HP Customer Service



#24

My HP 33S stopped working a few weeks ago. I called HP’s support line and they told me that they would send a replacement. I called about a week ago to check the status, and they said that the calculator is “back ordered” with no estimated ship date. I called today and it was still backordered. The gentleman with whom I spoke stated that the ship date was unknown and unknowable. He also stated that, while sympathetic, there was nothing to do but wait. I then spoke with a supervisor who stated the same thing. I asked the supervisor if he would give the same response to his CEO, Mark Hurd, and the reply was “yes”. I then asked if he could call someone to check the shipping status and the reply was “no, only e-mail and a reply can take 24 hours”. The supervisor then offered to call me tomorrow with the answer from the internal e-mail. I asked if he could e-mail me as I am out of the office tomorrow. He replied that the external e-mail system is down and has been for quite a while. Reading between the lines, I understand “quite a while” to mean days or weeks. So: HP can e-mail, but not phone within the company and phone, but not e-mail outside the company.

The two representatives that I spoke with were as helpful as they could be. The supervisor seemed willing to do whatever was within his power; I believed him when he said that he could do nothing more, even if I was the CEO.


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#25

Assuming that you'd be OK with the change, you could suggest to them that they could replace your 33s with a 35s.

#26

Hmm, sounds fishy that their e-mail system is down for days or weeks. I know of no company that size that could function with a major IT system being dead for more than hours. If HP is still a technology company they wouldn't have this problem. This excuse doesn't sound right.

And the 33S is "backordered"? Considering they still sell the 33S on their own web site, and it doesn't appear to be backordered, that seems hard to understand.

Seems to me you're being stonewalled. Now that sounds about right if you've dealt with HP "customer service" in the past 4-5 years.


#27

Here's another tidbit for digestion. We got some HP PCs in last week and one of them has a bad Motherboard. Since we have on-sight service from HP, their techs were scheduled to come out last Friday to fix the PC. My engineer reported to me today that HP never arrived and when he called them to find what happened, their excuse is that their computers are down!

Given that HP is a high-technology company, I would think they have a lot of redundancy built into their computer systems so, I take what they say with a large grain of salt. But, on the other hand, perhaps there's a real problem.

Food for thought. (Hum, I must be hungry.)

Gerry


#28

I think the technology brains went to the 'true' HP, Agilent. HP was first and foremost a test and measurement company. Some of the most robust test equipment I've ever used had the HP brand on it. I still don't really consider the HP name to be synonymous with PCs but
rather test/measurement gear.

I guess 22 years of working in electronics engineering labs with HP and Tek gear all around will do that to you. :-)

Edited: 5 Dec 2007, 9:55 a.m.


#29

This is why I originally decided in favor of a HP calculator over a TI so many years ago, even though I had no idea what this strange "notation" was that it used, that the professors and grad students all so praised. I was impressed by, as you, the robustness and overall high quality of the HP equipment, even if everyone thought they were expensive.


#30

The reason I first started using HP calcs:

I started my freshman year in college in 1980. At the time I used a TI calc since they were relatively cheap compared to HPs. That TI calc had the notorious key bounce issue of their units at the time. That *&&% calc took an 8th root one too many times, so I asked my parents for an HP 41C as an early Christmas present. My father was quite shocked at the price of over $200 for a calc, considering most other models at the time were around $50. My parents agreed (having good grades can pay off!) and I got that 41C in November 1980.

I kept that unit until mid 1997. The reason it died was I dropped it one too many times. The case split open that final time and I couldn't glue it back together to save my life. I still miss that old calc but can't justify paying the prices for the ones I see on eBay. To this day I don't think HP built a better calc.

This 35S is a nice unit overall. I just am bothered that out of the package it has keystrokes that are missed. I don't think it is entirely an electronic problem. I think part (if not all) of it is mechanical. Plus, HP 'customer support' isn't what it used to be, making matters worse. I still cannot understand how they can be having 'e-mail problems' for weeks if not months. Either they are lying or have a completely incompetent IT department.

It is truly a shame that the ghosts of Bill and Dave are completely gone from that company. Luckily a part of them is still alive at Agilent.


Edited: 5 Dec 2007, 12:52 p.m.


#31

Speaking of Agilent, how is the company doing these days?

tm


#32

Their scope line is being (finally) being updated, and they're quite aggressive in the DMM market. What I've noticed is they've gotten especially aggressive in the handheld market, both DMMs and scopes.

I've not bought any of their equipment in the last 5 years though. When it came time to outfit a new lab, we went with LeCroy, Tek and Fluke. Two years ago their line of scopes and signal generators were quite behind those three. They're finally waking up that their products got stale compared to their main competitors.


#33

Agilent's scopes (particually the mixed signal models) are brilliant. e.g. the 6000 series.
Very intuitive to use compared to Tek or Lecroy (who are only just getting their act together on usability after several decades of being a joke in this respect), and performance is superb.

Agilent gear is still one of the best if not the best in most equipment categories.

If anything, Tek are the ones who are falling behind.

Dave.

#34

Quote:
Two years ago their line of scopes and signal generators were quite behind those three. They're finally waking up that their products got stale compared to their main competitors.

Not in the mixed signal scope market, Agilent pioneered that market with their excellent 54000 series and the others are only now just catching up. That line has now been replaced with the even better 6000 series.

Dave.


#35

Depends on your needs Dave. I demo'd the Infiniums against the Tek DPO7k series for a traditional, 4 input scope (I do high speed analog design), and the Agilent was the same thing I used in the 90s. This was about 18 months ago.

There were no improvements to speak of in the Infinium worth mentioning. For our purposes, the Tek and LeCroy were vastly superior. Same goes for the arb. function generator. I've seen nothing that Agilent offers that can match the ease of use and versatility of the AFG3k line from Tek in that price range.


#36

Quote:
Depends on your needs Dave. I demo'd the Infiniums against the Tek DPO7k series for a traditional, 4 input scope (I do high speed analog design), and the Agilent was the same thing I used in the 90s. This was about 18 months ago.

Sure, everyone's millage and needs vary.

I haven't need a higher end scope like that for a long time, but have needed the mid range models extensively (e.g. 300MHz, 2-4GS/s, deep memory, mixed signal).
Algilent lead the mid-range scope market with their mixed signal models for many years, none of the others had a competing product. So Agilent certainly have been leading in some areas of scope design. And I still think their operation is the most intuitive, but that of course is entirely subjective.

Until very recently, the usability of the Lecroy's were famously atrocious. We had a bunch of the high end models that would gather dust in the back of the lab because no one wanted to use them. Everyone would borrow the Agilent's from my group instead.

Dave.

#37

Quote:
HP was first and foremost a test and measurement company.

Remember the old HP annual catalog - a huge hardback book? Test equipment porn, that was. . . .

Best,

--- Les

[http://www.lesbell.com.au]

#38

The HP-35 was introduced in 1972 at a price of about $395. The HP-35s was introduced 35 years later in 2007 at a price of about $60. Over the 35 year interval the Consumer Price Index increased by about a factor of five.

If I scale from the consumer price index I find that the HP-35 introductory price was nearly $2000 in 2007 dollars and the HP-35s introductory price was about $12 in 1972 dollars.

Would H-P have provided very much customer service for a twelve dollar item back in 1972? Might H-P provide more customer service for a two thousand dollar calculator in 2007?


#39

A fair, reasoned, and reasonable assessment.

I carp about similar things too, all too often, but really, you can't expect them... or any company to lose (too much) money (too often).

I am glad that today, we can still buy a product like either the HP-35s or the 33s (to me, more often than not more useful than anyone's graphing models, even HP's)... and not for $2000, either.

I once had (actually it's still functional, though in the basement, in storage) a HP PIII Celeron based PC, a sub-$1000 machine that came with everything except for a monitor, included a fairly generously sized HD (for then), and even a Zip drive (very useful, for then) and their customer support and even tech support was quite good. The keyboard was a bust, but the mouse' useful lifetime exceeded that of the service time of the computer system itself.

As much as we might trash them, HP isn't really doing that bad a job with consumers and consumer products, at least not to me, anyway. But I'll admit that the calc division and any other division are essentially run more or less independently from one another and that it's a huge corporation with deep resources, so perhaps they can still do better?


#40

But is it too much to ask that they have their e-mail systems working, and to have a replacement calc for a defective one in a reasonable (say less than 1 month) timeframe? I think that's the issue here. What seems like stonewalling is what often gripes customers the most (at least in my case).

#41

On the other hand, is a customer who's dissatisfied with the service he received for his $12 item likely to purchase a $2000 item from the same company in the future?

#42

The proof should be: "How does TI customer service behave in comparison?"

If you want to survive (excel) in a market you have to be at least as good as your competitors. I can´t believe their mail service was down. It sounds to stupid. This is a customer services next important tool, first one is phone.


#43

I'm not that surprised their email is down.
I used to work at HP (not the calc division though). When I started, they used HP Openmail and there was never a problem. Then they switched to MS Exchange and when I left years later it still wasn't working properly.

#44

An update - Today I got to the office to find an HP 35s that was sent overnight. I had mentioned in my conversations that perhaps one was available and that I would gladly pay the cost difference from the 33s. They sent it at no charge. I am impressed.

New Topic. This is by no means intended to take away from what I wrote above; I am simply curious. On the back of the regularly packaged 35s is a small sticker that says “Prototype – Not For Sale The contents of this packaging are currently undergoing quality testing and verification. While every effort is made to ensure a full production representation, some updates were unfortunately unavailable at prototype delivery time. We appreciate your understanding and welcome any feedback that you may have.”

The calculator’s number is CAN 72101xxx and it was shipped from what appears to be an electronics store in CA.


#45

Quote:
On the back of the regularly packaged 35s is a small sticker that says “Prototype – Not For Sale The contents of this packaging are currently undergoing quality testing and verification. While every effort is made to ensure a full production representation, some updates were unfortunately unavailable at prototype delivery time. We appreciate your understanding and welcome any feedback that you may have.”

The calculator’s number is CAN 72101xxx and it was shipped from what appears to be an electronics store in CA.


Maybe they kept their costs down by sending you a prototype that they ordinarily would not sell. Maybe it will be worth a lot someday to a collector!

BTW, are you sure it was CAN (which might mean it was made in Canada - see above!) rather than CNA, which stands for China?


#46

Yes, it is CNA - sorry. I thought the same thing about value and have not opened it yet, although I am not sure that I can hold out.


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