Purchased a customized expensive hp pavilion with $239.99 extended service house call plan from hp online store in ocotber 2007. Supposed to have been equipped with combo blue ray/light scribe dvd. Lightscribe, a somewhat frivilous extra, nice to have but rarely used and finally tried it last week.
It didn't work — after talking to three tech service reps and almost 12 hours on the phone — nobody except me bothered to look at the dvd model number and check it on the web—they more or less agreed that the installed part didn't work because it was only a blue ray writer not a light scribe. Hp has installed the wrong part—a $350 extra a year ago — now only a $250 extra—the tech service people kicked the case to a case manager — they said there was nothing they could do to authorize replacement of the part with a new part—the case manager oscar who I talked to yesterday told me (1) I would have to ship the computer back to hp so they could exam it to be sure it was the wrong part (The part and model number are clearly listed in control panel and can be found on the web) when I argued that I had paid extra for "home service" he said that didn't count. Oscar then said he would have to research to find out if the combo drive I paid for actually existed. I suggested he look at other pavilions in the online store where this is listed as a customized extra. I have not heard back from oscar and I am told by the casemanager line that he is the only one authorized to deal with this problem.
The bottom line: hp works hard to train its support staff to deflect complaints that could cost them money and to not honor warrenty claims or provide the extended service guranteed. Their technical support staff are helpless beyond their "cookbook" manuals. Installing the wrong piece of equipment could be a mistake — although hp doesn't seem willing to admit they make mistakes—or it could be an attempt to defraud the consumer. Without being a computer expert, how would I know I actually got all the customized upgrades and compononent parts that I paid for?
What I have learned: don't get suckered into extended service contracts. Buy components like upgraded sound cards, and disc drives on the open market.
Find out about the reliability and knowledge about tech support before you buy any equipment. I will never buy hp again! It has no intention of standing behind its products or correcting mistakes.