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Tech Support Nonsense and the Lies Hewlett Packard Tells

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posted on May, 18 2011 @ 09:16 AM
I'm no technowizard but, having been around computers, gadgets, the intarwebs and whatnot for as long as I have, I'm also not a total buffoon (ok, I am but not in this case).

I've had plenty of run ins with tech support folks for products, devices, software etc and they all seem to try the same crap.

I used to be friendly with a guy who worked at AT&T and Microsoft, on the tech support side of things and he was extremely wise when it came to dealing with the tech teams.

I had a problem with a new Dell computer printing to an older HP printer. I called Dell, Dell said it was a Microsoft issue. Microsoft said it was an HP thing and HP, of course, blamed Dell.

I did the telephone dance with the three tech support lines for two days and then, in a fit of frustration, called my friend who said "conference call them all in at once and enjoy the show."

Needless to say, they were not amused when they could no longer blame someone else for the problem but, within 30 minutes, the issue was resolved.

What I learned from this is that the tech teams are told to pass off the problem to someone else, preferably, another company.

I still buy HP printers, for the office, as well as the home and that leads me to the rant.

I picked up one of those new all in one printers that has the eprint feature. What this means is that, once set up, you can print from anywhere. You simply email the page you want printed, to the designated address of your printer, and when you get to the printer, in theory, the pages should be waiting for you. There is, also, the ability to send and receive faxes via this eprint feature.

In theory, it's a brilliant idea. The theory aspect of it is that the setup of this system needs to work so that you can establish the connection and obtain the email address. Setting up the printer is easy although using the touch screen tablet like device, which they call the Zeen, was nowhere near as nice an experience as a touch screen device should be. I'm not going to delve into the many faults of this tablet thing because I didn't buy the printer for the device but, suffice it to say, if I had, I'd be returning it.

So, the last step before finalizing the set up is to set up the eprint feature. The method of doing this is simple. You are asked if you want to set up eprint features, you touch the yes button and you're done.

Or not.

I got a message that said the web services server could not be contacted and I should try again at a later time.

I did this for a day. Never getting through.

I did it again, sporadically, the day after that. Web services could not contact the server.

So, two full days after setting up the printer, I gave up trying and contacted tech support.

The first thing I learned was that the servers were down.

I said to the tech guy "you're telling me that the servers that handle the eprint features are down?"

He said yes, they are and have been for a while.

I said "2 days?"

He said no, not for two days.

Great, because, if they were, that would mean the device was useless. Any company that sells a product that relies on web technology that fails for two days is selling a product that you should not buy.

He agreed.

Then he asked me some routine questions like "do you have internet service?" "is your printer connected to the internet?" and so on.

Turns out, I did everything I was supposed to do. Turns out, the tech guy had no clue how to actually fix a problem, unless I didn't follow the set up correctly.

He put me on hold for 5 minute (or longer) stretches while he went and asked other people for help.

After 45 minutes or so of his doing nothing beyond putting me on hold, coming back, suggesting something already tried and putting me on hold again, he tells me that he is turning this problem over some tech specialist division that handles hard to solve cases. He gave me a reference number and then told me that tech support would contact me, at the number provided, during the time requested, in the next few days.

And the check is in the mail, right?

Nobody contacted me. I decided to do what any good ats'er would do. I scoured the internet for similar issues.

Seems there are quite a few people out there having trouble connecting to this server to set up the system. Seems the servers have, according to HP tech, been down since mid 2010.

It also seems that, even though the servers are down, some folks, with devices that are eprint ready, have managed to get the system connected and up and running. This is impressive, given the fact that they were told, by HP Tech that the servers were, in fact, not available.

So, now I know that tech support is full of beans and they are not up to speed on the various methods of correcting this issue.

Unfortunately, the methods I've seen on the internet are for devices other than mine. I tried the methods to no avail.

So I emailed HP tech. I explained that I have tried everything, that I spent 45 minutes on the phone with tech, that I was lied to and told that the servers were down for several days and that, after a bit of pressing, the tech guy admitted that the servers were not down for several days.

I also explained that I had not yet received a return call from the so called specialist who was going to handle my case.

A few hours later I get an email from HP Tech. First, Max, introduces himself. Then he tells me that....the HP web services servers have been down.

Seriously? I stated that this response was proven to be an outright lie and he goes and repeats it?

Then he gives me some links to the support site, telling me how to set up my printer.

All the things I did when I set up the printer. All the things the first tech guy had me do.

And how does Mr. Crakeur respond to this? It takes a lot of control but, cordially, kindly and direct as hell. I also cc the Board of Directors of Hewlett Packard (I would have cc'd Apotheker and anyone else I could add to the list but I couldn't locate their email addresses) with the hopes that someone there will see that they have an actual problem internally and they will resolve it.

I've been buying HP printers for 20 years. HP purchased palm and now I buy their phones as well. After all these years, you'd think they would treat their customers with a bit more respect.

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 09:46 AM
I feel your pain, being a techie myself. I know it is not an excuse but as you may have noticed the people that answer the phones do not know jack, they are only reading from a script. This is a very difficult situation, because these companies ultimately do not accept any sorts of responsibility. My suggestion is to call them out and be very pointed in your statements, make them put you in contact with upper level management. Again, this is part of the problem, they hide behind this technology to shield them from people and their responsibility. Once they get your money, they no longer care.

Incidents such as this is where people need to forgo their wants and not buy from these companies, simply out of principal. I know one person does not do much but it is a trend that has to start somewhere. Personally, I no longer purchase Lexmark printers for this very reason, support and quality, and they are in my hometown.

I am even beginning to ask companies "Why should I do business with you."

At this point in dealing with a help desk and with your issue building a history, I as a customer would demand and expect adequate support and take this to the very top of the organization. Put them on the spot and make them answer you until you get what you expect.

This is the perfect example of how corporations rule the world, and we must take this self-imposed power away from them.

edit on 18-5-2011 by Skewed because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 09:48 AM
I feel your pain!!

At the same i have worked in many customer service departments and over many different industries, one of them being telco and ISP. One problem i found was that many of the tech support people are outsourced to other countries and sometimes the language barrier becomes an issue although they will never admit to it and it's hard to catch unless you deal with them regularly.

Another problem is that call center and helpdesk roles tend to have a high turnover % of staff and there will always be new people fresh out of training trying to sound confident but really have no clue what your talking about.

Then there is always laziness!! Some people hate their jobs and dont care less about you and your problem and really should not be working in that industry.

I work in that industry because i love helping people and problem solving
but some people do it because they have nothing better to do and jobs are always advertised. I have worked with people that hang up on customers, transfer them back into the queue and worse. It amazes me that they do this job in the first place.

So yup i feel your pain and when it comes to customer service or tech support it almost hit and miss, sometimes you will get a really helpfull and knowledgeable person that actually enjoys their job and really wants to help you but sadly the majority of the time you will get someone that could not care less about your problem and wouldnt know empathy if it smacked them in the face!!

Sorry to add my own little rant, in your rant thread

The problem is that marketing and product dev teams want to launch these new products and features fast but neglect to train their support staff properly. Even know i said the feature is new it's still no excuse for them not knowing how to fix the problem... just want make that clear!!

edit on 18-5-2011 by Havick007 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 09:50 AM
I've had similar experience with HP/Microsoft blaming each other and no one offered to help.

It's an absolute disgrace that a company with SO many resources screws its customers around. Sadly these monstrous companies get more and more power and have to carry less and less responsibility, although they easily have the resources to carry the responsibility (nevermind morals which is something these companies have been missing for decades).

Unfortunately there aren't really "local" businesses you can support in this particular market.

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 09:53 AM
I dont want to add fuel to the fire but (lol) did you google your problem? I have never ever phoned tech support for any issue as they are mostly brain dead.

The only education most of them have on the product is from an A4 sheet and if you go off it you will be on hold for a long time.

The internet is filled with geeks and nerds to which im happy to sayi fit in nicley with the geeks.

When coming across a problem type it into google as if you where as "high as a kite" because most brain dead moments come when stoned and so plenty of people will ask a question in that format. (I do it all the time)

The people that respond to the questions on 3rd party forums are nearly always correct because

A, They have an auctual like for the product
B, They like helping people
C, Because they like to make them selves look smarter than you because they can solve your problem.

I hope this help's.

BTW im B

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 09:55 AM
reply to post by Skewed

agreed and in my email to the tech guy and the board of directors, I pointed out that I was a 20 year customer, I was responsible for all purchasing for my companies and that I found their support to be attrocious.

Within an hour, I received another email from a tech guy who has gone so far as to provide me with the instructions to set up web services that were posted on their forums. This was a post done by another disgruntled customer, not tech support. As I had mentioned, the only "fixes" I could find came from owners of the products, not from the company.

The tech guy said that he was aware that I had tried a version of this (I mentioned that in the email) but he claimed that his method varied slightly and it should work.

So, when I get home this evening, I will give it another shot.

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 10:07 AM
reply to post by michaelmcclen

While this is true, and I have solved many problems this way, but that is not the point.

In my opinion, when a customer makes a purchase from a company, it is the companies responsibility to assist the customer, not push them off and make them do the leg work to solve the problem.

It is just the principal of it.

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 10:25 AM
reply to post by michaelmcclen

I did and that was how I found the workarounds for other devices. Sadly, mine wasn't anywhere to be found but, as I said, the tech guy has responded with something that might work.

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 10:28 AM

Originally posted by Havick007

One problem i found was that many of the tech support people are outsourced to other countries and sometimes the language barrier becomes an issue although they will never admit to it and it's hard to catch unless you deal with them regularly.

I have been having some serious issues with my mortgage company and I am in the process of taking them to court. Every time I tried to make a point with them, their defense was always "its our policy". It finally pissed me off to no end and I told them to stick their policy, and informed them that a policy is not a law, which corporations tend to use them as such.

So, in one aspect I ended up making my own policy. It seemed to have worked for one problem. I was having problems with the language barrier. I wrote a letter to the CEO informing him of my new policy that I would no longer accept or speak with someone who did not speak good English. The guide to go by that I told them that I will use is that if I must ask the person to repeat themselves, then I am talking to an unacceptable representative. In this instance it did work and I always seem to now deal with someone I can understand.

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 10:33 AM

Originally posted by Havick007
One problem i found was that many of the tech support people are outsourced to other countries and sometimes the language barrier becomes an issue although they will never admit to it and it's hard to catch unless you deal with them regularly.

I had saved a 20 page long email chain between myself and a customer service rep for amazon from several years ago but, sadly, an old pc fried and it was lost.

My wife had ordered her entire xmas shopping list from amazon and, since she needed to get everything delivered for the weekend, she paid for 2 day shipping. It was a big order so the 2 day shipping was pretty pricey.

Anyway, the package arrived several days later than expected, resulting in my wife needing to go out and purchase everything she could find, resulting in all kinds of issues. Since she had used my amazon account, I emailed customer service and the first few pages were a frightening back and forth arguinng over the definition of 2 day priority, work days, and other such wonderful english language definitions. I was dealing with someone from India and it was clear that their proper english, and our bastardized version of the language, were not meshing. All I wanted was a refund of the shipping and, in the end, after cc'ing some executives in the chain, so they could see the insanity, we got a response from someone claiming to be from Bezos' office. They gave us several hundred dollars worth of coupons and credits.

Worked out well in the end but the argument over the english language was hysterical and frightening.

I am all for hiring people willing and able to do a job but, unfortunately, there are certain times when those folks are not best suited for the work. If someone needs to spend the better part of their day talking to US citizens, they should be well versed in our version of english, complete with slang, expressions etc.

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 10:34 AM
reply to post by Skewed

Yeah and it's true no matter what industry you deal with. Although i do understand for business it is cost effective to outsource to other countries, it gives the company a bad name in many cases because they lose a certain amount of control over quality assurance.

I raised this with one of our state managers and his response was that ''overall surveys and call monitoring showed that customers did not mind speaking to overseas operators''

I told him they were listening to wrong calls and asking the wrong people, because every customer whether it was consumer or business we spoke hated speaking to outsourced companies and felt more confident speaking to someone in Australia ( in my case as i am Australian )

He didnt have much to say to that, the exec's have selective hearing and observation when it comes to customer satisfaction surveys etc...
edit on 18-5-2011 by Havick007 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 10:43 AM
reply to post by Crakeur

oooh yeah some of the conversations i have had are fustrating to say the least!

Even calling my own telco company that i worked for, on a weekend to change my account as i could not access or modify my own account for obvious reasons and dealing with the phillipines in this case, i would explain what i needed done to my account or products and doing it in the easiest way possible as an employee knowing the systems and process' etc they still couldnt undertsand what i wanted or would put me on hold for 10 minutes+

Knowing in one case that it would have taken less than 5 minutes to submit the order or modification to my line or service.

Then i imagined a customer trying to explain in a less clear way with no knowledge of the systems or product definitions etc. I tried to raise it with my manager but nothing ever changes because the company is saving $$PA

At least in the end you knew who to email and found someone that could actually help and the credits and vouchers are always a bonus but it doesnt make up for the delay and error's in the order. It's problems like that that loses existing customer's and makes new customers less profitable in the long run.

edit on 18-5-2011 by Havick007 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 10:46 AM
reply to post by Havick007

Which is why we need to find a way to rip the rug right out from under their feet.

Maybe then they will straighten up. I just wish that when I stopped doing business with Lexmark, they went bankrupt, unfortunately, I did not buy enough printers from them to really hurt much, they probably fired one more person to make up for it.

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 11:01 AM
One big issue is that there is way too much emphasis put on "customer service" in first level helpdesks, which is translated to mean saying the right thing at the right time. Technical knowledge of the supported product generally isn't considered necessary.
Training and call monitoring in technical first level helpdesks is all about correct call structure. You must sound "professional", I've never seen call monitoring actually award "score" to an "agent" when they provide the correct technical solution to resolve a particular technical issue. I have seen "score" detracted when an agent says "bye, bye" at the end of a call.
Typically, from what I have seen in my working life, this "score" goes towards determining an "agents" bonus or pay rise (or whether they'll get any). There are other metrics which are part of the "score": average call time, number of calls taken and availability. Technical proficiency is generally not "scored" at all, or if it is, it's the least important with most certainly the lowest percentages attached.

So, when you call a technical helpdesk, the "agent" isn't trained to "help" you, they are trained to "deal" with you. They get nothing for fixing your issue, they get their incentives by using the right phrases at the right time during the call and often by how many calls they can squeeze into the day. Technical helpdesks are all about managing call volumes and not about providing technical assistance.

This may have appeared to be a rant, but it's not. I'm just relating what I know. And I do know.

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 11:04 AM
Maybe after this thread has run its course, it can be sent to the CEOs of all the biggest corporations.

Not that it will do any good, but at least we can say "we told you".

posted on May, 18 2011 @ 12:18 PM
reply to post by Recouper

I've found this to be true and, those rare moments when you get someone on the line who actually wants to help are a total shock to the system.

Years ago I had an issue with dell and I was crazy busy and I didn't want to call my dad's cousin who was a high up at Dell (did once and got a PC overnighted) to expedite anything, just wanted to resolve the issue I was having. The tech guy was incredibly patient and then his shift ended and I was still going thru whatever process it was that he wanted me to do. Since it was going to take a while, he said he'd go home, grab some grub and call me from home to finish the job. I had him call me collect and then, when it was over, I told him I wanted to send him a bottle of whatever he like to drink to help erase the memories of dealing with people like me.

He refused to give me the address.

posted on May, 20 2011 @ 09:31 AM
Thought I'd update the rant as I am now convinced that I am smarter than the tech gurus at HP.

I received several emails from HP tech on the day I posted the original rant. They gave me a littany of suggestions regarding a resolution and, over the course of the week, I tried them all.

Well, sort of. See, my printer has a device called a Zeen on it. This is a tabelt of sorts. Android based, I think, and it sucks. It's a touch screen that is difficult to use and annoying as hell but, thankfully, I have no need for the tablet, other than to view pictures to print so I'm not too bothered by the thing. Anyway, many of the suggestions tech made were directing me to the control panel on the printer. There is no control panel on the printer, just this pointless zeen thing.

Last night I decided to give the various suggestions another run thru, see if I missed anything. Nothing worked and I was getting ready to throw the printer out the window when I decided to try something strange. Both the zeen and the printer link up to the internet wirelessly. The zeen and the printer, two ip addresses for two devices and everything is done via the zeen, not the printer. The zeen basically controls the printer.

so I took the zeen offline. no internet connect.

went to the web services section, enabled it by pushing a button on the zeen and it worked.

just like that.

when I got to the office this morning there was a voice mail from some tech guy at hp. Very nice, saying he heard about my issues, saw the email explaining my disgust with the process and the support thus far and said he wanted to make sure we got everything running by the end of the week.

Can't wait for him to call back.

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