HP: worthless customer support

One month ago, on the 25 May, I contacted HP support because a HP EliteBook 8540p (NU486AV) notebook had a broken 160 GB SSD disk (which is actually an Intel X25-M disk). The hard drive was not recognized anymore: both the BIOS and a Linux rescue cd could not find any connected hard drive. This machine was only a few months old and was bought with an 3 year HP eCare Pack for Next Business Day warranty support. Today, 30 June, HP still has not provided me any solution, even not a temporary one.

Here is a summary of what happened:

  • When calling HP’s customer service on the phone on 25 May, I was promised to receive a replacement SSD the next day. The helpdesk guy explicitly checked whether the disk was not out of stock, and apparently it was not. In the case log this is written as: “Part is NOT on CRT TOP shortage list , Part can be ordered”.
  • The next day I get a mail stating: “Your ordered part is delayed, the delivery date is not yet known.”
  • I do not hear anything from customer support for more than a week. On 6 June, I ask for a status update via HP’s support website. The same day someone calls me back to inform me that the SSD is out of stock. He only offers me a 80 or 120 GB SSD disk as an alternative, which I obviously do not agree with: I want a disk of at least 160 GB.
  • I hear nothing from customer support for almost 3 weeks. On 20 June I contact them back via the support site, demanding an immediate solution. In the case log this triggers this¬† cryptic message: “PSL Status requested by email to PS”. I do not get any reply.
  • Later that same week I ask my local HP distributor whether they can do something to trigger a solution. I do not get any reply.
  • On 28 June I let HP customer support know via the support site that I am unhappy with their lack of initiative to provide a solution. I do not get any reply.
  • On 29 June I try the HP support chat function. Before entering the chat I have to select my country from a list and provide the serial number of the machine. The chat support guy first asks some details about my identity and of the machine. He excuses for the fact that I had to wait for more than a month for a solution and starts to look at the case log. After looking at the case log he suddenly says that HP chat support is only available for the UK and Ireland. Now why do they even let me enter the chat after I chose Belgium as a country then and why did he ask all details about the case?
  • I call customer support again by phone. While waiting on the phone, a recorded message recommends to try HP’s chat support!
  • The guy on the phone proposes to send me a 250 GB SSD disk. He still needs confirmation from the technical service whether this model is compatible with that laptop. If I did not get any message the same day that would mean that all was OK and then I would have the new SSD the next day.
  • The case log shows these entries after I called:
    Sub-case comment added: Jun 29, 2011 1:15:27 PM
    again no answer at CRT
    consult PS
    Sub-case comment added: Jun 29, 2011 11:19:31 AM
    tried to call CRT belgium >> no answer
    try again in 1 hour after lunch
    Sub-case comment added: Jun 29, 2011 10:50:52 AM
    Cu called back
    595756-001 250GB solid-state drive (SSD) – SATA interface, 2.5-inch form factor
    This part IS supported for this notebook
  • On 30 June, I still do not have a new SSD and nobody contacted me. It seems the whole case is stuck and forgotten again and I will have to call back once again to get the whole process unstuck.

So for the second time, things seem to be stuck at “waiting for PS”. I do not know who or what is this “PS”, but it is clear to me that it is not doing its job.

I can only conclude that HP’s customer support is just worthless. Cases are not followed up and the customer is never informed about the status. HP’s customer service takes no initiative to propose an alternative solution. Instead the customer repeatedly has to take the initiative to make any progress. And even then when customer support is reminded of the problem, they do not do anything to prevent it from getting stuck again. Chat support is totally useless even though it is recommended by HP.

The last few months, I have had contact with HP support 3 times for other small problems. Things were all fixed in a reasonable matter, although it always took more than 1 business day to get a replacement, which is a pity.  However, what is happening now is simply unacceptable.

Almost all systems I bought the last few years were HP systems. I will definitely re-evaluate this, because reasonable customer support is simply essential with systems used in production in business. I am very unhappy and dissatisfied with HP support so I will consider alternatives in the future.

What are other people’s experiences with HP customer support in Belgium/The Netherlands?

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