5 On Your Side

Glitch Over Extended Warranty Leads To More Problems For Computer Owner

Posted August 24, 2004 4:02 a.m. EDT

— What do you do when your computer breaks? If it is under warranty, you call the company.

What makes some extended warranties worth the money for many people is on-site service. That means you do have to send the computer off to be repaired -- someone comes to you.

Robert Davis paid for an extended warranty. When his Compaq computer gave him problems, so did his warranty.

The DVD drive on Davis' computer does not work, his CD drive works only part of the time and the modem will not let him access the Internet. Since the $2,300 Davis paid for the computer included an on-site extended warranty, he figured he was covered.

"I bought the on-site warranty so that I could have my computer up and running as fast as possible," Davis said.

It did not out work that way. When Davis called Hewlett-Packard, which has since bought Compaq, the company insisted he did not have an on-site warranty.

"I'm like, 'Wait a minute people. I know I got an on-site warranty. I know what I paid for,'" he said.

Davis could not convince the company, so, in February, he sent the computer to H to be fixed.

When the computer came back two months later, it was still broken.

Davis called Hewlett-Packard repeatedly, trying to get someone to come to his house to fix his computer. He says the company would not budge.

"I'm telling you the truth -- I really wanted to grab somebody and just shake them and scream, 'What is wrong with you people,'" he said.

Five On Your Side had a similar feeling after calling Hewlett-Packard. Calls went back and forth for two months before the company finally acknowledged Davis has an on-site warranty.

Hewlett-Packard now says the problem is with some older computers, like Davis' -- which is less than 3-years-old -- home repair is not possible.

Tuesday afternoon, a Hewlett-Packard spokeswoman said because of the "painful process" Davis had been through, they would give him a new computer. The spokeswoman told WRAL once Davis picks out a computer comparable to the one he had, the company will send it to him overnight.