HP Service is Scared of a little Bug

After spending 6+ hours on the phone with HP Technical Support (not an exaggeration) attempting to convince them that the issue with our customer’s HP Slimline was in fact hardware related and not a configuration problem (that’s another story), they finally agreed to replace the motherboard under warranty. When we got the computer back and read the service report we were less than pleased…

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Click for full view of HP Refusal Letter

Ok ok, so I could understand if there was a big nasty cockroach sprawled on the motherboard, I would be pretty grossed out too… but I would still pick it up (maybe with some gloves), throw it in the trash, and do the warranty work on the computer – because, after all, that’s why we sent it to HP in the first place.

Anyway, this is the menace that kept HP from their work:

Click for full view
Click for full view
Click for full view
Click for full view

So, this guy was so small we didn’t even see him before we sent it off, and even after we got it back we had trouble locating him. After a thorough search we couldn’t find any of his friends, in fact, except for the dead passenger, the case was pretty darn clean.

To clarify, there was one very small bug in this computer, which was enough for HP Service to refuse to replace the motherboard under warranty.

And after removing the offending creature, calling HP Support, explaining the situation, going through over-phone-diagnostics for the fourth time, and generally wasting our day, the HP Support technician informed my boss that according to his documentation, the warranty for this computer was completely VOID due to INSECT INFESTATION.

Because of one small dead insect ( < 1/4″ x 1/4″ x 1/4″ ) the warranty for this HP Pavilion desktop computer was completely void. After many days of 2+ hour long phone calls, a week for the RMA box to show, another week for the computer to be returned, and another 2 hours on the phone, we finally receive conclusive evidence that HP just doesn’t give a shit.

25 Replies to “HP Service is Scared of a little Bug”

  1. HP attempting to “void the entire warranty” due to the presence of an insect (that may not have been present when the device was shipped to HP…) MAY not comply with the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act wherein in most cases the manufacturer must show that a particular act by the purchaser actually caused whatever failed to fail in order to void ANY of the warranty. Warranties are not voided in total…

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/adv/bus01.shtm

    1. @David Mays:

      My buddy sent it in to the Consumerist but I don’t think much happened with it, especially since it was over the holidays.

      Thanks, Sam

  2. The simple answer is… They are right.

    You had a roach in your computer. They are not afraid of a dead roach, but it is possible – even probable – that the roach caused a short on the motherboard which in turn caused your issues. This is not a warranty issue, this is totally user error. If bugs get into your machine it is the same as if you spilled water on it or dropped your keys inside or whatever else silly thing users can get up to…

    End result – your problem, not theirs.

  3. I used to work at a computer repair center and this type of thing is not unusual. If you clean out the bugs and send it back in, it should be fine.

    They reject computers with insects in them for a reason… They do not want their facility to get infested. I have opened a computer and found roaches in it, so I quickly put it back together and sealed it tightly in several plastic bags to be returned to the customer.

    You really cannot blame them for this. It is annoying but would you want your computer to come back from them and then have your house infested? That is what might happen to other customers if they did not do this.

    Like I said, just clean it up and then send it back in for repair. Your warranty should still be intact.

    1. You are right nobody wants to have a infestation in their own house cause of somebody else computer but onve they deemed it infested they will not take it back. even if you have a problem that is their fault im in a lawsuit process now with them cause they told me to proffesionally clean it send it back and they would do anything to it the second time these people are @#$& then they computer has a recall and they wont even fix it and i have two with the problem I know i will never buy hp again

  4. @ Frank & Jason

    You both have great points; my attitude was the result of negative experiences with their phone support resulting in a long drawn out process that ended with this, we couldn’t fight the suspicion that this was some sort of cop out, but it was more like bad luck.

  5. I have an HP Business class machine and have great support from HP. Course a business class machine has a 3 year warranty and they fix it on site. It costs a little more but I had the mainboard and cpu replaced in my house by a local rep. But we do not have roaches here.

  6. Sweet. Another article about how crappy HP customer service is.
    There are loads of articles like this on the internet. I am pretty sure that there are more anti-HP articles than any other manufacturer.

  7. I work at Best Buy and we turned a computer away once because it was infested with ants. Hundreds of them. Craziest thing I have ever seen… well as far as insects in a computer.

  8. @FRANK.. It would seem very unlikely that a roach that caused a short in the board would have lived long enough to encase himself in the memory card/expansion slot enclosure. An insect would have to travel over an exposed portion of the board, since they are all coated in (plastic/polyurethane?) except at jumpers and certain contact points on some boards, it is unlikely that an insect could even cause a short at all. And if that were the case there would be some obvious burning to both the insect and the board (did you look at the pictures at all?). An IC is really the only potential place for failure, and a burnt IC would be fairly obvious to someone with any experience. Either way the fact the warranty was voided because of this fact is ridiculous. It cost hp more to offer the phone support to the consumer than it would have to replace the board and fulfill their warranty. Did someone in accounting think this was a good idea? Apparently the PR office and the accounting department are both retarded.

    1. coated in plastic huh?

      Then how do you explain the hundreds of little soldier joints on the underside or the fact that touching it with any piece of metal anywhere will fry it dead to rights?

      And no there are millions of failure points on boards that would not cause burning. The fact that it is a slimline leads me to believe it overheated and created faulty soldier joints.

  9. Im sorry that you wasted your time with the representatives on the phone all of that time. Although there was only one bug in the unit, it will still void the warranty.

    Im assuming that you sent it in for a no power issue.

    Cockroaches, god knows why, eats at the cabling inside of the power supply, causing said power supply, to fail. The only reason they void it is because even if you take it home and clean it, more roaches will come and attack another power supply, thus costing the company money, and the customer, their patience and happyness.

    that said….

    It blows..

    Its understandable policy, but it blows.

    1. @ agent 829310

      I appreciate your sentiment, it really does blow, but we’ve cooled off and are giving HP support another try; we’ve had a few DV9000 series HP laptops going in for extended warranty work lately and the transactions have been pretty smooth.

      -Sam

  10. Ok that’s disgusting. I think you need to worry about the fact you have roaches. Maybe it’s time to clean up around the house a little?

  11. @ Patrick Britton

    I didn’t explain the context of this situation; this was a customer’s computer, in fact, the customer was a rental company who had been renting out this computer for months prior to this issue, so who knows when or where the bug got in.

    And for the record, we make a point of keeping a clean shop.

    -Sam

  12. Although I got worning from my friend that HP service sucks still I got a HP laptop for $800 and I used it for just 5 months and one fine day the power did bring the system live anymore. I sent it to HP service centre and I got a nice reply from them that “the warranty for this computer was completely VOID due to INSECT INFESTATION”.
    I will never get a HP product in my entire life.

  13. I too sent 2 laptops bought at the same time for repairs bacause of a faulty mother board on both and the wireless system wouldn’t work both laptops are extremely overheating thats why the warranty on these was extended to 3 years. they returned the laptops deemed infested. what is to say that the extreme heat coming from the laptop attracted bugs i guess that will be a case for my lawyer to prove i think they use it as an excuse to not do what the are supposed to I too will never buy another HP product and we will see them in court

  14. Didn’t you initially call them because the computer was buggy? I mean they should completely understand when they open it up and find a bug in it. 😛 No, but really the bugs are attracted to the heat and they like to eat glue. With all the feces and such they can drag in things can be pretty mucked up by them. If you’re disappointed about them not doing the work because of one solitary bug where would you suggest they draw the line? 3 roaches? What if they just didn’t dig enough and there are really more roaches around.. or perhaps they did pull the roaches out and send it back and that solitary roach was knocked out of its hole during shipping. Anyways.. sorry you couldn’t get it covered.

  15. about 12 years ago when I was a computer tech. Retired now. I received a Toshiba Laptop to repair. I noticed a nasty smell when I started to work on it. After opening the case I found it to be infested by a large number of live cockroaches. I quickly bagged it so the shop would not become infested. I notified the customer that the warranty was void and reported the serial number to toshiba so the user could not clean it up and take it somewhere else. It was one of the more disgusting experiences of my career
    Even ONE cockroach can cause irreparable damage to a circuit board with the nasty deposits they leave.

  16. I purchased a H/P Pavilion p6-2033w ($500.00)on 1-17-12. Last week, I returned the same for warranty service. Received a call today stating that the warranty would not cover the damage because of bugs, insects, and pests (no specific identification). I could easily tell that I was being given the run-around. H/P is no longer manufacturing desktop computers, so why should they care to service the ones they have already sold. Google “Site Jabber,” and enter a complaint. They have great exposure, and will cast a dark shadow upon anything H/P produces in the future! H/P should be put out of business!

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