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HP unhinged, refuses to honour warranty on its defective laptop

My son bought an HP laptop. He is a student and bought it for his studies. It was an HP ENVY – 13-aq0002na. It was expensive – approaching £1000 as I recall – and he took care of it, buying an official HP case. He bought it directly from HP’s site. A 3-year extended warranty was included. Here is how the HP Care Pack was described:

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After  a few months, the hinge of the laptop screen started coming away from the base of the laptop at one side, causing the base to start splitting from the top part.

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He was certain that it was a manufacturing defect. However he did not make a claim immediately, because he needed the laptop for his studies, and he knew he had a long warranty. (I think this was a mistake, but understand his position). The December vacation approached and he had time to have the laptop sorted so he raised the claim.

HP closed the case. He had a confusing conversation with HP who offered to put him through to sales for paid service, he agreed (another mistake) and ended up talking to someone who quoted hundreds of pounds for the repair, which he could not afford.

He attempted to follow up but had no success. He did engage with HP Support on Twitter who seemed helpful at first but ended with this:

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At no point did HP even offer to look at the laptop.

My son replied:

“The problem is absolutely not accidental damage or customer-induced – I’ve never dropped the laptop, and have always taken very good care of it (there are no marks on the chassis, for example). Whenever I’ve moved it around, it’s been in an HP case designed for the laptop. The problem emerged during normal use within eight months of me purchasing the laptop, and others have reported the same issue – for example, see this post on the HP forum:

https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebook-Hardware-and-Upgrade-Questions/HP-Envy-13-2019-Hinge-Issues/td-p/7590894

The problem is the sole result of HP’s hinge design being inadequate. It’s therefore a manufacturing fault and should be covered by the care pack.”

Follow that link and you find this:

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It is the same model. The same problem at an earlier stage. And 10 people have clicked to say they “have the same question”. So HP’s claim that “nothing has been reported” concerning a similar defect is false.

See also here for another case https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebook-Hardware-and-Upgrade-Questions/HP-Envy-13-hinge-issue/m-p/7911883

“I bought my HP Envy in 2017 for university, unfortunately that means it is now out of warranty. One of the hinges is loose and pops out of place every time I open the laptop”

and here for another https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebook-Hardware-and-Upgrade-Questions/Hinge-Split-issue-HP-Envy-13-2019/m-p/7991805

“I purchased HP ENVY 13-aq0011ms Laptop in December 2019. After using about 1 year, (I treated it very gently all the time), the issue started: when the screen of the laptop is being moved to open/close, the chassis of the bottom case pops and split-opens”

and here https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Business-Notebooks/Broken-hinge-in-HP-ENVY-13-Laptop/td-p/6749446

“Just after 13 months of buying my new HP Envy and spending 1400£ for it, the right hinge broke. There were no falls/accidents”

My son did attempt to follow up with customer service as suggested but got nowhere.

He knows he could take it further. He could get an independent inspection. He could raise a small claim – subject to finding the right entity to pursue as that isn’t necessarily easy. But he found the whole process exhausting. He raised a claim which was rejected, he escalated it and it was rejected again. He decided life was too short, he is still using the broken laptop for his studies, and when he starts work and has a bit of money he plans to buy a Mac.

Personally I’ve got a lot of respect for HP. I have an HP laptop myself (x360) which has lasted for years. I was happy for my son to buy an HP laptop. I did not believe the company would work so hard to avoid its warranty responsibilities. I guess those charged with minimising the cost to the company of warranty claims have done a good job. There is a hidden cost though. Why would he ever buy or recommend HP again? Why would I?

Note: HP Inc is the vendor who supplies PCs and printers, like my son’s laptop. HP Enterprise sells servers, storage and networking products and is a separate company. None of the above has any relevance to HP Enterprise.

PS I posted a link to this blog on the HP support forum, where others are complaining about this issue. I was immediately banned.

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2 thoughts on “HP unhinged, refuses to honour warranty on its defective laptop”

  1. I wouldn’t necessarily expect his experience with a Mac laptop to be any different in the same situation. For several years they shipped MacBooks with faulty keyboards, and I personally know someone who was refused a warranty repair for a known design fault.

  2. The reality is that a weird thing happens when a business gets large enough, it actually doesn’t have to provide customer support or really care on the individual level at all. I think this has been true for a long time — I remember after all the paint blew off my Dad’s 1990 Chevy truck and they admitted it was a defect because they skipped some coating that year but he waited two months too long to complain, and my dad dropped a few f bombs on the phone and has bought only foreign cars ever since — unless the problem is so egregious that “literally they are all breaking this way at the same time and it’s class action” what ends up happening is the customer is either (1) told to drop dead (because losing one customer is cheaper than fixing the problem) or (2) is de facto told to drop dead because the people in charge of customer support are actually powerless or clueless to address the problem.

    I suspect it is situation (2) that ends up happening in most cases, because most companies kind of operate in a failure mode all the time. (Find an old copy of book called “Systemantics.” It’s the type of book that adults end up reading all night with a smile and a flashlight.)

    I tried emailing UPS last week that “by the way, Taiwan moved to six digit postal codes over a year ago but you still only accept 5 and I have to work around it every day” and the response is “lolwut ticket closed”. Amazon Seller Central support takes literally months to respond to cases and is accountable to no one. While signing up for a YouTube account for our business we were banned immediately after completing the sign up form — not even uploaded a single training video — by the algorithm for a trademark violation (presumably for another company that we already own) and the email was like “please drop dead” because it was sent by a machine and there was no appeal.

    Because in the big scheme of things in a billion dollar company a few dozen broken laptops or a few lost ads or a few delayed packages or lost customers doesn’t even register in the precision they are staring at in their Excel spreadsheets.

    In the US there are occasional hems and haws about Big Tech and monopoly power but I am not sure that is the right angle. I feel like some of this could be fixed simply by mandating stronger consumer protection and repair laws. A way to codify just “support what you put out into the universe”.

    I am sorry to hear about his experience. It sucks for sure. The only silver living is that learning that “yeah, you’re on your own” on a laptop hinge is maybe a cheap lesson — oh in college it really hurts — but in the long run, good to know.

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