Last month I took off two whole weeks from work. In the past we took fun and interesting vacations. Now a days, with a kid, two pets, and too much to do, we just stayed home the whole time. I had hoped that it would provide plenty of time to finish up my business plan. Instead I face technological woes and mediocre corporations.
It all started with in the first day or two of the vacation. I was watching TV and looked down and saw that my laptop was in the middle of rebooting itself. That’s slightly unusual but not extraordinary, sometimes Windows forces a reboot. I kept watching my show and later on I look down and it was still rebooting! So I watched the laptop for a while and found that it kept trying to start up but would fail part way through and just start rebooting again. Those of you that know computers know that this is bad…
I played around with it for a little while and quickly determined that the hard drive must have crashed. The computer was less than a year old, I hadn’t even paid it off yet! But, sometimes these thing happen. It’s an HP and initially when I called them everything went well. I used their chat help line instead of calling and got to someone right away. He ran me through the usual nonsense trouble shooting starts (“Make sure it’s plugged in and then try turning it on”). But eventually he gave up any more attempts at a fix over chat.
The first point that it went wrong was when he asked if I was comfortable opening up the laptop and checking to make sure that everything was connected properly. I said I was and he promptly told me that if I broken anything doing this it was my fault and I would void the warranty… What?! I told him I didn’t think that was very fair and he didn’t even try arguing. He just said that I needed to send it in for repair. I can’t help but wonder how many people followed his suggestion, broke the computer, and then HP refused to replace it. Seems like pretty sketchy behavior to me.
The rep took all my information and told me that it would take about 2 weeks to get the computer back. I explained that I need my computer back more quickly than that and after several minutes of thinking about it he told me that I could get a rush repair for $15. I agreed. I don’t really understand why it took them so long to find that second option, but more sketchy behavior I guess.
They got the box I needed to send them my computer pretty quickly. Fed Ex was supposed to come the very next day and pick it up but they never did. At our house we’ve had lots of issues with Fed Ex in the past. I’ve talked to their manager at least 3 times… and it never fully solved the problem we were having. To get them to come this time I had to call Fed Ex directly. If you’ve ever tried this you’ll know what a nightmare it is. I probably spent at least and hour before I even got a person who could help me. Perhaps this isn’t directly HP’s fault but the fact that they choose to work with such a terrible company only makes me thing less of them as well.
Even once they had the computer they managed to disappoint me. They had a website that you could check the status of your repairs and, it claimed, would tell you what was wrong with it. I was pretty anxious to know if it really was my hard drive, as I suspected, because that meant I would need to install all my software again. But it turns out that they don’t bother to actually update that website. They told me they received it, which is nice, but otherwise, for all I knew, it was just sitting in the repair shop.
Later in the day on Friday I got an email saying that the computer was fixed. I checked the website again and still no other information. But even more frustrating is that they printed out the shipping label but then never gave it to Fed Ex to be shipped home! This was all done before 4 PM so I see no reason why that couldn’t have gotten it sent out that day, but they didn’t… And they didn’t over the weekend either… I guess no one at HP works on Saturday. So it ended up going out on Monday and didn’t get home till Tuesday. So much for my $15 of rush order.
Next comes all the interesting tech stuff (not that this will interest many of my usual readers!) but too keep the post short I’ll save that all for next time. Then comes Linux, more fun with Google, and defensive re-installations of windows!