If you've watched any of my Tech Shakedown videos here on ZDNet, you'd know that I've been asking viewers to let me know if they know of a breakdown that needs to be the subject of a Tech Shakedown. In cases where suggestions like these come from ZDNet's audience members (and I have been getting them, thank you!), I do have to check them out. Well, this one definitely checked out.
A couple of weeks ago, Andrés, an engineer that reads ZDNet wrote the following to me via e-mail:
Lately HP brought on the market a series of pavilion notebooks that where on high demand because of their all in one features.
But it seems that there's been a cover-up on the reliability of their performance. A lot of costumers who bought their notebooks are currently experiencing the same problem two major problems with their systems.
How does Andres know about these other customers? Well, since June 2007, they've been flooding HP's Web site with complaints about how their Pavilion notebook computers are randomly losing any sense of the fact that they have wireless adapters in them (which in turn causes a loss of productivity). The thread is so flooded with messages that the only way I can get Web browser to view the entire thing without seizing is to close most of my other applications.
The issues affect both the HP Pavilion 6000 and 9000 series of notebooks and the real issue is that, for such a huge thread which seems to be the identical problem, HP is nowhere to be seen in terms of responding to its customers. Instead, message after message reflects how getting action from HP's technical support group has been like pulling teeth. The result is that the customers have been left to help each other out -- telling their own stories (multiple times) of how they've managed to get their motherboards replaced by HP.
Clearly, if you read every message as I have, the initial fixes that HP is still suggesting to this day (upgrading the BIOS, replacing the network adapter) are not working. This leads you to wonder why HP is still suggesting remediation that's not working. At the very least, based on the stories being told in the forum, it doesn't seem as though HP is telling customers "We're aware of the problem... just try these two things and if it doesn't work, we'll fix your motherboard." From the contents of the forum, you get the sense that the customers have to know that a new motherboard is the fix and then ask for it. Shouldn't it be the other way around?
Need more evidence of how HP is slow to respond? I contacted HP last week (Thursday) about the problem. I showed them the thread and said this doesn't look good. I was told I'd be hearing back from them but, after a scan of my inbox, my spam folder, and my voice mail, I still have yet to hear back from the contact who said he'd get back to me. When they do get back to me, I'll get the official response into this blog. In the meantime, check out the video.
Update: HP has responded to this Tech Shakedown, but that response appears to be less than adequate. Here's the update.