Letter to @HPSupport re: My HP Envy 15 Battery Odyssey


Unfortunately, no matter how many times I try sending my email to Jeff after his kind offer to try to help, he isn’t receiving it.  I didn’t want to just flame HP on my blog. I’d rather assume that this is a one-time SNAFU. However, I’m posting this here so that Jeff can read it!


Hi, Jeff.  I appreciate your offer to look into my issue.  I’d call it a classic customer service screw up, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

I own an HP Envy 15 laptop that truly may be the greatest thing since sliced bread. I loaded it up with just about every option so that I have a massively powerful machine. It cost me almost $4000.  This machine *is* my office; I own my own small consulting firm, specializing in collaboration and Microsoft SharePoint.  I’ve had the Envy since February and I love it.  See my blog post which talks about how much I like it. I know for a fact that HP has sold quite a few laptops based on my recommendations.

The “slice” battery is not as great. It’s fully functional, but it often falls off the laptop when I move it, requiring me to reattach it and relock using the sliding latches. It’s the one badly designed piece of what is otherwise a beautiful design, so I’ve let it slide (literally, unfortunately). *Many* other people have problems with it, as you’ll find if you read through posts on The Next Bench, the site I found a while back that HP runs for Envy owners, among others.  It can even cause the laptop to freeze up or shut down then the battery detaches.

So, what happened to me that was this customer service problem? The little latch on the slice battery broke so that I couldn’t attach it to the laptop securely.  It’s probably a $.05 piece of plastic at best, but without it working, the battery detaches even more easily, which is clearly a problem.  Here’s what the latch looks like attached (on the top) and broken (on the bottom).

Back Camera Back Camera

The battery actually still works just fine; it just won’t stay on the laptop.  No big deal, I figured, the whole kit is still under warranty, so I fired off an email to HP Support.  Now I’m not at all prejudiced or averse to outsourcing, but the replies that came back from the people in India on this were a) not at all helpful, b) grossly uninformed, and c) grammatically horrible. No matter what I told them, as politely as I could, they had no idea what I was talking about. Their only answer was to send the entire laptop in for repair, which would take 2-3 weeks. Now remember, this machine *is* my office, and it’s working absolutely fine. (I’m typing this on it.)  I can’t just send it off for some indeterminate time when there is nothing wrong with it.

So the next emailed suggestion was to call HP Support.  So I did. Right back to India.  After navigating the unintelligible phone tree, I finally got a person on the phone…who told me that I had called the wrong person.  And that he couldn’t transfer me.  So back to the phone tree a second time, and I got the “wrong” person again.  I was answering the questions based on what *I* knew.  That’s all I *could* do.  So this guy at least was willing to transfer me to the “right” guy. After a few minutes of hold music, I got on the line with the “right” person…who told me that the first person was the right person, and I would have to go back to them.  This time the hold music was over 15 minutes (I timed it) because he couldn’t jump me in the queue.  Back to the first guy (well, not the first guy, but you can tell where I was) who told me he couldn’t help me.  *He* transferred me to a very nice woman in the States, who clearly was going to take this bull by the horns and help me out.  So far I’ve sunk well over an hour of my time into this, at the very least. Keep in mind that this is a battery that costs $135 on your site right now. At this point, I’m losing money versus my billing rate.  But wait, there’s more…

The very nice woman in Texas (I think) managed, through hook or crook, to set me up with a return for *just* the battery, which is the only thing which is broken.  HP would send me packaging materials, I would send the battery in, and after 1-2 weeks of “diagnosis” (she knew as much as I did how stupid that sounded) they would either send me a new one or repair the broken latch.  This whole process took another 45 minutes or so, as she tried to put many square pegs into round holes on her end.  When I asked if HP could just send me a new battery and *then* I could send in my broken one, she just laughed. Not at me, but at the ridiculousness of it all. She and I discussed the fact that this is what any normal customer-focused company would do, but no.

So, a few days later, the packaging arrived.  There was nothing in the box which contained any of the information I had already given to at least 5 or 6 people, just a blank form asking me to describe the problem. Believe me, I looked for something else. Nada.  I figured that someone on the other end would be matching it up with the actual file on the HP end.  The form as I filled it out is attached, Exhibit A.


So I sent the battery in, dropping it off at Fedex on July 7th, I think.

In the meantime, I didn’t feel that I could live without the battery, so I placed an order for a new one.  Yup, $135+.  I figured I could return it after I got my “real” one back. No big deal.

On July 15 or 16, I received a box back that I assumed contained my fixed or replaced battery back.  I didn’t open it for a few days because I had a working battery and I was fine.  When I finally did open it, the battery was in there all right: still broken, with a note that says:

Dear Valued Hewlett-Packard Customer:

Hewlett-Packard does not service this product.

For this reason, we are returning your product to you.

We regret any inconvenience this may cause you.

Information regarding current products is available on the world wide Web at www.hp.com.


Hewlett-Packard Service Center.


So now I’m right back where I started, except that I’ve spent $135+ on a new battery and I feel shafted. I don’t want to dive back into the phone tree mess or the email black hole, so I thought I’d try Twitter. At least you replied without saying “No” at the start.  I know this is a longer story than you wanted to hear, but it shows what can go horribly awry when a big company loses focus on the customer. Yes, I’m just one guy with one laptop. But if HP treats many of us like this, it’s going to be a problem for the bottom line.  All I wanted was to get my battery, which is under warranty for crike’s sakes, fixed.

Can you help me?

Thanks a million,