Written on: 23/10/2012
Two years ago I bought a Compaq Presario CQ61 403SA laptop from Hewlett Packard, 3 weeks ago the screen failed to come on, as I am pretty technically minded and competent with computers I did all the necessary checks and the only thing I thought it could be was the inverter.
With that in mind I bought the part myself fit it but the screen still did not come back on, that is when I decided to email Hewlett Packard and exercise my Consumer rights under the Sale of Goods Act 1979.
About 3 days later I received a phone called from their Complaints Department to inform me that the Sale of Goods Act that I had quoted in my email only applies in cases where product is sent back to a retailer and therefore I would not be entitled to a replacement Laptop, secondly I was also informed that once a warranty of a HP product had expired then I would have to pay for any repair service done by HP myself.
Given their stance regarding the fact that once a warranty has expired then you the customer is expected to pay for any repair done by HP I find somewhat disturbing especially in this day and age, even worse I was absolutely astonished to find out on their website that you have to have a product that is in warranty to even get email technical support and more gob smacked to further find out that to ring the company as a out of warranty customer for technical support that you the customer may have to pay a fee for that privilege as well, all this when it is their product that has become faulty (unbelievable).
Must admit this is the first company that I have come across where if the warranty has expired on a HP product then you the customer is expected to pay for a manufacturers fault, and I think it is only fair and right to bring that point to the public’s attention before purchasing one of their products (make sure you check the warranty terms and conditions) I didn't because any products that I have bought from other companies where I required technical support you got for free and if a part went faulty and in need of repair regardless of whether or not the warranty had run out you got it fixed for free.
As quoted in the Sale of Goods Act a warranty is simply to enhance consumer confidence in the retailer’s product and promote sales. It also provides them with valuable marketing information.
Most items are sold with a manufacturer’s warranty, warranties are a contract between you and the manufacturer and the manufacturer must do whatever they say they will do in the warranty usually this will be to repair or replace a faulty item.
However, a manufacturer's warranty does not replace your rights under the Sale of Goods Act It will depend on the product, the fault, and the length of time you have had that product, as you will still be legally entitled to a free repair or, a replacement for something you've bought for some time after the manufacturer's warranty has expired.
The important point about warranties is that they should never seek to replace your rights under the Sale of Goods Act, and even after they have run out, you will still be protected by these statutory rights which run for up to 6 years after purchase.
The crux of the matter being every product sold should have a reasonable life span regardless of any warranty and will vary depending on what product has been purchased in this case a Compaq Presario CQ61 403SA hence to say I could concur with if say the Laptop was over 6 years old, but what I do not concur with is the fact that this Laptop is not even 4 years old, furthermore nor do I think that is a reasonable life span for this product and would defy anyone to say it is, just as I would state that it was not fit for purpose or of satisfactory quality.
But yet HP state that the Sale of Goods Act does not apply? It’s a bit like saying that if you buy something direct from a manufacturer and it breaks or becomes faulty then you have no rights!
Sent a further email to HP expressing all the above, including my intention to commence with legal proceedings through the Small Claims Court unless this matter was resolved amicably to their Board of Directors, including their secretary, and their CEO Meg Whitman whom I believe was brought in to save HP from terminal failure.
Well to start with it would be a good idea for the customers they do have left that are willing to invest in one of their products to treat them with a bit more empathy and understanding rather than implement terms and conditions that are anything but customer friendly and how you quite intend to attract new customers with your out of touch /date terms and conditions I don’t honestly know.
I quote from their website:
HP Warranty Results for Email Support:
Call technical support after you buy (Out-of-warranty customers may pay a fee)
HP’s Out of Warranty Exchange & Repair Program
This website provides process & pricing information on out of warranty repairs & exchanges for the following HP products:
• HP Deskjet Printers
• HP Photosmart Printers
• HP All-in-Ones
• HP Laptop PCs
• HP Desktop PCs
• HP Monitors
• HP LaserJet Printers
For some lower-priced older products, HP is not in a position to repair old products as cheaply as it can manufacture new ones. In these situations, it can actually be less expensive to purchase a new product, rather than have an older one repaired.
Estimate your repair or exchange price.
Select the product group to which your product belongs in order to get an estimate on the exchange or repair price for your product.
Being heavily involved in Customer Services myself, Is it any wonder HP customer base is shrinking, the retail market is suffering all over the globe so you need to make your products as attractive as possible to the public not the opposite, I don’t think they have ever heard of the three C’s Customer Is Always Right, Customer Satisfaction and a Company's keenness to be seen to put the customer first.
Remember we the public don’t need you, we can just as easily shop around and take our business elsewhere and if HP expect growth by 2015 may I suggest you start by addressing your Customer Services Policies because if you cannot satisfy the customers that you do have left then I don’t hold much hope come 2015 (of course just my opinion)
Constructive criticism is always best coming from a customer as people looking out from the inside cannot see the wood from the trees, plus you get the advice for free instead of having to pay thousands to a consultant for him to tell you where you’re going wrong.
I can just see it now me giving information out to my clients, only for them to ring back stating that I have misinformed them, then me stating well to correct my wrongdoing you the client will have to pay extra, wonder how long I would stay in business.
Welcome to the twentieth century HP,gone are the days were the customer will just lie down and accept a simple no and cough up more money in the process, money is tight more and more people are beginning to fight back by exercising their consumer rights.
Hence I ask the question would you buy a product from an ailing company that when it goes faulty basically insinuates “if your product is out of warranty “THEN TOUGH” and your options are as follows:
Call technical support to which you may have to pay a fee as well as being charged for the phone call or email HP’s Out of Warranty Exchange & Repair Program to either pay for a repair or (even better for the company) buy a new one when it is their product that is faulty in the first place, then again I don’t know maybe that’s your only strategy for getting rid of your products.
Disgraceful Customer Services, but then again when the Board of Directors and the CEO don’t have the common courtesy to reply to your email what you expect!
Doesn’t cost anything at all to be courteous, but then again as the saying goes ignorance is bliss.
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