Hp Warranty Woes & Hard Drive Heartache

HP - Warranties Woes & Hard Drive Headaches.

Dear Internet Community (I.C)
I need your help.
I would like to know if I'm being unreasonable in my expectations or is Hewlett Packard (HP) not living up to its both moral & legal obligations as a good corporate citizen & what it alleges to be - a Customer Focused Global Computer Services company.
Apologies if this is a little long winded but in the interests of fairness I need to put as many HP comments in as possible - to give you a clear picture.
So bear with me, you will not be disappointed & there are a couple of questions you might like to answer & feedback to the appropriate parties.
Keep in mind at all times we are talking about approximately a $200 (NZD) fix - less than the lost profit on one lost sale for an HP PC ( you might think twice about HP products after reading this).
There are two parts to this problem :

Part 1 :
I purchased an HP Touch Smart a few years ago, I registered the product & warranty with them & over the years have received have received numerous emails stating "buy this, upgrade now".
But I don't recall ever receiving an "WARNING - Critical Failure Issue (CFI) apply attached patch immediately" email while under warranty. Why is this relevant?
- Seagate makes Hard Drives - in this case a Barracuda 7200.11
- HP buys said HD's from Seagate
- Seagate finds a problem with firmware in HD's & advises HP & supplies a fix
- HP knows which Customers have these HD's, because you know what goes into your machines - right ? - see below
- HP FAILS to send email to Customers with the fix (a simple email with attachment would solve problem) or issue recall.
- HP even offers previously to fix problem FOC & puts fix on its Website - but only if the Customer knows somehow of the problem.
- Should the Customer intuitively& telepathically know of problems in HP Products in advance before it fails, because of course HP is not telling their Customers.

Problem or Outcome: My HD has bricked itself & will not operate as I never received notice of the firmware fix at any time either in or out of warranty.

Paul Boshoff - G M -Personal Systems Group- HP NZ (PB- GMPSG) says

"It would be very difficult, if not impossible, for any computer vendor to proactively notify it's customers of component-level updates"
&
"Failures of the kind you've experienced are usually related to a specific batch of serial numbers and often those component serial numbers aren't available when the user is registering that particular computer."
Now let me know if you think I'm wrong, but it sounds like HP does not know what goes into its machines or at the very minimum does not keep track of this.
HP, a Global Computer Services company cannot possibly be expected to track what goes into its machines. HP apparently does not record or match the serial number of the HD with the machine it goes into.
If Ford & Toyota can track & record what tyres go on which make & model of their cars which are in the millions each year & can recall cars dating back 8-10 years just case of a manufacturers component malfunction why can't HP link & record the HD details.
I can just hear it now "I'm sorry we don't know which engine we put in your car".
And let's be real clear here - we are not talking about some small screw at the back of a PC - Along with the CPU & the RAM, the Hard Drive is pretty much up there in the top 3 of important components of any computer.

I.C - Do you feel
- That fills you with confidence in HP products & services ?
- Should HP be required to tell its customer of CFI's with its products - particularly while under warranty?
- Has HP tried to limit their liability & cost by directly NOT telling Customers of CFI's while under warranty?

Part 2 :
When your HD bricks itself - apparently all is not lost - some very clever person has found a solution so you can get the HD going long enough to apply the firmware fix & then your HD is a good as new - Here is the link that spells it out with pics http://www.overclock.net/t/457286/seagate-bricked-firmware-drive-fix-with-pics)
You'll see the relevance of this shortly.
After much messing about I received the following email from PB- GMPSG : "I have escalated your issue and have just received the go-ahead to repair your unit at our cost. We will be utilizing our own, authorized service provider to re-install the original hard-drive and to run the software fix on that unit." (This guy most likely earns a six figure salary & isn't able to sign off $200 fix).
NOTE : it does not limit or restrict what type of fixes will be used & also at this time HP was aware of both the Seagate fix & above fix.
I delivered the PC & bricked HD into the HP Authorised Repair Centre (ARC) as requested -their ticket instructions read "do firmware update...HP to incur costs. NO COST to customer".
Obviously it's not rocket science but you need the HD going before you can apply any firmware fix including this one - HP knew that to get the HD going they would need a special fix to enable them to apply the Seagate fix.
After all this is not an isolated case & I did point out to HP that they would need the fix I supplied (or something similar HP approved or designed if that made them more comfortable) prior to their offer of fixing the HD.
HP said their ARC's had all the right software for fixing their machines. In addition I have been told on several occasions, the ARC's are the bee's knees, the cat pajamas, the whiz kids of the PC service world "The first port of call for the repair centre agent is to download all the latest service advisory notices and updates. This is a very fundamental part of the repair process and one that we spend a great deal of time emphasizing with our authorised repair centres" Keep this in mind.
A week later I received a call from Peter Gasporaratos, HP CS Melbourne (poor guy - caught in the middle) & stated "there is nothing else we can do for you". When I asked if they had applied the fix he said "its not our responsibility.. its not part of our guidelines.. the ARC does not practice unauthorised methods..& this ARC will not go down this path"
Ironically the day before, Barry from the ARC said "we can attempt it, but we will charge you too". So HP's own ARC will do it, but there will be a cost - but hang on a minute, didn't PB- GMPSG say "to repair your unit at our cost. We will be utilizing our own, authorized service provider to re-install the original hard-drive and to run the software fix on that unit" & HP CS put on the instructions "HP to incur costs. NO COST to customer".

I.C - Do you feel
- HP have said they will fix it at NO COST to me, regardless of what the fix entails ?
- Should HP honour this commitment ?
- Would you do business with a company that says one thing & does another & does not honour its commitment ?
- That given the bricking fault did not need to happen if HP had been proactive in letting their customers know of the firmware issue & this is not an isolated case- shouldn't they then be responsible in finding or developing a fix for getting the HD going long enough to apply the firmware fix if they are not going to use other recognised fixes.

Abstract
So that's it - what do you think I.C. ?
Would you want HP computers & servers controlling the Traffic Lights, Air Traffic Control, Patient records & Medications at Hospitals knowing that HP will not tell these organisations that there is CFI with their products & they could suddenly lose everything. All dead while they try to find a back up computer with all the data - god forbid if President Obama's "football" is powered by an HP - Nuclear War before we know it.
But seriously - I would love your feedback - Am I being unreasonable in asking them to honour their commitment for a $200 fix ?
And of course HP being a Customer Focused Global Computer Services company, would welcome your feedback.
Here are a couple of the players contact details who would love to hear from you :

- Keith Watson - CEO -HP NZ -I initially contacted him & he thanked me for bringing it to his attention, then nothing.
Email : keith.watson@hp.com
- Paul Boshoff - G M -Personal Systems Group- HP NZ - well of course you now know who he is now - he would love feedback.
Email : paul.boshoff@hp.com
- Jessica Rangi - She's the Spokes person/PR/Marketing for HP NZ & has just help launch HP new PC range in NZ - She would love your feedback as it might impact on her marketing & she is quoted as having helped out in warranty situations before & has worked at HP head office.
Email : jessica.rangi@hp.com
- Meg Whitman - President and Chief Executive Officer of HP Global
Email : meg.whitman@hp.com

They would all like to hear from you J

I.C
Thanks for being patience & reading through to the end - now it's up to you
buy HP Products & Services or not.
Do HP deserve your hard earned money if you now believe they aren't going tell you about problems with their Product & Services.

Be kind to one another & take care.

Regards
Smithie

P.S - I sent this blog to HP for fact & quote checking prior to uploading (I gave them over a week to reply) - the silence was deafening from HP.