Monday, 30 November 2020

HP Pavilion Laptop Review - Noisy Fan and Indifferent Support

In March 2018 we bought what would be our third HP Pavilion laptop from Currys PC World, despite the fact that the previous one, purchased only three years prior, was already developing hard drive problems.

Within only a few weeks it started making a significant whirring noise, which at first we couldn't decide was coming from the hard drive or the fan. Here's the sound, for your delectation:

We took it back to Currys PC World who told us it was too late to exchange and that it would have to go back to the manufacturer for over a week (if we were lucky). My wife's a writer and, as she'd already begun her next novel and also needed to keep engaged with her significant social media base, couldn't afford to be without what was essentially the means to earn her livelihood.

We decided to put up with the noise for the time being, which subesquently became much louder and even more distracting for writing. There followed a hugely frustrating period of trying to find contact numbers for the right people, having conversations about 'fit for purpose' regarding our consumer rights and a complete failure on HP's part to escalate our concerns.

HP Twitter 'Support' (and I use the term loosely) referred us to their regional team, who got in touch to say they didn't provide email support and to call the technical helpdesk or chat support. When I went back to the Twitter team to say that path had got us nowhere, I was told they'd take it up with the regional office again, who should respond within 4 days. When they didn't, there was more back and forth with numerous cut'n'paste repsonses and three more lots of four days waiting, with no contact.

At this point I insisted on talking to someone in Customer Relations but was instead contacted by the technical team, who told me I couldn't talk to CR because they were already aware and had delegated back to them to make the call - only to repeat that we would be without a laptop during repair. Back to the Twitter team who said they couldn't override the decision and to continue to 'work with' our local support team.

I then received a call from the UK and Ireland office, who emailed me for more info and said they looked forward to a reply, which I sent (copying Dion Weisler, HP's CEO) - only to receive a message that the mailbox was unmonitored! Unsurprisingly, nothing from the CEO either. Over four months had passed at this point.

Both my wife and I were by then so incensed with the lack of ownership of the problem that we began venting our dissatisfaction on open Twitter and taking to forums, where we discovered that many people were experiencing the same issue - just Google 'HP fan noise' and it's now a widely recognised design fault, which HP have always denied. We've since exacted some revenge by warning people off buying HP Pavilions. You know what they say: "If someone has a good experience, they might tell a few people - but if they have a bad one, they'll tell everyone". 

Eventually we just bit the bullet until I decided to take a peek inside the laptop for myself, where I discovered it was the vibration against the mounting of the fan that caused the noise - which would stop when you held the working fan in your hand. No attempt to buffer it with rubber or padded tape resolved it.

So there we are. Apart from never buying an HP product again (and we've also had printers), all we can hope for is that we might inflict some pain back on HP by discouraging others from buying their laptops.


Update 11 Dec '20: HP got in touch from their France HQ but, while I got lots of 'Thanks for feedback', 'We'll learn from this' and 'there was clearly miscommunication in the early stages' they did or said nothing by way of amends. In fact they batted the blame back on Currys PC World for not fulfilling their obligations by looking at the laptop instore, which contradicted another part of the conversation where they said it was still on one year warranty to the 3rd party retailer at the time, and also explains why Currys may not have wanted to invalidate that warranty by opening it up. HP did apologise though, even acknowledging we were 'loyal' customers, completely missing the point that they've alienated us.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Your 'Man on the Ground' in London

Q: What do you do if you have important business to conduct in London and can't be there in person?

Q: Who could you trust to represent you without compromising confidentiality?

A: Me

Let me be your stand-in.  Visit Your London Proxy.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Will YOU Be Silenced?

A lot has been written about Julian Assange, so I’m not going into his back story - we've got Google for that.

Suffice it to say, he's either loved or loathed.

But the thing I feel passionately about - and which should unite people on all sides of the debates, political, legal or otherwise - is that he’s being deprived of liberties the rest of us are free to enjoy every day.

We live in an age where social media is fast overtaking main stream media ('MSM') as the ‘Go To’ place to get a sense of the world. It not only connects us to friends and family, wherever they may be, but also gives us a voice to express our thoughts on matters we feel strongly about - and even influence the outcomes.

And being electronic, the Powers That Be can silence anyone almost at the flick of a switch.

Which is exactly what they’ve done to Julian - a prominent spokesperson in these turbulent times. Whether you agree with his views or not, he provides an important balance to help shape your own opinions while we're all trying to distinguish between what is or isn't fake news.

And, if it can happen to him - and you don’t speak up to defend what should be everyone’s right to be heard - then we’ll all sleepwalk into an Orwellian nightmare.

This should matter to you.

Will YOU be silenced?

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Mortgage Prisoners - Let Battle Commence!

The banks were saying "You can't afford to pay less"!!!
THIS WAS WRITTEN 31 JULY 2018, before Panorama exposed the Cerburus scandal - but ANYONE who feels they were unfairly put on SVR and denied a better rate should put pressure on the banks and regulators.

* * * *

So, after dragging their heels for years, with the FCA (the cornerstone of 'Fairness' purportedly) having proved themselves utterly toothless, the banks are finally going to be writing to mortgage borrowers stuck on high interest rates (typically SVR) before the end of the year to offer them a better deal ... still in no hurry, then ...
I've previously blogged here (with links to earlier posts) about their appalling exploitation of borrowers who were already struggling and more recently I've contributed to the Facebook group 'Mortgage Prisoners UK' - people trapped in unfair deals for any number of reasons.

There are all sorts of excuses the banks have used to try to justify applying higher rates but, given that FCA was usually way behind the ball or at best woolly in its guidance, they got away with it by hiding behind the biggest smokescreen of all - that they couldn't disclose the reasons for their lending decisions because they were "commercially sensitive" - which gave borrowers seeking to complain to the Ombudsman (FOS) no grounds to contest. In the meantime they continued to conveniently misinterpret, ignore or straight out disregard the spirit of the guidance provided and the plight of those they knew they had over a barrel.

Well at last, and largely due to Money Saving Expert's relentless efforts to raise the profile of this issue, we have some sort of tenet admission by the industry that things need to change, but the battle's not even half won. Many of those in the Facebook group - possibly the majority - had their Northern Rock loans taken over by the likes of Landmark / Whistletree, who are likely to slip through the net again because they were companies formed specifically to take over NRAM's loan book, are unregulated and failed to offer new products.  Can you imagine having been a Northern Rock borrower and having the decision about who your new provider would be taken away from you, therefore leaving you exposed to being held to ransom?

And that's still not where it ends - people were put on SVR for many other reasons, including arrears resulting from a change in income.  Suddenly they were a higher risk, so they were put on a higher rate at the next anniversary of their loan - despite the guidance saying that affordability checks shouldn't be applied to existing loans.  And, when they were back in the black, banks like Santander KEPT them on the higher rate for an additional year, to prove they could afford to go back to a lower one!

This is in my view the biggest scandal since PPI mis-selling ... and it's gonna run and run a while yet because nothing has been done to address retrospective complaints made to FOS, who are refusing to re-open those cases because they were ruled on at the time.  Well, if PPI claims could be backdated, and we're receiving clear signals from this most recent announcement that the banks are trying to address their impropriety, affected borrowers should be reimbursed for the difference between what they were asked to pay and any cheaper options that should have been made available to them at the time.

I urge any mortgage prisoners to make as much noise as you can to be compensated for the financial and emotional stress you've been subjected to as a result of this issue.

Thanks also to news organisations who have picked up on this - several of whom who have representatives posting on the Facebook page seeking personal stories to feature in articles. Get yours heard!

Please feel free to comment below - comments are moderated prior to being posted.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

The War on Diesel

We own a diesel car - we were encouraged to do so by Government-sponsored incentives like road tax concessions and cheaper fuel at the time, along with being rewarded by the warm fuzzy glow we felt for doing our bit to achieve the lower carbon emission levels Gordon Brown was so keen to meet at the time.

I'm sure a few politicians might also have benefited from being given the nod in their gentleman's club to invest in this sector of the motoring industry before these measures came into force.

Then we started hearing about 'particulates' and 'nitrogen oxides' and now we're being treated like the lepers of the road, with Sadiq Khan (London's Mayor) seeking to penalise us further by extending the Congestion Charge Zone to the North and South Circular roads - in my view, a completely unworkable scheme that would see me paying over £20 just to drive from my home in Putney to Putney High Street, which is just the other side of the A205 but in the same borough.

So now we have a perfectly functional, low mileage and fuel-efficient vehicle (we still burn way less fossil fuel than petrol*) that is being rendered worthless - with no apology or compensation from the Government for their reckless misguidance.
 * maybe that's the problem for the Government - declining tax revenue from volume vs petrol

So, where do we head from here? Back to petrol, and the original issues with emissions, or maybe line a few more pockets of the Old Boy Network now promoting electric? Which brings me to these:

A visual pollutant hitting our streets in droves, I hate them. They have "Folly" written all over them. However, as they profess to deliver 100% renewable energy, I don't loathe them quite as much as the concept of charging your car from your home electricity supply - I simply don't understand how it makes it OK to increase our reliance on fossil fuels - which apparently were dwindling long before this fiasco - simply by burning them before delivering the resultant power to your car by way of a cable in place of the liquid form you used to store in your tank.

And, lastly, I despair at the environmental damage of seeing our car consigned to the scrap heap before its anticipated lifespan. I see enough still useful but outdated consumer products being chucked into skips and municipal dumps, with no thought of who they might be useful to (the poor? charities?), without seeing whole vehicles taking up landfill.