Summary: HP Spectre x360 Is a Lemon! Details? Read below and in the previous article linked.
(Read the two updates at the end, I added them after HP contacted me.)
I wrote about the problems I had with a new HP Spectre x360, and I thought that was the end. Someone from HP sent me an e-mail after that post to tell me that a new case manager would contact me to resolve my problems. That was a surprise, a welcome one, but still a surprise. Let me state at the outset for those who do not know me, I am a technology person who owned two computer companies, installed large-scale networks, sold many computers, trained many users. So, I am not coming from the novice side of the issues but the expert side. I still have consulting clients and a lot of friends who come to me for computer advice.
Even knowledgeable people can have difficulties if the companies are intent on creating problems, in more ways than one. Despite their claims that there are no problems like those I reported, if you search the Internet, you will find a large number of questions related to the matters I have been mentioning. For instance “hp spectre x360 screen crash” yields 111,000 results on Google, “hp spectre x360 trackpad issues” 57,000, “hp spectre x360 sound problems” will present a whopping 285,000 hits as of January 14, 2016.
Read on, especially if you are considering an HP product.
The new case manager whom I knew only as Jennifer was a true professional and genuinely interested in helping the customer rather than defending the company and a faulty product. By that time, I had had several conversations with a different case manager, a support person looked at the computer via remote connection, the laptop went to a service center and returned after 11 days the same way. Jennifer understood the difficulties I went through and offered to replace the computer. Since I was going on a three-week vacation we agreed to pick the conversation up upon my return towards the end of November 2015. After my return home, one call to Jennifer was enough to arrange for the replacement computer to be sent with a shipping label for the old one to be mailed back to HP. I was hopeful that the new computer would solve my problems. Alas!
Yet Another Case Manager
The problems continued, the sound system would quit, and still does, at random times; the touchpad two-finger scroll would change direction; the WiFi would decide to disconnect, and this one introduced a new problem the Intel HD display driver would crash in the middle of doing something and “recover” with a blank screen. Most of these problems would require rebooting the computer, sometimes even twice.
I called support and after some wait, I was connected to a support staff in India who connected to my computer remotely and updated a slew of drivers, from sound to display to the touchpad, although the HP Support Assistant, the resident software for tracking such things, did not show any new updates. He offered to call back in 3-4 days and was on time to do so. Unfortunately, in the meantime, the computer continued with the problems, and I reported the situation to him. He transferred me to another agent, who in turn brought me in touch with yet another case manager, and I know him only as Christian.
Christian listened to my story, the problems which I have been repeating over and over even though they were supposed to keep a record of it. After going through the same gyrations, I asked if I could return this computer and receive my money back. He indicated that according to the company policies the computer had to be seen by a technician. Noticing my unwillingness to ship it once more with all data cleared from it for security and be without a laptop for 10-12 days again, he offered to arrange an authorized HP technician to make a house call. I indicated to Christian that if the technician validated my problems, I would like that to be the end and receive my refund for the computer. Clearly, the starting point is mistrusting the consumer, even after so many calls and problems reported.
Authorized HP Technician Arrives
At the arranged time, the authorized HP technician arrived, and I handed the laptop to him. He was surprised that many things were not functioning, and reported to the person who authorized to open the case that when he arrived “nothing was working.” After obtaining approval from HP on the phone (see the image on the left), he opened the computer and looked at the connections, unplugged a few and plugged them back, and restarted the computer.
During his visit the screen crashed once, the sound was not working, and he observed for a brief moment the trackpad problem. After writing his report and taking a photograph of it for his records he left the original with me and left, the report is on the left. Before he left though, he called Christian and reported to him everything he saw, then put me on to talk with the case manager. I repeated my request to return the computer and receive my money back. He said he would get back to me at a certain time on a certain day.
Another Missed Call by HP and an Offer in Writing with Two Bad Choices
I waited for his call. After about an hour passed, I sent an e-mail to him to indicate my disappointment in yet another missed call by HP support. He replied and apologized for not calling and asked if he could call back the following day, I agreed. More yadda, yadda … during that conversation and I asked him to send me in writing his offer on how to refund my money. A few days later I received his “offer” which contained one bad offer and one even worse than that. HP would refund part of my money, $930 of the $1,249 I paid for it because they had to prorate the refund to account for my “use” of the computer. The other offer was an HP gift card for $1,230, with which I could buy another HP product.
I told Christian that making me pay for the faults in their computer was not fair at all, and I had spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with not only the computer problems but also dealing with the customer support. Furthermore, prorating the value of anything requires an agreed-upon expected-life of the item. Judging by the amount they deducted, 25%, they assumed a two-year or less life for this laptop. My laptops last a good deal longer than that, and perhaps it was telling how much HP trusted their equipment. I told him that I would get back to him with my decision that neither of the offers was attractive to me.
I Declined the Offer, Reserving My Rights for Legal Action
On January 14, 2016, I wrote an e-mail to Christian and told him that HP’s practice of beating consumers to submission did not amount to customer service. By simply offering bad and even worse choices, they rig the system to discourage the consumer from pursuing it further. He called me the same day and I repeated to him that I would decline both offers but retain my rights to pursue legal action if I so chose. He repeated the false claim that “he was there to help me,” and I told him that he may only contact me if HP agreed to pay me the full amount to take the computer back, we parted ways.
This is my second horrendous experience with HP and from now on I will erase it from my evoked set of products if I need something, anything, they produce. I should have trusted my first experience. But, superficial reviewers who tend to write to get traffic to their Web sites rather than truly inform the consumer fooled me. Shame on them too.
A Review Rejected, Surprise!
In the meantime, I wrote a review on the HP Web site about this product which they offer to anyone. I read their guidelines and did not use any obscenities, mention any names, did not include any spam, or any links, I stuck to the problems I had with the computer. Yesterday, I heard from the review approval team that my review did not follow their guidelines and therefore could not be published. I replied and asked to see where I violated the guidelines, but I am not holding my breath to hear from them. They essentially want good reviews, or reviews that talk about trivial problems. Obviously, they do not want to hear real-world problems. Furthermore, they don’t want real problems to be visible to potential buyers.
A Warning to Those Considering HP, Don’t
So, do you still want to buy an HP? Think twice, thrice, look elsewhere, find something else, … This company does not care about product quality or customer service. They want to push the boxes and then push the customers to ignore the problems they are having through a customer service process that has the wrong premise: Protect the company and call it “I am here to help you” service. I say, this is a push-away type of customer service and this is NOT the type of marketing I taught in my 40+ years of academic life.
There is Lemon Law in Rhode Island, which provides some level of protection when products continue to fail after repeated attempts to bring them to the expected and promised levels of standards. Using that, I may file a complaint with the state attorney general and follow the guidelines described for this process. That will make more people aware of these problems at an official level. The amount in dispute is within the limits of the small claims court. I can file a suit and seek legal advice from a lawyer before appearing before the judge. HP has to send at least one lawyer to represent them. I may or may not recover my entire cost back. But, that too will inform a lot of potential customers about the problems that may lie ahead.
You are warned! They produce lemons; you cannot even make lemonade from them.
Note: I replaced the original opening, featured image after the second person commenting reminded me that it was the upcoming 15″ model. I was quite surprised at the speed with which he or she found my post within hours from posting and be so quick to recognize the model mistake. I wonder … ;-)
Update February 5, 2016
On January 27 an HP Americas Executive Manager sent me an e-mail asking to talk to me about my case. The next day we spoke on the phone. I told him that unless HP agreed to refund my money I would not talk with him. He said that HP would pay the entire cost of my purchase and buy back the laptop. With some delay, I received the promised FedEx shipping label and took the box to FedEx. Upon receiving the unit they promised to issue a check within 10-15 days. I am waiting. Interestingly, on the shipping label, the value of the item showed as $100! They must be self-insuring against a problem in shipping.
Update February 23, 2016
Finally! The ordeal is over. I shipped the unit on February 2, 2016, and received a check on February 23, 2016, for the full cost of the computer. It took a little longer than expected but I am VERY glad this is now behind me.