HP Laptop's Trouble Hinges on the Price of Repair

Amid all the hoopla over HP's cracked hinges here at the Gripe Line, I received a letter from Rosario, a Gripe Line reader. His issue should sound familiar to those who wrote in response to "On the wrong side of HP's hinge recall":

"I bought an HP dv7-1245 laptop. But I took it back to Best Buy after just three days because one of the speakers was not working. While I was there, I decided to upgrade since that was the last unit available of that model. So I got the Pavilion dv7-1285DX instead. About a month later, I noticed that the left hinge plastic cover was separated a few centimeters on the seam on this machine. No big deal, I thought to myself, and I pushed it back together. That seemed to solve the problem. Or so I thought. But every time I closed the screen that hinge cover popped out again."

[ Also on InfoWorld: "HP holds firm on hinge recall deadline" and "On the wrong side of HP's hinge recall" | Frustrated by tech support? Get answers in InfoWorld's Gripe Line newsletter. ]

Finally, the situation annoyed Rosario enough to drive him back to Best Buy with his new laptop looking for a more permanent solution. "To my surprise," he says, "the guy did not even look at the notebook. He told me it was past the 14-day return or exchange policy and he could not do an exchange for me."

The Best Buy representative gave Rosario HP's customer service number along with the impression that his call would fall on deaf ears. "The guy knew already the answer that HP was going to give me," says Rosario, "because he also suggested I write a letter if calling HP's customer service didn't do any good. Right there he was telling me that HP has been having a lot of issues and customers have to resort to writing letters to get these problems escalated."

Rosario did call HP. "I was transferred six times because no one could understand the problem," he says. "Finally I reached someone who could understand and speak English. I explained the issue and was put on hold." After about 15 minutes, word came back: The notebook was not covered under warranty because the problem was physical damage. A representative told Rosario he could send the notebook to HP for repair. The fee? $298.

"I was in shock," says Rosario. "The notebook has never being dropped or mistreated in any way. Why would this defect not be covered under warranty? At that moment," says Rosario. "I promised myself I would never buy any other product from HP."

I forwarded Rosario's letter along with all the others related to the hinge-crack issue. As you may have read in "HP holds firm on hinge recall deadline," the deadline for participating in the recall on laptops with the hinge crack defect ended on May 31 and HP does not intend to extend it. I had little expectation that there would be a happy solution for Rosario.

But as it turns out, Rosario's issue was not a part of this hinge-crack recall after all. And that's good news for him. I heard this week from a spokesperson at HP that the company has repaired Rosario's laptop free of charge.

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