HP...the company formerly known as Hewlett-Packard...one of the companies extolled in *Built To Last*...a company other companies look up to and admire...the founders, Dave Packard and William Hewlett, founders that other CEO's look up to and admire...these are the guys who invented Management By Walking Around among other things. And remember when they made the best damn printers evar!?
And they've got that allegedly award-winning tech support - it says so right on the box!
I've gotten to the point where I feel physically ill as I contemplate picking up the phone for yet another round with their tech support. (The last call, a few minutes ago - a busy signal.) If this keeps up, simply hearing an Indian accent will trigger seizures.
So I bought an HP Pavilion a1540n for Cathy. A Christmas present. I'm setting it up for her Christmas Eve, after everyone's gone to bed, and it randomly reboots as I'm doing it. Whatever, I figure, probably just a one-time thing. When Cathy starts using her new PC on Christmas, it locks up. It locks up more and more.
So I'm pretty screwed here - I got my Christmas shopping done early, and therefore am already past the date I can return the machine to the retailer. Note to self - procrastinate on the Christmas shopping.
I call the company formerly known as Hewlett-Packard's tech support. They suggest it's a virus. I just bought the computer! I haven't installed anything yet! How could it be a virus?
Nevertheless, they suggest I do a destructive system recovery. (An interesting thing about these PC's - the hard drive is partitioned, and one partition contains all the install software to reset your machine to factory defaults. Seems kind of cool, at first, until you remember that hard drives aren't as reliable as good old CD roms. Could my problem be corrupted install software?)
Didn't work. Call them back. Am put on hold. Long story short, I go through this process four times as different tech support guys (all of whom try to sell me Norton Antivirus, assuring me that it will fix my problems.) Finally, finally, they agree it must be hardware and will send me a box to ship my machine back to HP for repair.
"How long's that going to take?" I ask. I guess Christmas is going to be late this year.
"Seven to ten days," they say.
Eleven business days later, I get the PC back and a sheet of paper claiming the motherboard's been replaced.
I plug it in.
"I'm scared," Cathy says.
"Me too," I say.
It doesn't even make it to the windows desktop. It takes me three tries to get it to boot, and then it locks up when running Media Center. It seems that the good folks at the company formerly known as Hewlett-Packard have somehow made my computer even worse!
So I call their tech support. They suggest doing a destructive system recovery. I go nuclear. And, after ranting to their tech support people, they promise me the case manager will call me back within 24 hours.
I call and rant some more. Then they promise me he'll call Monday morning, at 10 AM sharp.
It's 11:45 AM now.
What did I expect? Dave Packard's dead. His name's not on the box anymore. The new chairman spies on their board of directors.
Building my wife's computer myself would have been less of a headache.
Anyhow, I beseech you, dear reader - if you're thinking of buying a product from HP, remember my story, and as a favor to me, buy from someone else. (I'm even going to stop buying printers from them, out of spite.) I've had good results from Alienware, so far. Seems like the extra cost is worth it. (Dell's okay - but they're why I had to buy my wife a PC in the first place. The motherboard on our Dell burned out in less than two years.)
The company formerly known as Hewlett-Packard must be destroyed.