Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Caveat emptor--Educating Hewlett-Packard Tech Support

by Larry Geller

Sheesh. If I hear one more HP tech support person ask me to “make a copy on your machine” (one of those all-in-ones), I feel I might pick the thing up, and still connected to my HP computer, throw the lot out the window so he/she can hear it crash loudly into a thousand pieces on the concrete below.

I’ve spent a total of about nine hours, I think, educating them (this time). When I call back, or when they call me, starting over from scratch is not helpful. My Officejet Pro L7555 seems not to be a bargain after all. It was cheap at Costco, but if I put any reasonable valuation on my time, it has turned out to be a very expensive machine.

And it’s not running yet.

Yesterday, using the remote help feature where they help you out from New Delhi by sharing your screen, I watched as the technician deleted all my printer drivers—not just the Officejet drivers, but all the pdf drivers, the Microsoft document drivers, everything. It all happened before I could grab the mouse to stop him. And he was a “supervisor” of some sort, too. Afterwards, he said, “you don’t need those.”

He crippled my machine. Nothing would run. I couldn’t even open Microsoft Word.

And guess what—when I called back (the line dropped after he deleted my drivers), they say they can’t connect me to the same person. Even though only that person knows what he did to my registry and files. Oh, and could I please see if my machine can make a copy?

This is only the latest episode. I document it here in case you are thinking of buying a reasonably-priced HP product. They are fancy, they seem to do a lot for the money, but beware of the Tech Support Trap. You could be lucky, or, in order to get it working on your new Vista system, your cost in time and frustration may be many times the cost of the machine. Are you a professional? How much is three or more hours of your time worth?

And you’ll have to educate each new technician, because HP has not.

May Google share this post with 10,000 potential HP customers. And with that tech support “supervisor” who got me into this mess. And no, system restore has not worked.

In fact, I found the IP address conflict that was part of the problem, not them. You can know what you’re doing and they can still put you out of commission.

This afternoon I will spend restoring my system. The Officejet is still not working with it (works fine on another computer). I will call HP. Why? Because stupidly I threw away the box and so I don’t think I can return it to Costco. I’m at HP’s mercy for the moment.

There’s another caveat: it’s good to buy from Costco where you have 90 days to waste your time with HP tech support before returning it. Save the box, and save your receipt. Don’t lose the disks. Be prepared to cut your losses and send it back.

Grrrr. Google, Yahoo, find this message and spread the word. Maybe HP will notice and fix their tech support.


I second that emotion. They deleted everything on my hard drive-oops,sorry about that-by mistake. "Oh,I didn't realize THAT reset erases everything". First-and last-
HP computer.

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