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HP EliteBook Support is really harshing our buzz

They may be driving my co-worker and friend into an early grave.

Justin MRambling thoughts from a jack of all tickets
February 24, 2014

Updated 3/6/2014

Silvrback blog image

Midway upon the journey of our life,
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straight forward pathway had been lost.
- Dante Alighieri

HP's EliteBook line of notebooks are intended to be the top tier of business hardware. They automatically include a three year warranty, cost a good amount more than your average Best Buy shovelware system, and actually look and run like a computer you'd want to use.

For these reasons we typically sell EliteBooks to all of our clients. They may make noise about their budget but we always remind them that you get what you pay for. If you spend five hundred bucks on a notebook it will be made of Happy Meal plastic and it will fall apart in the middle of your super important presentation. Your customer will laugh at you, you will lose the sale, everything will be horrible.

Lately however we've had some... issues with EliteBook support. On practically all of these systems we purchase an extended warranty from HP. On top of the better than average warranty they ship with. This affords next business day onsite repair of hardware issues, avoiding sending the system back to HP for repairs which can take a few weeks.

Here's how one recent incident went down, dutifully documented by my diligent co-worker. Our client had a faulty track pad...

  • 1/14 - Worked through troubleshooting steps outlined by HP, they determined that there was a hardware issue
  • 1/15 - Scheduled a call for the 17th, 12-2 PM
  • 1/17 - No call, no show. HP claims that someone tried to reach out but there's no record in our phone system of a call. HP now advises that parts are on back order. Request replacement PC to get our client going ASAP
  • 1/20 - HP denies replacement request, no ETA on back ordered parts
  • 1/22 - HP still waiting on parts, expects shipment by 1/28
  • 1/28 - No updates from HP. Receive notice from our data center, in another time zone, that a package arrived from HP. This was a part intended for our client. Call HP, told that representative will call us back.
  • 1/29 - No call back. Email HP to advise on miss-shipped part.
  • 1/30 - Client receives correct part, call HP and setup appointment for 1/31 no later than 1 PM (client is traveling)
  • 1/31 - Client is contacted at 1:45 PM and told technician will be onsite at 1:55. Client delays travel until 2:40 PM. Technician advises that additional parts are needed to complete repair. Repairs will now have to be delayed until 2/6 as client is traveling
  • 2/4 - Call HP to check in, told that they are waiting on the part which the client already has. Explain that the client already has the part. Call forwarded to "Barrister" team to identify which part was actually needed (no idea why HP didn't handle this internally). Call drops.
  • 2/5 - Call HP and request system to be replaced. Told that the case will be reviewed and we'll receive notice in a few days of their decision.
  • 2/10 - After no contact from HP we called back. Told decision was delayed due to pending parts order.

This continues on for a little while before HP finally relents and agrees to give us a new computer (still waiting on that). It is now a month and a half since the case was opened. Throughout this process we worked with about a dozen different people at HP and at least two of HP's contractors. Our client continues to receive parts that he already has.

Another client has a broken screen. HP scheduled an appointment, went onsite, fixed the screen and closed the case. Actually, no, the technician just reported going onsite and repairing the system, twice, without anyone showing up or doing anything.

And finally we have a client whose system was showing an odd error during POST after a BIOS update. HP tells us a technician just needs to come out and use a software tool to "rebrand" the motherboard and all will be right. The technician comes out, I verify this actually happens with my own eyeballs. I leave and he does his thing. I come check out the system. Looks great! Except the client tells me later the technician had the entire system in pieces and now the SIM card for the internal Verizon broadband adapter is missing. HP wants to know what the part number is. In the technician's notes he apparently replaced the hard drive of the system (which I somehow missed when I reviewed it afterwards, maybe it only seemed to boot up and into the client's profile).

So, the next time you complain about your phone service, why don't you try using two Dixie cups with a string? We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company.
- Lily Tomlin, SNL's Phone Company sketch

We are a small business. Our clients are small businesses. We do not order hundreds of systems at a time. We do not have a sales rep at our beck and call. The purpose of this blog is to at least get our frustrations out there. However pointless it may be to toss into the winds of the Internet. Maybe someone that matters will see this? Until then, we just ordered a batch of Dells. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

/Update

This post got the attention of some folks at HP. In particular we've been speaking to Andrew Lamb - Director, Quality & Customer Assurance. The replacement system for our customer with the faulty trackpad has arrived. Our other customer who was having the phantom tech visits has also been taken care of. I don't get the feeling this post greased any wheels to get those specific issues solved but will hopefully help with future issues. We're still working on case number three, it appears that the technician is claiming the unit did not have a SIM card installed prior to him working on it (not true, we would definitely know if this particular user couldn't get on Verizon).

My main suggestions to HP were to give us one person to speak to on these type of repair cases and to definitely never have us or our customers in the position of having to work our way through HP's internals or those of their contractors.

In the meantime I have another EliteBook Folio that is randomly losing power. So far we've only had a slight delay waiting on a back ordered part. We'll see what happens next.

Justin M

Rambling thoughts from a jack of all tickets