5 On Your Side

Company destroys instead of repairs Durham woman's computer

Posted February 21, 2012
Updated February 27, 2012

— Imagine having your computer destroyed after you sent it in to be fixed. That's what happened to Durham's Kay Campbell. She contacted 5 On Your Side when she had trouble getting her HP computer replaced.

Campbellā€™s family gave her the computer for Christmas in 2010 so that she could Skype with her grandchildren. Two of them,  7-month-old Will and 3-year-old Mackenzie, live in Illinois. Campbell says Mackenzie really puts on a show when they chat online. "She reads books. She sings songs to us. She dances."

But all that stopped five months after Campbell got the computer. She says it stopped working. "We couldn't see the screen," said Campbell. "The screen was blank." Campbell could hear things, but couldn't see anything!

It was still under warranty, so she called HP, and the company agreed to fix it. Campbell just had to mail it in. She waited to do that because she was in the process of moving and didn't want to create confusion. She mailed it last October. When she hadn't heard anything by December, she followed up with a phone call. Campbell was shocked to learn what happened. "He was like, 'No, actually your computer has been destroyed,'" said Campbell.

Company destroys instead of repairs Durham woman's computer Company destroys instead of repairs Durham woman's computer

HP says it fixed the computer, but since her current address didn't match the one in HP's records and they didn't have her new phone number, the computer company wasn't sure where to send it, so they destroyed the computer.

"This is ridiculous," said Campbell. "We had an address. We expected you to mail it back. You didn't. You didn't contact us."

Campbell said she made several calls about getting it replaced. She estimates she spent 30 hours on the phone with HP. She said the customer service representative told her, "Well, the higher-ups haven't decided" if it qualifies for a replacement. Campbell said she waited two weeks for word from the managers. When nothing happened, she called 5 On Your Side.

We contacted HP. "Then you guys called, and all of a sudden the higher-ups agreed to give us a computer," said Kay. The new computer arrived, and Kay is thrilled to be back online with her sweet little grandchildren.


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  • randalljacobs Feb 29, 2012

    I had a compaq which is maid by hp, I purchased it in 2008, the reason I purchased this is it was on sale at best buy, I had a toshiba I purchased back in 2000, the toshiba by 08 would over heat and turn it self off, since 08 I have had three repair bills and a number of problems with the compaq, so in 2011 I purchased a new toshiba from best buy...

  • VikingTom Feb 23, 2012

    Should have never bought an HP

  • Scubagirl Feb 23, 2012

    I will NEVER get another HP. I've had several and only had problems with them, their customer service leaves tons to be desired.

    Glad things worked out for her, unfortunate that 5 on your side has to get involved for so many companies to do the right thing.

  • SirWired Feb 23, 2012

    Par for the course with HP customer support. I once waited two months for a warranty part to ship from the warranty parts warehouse, and when it was backordered for a two months, HP simply cancelled the order. The eventual resolution was HP buying a replacement from their own online store at full retail using an HP corporate AmEx, paying themselves for shipping, tax, etc., and mailing it to me.

  • Scare Crow Feb 23, 2012

    PS I just bought an HP notebook and its great (so far)

  • Scare Crow Feb 23, 2012

    sllenterprises, everyone has to deal with these issues at some point. Just to get on the phone and "try" and talk to a real person that speaks engligh and resides within the US is a major challenge. I can't stand it when I have to so through 10 menus to get to a real person or for the infor I need. But we still have to deal with it; like it or hate it.

  • Pseudonym Feb 23, 2012

    Quote from the article: ""We couldn't see the screen," said Campbell, "the screen was blank!""

    Usually this is a PEBKAC error. Try pushing the power button on the monitor.

  • sllenterprises Feb 22, 2012

    As an employee of a major computer and electronics repair company, the problem here isn't the brand or the fact it was a computer, the problem lies with the fact that consumers no longer take ownership for their lack of effort on follow ups! There's absolutely no reason to wait 5 months to find out anything about anything you've sent off for service. It should have taken at least 2 weeks to hear anything-I know she might be older but that's no excuse. She paid for it so warranty or no warranty, she should have followed up on it within several weeks instead of getting a newstation involved! That is HP's policy because it's a security risk. If there's no updated contact information, they have to destroy the device or risk security issues! How would she feel if someone had taken her computer and released pictures of her grandchildren onto the internet? That's her fault for sitting on it!

  • superman Feb 22, 2012

    She should have gone to the HP web site and updated her warranty information relative to her new address and phone number. HP products are poor including their printers. Most of these companies have a web site where you can track the progress of an item that is returned for repair/replacement. You cant help people who dont know how to help themselves.

  • Xiaoding Feb 22, 2012

    Never buy HP. For anything.