Dealing with Tech Support [My Voodoo, Part 3]

I must confess, ever since I heard that HP had acquired Voodoo PC, I’ve been nervous about things. I’m not a fan of HP — not their printers and especially not their computers — and when they merged with Compaq that was the death knell on my involvement with them. So, yeah, I wasn’t so thrilled when my computer developed a power problem and I realized I had to deal with tech support.

My laptop had been puttering along and I had managed to find some work arounds, but during my trip home it refused to keep going. So, despite my reservations, I knew that I had to deal with tech support because there wasn’t any other way that my baby would get fixed.

I. First time away from home

So I finally got off my lazy butt, picked up the phone and called. Luckily I was early enough, as their tech support finishes at 5pm MST, which would make it 4pm PST and my days were busy enough as it was.

After being on hold, one of the tech support people answered. I told him my problem and he told me he would e-mail me with info on shipping it back. Since it was under warranty it wouldn’t cost me anything, although when I told him I needed it shipped back to Japan he said that I would likely have to foot the cost for that myself. Although I can hardly blame them for that one, as international shipping to Japan costs an arm and a leg.

I waited until I got back into Canada (Voodoo is situated in Calgary) and shipped my laptop via expedited shipping with the cost going to Voodoo. Satisfied that I had done all I could, I settled down to wait for the promise notification of arrival.

II. They go off to college and suddenly don’t call, they don’t write…

Having my UPS tracking number, I checked the status of my laptop as soon as I got to Japan and found out that I didn’t have a confirmation e-mail from Voodoo. The laptop had arrived days ago, a day earlier than the estimated time, even. So, when sending them my updated address I asked for confirmation that they had received it. They had and said that it was in the queue waiting to be processed. So, knowing that these things can take time, I waited.

And waited. And waited. And finally a month after they received it, I sent them another e-mail on February 3 reminding them that it had been a month and impressing upon them the need for my laptop (several of my projects have been put on hold due to lack of the appropriate equipment — namely a laptop that doesn’t freeze at the sight of a graphics intensive program). I didn’t hear anything until the 9th, when I was informed that my laptop was ready to be shipped.

The experience reminded me of what happened when I bought my laptop: nothing, nothing, nothing, I get annoyed and fire off an e-mail, then suddenly I get an e-mail that says everything’s in order and my laptop will be sent to me ASAP. With no mention of the e-mail I had sent out, of course.

Since it’s international shipping, I had to provide my credit card number so that they could charge me for shipping. I requested that they inform me when the laptop has been shipped and provide me with its tracking number. Of course, when I tried to e-mail the information to the same address that it was requested from, the e-mail bounced. Thinking it might be my e-mail, I tried from another address. That bounced as well.

Ultimately, given their track record of taking forever and a day to reply to my e-mail addresses, I co-opted my mom to call their toll free number and get things taken care of. They said that they would be shipping the laptop out on Monday and so I gave them instructions to e-mail me the tracking number then.

Monday came and went with no e-mail. So my Wednesday morning, which was their Tuesday afternoon, I Skyped my mother who then got in touch with them via the phone. Their reason for not having sent me the e-mail? They hadn’t shipped my laptop out yet, despite their assurances that it would be done by Monday.

They then told mom that they would ship it out within the hour and e-mail me. She asked to be put on the CC and gave her e-mail address. Predictably, no e-mail was sent out. Since they were already closed by the time I realized this, I waited until the next day and asked my mom to call them back.

They had shipped it, apparently, but they couldn’t find the tracking number. So, about five minutes later, they found the tracking number, e-mailed me and my mom, but told us that it hadn’t been picked up yet (which says to me that they didn’t do it yesterday when we called, but I can’t be sure).

Now all I had to do was wait and hope that it didn’t cause problems at customs in Japan. Which, of course, there was not (which is more than I can say for my website yesterday… which caused the rest of this post to be eaten… grr). It made it back like 3 days before the estimated arrival time, in fact.

Of course, tech support didn’t bother to tell me — either through my mother by phone or by including a summary of what was done — what went wrong. So I have no idea how to fix it and I have no way of knowing if the problem I had with Windows loading up this morning was related.

III. Conclusion

At this point, I would warn everyone far away from VoodooPC. Apparently if you get good service, it’s pretty good, but what happened to me is a testament to when you get bad service it’s really bad. Before this — like in the very beginning when tech support seemed helpful — I was considering seeing if I could extend my warranty. Now, however, if my computer breaks again I’m going to a local shop. It may be more expensive, but in the end it will be faster and at least they’ll tell me exactly what went wrong and how they fixed it.

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