HP Starts Damage Control After China Laptop Buyer Complaint

Hewlett-Packard extended the warranties on motherboards in certain laptops in China as it came under increasing criticism there for problems including overheating in some of its computers.

HP is also working with a Chinese government agency to resolve issues that customers have raised, the company said Monday. Its statement came one day after China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said it had received a complaint about quality problems in HP laptops, filed by a lawyer on behalf of 60 consumers. The agency is organizing an investigation, it said on its Web site.

The complaint was a sign that Chinese consumers are increasingly using official channels to pursue rights complaints.

A new HP plan, which covers Chinese owners of certain Compaq Presario laptops, grants a two-year warranty for motherboards if they were repaired. Other measures include free testing for the listed laptops. HP said it was discussing compensation for users who paid postage or repair fees for the motherboards, and would put details on its Web site.

"We believe this [plan] will eliminate clients' concerns," said the HP statement, which also apologized for inconveniences caused to users.

But warranty extension may not be enough to satisfy most consumers, said Liu Yongbin, a lawyer at Beijing Yingke Law Firm, which prepared the complaint.

"Warranty extension cannot fundamentally solve this problem," Liu said.

The complaint asked that HP recall laptops hit by screen troubles and overheating, and requested that the government agency investigate the cause of the alleged problems, Liu said.

It was also not clear if the HP plan covered the laptops from the complaint. When asked if the plan covered all of those models, HP spokeswoman Cong Ming said the company was cooperating in the work of the government agency but could not share details.

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