Wednesday, November 12, 2008

the difference between Honda and Hewlett-Packard

When the transmission went on our 2000 Odyssey ten days after the warranty expired, four weeks after we'd had the car in for a a safety check and 2 weeks after they'd replaced the catalytic converter, Honda stepped up big time and covered a big chunk of the repair cost for us. Of course, the class action suit might have had something to do with that.

HP, on the other hand, totally stiffed us when our Pavillion a6050, which we bought in May 2007, died again in exactly the same way it died in January. We had the thing for 8 months, and suddenly the graphics card and motherboard went bad. We had them replaced under warranty, and the work was handled by the local Best Buy, which shipped the machine out to its Chino, CA service center. End of September rolls around, and the machine dies again, and it's back to Best Buy: they diagnose a bad graphics card. I buy a new graphics card and on a hunch, pay them to install it and run a diagnostic, because if anything goes wrong I don't want them to blame me for it. They put it in, it works fine, but when we get it home and start using it, we get the blue screen of death (BSOD) at random intervals. Brought the machine back in. The BSOD error messages are reporting failures all over the motherboard. Geek Squad recommends we just get a new computer, because parts and service for the repair are now north of $500. They were great about refunding me for both the new graphics card and the service they had done, though. Nice guys.

Of course, my HP warranty expired in May, and -- here's the real kicker -- they have no record of the repair done in January. I don't get that; someone paid for it, and it wasn't me. It doesn't matter anyway, because the repair done in January was only warrantied for either 30 or 60 days, I'm not sure which. Are we serious? A $500+ repair is only warrantied for 60 days?

I had several testy conversations with the support folks in India who are 1) very good at sticking to their scripts and 2) completely useless in a case like this because the machine is, in point of fact, out of warranty. My point is, the thing was never fixed properly or it wouldn't have broken in exactly the same way again, and when it first broke, it was under warranty. We spent $1000 on this computer and now it's out in the garage awaiting proper disposal. I want to kick it every time I see it.

Now the kids have no computer of their own, and queue up incessantly to get on my laptop. I've sworn never to buy another HP, and you know what? My little Gateway laptop is doing great. Maybe I'll just get another one for the kids, and we'll be all set. It would cost less than the estimated repair on the not-so-old HP.

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