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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Post # 87 - Hewlett Packard and How They Short You a USB Cable - 2/20/2010

My friend Wendy commented on my note to Phillips (they shorted me a cable and memory card for my digital frame, and said nothing on the box about needing them).  Her complaint was related to the HP printer she purchased.  I sent this note to HP CEO Mark Hurd.

Wendy owns a boutique called Poppy.  There's all kinds of cool stuff on there--clothing, gifts, you name it.  Check it out HERE.
Dear Hewlett Packard,

I’m calling you by your real name because you’re in trouble. You really did it this time. Last week, I was finishing my essay for a $10,000 scholarship. I was racing against the clock—we had a February 15th deadline. Since the entry needed to be postmarked, I needed to make the post office by 5:00. Don’t get judgmental—I’m a college student with 19 credit hours and a 20 hour a week job.

As I printed out my essay, my old printer (worry not--not an HP) made a squealing noise, and started smoking. I extinguished it, hopped in the car, and headed to my local retailer. It was now 4:15 PM.

The fellow at the store recommended the HP Office Jet J4500. I thought it was a bit pricy on a college student’s budget, but felt comfortable with the HP name. I glanced at the box—it looked all-inclusive, so I paid the fellow and raced home.

I unboxed it, plugged it in, and installed the ink cartridges. I placed it close to my computer. My thoughts then went to: “how long of a cord did they give me”. I searched the box. Nothing. I searched the floor around the desk. Nothing. I peaked inside the printer. No USB cable, as thanks for my $150 purchase.

Then I quickly looked at the box—did I miss something? Was there a “USB Cable Not Included” warning on the box? No. Did you automatically assume I had a spare cord? Awfully presumptuous, if so.

I quickly hopped back in the car, went back to the store, dished out $12.99 for a USB cable, and raced home. Now it was 4:45. By the time I connected the J4500 and got it up and running, it was past 5:00. I missed my chance. HP had a big hand in this.

What would possess you to not provide the connection cord necessary to print from my computer? I’m really sorry that I haven’t jumped on the wireless internet bandwagon. Do bean counters dictate everything? Whatever happened to “Make the customer happy?”

I was going to call my essay “Going to College on Top of Cloud Nine” but I think I’ll change it to “Going to College on Top of Cloud Nine, as Long as I Don’t Have to Print Anything Out on My HP J4500, Because They Don’t Provide a USB Cable.

I’d like a written explanation. I’m thinking I might take this thing back, on principle.


Dear Valued Customer,

Your message is important to me. Although I cannot personally respond to your message due to the volume of messages I receive, I often pass along suggestions and observations to my colleagues throughout Hewlett-Packard. If action is required, I'll have someone follow up.

If you need help, other information, or wish to send an e-mail about particular HP products and services, please visit our Contact HP page.


Hewlett-Packard Company

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 2010 16:30:28 +0000
Subject: RE: Feedback to CEO and President Mark Hurd from Jerry

Thank you for writing to HP with your feedback. We value your opinion, and we're grateful that you took the time to share your thoughts with HP. We will be documenting your comments which will be reviewed by HP management.

If there is more you'd like to add, or if there is an unresolved issue, do not hesitate to call the HP Executive Customer Relations office at 800-756-0608, option 7, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time.


CEO Customer Relations
Subject: FW: Feedback to CEO and President Mark Hurd from Jerry
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 2010 23:50:41 -0500
CEO Customer Relations (CCR),

Is this where it ends? A note on some dry erase board in some over-pastried Friday morning executive workshop? Couldn't you have USB cords made pretty inexpensively, and bought in bulk? Isn't that the real answer instead of turning people off?

Why not begin a new era--one where the customer is always first?


Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2010 15:06:57 +0000
Subject: RE: Feedback to CEO and President Mark Hurd from Jerry

USB cables have not been included for a number of years now, and you'll find this to be industry wide. The reason for this is that although some customers still connect their printers to computers with cables, all do not; wireless is fast becoming the norm. Those that do connect the printer to a computer require varying lengths. Having the customer purchase the USB cable to suit their individual need keeps the price down for everyone.


CEO Customer Relations
Subject: FW: Feedback to CEO and President Mark Hurd from Jerry
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2010 19:14:17 -0500

Dear CCR,

You'll probably find disappointed customers industrywide as well. That doesn't make it right. Most people go to garages when they need an oil change, but that doesn't make it right to hose the do-it-yourselfer by making the oil filter impossible to reach with a human hand.

Many toys come without batteries, but the box normally says "Batteries Not Included" so Santa doesn't look like a jerk for giving Timmy a toy he can't play with on Christmas morning.

I guess what I'm saying is, maybe you cut your costs by not including a 4 foot USB cable, and if that keeps you viable, great. But you should slap a warning on the box. For $150, I don't think that's too much to ask.




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