HP: Industry Follower and Proud of It

I came across this article on Slashdot recently. It’s about HP not honoring it’s warranty for a PC because the woman was running Linux on it. Now, as someone who has run Linux on two HP machines off and on you’d think it would be the warranty part that I’d be writing about. But that part really isn’t worth commenting on. Usually if a piece of hardware fails the vendor’s diagnostics they honor the warranty. So it seemed like either the tech support person who helped her was incompetent or something was missing from the story. As it turns out, a week later and update was posted that HP honored the warranty because it was a hardware problem. Of course, that was after it was written about. According to the original article there had been “back and forth” for two weeks before it was published.

But what got my attention, and brings me to write this, was the quote in the article from a “PR rep from Hewlett-Packard Customer Service” after “a couple of weeks of back and forth”. She said…

“warranty terms and conditions are in line with the rest of the industry.”

This seems to be the new mantra for companies these days as justification for unpopular actions. You might even say as justification for screwing the consumer. They didn’t want to do it, the industry made them. In comparison, Apple has it’s share of customer complaints but I’ve never heard them use the “industry standard” justification cop-out. Typically Apple gives you their reasons (then the debate is over the validity of those reasons.)

While HP eventually covered the warranty it was more than happy to default to the industry standard cop-out rather than look at the facts or the validity of their policies. They only honored the warranty after the publicity.

As someone who owns a Compaq PC (an HP brand) and a HP laptop it’s disappointing to see. The next time I see the HP-Invent logo I’ll realize it’s just marketing and when it suites them (and not me) they’ll be saying “HP – industry standard and not invented here” and there’s nothing special about their brand.