Miscellany: Adventures in Customer Service
The fan on my HP Mini 210 went toes-up a few weeks ago, so I had the opportunity to get acquainted with the current state of HP/Compaq's customer support.
My first stop was a text chat with a support rep named Manas. Refreshingly, neither he nor HP tried to mask the fact that Manas was in India. Manas took me through the standard tech support flowchart (we updated the netbook's BIOS, to no avail), and arranged to have HP ship me a box so I could return the computer.
I shipped out the netbook, and got it back about a week and a half later (though I shipped it to Texas, it was actually repaired in Mexico; ain't NAFTA grand?). The process went smoothly, and the computer works fine now. My only gripe is that HP didn't cover the cost of shipping the unit back, even though it was clearly under warranty. I had to eat the $12 FedEx charge - not cool, HP.
I also recently returned something to Brownells, which features a "100% Satisfaction Guarantee" on all their merchandise. That might be overstating things a bit, since there is some dissatisfaction involved (you have to include your purchase invoice with the return, and they don't cover the return shipping, either). Despite these qualms, Brownells refunded my money as soon as they got the return.
So, overall, I guess both companies did right by me, considering the realities of the marketplace (there are aplenty of cranks out there who'd feel no pangs in exploiting a lenient repair/return policy). I'd do business again with either of them.