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Unbelievable service from HP… have they finally rounded the corner?

So here is a story you may find hard to believe.  Two years ago, I ordered a custom laptop from the HP store.  It was as custom as can be and the fastest in the 2K range I could get.

Early this year, a dearly loved one who thinks a keyboard is a place to store things, placed a pen on the keyboard, precisely because it would not roll.  Later that morning, a utility crew was cleaning the carpets, and, I presume, in order to protect the laptop, slammed the top clamshell down to the keyboard to close it.  When I came back that evening I grabbed my laptop to work.  First thin I noticed is how weird it felt, eve thought the clamshell was closed.  As I opened it, a pen fell out.  As the screen came to full open, I saw a crack in the glass from the bottom left to the top right, with a plethora of bright colors surrounding the crack.

What to do, I called HP repair and was first told they could offer me a rebuilt machine, but not with the capabilities of the machine I had.  Then they said they could fix it for a fixed price.  I gave them my credit card, and they FedEx’ed a box in which I sent back the laptop to an address in Houston TX, (I presume the old COMPAQ campus).  They guaranteed a turn-around time of six days to my door after receipt of the device.  Five days later, my laptop was back in all its splended glory, with a brand new LCD.

Skip forward to mid October 2013.  Said loved one, decried that I could no longer use the end tables in the living room to put my coffee, laptop, iPhone and iPad on, because I scratched them.  She bought a beatiful marble top table which she placed next to my easy chair for my use.  Unfortunately the surface area of the table was the size of the 16″ notebook.

So here I am, trying to juggle my bottle of water, my cup of coffee, my iPhone, my iPad and my notebook on that little surface.  I had just refilled my coffee and gotten a fresh bottle of water and settled in to my chair to start working.  I grabbed the notebook, half hanging off the table to pull it to my lap;  as I did, the power cable, which unseen by me had wrapped around the coffee cup, pulled said coffee cup directly in to the keyboard.

I immediately grabbed towels, to protect our white carpet, and then tilted the notebook to drain the coffee off the keyboard and onto the towels.  Unfortunately, coffee seeped from every nook and cranny, and every port including the BD drive. About that time, the power went out.  After draining the coffee as best as I could, I placed the notebook in front of a large fan and turned it on high, hoping that once dry it would work again.  Twenty four hours later, I had no peep or blink when I plugged it in.  Forty eight hours later, same story…

So I called back HP repair, gave them my credit card (having been familiar with the procedure by now), they sent me a box and off the notebook went, minus battery to the same service center in Houston TX.  I surprisingly came back three days later, having had a motherboard replaced and some ribbon cables.  It worked, but I had some trouble with the Blu-Ray, keys which stuck or didn’t register, and a mousepad right click that always stuck.

I called HP again, they told me not to worry, I was covered by the repair warranty.  The sent another box and off the notebook goes to Houston again (imagine the frequent flyer miles it was amassing.)  I believe I sent it on a Monday.  It was received on Tuesday.  The following Tuesday I anxiously awaited FedEx to bring my baby back.  It didn’t happen;  I waited for Wednesday.  Nothing Wednesday either.  I called the Repair status line in India, they said it was on the way and I would have it Friday.

It didn’t arrive Friday either.  I called the Repair status line again, and they said they would have to inquire of its status from the Service Center in Houston;  they did that by email, and I had to wait 48-72 hours for a response.  Of course, I didn’t wait 72 hours, I waited exactly 24 hours and called again.  This time I was told no one had sent an inquiry but not to worry, they would send one right away and we would have an answer up to 72 hours later.  I asked why they couldn’t just call the Houston Service Center, but the said they didn’t have a telephone number to do that.  (A lot of use a Repair Status hotline is that can’t contact a Repair center by phone).

To make a long story short, three weeks later, India is still sending inquiries, but not receiving replies.  I pick up my trusted iPad, and look up the Super Pages app for HP headquarters in California.  The first time I called, I went through a phone maze and ended up back in India.  I called back during business hours, and actually spoke to someone, explained the situation and was transferred to an escalations Project Manager in Canada (I figured that out because the recording was in English then French).

To make it still a shorter story, a few weeks later, I found out from the escalations PM that my notebook was sent to Houston, as the Houston Center was being shut down.  (I guess HP finally shut down the old COMPAQ facilities).  It was sent to a new Repair Center in Tennessee.  But I could not find out what happened to it in Tennessee.  I asked repeatedly but the question was ignored.

Now here is the surprising part.  HP could have refunded my money and sent me on my way, but the didn’t.  The PM, configured a brand new custom machine for me.  Not only does it have the newer quad i7’s, but the same RAM, BD burner, a larger HDD, and an SDD cache.  Because HP no longer makes 16″ laptops, and they do not offer the 15″ notebooks with DVD/BD disks, they ordered me a 17″ machine, with two batteries to account for my extended battery on the original, which is no longer offered.

December 23rd, my new machine arrived via FedEx from China in its brand new packaging with a brand new two year warranty.  Wow!

This is service.  Perhaps HP has awakened once again, and is offering great service.  I had a similar service engagement with HP 3PAR enterprise storage, where the Engineer performed above and beyond the call to provide service.

Go HP!!!

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