Monday, March 22, 2010

Hewlett-Packard/arvato digital services llc- Can Customer Service Get Any Worse?

windows-7-logo-300x300 Last spring I ran across a great deal for a i7 workstation from HP -  they were offering a $350 discount off of their workstations, which were already at a decent price, which ended up working out to the machine costing roughly 1/2 of what the best I could do shopping the deal sites out there.  Great.

Secondly, I was happily running the Windows 7 pre-release demo on a few other machines, so I carefully timed the purchase to happen on the first day that the free Windows 7 upgrade for new purchases was offered (June 26th), which was something like a day or 2 before the sale was ending.  Great again…


Now, having to deal with computer hardware, software and related companies day in and day out at work I can give you absolute horror stories about a few of them and their absolutely abysmal service/support, but I’m I’m going to rank these guys as tied for first for the absolute worst, or at least most frustrating.

(I’ll save some of the others for later, I’m sure that a lot of IT people could probably name my top few easily, the funny thing is that the other absolute worst one sends you an email invite to fill out a survey after every time you contact them, and the never, I mean _never_ give you good support, follow up (other than the survey) or do what they say they will do).

Of course the whole upgrade procedure is more complicated then it really needs to be, I don’t understand why the couldn’t just keep a record of your sale and send it out when it was ready, but lets ignore that for now.  Their procedure:

  • fill out online form, according to their website that makes the status: New = order placed; proof of purchase not yet received.
  • they verify it and require a confirmation/proof of purchase.  That upgrades your status to: POP Received = proof of purchase received but not yet validated; processed within 7 business days of receipt
  • you supply a proof of purchase (there are a number of ways that you can do it, one of which is you can email them a scan or screen shot of your original sales receipt, which is what I did).  Once that happens (mine happened on February 22nd) you go to: Accepted = proof of purchased validated, and you move on to: In Process = preparing order for shipment. Typically 3-5 business days.

and that’s it… I’ve never made it past that.  I’ve called them 6 times now in the last month, the first few times was told that it should show up with a shipping number on their site within 24 hours and it never happened.   Since then:

Thursday 3/11- was told that they are very sorry for the delay and they will expedite my shipment and FedEx it, I should have the tracking number within 24 hours… nothing…

Tuesday, 2/16- was told that they were very sorry, they don’t know what happened but they will expedite it and FedEx it out, that I should see it within 2 days but the tracking number on their site might not get updated before I get it.  OK… these people answering the phones are worthless morons, but so far I’ve been nice to them… not sure why.

Thursday 3/18- No package.  I call them.  First I get some line about no records of the expedite, then I talk to the supervisor and get “our expedite department is busy, it could take 4-7 days for them to process the expedite (huh?  that is longer than the total time expected from their normal service!!!), at which point I got pretty irritated with the idiot on the phone, got passed to another agent who told me that “they would like to expedite my order but their computers haven’t been working all afternoon so they can’t even see my order and will update it later when the computers are fixed” (how did the first 2 pull up my order if that was the case???).  Finally I ended up talking to someone who identified himself as Peter Leonardo, the manager of the department who assured me that he was going to personally take care of it and I could expect to see a tracking number Friday or next Monday and my upgrade FedExed to me on Monday or Tuesday. 

Monday, 3/22 (Today)- Surprise surprise… no tracking number.  Maya and Alex assure me that they will process my order expedite.  Nope… tried that already.  Tried that THE LAST 3 TIMES.  They keep acting like they don’t understand why that is problem.  Finally Alex tells me that she will take care of this personally and I will have email from her with my shipping information in the next 2 hours.  5 minutes later I get:

Hello Mark,

Thank you for your continous patronage to HP and your interest for the Windows 7 Upgrade Program.

You are receiving this email as a follow up for your order.

We are now working on your expedited order. We'll be sending you another email notification once your order has been shipped. Rest assure that we have you on our priority list.

Best regards,


Windows 7 Upgrade Program

Alex, you have an hour and ten minutes left to do better than that.

10:50pm update- Nothing… what a surprise.


Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Great Linux Experiment

280px-Tux-linux_logo.svgOk, maybe it won’t be so “great” but I’m hoping that it will be useful  to someone besides just me, in my case so far I’m rather surprised, but more on that later; most likely, later posts, I suspect that this is going to turn into multiple posts, if not an ongoing thing.

So, what’s the deal?  Well, a lot of you probably know that the Windows 7 demo expired after last weekend, at the end of February.  I few days before that I started looking around the house realizing that I’ve accumulated quite a few machines, all of which were happily buzzing along with the Windows 7 pre-release. 

One was my work laptop, that one isn’t a problem, that got a corporate copy.  Another is the i7 desktop, which was specifically ordered a few hours into the first day that a free Windows 7 when it comes out upgrade was offered (I will note I’m still waiting to get my upgrade for this machine… 3-5days has turned into 2 and a half weeks now)

My wife’s laptop… well I think that should get a memory upgrade and Windows 7… but my thoughts there are falling on deaf ears.  I’m pretty much ignored there until the machine breaks, then get paid attention to for as long as it takes for me to come up with a way to recover the data on it.  Oh well…

The rest of the machines aren’t so clear cut. 

2 of them are just small, old laptops, function wise not much more than netbooks.  One an X40 Thinkpad with 1gb ram, and the other a similar dell with 1.25GB ram (as 256mb mounted on the motherboard).  They basically get dropped in random places around the house and are used to RDP into whatever actually has the ability to do what I want to do, or to check up on other machines.

There is one more laptop, again, roughly the same age, a T series Thinkpad with 2GB ram in it.  That one lives in the family room because it’s the only machine I own with an S-video out, which is easy to hook up to a composite input on the TV (if I’m using the projector setup I can use SVGA…).  Yea, it’s old tech but it’s just not _that_ important to me… eventually we’ll get a newer TV, but there is no rush there.  So this machine really as no reason for existing beyond being a movie box.

Then there is one more that I care about, an old desktop with, are you ready for this, ok, here it comes, a P4 and 512MB (before anyone says anything, all of these machines went through XP, Vista and 7 iterations, and this machine was fine and quite useable for what it was).  This one sort of replaced my old domain controller/file server as the “everything I don’t want to tie up a machine that I will actually work at” machine.  I use it for torrents, it has a few external drives hanging off of it making it a file/media server, it runs some auction sniping software and assorted other noise.  Oh, and this is my connection from the outside world, I route RDP connections in to this box so if I need something from home when I’m not here that is my way in.

(Next up: The Rules of Engagement)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Ok, it’s time to make a change. 

I’ve had all sorts of cool ideas about what to put up here and haven’t got it here because I just didn’t get along with the various blogging site software, making posting stuff up here just painful.

I’m hoping Microsoft’s Live Writer will be the end of that.  Actually, that’s part of the reason for this post… I want to test how well it works.


This picture has absolutely nothing to do with the blog post besides the fact that I’m testing what Live Writer will do well. 

Have you ever seen icicles like this?  These were from a couple of weeks ago after the series of storms that we had, that is a full length window, I’m guessing that longest icicle is probably 9-10’ long (it goes a couple of feet past the window, and the gutter is a few feet above it).  The picture was shot in the dark with long exposure and tripod, the ice is catching light from the lamp hanging next to the back door on the deck below the window.

Secondly, I’ve been avoiding posting work (as in computer/IT) related stuff here.  I think that is going to end.

For those of you that don’t know I’m an IT guy working for a government contractor (those of you that do know and are local are thinking, “Really, isn’t everyone around here?”).  Anyway, my original thought there was “After 8, 10, 12… hours of being at work why the hell would I want to do anything even vaguely computer related when I don’t have to.

Well, my adventures from the last few days has changed my mind about that.  I think that at least one of my faithful 2-1/2 readers might find my continuing adventures there interesting, and I’m hoping the rest of you will be willing to sort through them in exchange for more regular useful car, machining, things catching fire and shooting through walls posts.

I’m betting my blog crazy wife would suggest just starting a second blog for a different topic, but I’m not sure that it makes sense if I’m not posting something even close to regularly.  For that matter, I’m just as capable of making a computer into a smoking pile of junk in the bottom of a crater as I am a car or the average chunk of steel… see, I even have a theme to follow.

Bare (bear, or beer as the case may be) with me I’ll figure this out eventually…