After I wrote about HP’s lame service policy a bit over a week ago, I forwarded a link to the article to HP’s CEO using a form on HP’s site. A PR rep from HP called me on July 4 (!) to provide more info about their service policy. It didn’t appear she had read my blog post, so I gave her a quick run-down of why I was unhappy with their service policyâ€”that a $299 fee to replace a tiny plastic part on my laptop’s keyboard seemed outrageous, and that the “added value” items included in the service carried no added value to me.
Turns out HP does sell spare parts. Not the plastic supports individually, of course, but the entire keyboard module can be purchased for fourty-some dollars (about $58 with tax & shipping). That’s starting to be in the ballpark of how much I might expect to pay to fix a broken keyboard (it would be great if the actual part that was broken could be purchased for a few bucks, but that’s too much to ask or expect from a large corporation). The reason or rationale for why the service rep didn’t offer such option to begin with is, according to the HP’s PR rep who called me on Wednesday, that relatively few people are comfortable to carry out such repair and/or capable to do so without further damaging their laptop… which then often gets sent in to HP to be put back togetherâ€”a procedure much more expensive [for HP] than replacement of just the keyboard. Naturally a self-attempted service on a laptop that is still under warranty also voids the warranty.
Fair enough. I can see where they’re coming from. I would still like to see their service reps to mention the availability of spare parts, at least when asked. I did ask, and the service rep told me that spare parts were not offeredâ€”but perhaps she didn’t know (or was not allowed to say) since the corporate goal at HP appears to be to discourage the bungling masses from attempting to service their laptops themselves, no matter how minor the problem, and even when (and perhaps especially when) a laptop is already out of the warranty (so that a user really has nothing to lose.. except for $299).
For your future reference, here’s the phone number to HP’s spare parts service: (800) 227-8164.