HP Notebook Problems with Best Buy - (RANT)

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Scott Wong, May 27, 2006.

  1. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    Long story short... or so I shall try.

    Bought an HP Notebook in March '04 with the Best Buy PSP (extended warranty). The notebook went in for service in Jan. '05 and March '06 due to faulty issues with the LCD screen.

    Three weeks ago... the A/C adaptor was no longer getting power to the notebook. Bad A/C adaptor? This is what I assumed. I went into my local Best Buy store because when you buy the PSP, you get a free battery for the notebook during the extended warranty period. I figured I'd go into the store... get the new battery and have them check out the A/C adaptor. They simply handed me a sheet of paper with a toll-free number on it and was told to call PartSearch... they handle the outsourcing for external computer parts for Best Buy.

    Week later I got the box from PartSearch... they sent me the wrong A/C adaptor. Wasn't even for my notebook. Called 'em up and they told me they wouldn't be sending me out the correct one until they got back the A/C adaptor they sent me incorrectly. Shipped back the incorrect one. That took a week. They sent me out the correct A/C adaptor for my HP... that took another week. Plugged it in and the laptop still didn't power up. Obviously, it was now an issue with the notebook itself... probably the input in the rear of the notebook where the A/C adaptor plugs in.

    Brought it back to Best Buy and they shipped it back out. Prior to doing so, the Geek Squad rep. asked me if I wanted the data back-up service for $80. I told him I had never been asked that before. The notebook was in for service and shipped out twice prior to this... I was never asked that before and both previous times none of my data was compromised. I asked the Geek Squad rep. if he thought I needed to spend $80 for simply replacing the DC power input... especially given the fact that, again, it was in twice prior with no issues. He said they wouldn't be doing anything to compromise my data by simply replacing that input. So I told him to ship it out...

    I get a call yesterday afternoon advising me the laptop is back at the store and ready to be picked-up. I'm 20 miles one-way from the nearest store so I drove there and got it. Front of the box said "SCOTT WONG"... my address... my phone number... my warranty number... my computer model... description of the problem... and the issues resolved. All signs pointed to the fact that this was my computer. Why would I have any other reason to believe it wasn't my computer? I didn't open it (my fault?) drove back home and you guessed it - my notebook was not in the box. It was someone else's. Drove back to the store... swapped out the notbook I got for mine and again, drove back home. Plugged in the A/C adaptor. Powered up with no problems.

    Turned on the computer and Windows asks me for my key code. Interesting. It usually only does this when you purchase a new computer. Next up is the HP Welcome screen. The computer doesn't recognize my wireless network in my home. Pull up my programs... documents... photographs... music... movies.... everything is gone. They re-formatted the entire f*cking hard drive. Drove back to the store for the third time in one day and spoke to a manager. All I got was a "sorry..." with my signature advising I didn't want the data back-up service... despite what I was told. They even pulled up my previous two service repairs and saw that I was never even asked about the data back up service... none of this occurred before.

    My theory is this: In order for Best Buy to get even *more* money, they've now presented the Geek Squad with this data back-up service. If you agree to it, you hand them $80 and your hard drive remains unscathed. If you decline it, your notebook/PC gets shipped out and your data *may* be inadvertently deleted. And when it says, Best Buy has you by the balls. You didn't give them $80 - and they're free to do what they will with your information. When you're notebook comes back with an empty hard drive, you've got no recourse. It sounds like another plot to simply get an additional $80 out of every customer in need of a notebook/PC repair. Upon speaking to the manager last night, she suggested I give the notebook back to the Geek Squad at my local Best Buy... and in addition to that, give them $225.00 so they can attempt a "data recovery" which, of course, would not be guaranteed and obviously at my expense.

    I'm moving next week out of state so everything is pretty much packed and ready to go. So I don't have any of my computer installation disks at hand. I called up LinkSys technical support and they were amazing. Without the installation CD, the representative there walked me through re-setting the router and setting back up my home network securely. Out of curiosity, he asked me about the issue I had at Best Buy since I told him briefly about it at the beginning of our conversation. After re-setting the modem and router and re-starting the notebook... and waiting for everything to re-boot, this representative at LinkSys proceeds to advise me of the obvious... that there is no reason in Hell they would need to touch my hard drive (much less re-format it) to replace my defective DC input in the rear of the notebook.

    I don't know at this point what recourse I have.... but I'm hoping some of you can offer me some validity to that statement. I'm not naive but I want replies that actually suggest the hard drive did not need to be tampered with in the first place. Furthermore, if it were simply a couple of the "prongs" in the DC input that had somehow gotten bent... and prevented a good connection with the A/C adaptor, the notebook would not have even required to be "opened up". This is all common sense, I would think.

    Suggestions?

    Sorry in advance for the lengthy post....

    (moderators/admins... wasn't sure if this belonged here or not so please feel free to move accordingly... thanks in advance)
     
  2. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    unless there was something wrong with the hard drive itself, they should have been able to keep your data there.

    CJ
     
  3. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    *nod*

    My thoughts exactly... but again, it seemed like common sense to me. *shrug* There has never been anything wrong with the hard drive or anything else "internally", i.e., memory, RAM, hard drive, etc, etc.
     
  4. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Ouch! That sucks! I totally hate these companies that think they know what theyre doing.What that $80 backup fee sounds like, is a protection for them in case some moron (which I'm sure are plenty of them) accidentally erases your data.

    It sucks that you have to pay them a 'fee' to protect yourself from their incompetence. [​IMG] I would say that unless you had a written agreement that your data would not be harmed, that $80 backup fee is their ticket out of any recourse on your part. [​IMG]
     
  5. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    That's a hard life's lesson to learn. Next time, just take out the hard drive, and give them the rest of the laptop. The repair places have plenty of hard drives to pop into the laptop if they need to see if the laptop will boot up after they's replaced the defective part.

    Also, it's good habit to backup on a regular basis what you value on your hard drive (be it an external hard drive, blank DVDs/CDs) in case the hard drive goes bad, and has to be replaced.
     
  6. Dennis*G

    Dennis*G Supporting Actor

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    What Patrick said. ONLY ship what they actually need to fix the problem. I would have removed the HD and the battery and possibly the cd/dvd-rom before I would have sent it in.

    Good luck, but I don't think you will get anything from BB.
     
  7. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    That is absolutely insane. Given the fact that I paid $450 for an extended warranty - I hardly think dismantling my notebook before going in for repair is right from a consumer's standpoint.

    The notebook did not even have to be opened up to replace the DC input in the rear of the laptop... and even if it did, re-formatting someone's hard drive because I agreed NOT to pay the $80 is malicious. The laptop was sent in for repair two times previously and none of my data was ever compromised in this way. So all of this is my fault? Both times the LCD monitor was in need of repair... my fault? The fact the wrong A/C adaptor was sent out from PartSearch.... my fault? I was without my laptop for 3.5 weeks... my fault? I live 30 miles one way from the nearest Best Buy and FedEx drop-off location... all of my time and gas money (which isn't cheap nowadays)... my fault? And now some idiot reformats my hard drive as another means for Best Buy to make more cash... my fault? All I've ever gotten was, "Oh, sorry, Mr. Wong..."

    F*ck that.

    My Honda Civic needs a new timing belt for its 75,000 miles service... should I dismantle the rest of the car so it doesn't get f*cked up?
     
  8. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer

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    A better analogy would be bracing yourself for the possibility that any on board computers or radio station presets may be reset when you take your car in for service. Even if you are getting the tires changed if the technician just might disconnect the battery.
    Any time your computer is serviced there is better than a 50/50 chance that the repair person will make reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows her first step. Most computer problems are software related and reformatting is the quickest and easiest solution.
     
  9. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    Most computer problems are software related. OK. I agree with that. But the service order SPECIFICALLY said:

    "DC input inoperable. A/C adaptor not getting power to battery. Please replace DC input."

    You're telling me that's software related??

    If you looked at that service order, the first thing you'd do is reformat the individuals hard drive? Hahaha. You're never touching my computer.

    You wouldn't replace the DC input as the previous representative mentioned? Any moron plugging in A/C adaptor could see, "Oh, looks like it isn't getting power to the laptop. And since I've installed a new battery and am using a new A/C adaptor... I should probably replace (or attempt to repair) the little input that the A/C adaptor plugs into."

    My point is you guys don't think for one split second Best Buy did this simply because I didn't cough up the $80 and agree to their "data back-up service"? C'mon. I know you guys aren't that naive.

    DC input gone bad??? Let's re-format the hard drive!!! *LOL* Good one. [​IMG]
     
  10. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer

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    Best Buy did not intentionally erase your hard drive because you failed to pay for their back-up service. What happened was they responded to repeated complaints from their customers about data loss by offering the back-up service.
     
  11. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    If it wasn't intentionally done then I suppose I can blame incompetence. Either way, if someone's laptop isn't getting power... and the DC input was determined to be the problem... and the hard drive was re-formatted due to intentional purpose, negligence or incompetence... it isn't my fault as the consumer. I don't know how else I can phrase it.
     
  12. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Scott, I'm not saying it was your fault (sorry if it seemed like that), but what that $80 sounds like is, insurance.

    If I send a valuable item through the mail, I am NOT expecting the post office to damage it, but you bet your ass I'm buying insurance on the package.

    Meaning, if I send a $2,000 laptop through the mail and I pass on the insurance because I think "This is the Post Office and they are responsible enough to not destroy a Laptop". Now what if the laptop gets destroyed? It's not MY fault, but I will look quite foolish for not spending the money on insurance.

    That $80 isn't giving them the right to erase your hard drive, it's an insurance policy in case something goes wrong during the process...whether it's due to a major power hit, a real issue with the hard drive, or just plain incompetence of the employee who doesn't know what he's doing. Whatever the reason, it may suck, but hard drive data is too valuable to let ANYONE at Best Buy play around with.
     
  13. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    so what would the $80 be for? just a guarantee that your hard drive remains 100% untouched? if that's the ONLY thing it is for, it's a pretty shitty system. make as much noise about this as you feel necessary, best buy would never get near any computer i ever own. not like they'd know the first thing about anything non-windows.

    CJ
     
  14. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    My thought exactly.

    The biggest laugh was when the manager offered me the $225 "Data Recovery" effort... I shit you not. So the manager goes to to the Geek Squad agents... all three of them standing there with blank looks on their faces. And they determine that even if the manager allowed them to do this $225.00 service free of charge... they would not be able to recover any of my data.

    So I asked them, "Well, if you couldn't recover anything... why would someone ever give you $225.00 for this so-called 'service'".

    I got no reply and the subject was quickly changed.

    Hence, it isn't difficult to understand that now they want $80 to insure your hard drive remains unscathed.

    I'm seeking legal advice.
     
  15. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Scott, did they ever give you a reason why the HD was erased? I would have definitely loved to hear why.

    I wish you luck, but it sounds like a tough battle.

    Also, I was just rereading...the machine is only 2 years old and has gone back 3 times for repairs??? You definitely should invest in a backup system (for future computing) if the computer has this many problems.
     
  16. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    Mark:

    Never got a reason as to why the HD was reformatted. Just that I clearly agreed to not have the data back-up done on my system.

    The laptop is an HP Pavilion zv5034us. I paid $1,600 for it new. I can't say I'll be buying another HP again. And any further major purchases won't be done with Best Buy. They're great if you wanna run in the store and grab a new release DVD or CD. Major purchase? Forget about it.

    Since I purchased the extended warranty from Best Buy, they have a NO LEMON policy. If the computer goes in for repair four times... and they determine that on the fourth time it is indeed another hardware problem... then I get a new laptop. And at this point, with my warranty valid until March 2007... I'd say the odds are in my favor.

    I'm moving next week and once I get to my new destination, I'm definitely getting another computer. I love the portability of the laptop... but I just don't know. The overheating issues. The monitor integrated into the whole system. It just seems like the laptop is more prone to a lot of issues. I guess this is a whole other subject altogether... I'm thinking of an Alienware this time? I know they're pricier but supposedly, fairly good reviews and decent customer support...? Or perhaps a DELL? *shrug* I just know this HP has been nothing but problems...
     
  17. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    Personally, after spending $450.00 for an extended service plan the extra $80.00 they ask for "data back up" service is a load of horseshit.

    I stay away from extended service plans because once I buy a product from a big box retailer I know I don't want to deal with them again. I can't stand the stores or the staff that mislead the average consumer (I just love how every big box retailer here all push the same overpriced Monster Cables).

    Good luck Scott.
     
  18. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    Michael:

    Thanks for the reply.

    I feel the exact same way. On the other hand, with the laptop being under repair twice previously for the LCD issues... I would've been screwed had it not been for the extended warranty. I'd essentially be shelling out a lot more to have that repaired... but I guess the other side to that coin is my hard drive wouldn't have been erased. [​IMG]
     
  19. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    FYI, Dell bought Alienware...

    But I just recently purchased a Dell Inspiron and a co-worker (at the same time) purchased a Dell (one of the gaming systems). We both looked at the Alienware and we were both REALLY going to get one, but the price was the main factor. We both are very happy with our Dell's.
     
  20. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    Mark:

    I had heard or read somewhere about DELL purchasing Alienware. I guess I probably couldn't go wrong with either.

    I had a DELL desktop six years ago and not one problem... ever. I simply got rid of it because I outgrew the machine. I had expanded the hard drive, memory, graphics card and any else I possibly could before it simply became too outdated.

    I s'pose at this point, I'll narrow it down to either an Alienware or DELL machine. I love the versatility and portability of my laptop. I can't imagine either one of their notebooks having the kind of problems I've had with this HP. [​IMG]
     

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