Skip to main content
  1. Posts/

Passing the buck

Let’s say, just hypothetically, of course, that one day your laptop, which is less than six months old, suddenly has multiple failures: the backlight, optical drive and touch pad all die. So you call the unnamed manufacturer [1]1{#id1.footnote-reference} and arrange for service. They assure you that it will be repaired in 3-5 business days and overnight you a package.

Of course, when you look at the status on the web, the estimated return date is actually something like 7 business days, but no matter. And then the estimated return date comes and goes, and no laptop appears. So you call “Max” in lovely Bangalore, and he assures you that the backlight is being repaired and it will ship in 2-3 days, “maximum, sir[2]_“.

Four days later you call. Two days after that. And finally you’re told that they’re waiting on a backlight, and that no, they don’t have one in, and that it won’t be in until the end of the month. This, of course, stretches your repair window from “3-5 days” to 30-40 days. And of course, they understand how frustrating it is, but really, what are they supposed to do? But miracle of miracles, you receive an email two weeks early saying “your laptop has shipped.”

Of course, in HP Mind-Fuck-Your-Customer Land, “shipped” doesn’t mean “shipped” exactly. It means “we told FedEx to pick it up but they didn’t. So it’ll be there in a few days. Hopefully.” This is essentially what I was told tonite when I called again. Let’s think about the logic:

  • First, we told FedEx to pick it up.
  • But they didn’t.
  • So we told them again.
  • And we assume they’ll pick it up now.

And when I had the temerity to suggest to my helpful customer service rep that FedEx not picking up something was actually HP’s problem[3]_, he said “No, sir, we told FedEx to pick it up. You should call them to complain.” Seriously?

Hey Carly, wasn’t that merger supposed to make the company better at serving customers?