had a big problem on a recent Friday morning – I opened my HP Pavilion DV1000
laptop and watched the backlight flicker and go dark. The laptop still worked, but only with an
external monitor attached – more than a minor inconvenience, especially since I
had a trip to California planned for the next week.
called HP and they said it would be $298 to replace and would take 5-7 business
days, and I even checked with CompUSA where I bought it, and they couldn’t fix
it any cheaper or faster – they quoted 7-14 days. I decided I didn’t have much choice and
called back HP to arrange pickup, and was then told that the cost to replace it
was actually $698. After I told them
that’s an insane price, and that you can almost buy an new one for that much, I hung up and thought about
what to do next.
decided to see what I could find on eBay, and that Friday night around 8PM I
found an identical, slightly used HP laptop from a seller with perfect
reputation and a willingness to ship quickly. My email offer with a lower but fair price was responded to within 1
hour. My new laptop arrived at my
hotel in Palo Alto, CA on Tuesday morning – and by noon I had swapped the hard
drive and was back and running and I’m typing away on it right now.
time from looking on eBay to being back up and running was under 2 business
days – about 12 business hours to be exact. The total cost, with expedited UPS shipping was $622, and after I sell
the old one with the broken backlight on eBay, I expect my total out of pocket
will be near or below the original $298 quote. But I didn’t have to wait 5-14 business days, and I had the pleasure of
not giving HP any more money.
isn’t the first time I’ve taken a new approach to service – I lost my precious
EVDO card and bought a used one on eBay for around $70, and didn’t have to
extend my contract with Verizon (a new card was $199 or $99 with a new 2 year
agreement.) I also once traded in a
used, broken iPod on NextWorth and
they quoted me based on its exact model and condition, and I got $159 back to
get a new one, and they took care of selling it on eBay.
Service 2.0 won’t work for everyone or in every case, but it’s certainly
something to consider next time you run into a problem.
UPDATE – Right after I wrote the draft of this entry, my "new" laptop completely died, appararently from a faulty mother board. But since I still had the original laptop, I was able to take them both to CompUSA and have them build me a working "Frankenstein" laptop of the best working parts of both. That will have to hold me over until early next year when I can get a new one with Vista pre-installed, or better yet a MacBook Pro running Vista under Parallels. Whatever I end up with, I can guarantee it won’t be an HP.