Friday, August 21, 2009

Insane(ly stupid!) HP Customer Service

Those that know me are aware of the fact that I tend to be rather vocal in my support for the things that I use. I’m an advocate for most Microsoft Technologies, an advocate for the much-maligned Zune MP3 player, Harley Davidson motorcycles, etc etc etc.. If I own/use something and I like it, I let people know about it…

I’ve been a huge fan of HP hardware for many years, and when I became unhappy about the performance of my work-provided laptop, I decided that I was going to take matters in my own hand and bought my own HP Tablet PC. I love this thing, it has been one of the most versatile (and downright useful) portable devices that I have ever owned. Coupled with Windows 7, I couldn’t be happier.I purchased it at Costco, and honestly can’t imagine ever being unhappy with the process.

As circumstances would have it, I am in need of a more powerful portable computing platform (in addition to the tablet mind you, not in replace of) for some field-work that I’m going to be doing. Rather than try and navigate the hardware requisition maze to get a new work-provided one, I decided that I would buy another one of my own. Of course since I love HP products, I decided to see what HP has available. I found *exactly* what I was looking for on the HP site, and unfortunately found out that Costco wouldn’t carry that model with the options that I wanted, so I decided to go ahead and order it from the HP Website. I configured the beast with all the custom options, paid the price, and had it shipped.

I received the laptop (An HP HDX 16T Premium “CTO” model with every imaginable bell/whistle) on Monday of this week. Did my normal pave/rebuild with Windows 7, and after a couple of false starts was pretty happy with my purchase.

And then the fun began…..

On Tuesday evening, I received an email from the HP store talking about their latest/greatest offer… Turns out it was an offer for the exact laptop that I just bought…. AND IT’S $500 CHEAPER THAN WHAT I PAID! Ok, probably some hidden tricks and nothing to get excited about, right? Well, it turns out that one of the guys who works for me decided he too wants a new laptop and decided to buy one, so I sent him the link from the email I’d received, and sure enough, he configured THE EXACT SAME laptop with the EXACT SAME options, and paid exactly $500 less than I did…

No worries I’m sure. I can just contact them, explain the situation (hey, just 1 day after receiving this you drop the price?) and I’m sure they will at least offer me a store credit…. Well, I send an email and I get the following response:

I understand that you are inquiring about the received coupon after receiving your ordered HP HDX 16t laptop and would like to know if you can avail the said discount on the recently received order, right. I appreciate your inquiry, HP continues to provide you the best in all computer technology. Thank you for choosing HP. Ted, that coupon code is applicable on your next purchase. However, you also need to check on the validity of the coupon before using.

To which I respond that the answer is not acceptable… I receive the following response:

I am very sorry to hear that we were not able to provide you with a satisfactory purchase experience. I want to apologize for the inconvenience that you have experienced due of the $500.00 coupon that you would like to add on your recent purchase.

Feedback like yours is always appreciated, and it lets us know how well our website and staff have assisted you. I have registered your complaint with our management team and we will assess the corrective action that needs to take place.

Ted, we have the 21-day Price Protection Policy. As much as I wanted to process the $500.00 credit on your order, it is beyond my credit limit. However, I would refer you to the Resolutions team to process the credit, if applicable. They will validate the coupon and provide an option for you to avail such discount.

OK, so now we’re getting somewhere!

I call the number that they suggest, and basically am told that the email is wrong, that I cannot use the discount. When I tell them that due to their satisfaction policy I could easily box this laptop up, return it, and then buy it again for $500 less, it just doesn’t make sense to do it this way… Their response, “That’s the way the policy works”…

By now I’m highly irritated, and can’t believe that a loyal customer is being treated this way in this economy… So, I send another email basically stating that I will return the laptop and find something else to buy…

Their response:

Thank you for contacting the HP Home & Home Office Sales Center.

I understand that you got an email with the coupon code after receiving the hdx16t laptop that you ordered, and you wanted to know if you can just get the credit for that coupon code.  I'm really sorry if this has caused you a hassle.  Don't worry since HP is willing to assist you with this. 

I just want to let you know that there is no retroactive application on any of our coupon codes.  Also, all of our coupon codes have  limited redemptions.  What if we credit the amount, but the limit has been reached already?  You really have to apply the coupon code to the actual order to see if it's valid or not.  In this case, your only option is to return the laptop and place a new order using that coupon code.  I'm really sorry for this inconvenience. 

I know that this has caused you a trouble, but I still want to thank and commend you for choosing HP and considering our products.  We have received a lot of wonderful comments and recognition about our products from customers through emails, chats, and phone calls.

So now it becomes a matter of what to do… I can box and return this laptop, order a new one for $500 less, and be done with it, OR I can choose to simply return it and go elsewhere…..

Given this display of customer service, I don’t think there is really much of a debate….

Guess I’ll be checking out the Dell laptops….

If anyone from HP is reading this, please fix your customer service process. If you drive away your satisfied and happy customers, what will you be left with? How can I, with clear conscience, recommend your products to anyone at this point?