Monday, June 18, 2007

why HP/Compaq's support is FUBAR

My notebook's keyboard/touchpad died last week. Actually, it died on jun 7.
It's a Presario V2617LA, and GNU/Linux runs quite smoothly on it, as I've stated here previously.

That wouldn't be much of an issue on itself. Notebooks have hardware issues from time to time, and I tend to be a little rough on my keyboards, since I learned to type on a mechanical typing machine.

However, when I called the regional support from HP for the warranty (the machine is less than 1 year old), I had to suffer patiently for about 15 minutes of dumb questions until the tech support guy finally asked:

TS: So, Is windows able to boot, or does the machine hung at the very begining?

Me: The machine has GNU/Linux, but it boots perfectly. It's the keyboard and the touch pad that don't work

TS: Oh, so you installed Linux and the keyboard stopped working?

Me: No, I installed GNU/Linux the day I bought the computer and everything worked fine until today.

TS: Can you give me two minutes

(puts me on hold)

TS: I'm sorry sir, but we can't provide you with support if you have Linux. If you reinstall the version of Windows XP or Vista that

Me: The machine came with Windows XP

TS: .. um, the version that came with the computer, then when can give you support. We can send you the DVDs with ..

Me: I made a set of rescue DVDs before installing GNU/Linux.

TS: um, ok

Me: But if I install the rescue DVDs, I'll loose all the information that I currently have on my system

TS: Yes

That's basically their response.
In order to make use of my warranty, I'd have to plug in an external keyboard/mouse, make a backup of all my data, install the rescue DVDs, and once they've figured out that the keyboard and touch pad STILL DON'T F*****G work under windows, they'll replace it, and I'll have to reinstall GNU/Linux from scratch and restore my backups.

I have lots of work to do, so instead, o screwed the warranty, and decided to do the job as if the warranty had expired.
Only that I had the LOUSY idea to go to the official representative of HP/Compaq in Uruguay in order to keep the warranty (it's still useless to me, but just in case I sell the computer).

The machine's been there for 12 days and still no news.
But the overall behavior is typical HP (or at least typical HP LA, perhaps they're better in the US?):
  • the day I leave the computer, the guy that receives it says I should call on monday
  • on monday, someone tells me it's a mistake, I should call on wednesday
  • on wednesday, someone tells me they need the power chord to do more tests.
  • today, they tell me they need the password to do more tests. 'Oh, so is the keyboard at least partially working?' The phone operator doesn't know. All they know is that the technician gets a login prompt and he asked for a password.
It's all an excercise in patience.

All I know is this:

The computer is good. I've had good experiences with HP/Compaq in the past, with their hardware, that is. However, if you want to use GNU/Linux, go someplace else, or assume that you don't have a warranty.

I'm thinking about buying a Dell next time.

This is obviously delaying my development.

I'm going to have surgery tomorrow again, so between this and the computer issue, don't expect any svn activity for a few more days...