HP customer service: Ain't nobody home
We were having another problem with the clunky software that runs our Hewlett-Packard printer-scanner unit tonight. I've never had any luck with HP software; the one HP Pavilion computer we bought about 10 years ago turned out to be a disaster, and I swear it was due to the goofball "shell" that they had installed around Windows to keep you from actually using Windows directly, because you are so stupid. The last time the drivers on our printer-scanner went out, I wound up on the phone with some dude in India for a couple of hours -- I kid you not. But if the thing won't work, what can you do? I called their technical support again tonight.
It was a hysterical experience, but I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. I'll put aside the fact that some of the people who serve this function for HP can't speak English very well. The real scream was the lengthy wait to which I was subjected after agreeing to pay $30 to talk to a human being.
I was put on hold for more than a half hour before I gave up. The robot kept coming on to tell me to try their free website instead, but I had already done that, to no avail, and hey, lady, they're charging me 30 bucks for this call.
Finally I decided not to stand for any more of this, and so I hung up, called back, and demanded that the call be canceled and my credit card not be charged. The second clerk's English was so bad -- or at least, that's what she was acting like -- that she could not quite comprehend that request. And so she put me on hold again.
Eight minutes later, I was disconnected, and so I called again. Got the same gal. The same elevator music while I waited some more. We're now nearly an hour into the process, and after about five more minutes of this, I hung up and called back for a fourth time. This time I got a man, who sized up the situation pretty quickly and told me he was connecting me to the "refund department."
Another wait -- just a few minutes this time -- and I got a technician who, after putting me on hold for about five more minutes, came back on and told me that I'll be getting a refund of my $30. Oh, and get this -- later today someone from HP's going to call me to verify the refund. I'm sure they'll be calling to try to talk me out of it, just as the first gal tried to talk me into a $55 extended warranty.
Excuse me, dudes and dudettes, but I don't need anyone from HP to call me back on this one. Just don't charge me the 30 clams when you never answered my question.
Given the sketchiness of the entire enterprise, I'm sure that that 30's going to be on my credit card bill. The chances of the last guy knowing how to issue me a refund, and actually doing it, don't seem good. And so I guess I'll have to tell the whole tale of woe to my credit card company.
HP brags about its "award-winning customer care." Unless we are talking about some sort of comedy award, it's hard to imagine what sort of recognition this sorry operation could actually merit. Hey, HP bigwigs, you want to snoop around people's phone records? Take a look at case no. 7334877187. And don't take my 30 bucks.