who you talk to the Script is the same: Always. Each tech will redo all the tests that the previous tech did even though you inform them that those tests have been run. You will spend about 3hrs doing this every time you call in. Next you will be asked to run a short test (2 min or so) followed by a long test (1+hrs). At which time you will be told that the Case will be documented and to call back when the test is completed. When you call back the entire process will be re-done from the top.
When all the tests have been done (over and over) or you begin to complain you will be told to reset to factory defaults which means you will lose all your data. Now is the time to panic and backup the system.
When Grace said to reset to factory defaults, I asked her how would a Windows Reset help a Hardware Problem? The reply: Theress chances This is the ultimate mantra of HP Tech Support. If there is no SPECIFIC error or you get to Line 10 of the Script you will be told to reset to factory defaults. There is no way around this and you cannot get transferred to anyone else all you can do is call back and get a new Tech and repeat the process. Once they put in the Case that youve been told to reset to Factory Defaults, nothing else will happen to your case until you do. Even if you protest, it will not help Factory Defaults or Take a Hike Bud.
So still believing in HP, I backed up my system (2 full backups + Differential + straight copy of my Docs folders) and called back in. The tech I talked to guaranteed that this reset was absolutely necessary and when done I would never have this USB problem again. I sort of guessed this was a whopper but I went along with misgivings. It took only a moment to do and the tech even helped me start the restore for my data files.
The next morning my system was at the desktop, I clicked login and Windows immediately logged me out back to the desktop. I could not log in at all. Another panicked call to HP TS at which time the first ticket was closed and a new ticket was opened. I asked why they closed the first ticket and they said that the USB problem was fixed. I told them the problem might not be fixed because I couldnt even login to try it out. Next lesson from HP TS: new tickets. A new ticket will be assigned whenever something changes or they just feel like it. From the many phone calls Ive made the Tech never sees that there were pre-existing tickets. Unless I give the old case numbers they simply dont know who did what, where, when and why. They will often tell you that they are updating the case notes but the next tech either doesnt read them or they dont exist.
After days of struggling to recover my system another Tech said the reset was done incorrectly and that I had not followed the directions properly. The original tech was very specific and had told me to connect all of my USB devices (keyboard, mouse, headphones, webcam) before he did the reset (since it was a USB failure). This new tech said No only the keyboard and mouse Do another Factory Reset. I finally gave in because no one was willing to help me recover anything. The system was brain-dead again.
After this reset, I only restored part of my documents folders (I did not restore my music files). I had to reinstall all the updates from HP and Microsoft. This did not go well. I could not get HP Update to work. There were loads of errors and problems so I decided I had nothing to lose I redid the Reset Again.
The Last Gasp: This time I did not restore anything. I spent 24hrs installing HP and Microsoft Updates. I did them 1 by 1. I checked the registry each time for errors, I did a manual restore points for good baselines and backups for the registry. The system was CLEAN. No logged errors anywhere. Updates done, virus checker working and system scanned.
Ironically: the USB problem still exists but re-plugging is not so bad a workaround and as before no tests report any errors with the USB drivers or devices. And it is only on boot up or restart there has never been any failure while using the system.
I downloaded a fresh installation the One and Only Application I use this system for. I installed the software. Again there were no errors. I ran the application and my system FROZE. My screen turned black with red dots and nothing worked. I rebooted the machine and check drivers and software: all seemed ok. I ran the program again and my system froze and now I had blue lines on the screen. When I rebooted there was a BIG RED message that the RAID had failed on one drive and to call TS. I got the system to the desktop where the RAID box indicated a driver failure. I called HP TS for help.
With the instructions from HP TS I rebooted the machine and this time there were TWO red messages that the RAID had failed on both drives. I got to the desktop and the HP TS Agent was able to connect to my system. I watched as he looked at the drive messages and he even tried to just reset the message which removed the message from windows but did not repair the RAID. He then ran a video test which froze at 11% and booted him from the PC and froze the system again. He gave me a new case number (closing the old one) and asked me to run 2 long tests on the drives and to call back when they were done.
Now the plot thickens: I ran the tests and called back. I got a new TS Agent, I gave him the case number, the results of the tests. At last he said he would connect me with someone who could fix the problem. The following sequence happened:
I am updating the case notes
I am transferring you to another department
Hi my name is
CLICK DISCONNECT (Time: @1:15pm)
By 1:30pm I had gotten connected to ANOTHER TS Agent who started again of Line 1 of The Script. I explained I had just gone over everything with another Tech and I was being transferred to another department when I was disconnected. Could he please complete the transfer? And two guesses: Line 1 of the Script said RUN TESTS and that was that. He could not or would not transfer me and said he was reading the case notes. I was placed On Hold and I was told he was updating the case notes I asked him what was he updating? He hadnt done anything! all I needed was to be transferred! Back on hold; 30 min later Real-Life Happened and I hung up. (Time 2:00pm)
When I was able to check my email on a different pc I saw the following message:
1:49 PM We are closing ticket as we have not been able to reach you. Kevin
WELL!! I was shocked! I am on hold at the same time they are closing my ticket!
Now it gets stranger and stranger: The next day I get a call from the HP TS Agent that was the one who dialed into the PC and saw the RAID errors and Graphics Card error. I was surprised to hear from him and told him about what happened the day before. He check and said the ticket was still open and non one had added ANYTHING to it no notes that Id called in, no notes that I was being transferred nada.
He told me I need to call BACK to HP TS and this time I WOULD be transferred to someone who could fix the system. He said since he had called me, he could not transfer me to whomever and that this transfer can only be done if I call back. I questioned him about this and he assured me several times that if I call back SOMEONE would help fix my system.
It is now over 2 weeks that my PC has been dead (April 2010). So, here is the moral of the story.
1. HP In Home Warranty is for Hardware Problems. Unless a specific hardware problem is found and an appropriate error code determined no one is coming to fix your system.
2. If you have an intermittent error or a failure that cannot be determined by their onboard tests no one is coming to fix your system.
3. You will be asked to run hours and hours of tests, over and over. Each time through the loop you will have to run the same tests.
4. Regardless of what kind of problem youre reporting, you will be told to Reset to Factory Defaults. Nothing is going to happen until you do this.
5. There is no way to get out of the Loop. The Script is Fixed. There are no exits and no Level 2s or Level 3s. There may be Im discussing this with my manager but you will not get out of the loop.
6. You will never connect to the same HP TS Agent again. Unless they call you, you cannot reach them. They will call 1 time and close the case.
7. In the End: Everything is a software problem. Devices, Drivers, Windows, Device Failures are all "software" and are not included in the warranty. Even system devices like USB Ports are software (driven) and not covered.
In the mean time Ive ordered another PC from a competitor. I did place a courtesy call to HP Sales to tell them about my experience. I talked to a very nice salesperson and we discussed the situation. I told her that I know there is nothing she could do about my problem but this Tech Support System is killing their business. I gave her all the info she needed to bring it up with her sales manager. She was not aware of how awful their procedure is. This is not the fault of the Tech Support Agents they are bound by a script and procedures. I told her that I was dropping another $2K for a replacement machine but I was not going to buy from HP. This in turn hurts HP overall. And the worst part is that HP never had this kind of reputation in the past. Their machines where always of the highest caliber and for the year my PC ran I had ZERO complaints about it. It was fantastic. But now it is dead and no one is coming to my house to fix it
Im going to call back to HP TS now and see what happens about my broken system
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/08/2010 12:44 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/hewlett-packard-company/palo-alto-california-94304-1185/hewlett-packard-company-hp-hpcom-hp-in-home-warranty-is-no-warranty-palo-alto-califor-590968. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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