5 On Your Side

Warranty No Help as Woman Waits and Waits for Laptop Repair

Posted September 13, 2007

— Many of us couldn't function without our computers, but a recent Consumer Reports survey showed that even the best brand still had 15 percent of its laptop computers needing repairs.

That makes the warranty and customer service really important, but Anjana Kennedy, of Cary, had trouble with both.

As a real estate agent, Kennedy depends on her laptop. When it remained broken for three months, she had a big problem.

Kennedy paid $1,298 for her machine less than a year ago and added $200 for an extended warranty. When the computer suddenly stopped working in May, she called Hewlett-Packard.

The company determined the hard drive had crashed and agreed to send her a new one. Kennedy said she was told it would take three days.

“Three days came and went, so I gave them another three days. Six days came and went. Nothing. I called them back and they said, ‘Oh no, it's on the way’” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said she kept calling. At one point, she said H-P told her the hard drive was out of stock.

“It went from one month to the next and to the next, and this is three months later practically, and I still don't have my hard drive. My case has been escalated seven or eight times” Kennedy said.

Kennedy continually used the FedEx tracking number H-P gave her to check for progress.

“I came to find out that my hard drive had actually been shipped to somebody in California” she said.

After more calls, Kennedy says a case manager agreed to send her a new computer within 14 days. That didn't happen either. Finally, she called 5 on Your Side.

“It's a major headache for me to have to deal with this on a daily basis now” said a frustrated Kennedy.

5 on Your Side called H-P. The company immediately sent Kennedy a new laptop and, for her trouble, a red leather carrying case!

“Now I have my laptop back. I'm very happy,” Kennedy said.

H-P apologized saying, "Mistakes like this can happen" but adding that Kennedy's experience was the "exception and not the rule."


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  • the river rat Sep 15, 2007

    As laptops go, Dells and Thinkpads are pretty tough. We've got a couple of each that get banged around traveling and on jobsites, they just keep kicking along.

    The amount of gumbo junk that's preinstalled on some systems is enough to effectively cripple performance. All that unnecessary crud running in the background comes with a price. msconfig is your friend.

  • ghimmy47 Sep 14, 2007

    BB consistently has the worst customer service record among electronics retailers. For most items the store accepts no responsibility at all, will not accept returns and offers no refunds. I have to believe the good experience mentioned was part of a special agreement with HP.

  • FlSunshine Sep 14, 2007

    I understand the "I feed and clothe my tech guy." He built my Gator blue PC for me and I love it. Unfortunately for me he graduated college and, oh my, moved to Raleigh. I still call him for input. At least I can still get him on the phone.

  • miketroll3572 Sep 14, 2007

    Best Buy and Intrex suck. Had a computer at BB, they kept it for 2 weeks and didn't touch it. Took it to Intrex, they had it for 1 1/2 weeks and couldn't fix it. Took it to another shop and had it back the next day fixed and at a very good price.

  • NeverSurrender Sep 14, 2007

    "Then you don't have to worry about not having the disks, or having to pay the manufacturer for them, or worse having the manufacturer tell you they don't have the install disks anymore because your particular model is out of their coverage timeframe."


    If you've paid for the machine (which would include the Microsoft tax), then you ought to get a set of real CDs with the box rather than relying on a system partition which can get corrupted in a variety of ways (not all of them due to user error).

    You shouldn't have to burn them yourself...you should get the CDs to reinstall the operating system period. You've paid for it and it's not like it costs them much more to toss them into the package.

    But if they're going to rely on such a fragile distribution method, then charging the customer again for media for software that they've already paid and licenced is fraud.

  • Gandalf The White Sep 14, 2007

    What if she wanted a pink carrying case and not a red one?

  • scot30 Sep 14, 2007

    To the people commenting on the lack of install disks: This is common practice now among most of the major computer manufacturers now. What they do now (although most don't tell you this) is have everything you need to reinstall on the hard drive. Most (HP included) have software installed on the PC that will create the install disks for you. All you need are a few blank CD's or DVD's. When you get a new computer you should take a few minutes to create these disks, and put them away in a safe place. Then you don't have to worry about not having the disks, or having to pay the manufacturer for them, or worse having the manufacturer tell you they don't have the install disks anymore because your particular model is out of their coverage timeframe. Apple is one of the very few who still includes the physical install disks with their computers, and they also have excellent service/support.

  • -info- Sep 14, 2007

    as long as he's taking AP classes and not working I buy the parts, he best be eternally grateful considering he has champagne taste...lol

  • AuntySocial Sep 14, 2007

    the discs did not come with the computer. They want you to use the worthless "system restore" option on your computer. Don't ever use "system restore"

  • NeverSurrender Sep 14, 2007

    "I clothe and feed my tech guy..."


    This should be a warning to any geeks with non-geek family members!

    It didn't matter that the manufacturer of the machine they bought knew the machine and what was loaded on it better than I did (and were available on a toll-free call, no less!), the machines have always come to me for repairs and updates...or worse, over-the-phone support calls (what? you don't know conversational Hindi? How silly in this era of outsourcing...)

    I used to love the calls where they'd describe what they were seeing on an ancient version of Windows 98 whilst I was looking at XP Pro. Half the time they were wrong and the other half...well, let's just say you didn't have to be a Geek Squad Agent to figure out what was what and how to fix it.


    It's a good thing I love them and don't necessarily mind helping out...but at least avail yourself of the corporation's tech support whilst you're still entitled to it before bugging me, eh? ;)