Friday, April 18, 2008

What's going on, HP?

We bought a new HP W2207 LCD monitor on 25th March 2008 for my Wife Bobo, as her current NEC monitor seems to have problem and started to flicker.

It was like a celebration when we first put up the monitor at home, connecting to her Acer mini desktop. The screen real estate is eye popping when doing work, she can see more within a screen than the conventional 17 and 15 inch NEC monitors that we had.

Of course, she is happy.

Nightmare came the next day
She woke me up the next morning, said that she cannot turn on the monitor. Struggling up from my bed, went down to her office (she use a room down stairs as her office, where she can see greens from our front garden, I prefer to work anywhere with my Macbook, thus I resist having an office at home), I looked at the monitor, then told her "Well, I guess you did not turn on the mains, let me turn it on." Before she answered, I checked the power source, it is turned on, but the power button supposed to be lighted is dimmed, no light, i.e. no power from the power source.

Then I recycled the mains a few times, no luck, and I left the mains turned on and proceed to kitchen to grab a drink.

Before I walked back to her room, she shouted that the monitor is working, then she asked what I have done on the monitor, I told her that I just turned on the mains. She puzzled, since she did the same, no display, that's the reason she woke me up.

Thus I went on testing if I can repeat the problem, and everytime I power cycled the monitor from the mains, it works as it is supposed to be.

I laughed at her, after so many years using computers, she is still not able to differentiate between problem and false alarm.

Come 26th March night, after we came back from KL.

She turned on her Acer, and the new HP of course, she screamed, as if she seen something unwanted. I was in the car porch, dashed to her office, she starred at me, asked if I have touched any of her equipment, why her Acer starts but nothing on screen.

Then I noticed the power button is dimmed, asked her whether she turned on the mains for the monitor. She look at me as if I am cracking a joke.

I looked at the mains, it was on, I then suspect is the cable. Changed the power cable, still the same, monitor no power. Then I suspect may be the wall socket problem, then I plugged the mains cable to the other power socket in the office, no luck.

Got angry, removed, the USB, Audio, and VGA cable from the monitor, tried, failed again, nothing happen, power button not lighted.

I mumbled, shit! don't tell me the earlier thunder storm screwed up the monitor. I asked if she turned off the mains before leaving home, she said yes.

No choice, I forgot to turn off the mains when I left her office to charge my Macbook, 30 min later, she shouted that the display came back.

Holy shit! I said, it must be the Fegshui or position of the monitor which crash with elements in her office.

27 March 2008

She forgot to turn off the monitor mains the night before when she went to bed, and nothing happen on 27th. She was using it the whole day, no complain.
28 March 2008, we went out to town, as usual, turned off all power in the house as it is raining season. When we came back, tried turning on the monitor, shit again. This time she waited for 30 min (need to find other things to do at home for 30 min before she can proceed with whatever on her Acer).

29 - 10 April. She left the monitor on 24 hours, while I was trying to call the HP service centre, always got the message that the operating hour from 9 to 5.30pm. I called on my way back from KL, usually after 10pm, of course, can only speak to the air. Also tried the 1-800 number, but there's no Monitor category, which one to choose? I have chosen a few, but always got it wrong and HP asked my to call again try to select the appropriate selection.

11 Apr, she left to Sarawak for a 2 day visit. I tried the monitor with my Macbook, using miniDVI to VGA adaptor, same problem.

Went out to get DVI cable, suspected that the VGA cable or adaptor on both Acer and Macbook is not working, or VGA on monitor is not working.

Connected DVI on both Acer and Monitor, doesn't work. Connected to both Mac and Monitor with DVI, doesn't work.

and still, Magically, the monitor came to life after about 30 min.

She came back on 13, and she decided to give a try again calling HP.

She called noon, on 14, got someone, passed the line to me. We were told to call the toll free.

I called the toll free, got someone finally, no name mentioned, or I did not get it, after explaining the problem and demanded for a replacement or refund, he promised to call back within 1/2 hour since he needs to refer to his superior, fair. waited for 45 minutes, no call. nothing.

I got mad, call toll free again, spoken to Jay. Jay is helpful. I repeated the same story, he promised to get back to me within 5 to 10 minutes.

I got him calling back, told me that I need to fax in the proof of purchase. I did, with a note to recap our discussion and outcome, i.e. I expect a replacement unit.

Jay told me that since faxes are delivered on batches to them, it will probably reach him the next day since it was already 1800MYT when I spoke to him. Noted.

15 Apr, when woke up, a voice mail from Jay mentioned that he received the fax, and routing my request to on-site engineers, and they will call me to arrange on-site replacement.

16 Apr, someone called, told me that they will like to send the replacement monitor to my house, and to collect the faulty one, with condition that the faulty monitor should not have scratches. Agreed, but I cannot agree with them wanting to visit me the same day they called, I have prior arrangement up to 2 weeks in advance, and most of them are scheduled meetings that I need to attend, or else, I will have to reschedule meetings, which is unfair to other attendees. I had meeting at Mid Valley office 1200MYT, and UBN office 1700MYT. I will not be able to call off for such a short notice just to wait for the monitor to be replaced. My wife is packed the same day.

Then I asked if I can make appointment on 17 Apr, since I will be at UOA II office at 4pm, They said they will have to call me to confirm on the same day, i.e. 17 April.

On our way to town, Bobo called toll free for me, I was driving, she spoke to a gentleman, but again, was asking her to repeat the case. She went mad!! Somehow, I asked her to inform the guy to call me instead as I have some time from 1100MYT to 1200MYT.

The guy called, I told him that the best to do is for me to send in, so I can control my timing, and not have to wait for engineer to visit on site. After lengthly talk, he told me it is all set. Someone will call me to confirm my time of arrival at HP Tower on 17 Apr.

A lady, Ayu, called, we confirmed at 1400MYT, 17 Apr.

17 Apr, was stuck in a conference before I went out. Managed to inform Ayu that I will be 1 hour late, i.e. will be reaching the Service Center at 1500MYT instead of 1400MYT.

I reached Service centre before 1500MYT, went in, look for the counter as arranged by Ayu, got the monitor exchanged. I carried the whole box, and HP gave me the replacement in normal wrapper, instead of a proper wrapper as my faulty unit.

Never mind, I asked the lady Wani, who attended to me, whether the replacement unit is a new unit. SHe said yes. Then I request for testing before signing document, tested myself as the test area engineer is engaged with other customers.

I briefly tested power on/off, works. no problem

I told Wani the unit seems ok, I can now sign the document. Again I asked if the unit is a new one, she answered "Yes" again.

Signed, packing the replacement into my box, noticed that the front panel plastic protector is not there, I returned the faulty unit with the protecter in place, out from the box, we did not remove it.

I paused, but I was rushing to UOA II, did not come to my mind that something is not right. Then I noticed the serial number is a handwritten sticker, overlayed on where serial number suppose to be, covered up the old number.

No time to think is there anything wrong. Have it packed, and leave.

On my way to UOA II, I cannot figure out that why must the front protector sheet missing as it does not distort the display, for the purpose of QA and other testings. Bobo use the faulty monitor with the sheet on, with no problem.

Thus, I suspected that this may be a refurbished/reconditioned/or cannibalized unit. Added with handwritten serial number sticker, and no proper anti static plastic wrapper.

from HP Tower to UOA II, keep try calling Ayu, phone engaged. Called toll free, engaged, or somehow line just dropped.

Managed to get Ayu, told her I suspect the monitor is not a new unit, she told me that she was told the monitor is a new unit. she said she will check, and get back to me.

I tried calling Ayu after about 30 minutes, afraid that UOA II cell signal sometime can be bad.

She called, referred to Ikmar, who should be in the better position to explain.

Ikmar failed to explain. I told Ikmar that I can go to HP service centre again around 1730MYT and am expecting a proper new unit there, if he can make necessary arrangement.

Call Ikmar again, he said still pending approval from Singapore office, and I asked what happened, he said he called the person in charge in Singapore, but he is not in his office, and there’s no other way to reach him.

I then asked him the name of the PIC, Marcus is his answer.

I asked why it is so difficult to obtain approval or getting attention from higher level. It clearly shows that either the guy Marcus is not doing his work, thus cannot be contacted, or simply ignore since it is a replacement claim.

I cannot imagine organization like HP have such manager, who cannot be contacted when they are not in their office. Aren’t they work anywhere, everywhere? Something is very wrong!!!

somehow, time goes, nothing happen, I was like a mad dog calling toll free, service centre, ayu, and the HP general office line.

Was spoken to a person by the name of Jackie, referred to by telephonist of HP general number, took down my complaint. claimed she will get back to me. Nothing happened.

Call toll free again, spoken to Dodz. Helpful but not able to solve the problem.

Dodz then refer to Suen, his superior. Suen told me:

1. HP technical team has conducted 1st level test, the faulty monitor has no problem at all. I told her that the monitor needs to turn off and cool down for hours before you can repeat the problem. and I challenged her that if refer to my case history, I have repeatedly said that the monitor needs to turn off completely for few hours before the problem shows up.

I sent the fauly monitor at 1500, Suen told me at around 1830. it is merely 3 1/2 hour in total. minus off the testing time and handling time from front counter to the technician, it is 3 hours. and I believe the report is done within the 3 hours, of course you will not get to see the problem.

2, I was complaining that HP is giving me a "refurbished" (I cannot proof at that point, it was merely guts feeling) unit. Suen insisted, and assured with HP's name that the monitor is brand new, she claimed it is buffer stock, thus without proper packaging. I told her that I feel uncomfortable that the serial number is handwritten and stick on to the old serial number, she said it is for the service centre to recognize that the replacement is indeed for the faulty unit. I questioned why HP needs to do this, since they can have it sticked somewhere else, not covering the old number.

Suen went on to assure me that the unit flown in from Singapore upon urgent request, it is definitely a new unit despite my suspicion.

I told her toll free guy mentioned that the faulty unit manufacturing warranty expired, thus I believe that there should not be in production for this particular model W2207, and it has been superseded by W2207h.

She said she will further confirm, keep assuring that the unit is brand new.

I mentioned that all monitors, when getting out from manufacturing facility, should have a plastic sheet stick on the panel, to protect the screen from being scratched accidentally during transportation. The faulty unit that I sent in is with the sheet intact, as it does not obstruct the display. If the sheet is not there, there's only ONE explanation, i.e. the monitor is pre-owned. Even technician who test the replacement unit prior to our exchange should know well that nothing should be removed from the panel, not to mention tearing off the sheet.

I also questioned that the plastic wrapper used to wrap the monitor differ from the original factory packaging, which should be anti static bag instead of normal plastic bag. I have the factory supplied wrapper in my box, at one glance the two are different.

I told her that I was expecting a new unit as replacement, and I have doubt on the unit given to me. Why should we pay for the price of a new monitor, use for 2 weeks, and be replaced with a refurbished unit due to manufacturing defects?

Suen keep insisting that her superior and management assured that the replacement monitor is a brand new unit, however, since it is HP's buffer stock, it does not come with standard packaging.

I told her I cannot accept her explanation, and told her that we have been wasting time for all these, and HP is not sincere to admit they are at fault.

Prior to that, I was toying around the idea of having HP to issue a letter stating that the monitor is new, brand new, and not refurbished or otherwise. I have suggested to Dodz, the guy before Suen.

Suen stressed that the management agreed to assure in writing as I have suggested, but I told her that I have no way to proof that the monitor is not new, since HP controls the entire process of authentication, they can easily claim the unit to be a new one, or claim anything they wish, I cannot proof them wrong, thus, the letter is useless in my hand.

Back to the serial number. I asked if a handwritten serial number is consider valid, isn't I just offer to other W2207 users, if their warranty expired, that I would just stick a handwritten serial number of mine, and send to service centre to claim warranty, which HP cannot deny my claim. Isn't this out of the mind?

Suen further persuaded that she would suggest to the management to extend my warranty as a gesture of goodwill. I told her that I get what I paid for, nothing more, nothing less. Get me a new replacement at the point I am suppose to, i.e. 17 April by 1900 (I was scheduled to leave town), else it shows HP is treating their customer bad, and I do not trust HP anymore for anything.

Suen said it was too late that the service center closed, there's no way I can get another unit by 17 Apr if I do not accept the given unit.

I told her I am of no choice but to take the replacement back first. HP failed me, and screwed up badly.

Suen did mention that my faulty unit is undergoing stress tests, that if the faulty unit is found to be no problem, HP will deliver it back to me and claim the replacement unit since I am not comfortable.

I asked her, judging from the preliminary test results from HP service centre that the faulty unit is in perfect condition where they have failed to even refer to my case history that I have repeatedly mentioned the problem comes ONLY after the monitor's main power is turned off for more than 5 hours, or better, 24 hours before you can repeat the issue. If tests carried out WITHOUT even referring to our complaints and description, how would I be able to rely on they judgement that the faulty unit is trouble-free.

Even if the faulty unit is trouble-free, will it work in our environment. There’s still a slim chance that it will fail back my home, what will be the next step then.

Suen offered engineer to visit my home, bring together the faulty unit and a brand new unit, and if the faulty unit is working after engineer help me to install, then I will keep the faulty unit, else they will immediately replace with the brand new unit.

I told her, from my complaint, the problem will not come within short period, it will exhibit problem ONLY after several hours that the mains of the faulty unit is turned off, and when power on again, it will fail to work.

Then what’s the point of the engineer to visit me, give me the faulty unit, why not just a brand new unit, and we close the case?

I repeatedly told her that I am not interested in taking advantage from anyone, including HP. I am asking for the same model, am not interested in other models. Give me what I am paying for, at the time agreed, case closed.

Now the case is turning ugly, and I will pursue further, this time HP is going to pay for the mistake they made for not being honest to their customer.

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