So, how did the almost two month lasting struggle with HP’s support end (see part 1, part2)?
On Wednesday evening, I received a mail that a 160 GB SSD was sent and we received it on Thursday morning. Also during the same week, we received a 500 GB 7200 RPM hard drive, which was meant to be a temporary replacement until the 160 GB SSD was available again.
So things are finally solved for good. I am just surprised that the 160 GB SSD suddenly became available so quickly now (it was pretty useless to send a 500 GB disk if the SSD would arrive only a few days later). Is this just coincidence or did the complaining convince HP to finally make a real effort to find a replacement quickly? We will probably never know.
Two weeks ago I wrote about my struggle with HP’s customer service. To summarize: HP was unable to replace a failed 160 GB SSD because it was not in stock and was unable to provide me any other alternative even after one month. In the end, a 250 GB SSD was promised, but it also was not delivered.
- Friday morning, 1 July, I call back HP’s support service. It seems that they still need approval from the Customer Relations Team (CRT) Belgium to send me a 250 GB SSD instead of the 160 GB one but were unable to get an answer from CRT. The guy on the phone trieq different times to call CRT while I am waiting, but the call is always dropped after one minute. In the end, he can not do anything more than contact CRT by e-mail.
- Friday afternoon, I receive an e-mail from CRT. CRT Belgium & Luxembourg seems to be located in Sofia (Bulgaria), but they are answering me in Dutch. They approve the replacement of the 160 GB SSD by a 250 GB one and apologize for the long delay. Finally I start having some hope than things will be fixed now.
- Friday evening, I take a look at the case log on HP’s support site. I feel big consternation when reading that a few hours afters CRT approved replacement by a 250 GB SSD, it appears that the 250 GB SSD is also unavailable! The case log mentions that I was informed about the delay but I had not had any contact with HP anymore after Friday morning, so the only way I discover the new delay, is by logging into HP’s site and reading the case log.
- Monday morning, 4 July, I reply to CRT and to the support case that I do not accept the new delay and I demand an immediate solution. I receive a message in which they apologize for the delays and they inform me that people of superior departments are looking for a solution “with appropriate priority”. I also receive a message from our HP distributor asking whether this problem is still pending. I confirm them on Wednesday 6 July that this is still the case and they will transfer my complaint to HP Belgium.
- I finally get a reaction from HP on Friday 8 July. They inform that they will send me a 500 GB 7200 RPM disk instead of the 160 GB SSD which is not deliverable. The disk will arrive on Monday 11 July. I answer them that I do not accept this as a final solution to the problem because a 7200 RPM disk is much slower and much more inexpensive than the 160 GB SSD this machine was bought with. In the afternoon I get the answer that the 500 GB 7200 RPM disk will be sent as a temporary replacement then, and that a 160 GB SSD will be ordered too and sent as soon as available.
- As of Sunday 10 July, I have no indication that the 500 GB disk has been sent, so I am quite skeptical that the disk will be there on 11 July. I also have my doubts if and when I will finally receive an SSD.
To be continued…
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
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?
Some time ago, I introduced a package for Smolt in Mandriva Cooker. Smolt is a tool developed for Fedora which collects information about all your hardware and submits it to a central database. On the smolts.org website, people can view all hardware entries and indicate which one is working OK for them. The database is also coupled with a wiki, where extra instructions can be written to get the hardware working. Smolt is used by default already for some time in Fedora and also in OpenSUSE.
To install the Smolt package in Mandriva 2009.1, run urpmi smolt or use the graphical software installer to install the smolt package. There is also a smolt-gui package, but unfortunately this graphical front-end has not been updated recently anymore and because of that it’s missing some crucial features. You can use it to submit your hardware profile, but the GUI will fail to communicate you the password you need to indicate which hardware is working on smolts.org. To get this password, you need to use the command line tool smoltSendProfile. smoltSendProfile will show you all information that will be sent, and after your confirmation it will submit this hardware profile to smolts.org and it will give you the URL and password needed to edit the information.
It’s also a good idea to update the information in the database now and then, for example when you change some piece of hardware in your system, update your OS and/or start using a new kernel. The smolt package adds a cron script in /etc/cron.d/smolt which will update your hardware profile once a month. However, it is not activated by default. To activate it, edit the file /etc/sysconfig/smolt and set ENABLE_MONTHLY_UPDATE=1.