Volume 5 Of The Saga

9 August 2003

This category of entries is about my attempts to get HP to repair a laptop computer under warranty. Volume 5 of The Saga is about phone calls from me to HP on July 28 and July 29, 2003. Today is August 9, 2003 and I still do not have my laptop back. This mess began on July 26th.

After placing one fax, 8 phone calls and talking to five people I got Dan, my sixth contact at HP. Dan said my fax hadn’t been rejected and my proof-of-purchase was probably valid. The problem, as Dan saw it, was in the fact that ”HP is five to seven days behind in updating the information in the warranty system. Warranty information must pass through two departments before it can be entered into ’the system.’” I dared not ask about ’the system.’

I told Dan my story. He spoke great English, so I was at least communicating in something resembling a reliable way. Dan also felt my pain. He decided to try and help me. All I needed to do, Dan said, was fax my proof-of-purchase information to 604.702.0786 to the attention of Karrie. He was going to take care of the rest.

I briefly explained Memphis’s power problems and told him the fax would be sent to him within the hour from a Kinko’s. That fax was date-and-time-stamped within 30 minutes of my hanging up the phone with Dan. He assured me that he would personally see to it that the FedEx pickup would happen before noon on Tuesday, July 29, 2003.

Though the score was now F2/C8/P6, I thought progress was finally being made. Out of exhaustion from trying to sleep the prior night in a steaming hot house, I fell sound asleep.

I got up early on Tuesday the 29th so that I’d be ready for FedEx. They’re headquartered in Memphis and the service we get here is amazing. FedEx pioneered the notion that the only thing more important than the shipment is information about the shipment. I was looking forward to my laptop being in FedEx’s hands. I knew I could track it.

Tuesday was another hot day in Memphis. I was beginning my eighth day without electricity. The local utility was being accused of refusing help from neighboring utility companies in the reconnection efforts. Patience was running thin all around. Yet, I was feeling as if something semi-productive was happening by getting this nagging laptop problem resolved while still under warranty.

You guessed it. Noon came and went without a sign of FedEx. Debris littered Memphis streets, and virtually every intersection had to be handled as a 4-way stop. The pace slowed terribly. I decided to remain patient since FedEx might simply have been caught in the numerous traffic jams.

At 2:45 p.m. on 7-29-03 patience ran out, and I ran the score to F2/C9/P7. That’s two faxes, nine phone calls and seven people involved in four days of dealing with HP. I dialed the number. I held for 31 minutes.

Ryan, an English-speaking lad with a resolve to help people went into action. He listened carefully to my story. He editorialized, ”that stinks,” after hearing what I had been through. Reassuring me that he wasn’t going to drop the ball, he asked permission to put me on hold so that he could contact FedEx.

Ryan came back to my call and said FedEx would be at my doorstep between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. He gave me an 800# to use from that point forward for tracking my laptop within HP’s service group. He said that I could check the status at each station in the HP repair process.

FedEx showed up as promised and the driver even knew part of my Saga. He verified all the information and took my laptop on its way leaving me with a copy of the FedEx airbill complete with tracking number. I was momentarily appeased. I finally left my house, went out for a nice dinner and returned home in a mood to endure the heat and the power outage a bit longer. MLG&W, the local utility, was promising power any day now for the tens of thousands of customers (think electric meters – not people) without power.

Appeasement wouldn’t last long! Remember, this is only Volume 5!!

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