How can I convince people not to buy HP?
January 29, 2008 12:44 PM   Subscribe

How can I give a company a lot of bad publicity? I am a bitter customer who wants other people to reconsider before buying from HP.

In the past 2.5 years, I've bought two laptops - one HP, one Compaq. Although I was able to replace my original laptop through Best Buy's lemon policy, I had defect-related problems with my Compaq after the regular one-year manufacturer's warranty.

My customer service experiences with HP have been extremely poor. Although their representatives are polite, they have made errors at nearly every step of the way, from getting my name and address incorrect to failing to take any action until I call them again a week later.

I haven't been documenting every instance, but I have email records and approximate dates. I had thought that official interactions would be tracked in their own databases; however, when I referred to an official request I made in October, they claimed that nothing had happened since August.

Obviously I am not planning to purchase from them again. I will be doing more research into companies' customer service reputations before I buy another computer. Is there anything else I can do? Should I join a consumer opinion site or start a blog?

To top it off, I bought the Compaq from CompUSA. So much for that 3-year warranty...
posted by scission to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Consumerist blog?
posted by sharkfu at 12:46 PM on January 29, 2008

Second Consumerist.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:48 PM on January 29, 2008

How can I give a company a lot of bad publicity?

Find a popular community weblog and post the name of the company, along with a description of your experience with them. Disguise it as a question so it doesn't look chatty.
posted by bondcliff at 1:01 PM on January 29, 2008 [20 favorites]

Report them to the Better Business Bureau. I always get pretty good results from that, and that will be another strike against them from people who look them up there.....
posted by Grither at 1:01 PM on January 29, 2008

Generally the purpose of The Consumerist is to force a company to either make things right, or deal with the PR nightmare.

Is there some way that they can make things right with you, or do you just want to vent?
posted by uaudio at 1:03 PM on January 29, 2008

I honestly did intend it as a question, but I understand how it's chatty. I really should have spent longer writing my post.

To clarify, cashman's advice about including model numbers is what I was looking for. Somehow it hadn't occurred to me to tailor the posts to searches in that way.

And yes, I am trying to lodge a complaint, either officially or in a high profile way, in order to chip away at the company's good image. I don't think they can make things right at this point.
posted by scission at 1:18 PM on January 29, 2008

Supporting what Grither said above, I too have had shockingly good luck with the Better Business Bureau, believe it or not. I'll spare you the mildly tedious details, but the whole experience was quite professional, and ended with me getting the $50 I felt I was owed.
posted by aramaic at 1:30 PM on January 29, 2008

My son has an HP laptop. He had a fan fail. We asked them to just send us a new one, but since it was under warranty they insisted he send it in. They sent a return box, he sent it to them, they sent it back all in less than a week. And it works fine.

I'm no special fan of HP, but your bad experience does not make them an evil company.
posted by Doohickie at 2:01 PM on January 29, 2008

That said, I think it *is* important to report them to BBB. Hopefully it will get you satisfaction and it does shine a negative light on them so that they try to correct the problem.
posted by Doohickie at 2:03 PM on January 29, 2008

After MUCH thought and many false starts, I compiled and emailed a humourous letter to Akai and Samsung about a TV that had absolutely atrocious performance. I also cc'd Costco on it, as I had purchased it from them. After a couple of days to allow for response time, I emailed it to my friends with the heading "Thinking of buying a big screen TV? Read this first" and requested that they forward this on if they thought it was funny.

The letter with funny anecdotes garnered significantly greater response from private individuals than ANY other letter I have written. Because it was written in a non threatening and yet still snarky manner, persons felt obligated in some way to pass it on to a friend, etc., because hey, "we've all been there" - especially with electronics and how frustratingly obtuse electronics manufacturers can be about their products. (which are btw, 90% crap and 10% filler).

YMMV, and what you think is humourous may not be to someone else, or you may not wish to take this route, but I thought of a British Telecom letter of complaint, and felt that, if this letter made its way to my desk about an Internet provider, this might be one of the best ways of solving the problem or at least getting the most publicity. As an example, by spending the time to lament and document some things such as "the loss of your priceless 1958 cowboy yodelling mp3's" you can bring personal face to the damage you have received. You are also spared having to do the much of the heavy lifting of circulating the information. I do know this method worked better than "u suk n so does da shi* u make" type so beloved by most internet users.

(I never did get a response from the Akai/Samsung drones, but Costco came to my rescue - I will only ever shop at Costco - but not for Akai or Samsung - as a result. Akai and Samsung can kiss my grits).

Good luck. I don't know of any other way to register dissatisfaction other than this. Even so, it was still ignored by the manufacturers (those purveyors of lifestyle crap).
posted by fox_terrier_guy at 2:21 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm just another person chiming in to say that HP is by far one of the best manufacturers of PCs and laptops specifically on the PC side of things. They're well built and typically work just fine and their support has been great with me on the minor issues we've experienced. Compaq's line tends to be a bit worse for wear in terms of quality, though.

Consumerist all you want, but every company will have horror stories, especially in this field. HP is typically at the top of the list in terms of build quality and decent in customer support. You hear similar horror stories about Dell and even Apple with support, though.
posted by disillusioned at 2:31 PM on January 29, 2008

Report them to the Better Business Bureau.

Yes, even just threatening to call the Better Business Bureau has given me great results.
posted by wafaa at 2:50 PM on January 29, 2008

I know this isn't helpful, but don't buy the crap computers they sell at the big box stores.

If you want great service and great warranties, buy business class machines direct from the manufacturer. And get Intel processors, there's a reason those other ones are cheaper.

Other than that, yes, send the BBB a letter if you are trying to get something. Go to Consumerist if you just want to complain.
posted by gjc at 5:04 PM on January 29, 2008

Yes, even just threatening to call the Better Business Bureau has given me great results.

I've worked for a couple of companies that regularly got complaints sent to the BBB (2-5 a month). In my experience, it's not that big of a deal. What does hurt are reviews on sites such as resellerratings, epinions, etc. and other shopping comparison sites. Those ratings are much more easily accessible to the average shopper than BBB reports which you actually have to go hunt for.
posted by SoulOnIce at 5:51 PM on January 29, 2008

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