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Why HP and Lawyers Don’t Mix

Posted by Andrew J. Barovick | Nov 19, 2009 | 0 Comments

The simple answer is: lawyers actually have work to do. Often, that is why they buy computers.  Therefore, lawyers who want to get work done must buy computers that work.  The logic is simple.    But of course, even the best products break now and again.  That's why there are repair people, and in the world of computers, tech service workers, a special breed of customer service employees, who are supposed to help resolve your problem.  It is often at this juncture, when the computer customer has a technical issue, that business relationships are cemented, or forever broken.  Unfortunately, Hewlett Packard has not learned this lesson just yet, based on my experience (and that of many others, if you search online).

My HP Mini netbook began not working properly about 6 weeks ago. Among other things, the memory filled up to the point that it slowed internet access, and computer function in general, despite my frequent deleting of unneeded programs and files. Then, I lost the intenet connection entirely.  Among the many clueless folks in India or Pakistan that I spoke with, and barely understood, one instructed me to purchase a media pocket drive to transfer excess files to.  Spent the money, set it up, and it failed to address the problem. The next tech person told me the first one had been wrong, and I spent another 3-4 hours on the phone without solving the problem.  By this point, I had been on the phone for about 10 hours, spread out over a few days, and spent $100.00 for an HP product I never needed, and still had a broken computer.
After more wasted time and frustration, yet another tech person told me that I needed to delete everything from my computer, and re-install everything, with the 3 discs that they'd be sending me in the mail. I waited a few more days, got the discs, did what was suggested, and the computer remained just as broken.
Several hours of frustration on the phone with these incompetents later, I was told I'd have to send the computer to their TX repair facility.  Several days later, I received the FedEx box in which to place it. It went to TX, and came back with a slip saying the hard drive had been replaced.  Can you guess what happened when I tried to use it? That's right. Still broken.
By this point, I had been without the ability to use the computer I'd purchased for a good 5 weeks, and things were not looking very promising with HP's “help.”  I asked for either my money back, or a new computer, as I had already wasted untold days of frustration attempting, in good faith, to have my computer–still under warranty–fixed.
Unfortunately, HP's policy is that my computer has to have been to TX for repair 3 times before they will take such a step.  (Getting the picture here?  Not exactly bending over backwards for the customer.)
As I sit here typing, I am waiting for the second FedEx box to take my computer back to TX, and having fantasies about renting a steamroller and running over my computer, many times, instead, since that will probably be equally useful in terms of the repair process.
Yesterday, after getting nowhere with the “Quality Case Manager” I'd been assigned to, I asked for the phone number to the president of the company, and called it.  When I reached the Executive Suite, and asked to speak with the President, I was literally told (but very sweetly) “that's not an option.”
And so it goes on.  I will likely abandon any further attempts to fix this product, because it is just not worth the time and effort any longer.

And the bottom line is, I need a computer that works, and a company that will stand behind it when it doesn't.  HP does not fit the bill.  You have fair warning.

About the Author

Andrew J. Barovick

Mr. Barovick is a graduate of Columbia College and Cardozo School of Law. He began his legal career at the Queens District Attorney’s Office, where he tried over 20 felonies to verdict, and argued an equal number of appeals before the Appellate Division, Second Department, the New York Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


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