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HP Tech Support Horror Story

Although I've never written about it, I have been, until this week, quite happy with my HP OfficeJet 7410 printer-fax-copier. Its built-in WiFi, sheet feeder, and duplex printing ability fits into our dual home-office situation quite well.

A few days ago I wrote about a problem I was having with duplex (two-sided) printing. It took nearly 6 hours of time to resolve the problem, most of that dealing with the clueless tech support personnel at HP.

At first, I thought that a driver update had broken two-sided printing. After following that trail for about 3 hours by myself--trying to find and reinstall the old version of the drivers proved impossible thanks to HP's use of the "Vise" installer--I eventually realized that none of my computers, even the Windows machines, could print correctly.

You'd think the fact that the failure occurred on several computers simultaneously would be an obvious sign that the printer has failed, right? The first tech support person I talked to agreed, and diagnosed that the duplexer unit on the printer had failed. So, they sent me a new duplexer accessory. It arrived the next day, but did not resolve the problem.

When I called again, despite my existing case, the representative at "HP Total Care" insisted we start from square one and told me that I needed to reinstall my printer drivers. I have, of course, already tried that, and I explained that multiple computers could not properly print, and I refused to waste any more time jumping through nonsensical hoops. While I was on-hold waiting for his supervisor, I reinstalled the Windows drivers anyway, since I had plenty of time to wait.

The supervisor told me that I "must comply with the troubleshooting steps or I would be ineligible for support," then passed me back to another first-line tech. I told the tech that I had complied while holding, and then he had me change completely unrelated options using the printer's front panel, such as the fax and copy settings. It was clear that his troubleshooting script didn't match the reality of my printer when he kept telling me to press menu option number 5, which is Cancel, so we wasted even more time than necessary with these steps.

Eventually, I asked to talk to a second-level tech support rep, but that was a mistake. Again, he insisted that I reinstall the printer drivers (yet again!), and when I told him that neither a Mac nor a PC could print correctly he gave me a 30 second rant about how Macs were "completely different" and "outside the realm of this discussion." He then offered to take control of my Windows computer remotely and re-install the drivers for me using a "special procedure." When I refused to allow him access to my network, and said I wanted him to send me a replacement printer under the "Total Care" package that I paid for, he said that he would but that if the problem persisted it would not be covered under warranty. Because of my refusal to kowtow to their voodoo procedures.

I asked to speak to his supervisor. After a few minutes the second-level tech came back on the phone and said he would send me the replacement. When I asked about him voiding my "Total Care" agreement, he said to "forget that I said that."

The replacement printer arrived. And, of course, it completely resolved the problem. What should have been a simple process resulted in a several hours of phone calls and a very frustrated customer due to the failure of HP's tech support to listen, use a little common sense, and go "off script" to solve a problem. While I still like the printer, I'm no longer a satisfied customer, and I certainly can't recommend HP Support to anyone who isn't knowledgeable enough to see through their nonsense and demand service from their bordering-on-rude personnel.

Comments

Russo-Webster

Essentially the same horror story. As of today, I'm starting with Glenn Beck for assistance on the issue. It is out of control. I've even contacted Staples Corporate Office seeking assistance and/or refund. I run many small businesses from my house and am totally handicapped until I can receive the appropriate tech support. Tech support in India are good for fabrication and deceit only....asking me to perform operations on my computer that are placing it at high risk.

Bought my product in the United States; want tech support from English speaking individual minus the condescending tones I've experienced with the India group.

How much of the pie does HP require? They sold out in the interest of gaining another few billion dollars by outsourcing their support to India....$2.88 per hour vs paying "qualified" Americans to provide SERVICE AFTER THE SALE.

Is this the new "American Way" I query?

Nathan

I hear ya! While I was relatively happy with my HP laptop, their customer service has convinced me to never buy from them again. I'm simply asking for a replacement AC adapter (under warranty.) It was promised to arrive on the 8th, then promised for the 12th...it is now the 13th and I'm sitting on the phone w/ tech support talking about some cryptic 'special request' that should have their team look into the problem? The problem is that I have yet to receive my power adapter and I can't work!! (Sorry, the inability to understand most of what they say is frustrating as well.)

Glad to hear your issue was eventually resolved, though.

Carol

I just got off the phone with HP Tech Support, and was so frustrated that I typed in HP Tech Support Horror Stories. Voila, your site comes up...not surprising that others have experienced what I have. My 7410 printer broke after warranty. I called HP and after several steps was given Tech Support. I spent two hours with someone and they were unable to resolve the issue. They had me do everything from put in paper to test the machine to cleaning the cartridges etc. They then sold me an extended warrantee which would go into effect in 30 days. I was to call back then and they would send me a label to ship the printer back, and send me either a reconditioned printer or a new one. When I called back, I was made to go through the exact steps once again...several before getting tech support, and then they were too busy to talk, so they took my number and were to call me back. They never did. Thus, I called them back and had to go through all of the same steps again to reach tech support. When I finally got someone from tech support on the phone, he wanted me to go through what the first tech guy had me do 30 days ago...what had taken two hours. I told him I had already done that and wanted to send the printer in. However, he refused and said we had to go through all the steps again, and start from square one. This time however, when I went to put ink cartridges in the printer, there was a big glob of ink that had formed in the cartridge carrier. THis must have developed from when they had me clean it the first time, as I had not touched it since that first phone call 30 days before. Thus, I got black ink everywhere, and I refused to continue. I was told that I would have to clean the container area out and put the printer cartridges in or they could not honor the warrantee as I did not follow all the steps that were required. No matter that I had done all of this the first time and had been told to call back for the mailing label. There was ink getting everywhere, including my carpet as the machine was on the floor, and I refused. I then said I would contact their corporate headquarters in Palo Alto. That is where things stand now. When I get back from a business trip, I plan to complain loudly to someone locally, and if that doesn't work, call the KGO consumer complaint line.

Carol

I feel it is only fair now to post the follow up to my HP Tech Horror story. I did speak with a support person in the states after I experienced such terrible frustration with HP Tech. I had told the technician I was so dissatisfied that I wanted a number at HP headquarters in the states. When I called (I don't know if I actually reached their headquarters location, but I did reach someone in the states), it was a totally different story. The woman was so understanding, sympathetic, and reasonable, and completely took my side. She then proceeded to have a new HP 7410 printer shipped to me. Actually, it was the machine without all the peripherals included. I had to take all the peripherals off the old machine and put them on the new machine, but it was easy, and definitely worth it. I then shipped the old machine back at HP's expense! They also sent me two replacement printer cartridges since during one of the "Tech Support" conversations, I had ruined them. So, although I had to go through a lot, at least in the end, HP redeemed themselves. I would suggest that anyone finding themselves in HP "hell", get the number of their support service in the states. I would have posted it here, but I didn't keep it. Apparently however, the Tech Support in India is authorized to give it out. They freely gave it to me when I requested it. Good luck!

James

I work for HP as a debug technician on the line assembly systems for the actual servers most big businesses use including such brand names as "Microsoft", "Cisco", and "Myspace" in customers (just to name a very, very small few that come across my table) and without question, the entire operational system does SUCK big time!!

Let me give you a daily run out of what I have to put up with, first off, the people that assemble the server units (we are talking about units that cost from 3,500 dollars to well over a few million per unit) are NOT TRAINED AND ARE NOT ACTUAL EMPLOYEE's !! .. thats right folks, the major program is to hire "temp" or contract workers through a central contract labor firm called "Chimes" who then outsources (sub contracts) to sub contracted vendors (yes we have been reduced to being called a product) which then are supposed to be responsible for clearing each potential candidate for HP assembly and other various programs that the company has in operation at the plant here in Houston (gee I guess I should not have said where this is huh? LOL!) just one problem with this idea, most subcontractors are under pressure to fill a certain "quota" of viable workers for HP through Chimes program per contractual agreement, which means a great deal of "fudging" of potential candidates which in turn means the assemblers of such high dollar items, are generally very technically incapable of even understanding the very product they build.

Training is a joke, they generally get only 2 hours out of 4 days worth of training before the trainer leaves the new employee up to their own musings as they make mistake after mistake for which the repair teams have to fix which ultimately leads to delay of product to the client (customer) you would think that the client is first and foremost, but that would be counter productive to the output of the product for which the excuse is called a "Business Need"

In this typical day, I run across many mistakes as the plant was known as Compaq (before it was bought out) which translates to delays for the customers.. They use a central inventory database known as CHAPS (from Germany) that looks like a sixth grader designed it because quite simply, it refuses to be very effectual in operations as the central database server is located in an entirely different plant NOT located in Houston (whatever happened to the concept of a central backup "pull" database?) certain portions of the daily accessible programming used by explorer based website intranet operations is actually located in Austin, Tx. which then in turn is located in the main branch offices in California, so if upon any portion of that route the OC (optical carrier) trunks are disabled or become unavailable for any reason, the operation in Houston becomes enable to produce the servers for the client which in turn means they run around with a list asking for people who want to go home early.. what a CF! (Cluster F&*k)

Not only that, the database people responsible for the Pretest operations are at the mercy of the damn marketing agents from the call center, the front end application presents a list of options for the operator to choose from when the client is ordering a server product, yet they always seem to choose the first one available rather then a product that will actually "fit" the chassis ordered by the aforementioned client which when the files necessary for the proper pretest operations are downloaded through a program called LIDO (which is the only thing done right as the server is LINUX based rather then windows based for the moment as the current so called "experts" are leaning toward replacing this version of LIDO with one that is "cringe" WinPE based) this program known as LIDO is a very capable program however the files it downloaded from a lazy ass representative who did not choose the right options, causes no end of relentless horror to the repair technicians and if it cannot be solved rather quickly, an "Issue Tracker" has to be made which in turn gets finally answered by some snot nosed "I am a perm you are a temp" asshole from the "upstairs" (which BTW temps are not allowed access to which has a means to avoid rain as it has a centralized corridor which keeps one dry from the elements in Houston... all the better to make one feel as a second class citizen to HP employees)

When this "engineer" comes down, they snub for the most part the repair technicians (who have more experience then them and more common sense in one pubic hair then the entire engineering department teams) .. I can say only a very, very small handful of engineers seem to play the game well enough to know not to piss off the repair teams as this can cause all sorts of problems when trying to get to the source of the screw up by upstairs representatives , at any rate, the pretest operations are fixed on the fly rather then handled in a more intelligent way so as to cause less stress on the repair techs as well as the assemblers and pretesters, so after the "fix" is in place, the unit gets sent to a procedure known as "run in" which is another word for "burn in" time .. all well and good, except, the burn in times are "fudged" based on how soon the client needs the computer or how "late" the computer is toward the deadline limit on the unit itself.. My dissatisfaction for this company became cemented when a large multi-million dollar order was placed in the blade department that ended up being held up for parts (not enough) so that when the parts came in, these multi-million dollar blade systems had the run in time reduced from an average of 8 to 72 hours to only "2" hours to "push the units out" as they said... it was at this point I realized this company SUCKS!!!

I will never buy anything HP made, as the new plants in Mexico are opening up as well as the ones already in China are producing below par quality products.. take it from an expert in the field who is currently employed "by" HP .. do not buy anything HP .. you will only be greatly disappointed!!

James A.

Carol C

I came across your blog while looking for HP Consumer
complaints and thought I would share with you my rather
unique experience with HP Technical Support, please do
feel free to publish it or not, at your discretion.

On July 27, 2007 HP issued a update which I installed on my
Pavilion M7674n computer, still under warranty, after install
said to reboot system, and I just heard a loud series of beeps,
and a message appeared on my screen saying Bad Bios Checksum Error.

I called HP Tech support, and was told all I needed to do was
use my factory restore disks, I did, and received a not made
for use on this system error, second call to tech support I am
informed that my factory restore disks are defective, and told
my problem would be solved if I ordered a new set of their
amazing factory restore disks for the low price of $ 29.13
and that they would waive the shipping and handling charge
due to their hmmm error.

The factory restore disks arrive, and I receive the same not
made for use on this system error, and third call to HP Tech
support they finally admit my computer needs repairs, ask me
if its under warranty, I say yes with HP and Best Buy, and I
was told to take it to Best Buy for faster service.

Best Buy informs me the motherboard on my computer was killed
by that HP update, Best Buy replaces the motherboard, and when
I pick up the computer August 14, 2007 the case is damaged,
and now the computer is experiencing a variety of problems,
preinstalled HP programs say not licensed for use on this
system, and the system information box shows manufacturer
of my computer as ASUS, HP Pavilion support information shows
Model, Product, Serial, and Software Bom's are all blank, the
Hardware Bom is listed as unknown, Bios is accessible, but not
vieweable, am getting constant BSOD's showing Intel errors, a
Intel VPro Test Utility reveals that it can not determine if
all components on my system are functioning, present, or
turned on, System, Processor, and Bios tests all pass, but
Lan, Chipset, and ATM tests all fail, F10 factory restore
options do not work, and neither do any of HP's amazing
factory restore disks, because I get the same not made for
use on this system error.

I call Best Buy and leave messages reporting the problems and
Best Buy never returns my calls, so on August 31, 2007 I call
HP Tech Support back, explain the problems to Saydetha, who
consults a Hardware Specialist, and her supervisor, and tells
me that if I agree to pay $ 183.16 they will send someone to
fix this, as I just want my computer repaired I pay it, and
I receive a email billing statement for Total Care Warranty,
a second invoice for a new set of those amazing HP factory
restore cd's, shipped for free, and per my conversation
with Saydetha was told that someone from HP would call me
back within 30 minutes, and they would get this fixed ASAP.

As no one called me back on September 5, 2007 I call HP Tech
Support again, speak with Rajyedth, who informs me there is
no record of this order, asks reasons for the repairs, and
I explain them, he asks for a remote session, sees all the
problems for himself, and says he needs talk to a supervisor,
Rajyedth comes back says Best Buy installed the wrong mother
board,and says the motherboard has to be replaced, I ask him
will I be charged for this, he tells me no, is covered under
parts and labor warranty, and asks me if I can call Best Buy
to see if I can get the old motherboard back.

Knowing my success rate with contacting the Best Buy Santa
Rosa store, I call Best Buy Corporate, speak with Susan, and
explain whats going on, am told its doubtful they would be able
to get the motherboard back but that she would call the local
store, and ask, so she places me on hold, and comes back and
says she called the local store, and a Geek Squad agent will
call me back in 15-20 minutes, but they never do call back.

Same day of September 5, I call back HP Technical Support,
talk to Christine, tell her I spoke with Best Buy Corporate
and was told it was doubtful they would be able to get the
old motherboard back, she says no problem, and that my repair
order is being processed, and that a box will be sent to my
house for shipping, and that I will be charged for the full
costs of labor and materials to replace the motherboard, and
I ask why as I was told the repairs would be covered under
the warranty and she tells me no, that I have to pay full
costs of labor and materials, and that the Hardware
Specialist will explain this to me, and so I am placed
on hold, and wait, and wait.

Per my conversation with the hardware specialist James
Anderson I am asked what happens when I use my factory
restore disks, I tell him I get a not made for use on
this system error, he asks me for the numbers of the
factory restore disks, berates me for giving him the
wrong information, berates me some more when the numbers
do not match whats in his manual, and informs me that the
problems I am experiencing with my computer, according to
his manual, are caused by my ordering the wrong factory
restore disks, and that they can only be resolved by
my calling back to HP Technical Support and ordering
the correct factory restore disks for my computer.

When I try to explain to him about the motherboard
and what happened to it, and about it being replaced,
and the problems since, he does not listen to anything
I say, but asks me if I ever read the warranty manual that
came with my new computer, the part where it specifically
states any work done by a third party would void warranty,
I said yes that I had, and he informs me that because of
the work done by Best Buy that the hardware warranties
for my new computer are now void, and that HP will be
of no further assistance to me on this matter.

Ten minutes later I call HP Technical Support back
and speak with Bhupesch, who informs me he is sorry
but my hardware warranty has been voided because of
work done by Best Buy, and that HP can be of no
further assistance to me on this matter, and I said
gosh Mr. Anderson sure got that memo out fast, but
that I had called Best Buy Corporate who says that
no HP Technical Support can not void any hardware
warranty for work performed at a Authorized HP Repair
Center, and I ask if I can talk to a supervisor, and
am told I do not understand, so I ask him to explain
to me what I do not understand and was told that with
out the old motherboard that they dont know how to fix
my computer, I was astonished, this is Hewlett Packard,
right, one of the biggest computer manufacturers in the
world, the one who made my computer, and they dont know
how to fix this, and all he said was correct.

Any calls I make to HP Technical Support are now met with
sorry but your hardware warranties have been voided because
of the work done by Best Buy, and that we at HP can be of no
further assistance to you on this matter, and Best Buy never
has called me back.

On September 6, 2007 I filed complaints with the Better
Business Bureau against both of these companies so as to
obtain everyones immediate on this matter, and in the hope
that someone somewhere knows how to fix my computer.

CarolC in Santa Rosa


Susan Jennings

I feel that I need to let people know about my experience with HP 7410 and the support techs. I purchased my HP 7410 in February of 2007. It worked fine for awhile and then started pulling the paper through the feeder at an angle. The paper constantly jammed and I ruined several important documents trying to make copies from the top feeder. I could only copy from the glass. After trying again to copy from the feeder, I had some serious paper jams. I called the technician and I was told to follow the manual for removing paper jams and to clean the rollers with a soft cloth. I did this. However, the manual stated that I should lift the blue handle under the lid. When I did this, it popped out of the unit. The tech tried to talk me through putting it back in but it would not fit. He then told me to send the printer back and they would replace it with a refurbished printer that was as good as new. I recieved the replacement printer, packed up the original printer and sent it back to HP. After a few weeks, the replacement printer began pulling the paper in at an angle. I cleaned the rollers and this didn't help. I called the tech and he told me to lift the blue handle to release the jammed papers. I refused because I didn't want to risk having the same problem again. Besides, I couldn't see any papers in that area of the printer. He said they would replace the printer and I should send this one back. After I received the third printer, I packed up the second printer and sent it back. The third printer would not work on my computer. I removed the program and used the disc to reenter the program. It still would not work and I could not get the error messages off my computer. I hired a computer repairman to fix the printer program and my computer. He fixed the program for me. Later, the printer began making a rapid clicking sound when I tried to use it. I called the techs. The tech put me through about an hour of testing different steps. He then told me they would send me another printer and I should pack this one up and send it back. I recieved the fourth printer. This time I called the tech and had him walk me through the set up. This replacement printer immediately made the same rapid clicking sound. I had to go through many steps to try to fix it and then was told that they would send me a replacement and I could pack this one up and send it back. I stated that I would rather have my money back because I already bought another printer. (I was losing a lot of work time with these printer problems). Currently I am waiting for someone to call me back about returning my money. I was told they would call me that day but they didn't. When I called the tech support number to ask why I didn't hear from anyone, I was told that it takes three to four days for management to call me back. That's strange, I was told that if I didn't send the computer back in three days, I would be charged for a second printer. I am totally discusted with everything about HP and hope that I never have to do business with them again. By the way, I was told today that my warrenty was up.

Donna

Wow! And I thought I had bad problems. I just want a driver to get duplexing on the 3210 printer! But when I bought this it took a fellow in India days, even weeks to try to help me then just abandon me. I got Experts Exchange to help. I was thinking about the new Touch Screen. NO Way. I'm not sure what to buy for a new computer so I sit on my hands. Dell was outsourcing in 1999 and they caused many formats of hard drive for me with all-night sessions. I could never do that now. I need to be sure Best Buy stands by their service as they declare and choose them perhaps. But I can usually get what I need. A new machine CAN come with bugs thus my new fears now. My son wants me to go Mac. Maybe I will since they are not virus prone. OR perhaps I'll dump computing and run for the mountains. Seems the nicer thing to do. I'm so sorry you've all had this trouble. It didn't get bad for me with HP until three years ago when I could literally call into Veep's office in Palo Alto and get anything I wanted (they'd even send out gifts to make up for problems and once swapped printers out of Idaho). That was when they were very good. This is getting way too serious and should cause a huge decline in sales for all who outsource. One major company here that pulled back from doing that is Comcast. The customers threw too many fits, and Comcast got the message. I wonder if enough people stood together against HP or others would it effect a change? If you lose business how about class action suits? Just thinking.
I wish you all the best! Ouch! What a total disaster for all concerned. I'm just glad I knew HP when...(they were one terrific company in the 80s and 90s at least to me...even hired me but I didn't get to go which may be fortunate).

Edward

My 'New' HP TX2z review:

This review is more of an ongoing saga than anything, but it provides info which may make you change your mind about this tablet PC.

I ordered a top-end tx2 on May 5th. On May 6th, HP added a larger hard drive option, so I called to change my order. No go, HP doesn't allow that. I had to order a *second* notebook and return the first. Not a big deal if you have an extra grand sitting around, so I do it.

Both tablets came in the same day (which was nice). Unfortunately, the one I want to keep is defective (touchscreen is flaky). Not a big deal, as I have a 'spare' right next to me. Well HP won't let me swap hard drives and call it good, I have to return BOTH to them, and they will replace the bad one. Okay, crappy but doable, but it doesn't end there. In order for HP to replace my defective tablet, they tell me they are charging me full price for the replacement until I get it back! Yes, you read that correctly. HP CHARGES to replace their (*2 day old*) defective hardware! They insist they refund it after it is shipped back to me, but why on Earth am I getting charged EXTRA for being shipped a broken tablet PC?!

Not once in this phone call was there a "Sorry we sent you a broken chunk of plastic", no, they assume you will have no problem paying full list price (they bill your card the difference between what you paid and full list price) until your replacement tablet is shipped to you. All of this has to hover in the bait and switch arena of laws, if you ask me.

Now the waiting game begins for a replacement tablet and the worst customer service experience of my life to be over.

Cheap Computers

This is getting way too serious and should cause a huge decline in sales for all who outsource. One major company here that pulled back from doing that is Comcast. The customers threw too many fits, and Comcast got the message. I wonder if enough people stood together against HP or others would it effect a change

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