Hewlett-Packard Chat Support Not Selling Any Favors

24 02 2007

I bought my latest HP computer for the company’s excellent customer service reputation, so imagine how blown away I was by the Machiavellian sales tactics I had to fend off in my last chat “help” session with them.

Unfortunately, the technical help guy at HP Real-Time Chat Support wanted to start selling me solutions even before we had diagnosed the problem, and it was all I could do to keep him on track to determine what had gone wrong with my machine.

I had contacted him about an unsaved file that was lost when I left my two-month old computer on overnight (kind of dumb, yes, but never a problem before). Lost data? Maybe I needed an uninterrupted power source, the techie recommended. Memory failure? Not exactly, but still he offered me more memory at a rebate price – equally unlikely to fail, but fast as all get-out! (Why you only have so many gig of RAM? Tsk, tsk. That’s practically cave man times! How do you live without at least four times that?)

Well, I kept at him with laser focus and we eventually concluded that the machine never powered-down to stand-by mode and so had shutdown automatically to protect itself from overheating. My “helper” hadn’t any product for that, except to suggest I purchase an extended warranty.

My paranoia was in full bloom from his seeds of doubt. But he’d gone too far now. I was ready to take the piece of crap back and demand a full refund.

Well, I didn’t, and I’m still limping by on my anemic number of gig a whole year later. And now when I see how HP is raking in the profits, well, it makes me worry about the future all over again. Because after my difficult HP chat session, I had to ask myself: What happens when this type of relationship becomes the norm and not a single human endeavor is safe from the shysters pitch?

I went to that HP chat guy for help, and instead I got sold something. What if that happened when you went for help in other places, like for example, church:

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been six months since my last confession.”

“Tsk, tsk. Six months, you’ve missed a lot of time and deals, but I have something for that.”

“Father, shouldn’t I confess my sins?”

“Yes, child, but first let me show you our ‘Overdue For Confession’ Personal Atonement Kit, complete with a rosary and mini self-flagellation whip.”

“How much? Never mind. I’ll take it. Father I have sinned.”

“Of course you have, child, and you will atone. Now here I have the Adultery Kit, the Murder Kit, Fornication—what do you need?”

“Father, I have used the lord’s name in vain! Also, I live with my boyfriend.”

“Okay, one Name in Vain, one Living in Sin, added to the Overdue for Confession, that comes to $120.”

”Can I get the DVD versions?”

“Sure you can, for an extra charge! And now, I bless you, child. Please sign at the bottom there.”

Or how about if it happens to the police….

”I’m reporting a break-in! There’s a man in the next room, I’m really scared.”

“Do you have any weapons to protect yourself?”

“No! How soon will you be here?”

“Well, I’ll send someone, but you should consider taking our course in home handguns. You know, our city has a terrible crime rate, and we can’t hire enough cops for the life of us.”

“So how soon will you be here?”

“That’s hard to say. Could be a while. If you don’t want to go the handgun route, there is always pepper spray. Ever thought of taking one of the department’s self defense courses?”

“He’s coming into my room, what should I do?”

“Okay, lady, my screen says a patrol car has arrived outside, they’ll be there any moment. But next time, plan ahead. Remember, a lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on our part.”

Who knows, maybe it even happens to the good old Red Cross….

“Step on up, fire victims, for your fast-food burgers. We’ll just need a photo ID to get the paperwork started and open your account. You don’t have to pay a cent for anything – the housing, the food, the storage of what you can recover – not for 90 days. And we charge a low 7.99 percent interest that won’t start until Christmas, so step right up and get your interest-free burger. Don’t worry, you will get through this disaster, and at some point things will return to normal.”

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2 responses

14 04 2008
Billy Askew

Can you help me to get my PC up and running again??

19 04 2008
badapple

Billy, oh Billy. You realize what you are asking right? You must be one desperate desperado to ask Bad Apple to make your computer run. Or maybe you are pointing out that I, unlike HP help, am powerless to fix your machine. It’s true, I don’t fix computers, but then again, I don’t pretend to fix them either. Nowhere does my site say: Bad Apple: Computer fixer wizard. HP on the other hand, claims to have the best customer service in the universe. And yet whoever “helped” me was only interested in selling me something new, and not even fixing my issue. That to me says things are bad, Billy, things are real bad. Good luck getting your machine up.

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