HP's success hinges on good customer service

Sometimes squeaky wheels get greased and broken hinges get fixed. HP just made at least one of its customers' new year a little brighter. Cringe has the scoop.

It's always nice to start the new year on a happy note, so I'm pleased to report Cringester D. M.'s unhinged HP laptop has become hinged once more, with the help of HP tech support.

Last month I wrote about the broken hinge on his Pavilion DV9000 notebook (see "Hewlett Packard gets unhinged"), a common enough problem that HP issued an alert offering to fix it for free. But when Matson contacted HP support, he was told to be sure to include his hard drive with the unit in case they needed to wipe it clean and reinstall Windows.

D. M.'s response was, naturally, "WTF?"

After I posted my item an HP representative contacted me and D. M., promising to expedite the repair and offering to add a note asking the techs to please not reload the OS. It seems this is a boilerplate precaution HP includes with all its repair services, something the techie didn't quite convey to D. M.

Just the same, he used Symantec's Ghost32 program to back up the hard drive, and shipped the laptop off in the middle of December. Just before the holiday he got back his notebook -- with all its data, apps, and hinges intact. A nice Merry Xmas gift. 

He writes:

I remain confident in HP at this point, although my faith has been shaken.  I think if I excluded the very first representative that I spoke with, the overall experience would have been far more positive.  :)

Unfortunately, D. M. is hardly the only the only HPer who suffered a faulty hinge, judging from the more than 1300 responses recorded at the Notebook Hinge Crack blog. And DV9000 units aren't the only models affected, though they seem to be the only ones HP has offered to fix for free.

So far, anyway. Maybe the new year will bring more good news to other HP laptop luggers.

Got tech support troubles or deadbeat vendors? Send your gripes to The Gripe Line, which is far better equipped to get you results than this blog. But I'm happy to hear about them and share your tales of woe with the world. Post them below or email me at cringe (at) infoworld (dot) com.