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HP Linux Business

HP Dishonors Warranty If You Load Linux 702

Posted by kdawson
from the caveat-installor dept.
darkonc points us to a writeup on linux.com about a very Linux-unfriendly policy at HP. A woman bought a Compaq laptop and loaded Ubuntu on it. Some time later, still well inside the 1-year hardware warranty, the keyboard started acting up. An HP support rep told her, "Sorry, we do not honor our hardware warranty when you run Linux." Gateway and Dell refused to comment to the reporter on what they would do in a similar situation. (Linux.com and Slashdot are both part of OSTG.)
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HP Dishonors Warranty If You Load Linux

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  • Illegal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:05PM (#18504173)
    What does software have to do with a hardware waranty?
  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by l4m3z0r (799504) <kevin@ubGIRAFFEe ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:08PM (#18504227)

    Gateway and Dell refused to comment to the reporter on what they would do in a similar situation.

    Translation: Gateway and Dell definitely won't honor the warranty and wish to remain free from bad press until they are forced to reveal the truth.

  • Goodbye HP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 19thNervousBreakdown (768619) <davec-slashdotNO@SPAMlepertheory.net> on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:11PM (#18504275) Homepage

    Oh well. Stop buying HP then. Fuck 'em.

    As for your current problem, lie. Double fuck 'em. Tell the support rep you were mistaken, the machine having a keyboard problem has never had Linux. Any Slashdotter should be able to BS through a Windows troubleshooting session, and if they want you to run some app and send results, bite the bullet, tell them you'll have to call back later, backup, load Windows, get your hardware, and restore.

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:13PM (#18504343) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, if you have a fairly open and shut case of hardware failure, then there is no need to tell the person on the other end that you're using Linux. If your machine has to go back to the shop for repair, then slap the "restore" copy of Windows on it (assuming it's not too hosed to even boot off of CD) and send it back more or less the way you got it. If you don't have backups, well, it sucks to be you because most of the times the RMA guys won't save your data either.

    However, if in the process of reinstalling the backup copy of Windows everything starts working again, well, maybe it was a problem with Linux after all.
  • Re:Illegal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iamnafets (828439) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:13PM (#18504347) Homepage
    The solution is pretty simple, use the recovery disks to reload windows along with all those crappy applications that are distributed with your computer and send it in. It's a hassle, but hey...
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:14PM (#18504365) Journal
    If she squawked up the chain, she'd get a new keyboard.

    They have that policy because once some guy installs "random distro", and the wifi, or some other device "stops working", there's no way to troubleshoot that over the phone.

    I wind up with that problem myself. It's hard with linux to know if the hardware has failed, the drivers have a bug, if they're configured incorrectly - or simply don't work at all. Especially when you're talking about that NDIS-wrapper crap.

    I have a machine taht will randomly freeze up X - you can still ssh in, but X freezes. I dunno - is this X, nvidia's drivers, or the card? I dunno. Works fine in windows, so at least I ruled out the last option. I found a thread somewhere pointing to it being a bug. Like I said, I dunno.

    Solution? Have a windows partition, even if it's on an old 3 gig drive - to be able to prove it's hardware that failed.
  • by hobbesmaster (592205) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:14PM (#18504373)
    If your software can break the hardware then your hardware is broken.
  • Re:Illegal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Helvidius (659137) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:15PM (#18504381)

    The only way that I could see where software would void a hardware warranty is if the software in question performed operations that would directly contribute to the hardware failure (e.g. writing to the same sectors of a hard drive, thousands of time). I think the real question is:

    Does the HP warranty explicitly state that installing Linux (or any other operating system) voids the warranty? If it does, then it is unfortunate, but there is not much that she can do. I think the explanation for the action would be very interesting. If she would have somehow legally installed HP-UX, would it have also voided said warranty? Looks like a job for the EFF.

    Of course, that's just my opinion--then again, I could be wrong.

  • by brunascle (994197) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:15PM (#18504383)
    from TFA:

    In order to get warranty service, she was told, she would have to remove Linux and reinstall the original OS.
    so you dont actually lose your warranty, it's just not honored until you reinstall windows. sounds like the tech support people just dont want to have to do their over-the-phone support unless they're working with windows. they should at least let her send the notebook in and swap out the hard drive with a windows-partioned one and test it.
  • by $lingBlade (249591) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:15PM (#18504387)
    Why bother telling them which OS you run if it's anything *other* than what came pre-loaded on the system? If I had a hardware issue, big or small, and I called Tech Support for a place like Dell, HP/Compaq, etc, and they asked what I was running for an OS I'd happily lie to them and tell them it was Windows XP or whatever came pre-loaded.

    It's the same thing dealing with Tech Support idiots in other countries who can't deviate from a script. They ask if I've done X, Y, Z and I gladly pretend as though I'm going through those exact steps until I reach the point in their script where they either need to escalate the issue or issue an RMA or pickup for repairs.

    I'm not saying this lady is an idiot, but come on, have some common sense!!! If you call some PC manufacturer with a hardware issue, and they ask you what OS you're running, tell em' it's all stock. Same with cars. These companies work hard to fuck you out of your money and would love to dismiss your claim for support (however warranted), for any reason they can.

    In short: "...If someone asks you if you're a God, you say YES!!!"
  • Speculation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Puff of Logic (895805) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:15PM (#18504391)
    It's interesting to speculate as to the reason for this odd policy. The keyboard issues cited in TFA are clearly a purely hardware problem, unrelated to software. I've run some fairly iffy code, but I've yet to encounter something that would make my keyboard start sticking (some websites, however...). This policy's genesis would seem to lie in either ignorance or entanglement and I'm genuinely curious as to which one it is. Is it that HP's tech support folks are poorly adept with Linux and therefore officially eschew non-official installs? Or is there some sort of corporate pressure from Microsoft to make it less easy for Joe Blow to run Ubuntu and its ilk?

    Given that HP (again, from TFA) sells laptops with Linux pre-installed, the former seems unlikely. The latter is indeed a fascinating can of worms.
  • Show me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:15PM (#18504401) Homepage Journal
    "Sorry, we do not honor our hardware warranty when you run Linux."


    I would ask the rep to point out where in their warranty this is stated. If it's not in the warranty, they have to honor the request. If they refuse to honor the request, go to your state's Attorney General and file a complaint. After that, post your comments on every blog you can find related to computers. Nothing gets accomplished more quickly than when bad PR is involved.

    As someone higher up said, what does what software one has loaded on your system have to do with malfunctioning hardware?

  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:16PM (#18504417) Journal
    There's a warning in x86config when setting monitor refresh rates that warns you that your choice may destroy your monitor. Granted, thats not a necessary step in a lot of installs, and most people have moved to LCD screens that wouldn't explode, but I think they were thinking of something similar to that. Badly written drivers CAN destroy hardware, in rare cases.

    Or, the higher level software may shorten the lifetime of hardware. Maybe Linux uses the hard disk more than Vista, which leads to higher usage frequency which causes it to reach its MTBF earlier.

    Is it fair, no, not really. I'm sure you could wear out your hardware just even faster with certain applications.

    They can't possible start rejecting the waranty, depending upon3rd party apps installed could they? I'm sure Something like Maya or Blender could put a lot of use on a hard disk, especially on a low end system without much RAM.
  • Re:Illegal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sconeu (64226) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:16PM (#18504431) Homepage Journal
    When you are using unsupported drivers who's to say the driver didn't screw up the hardware.

    Exactly how is an unsupported driver supposed to cause physically sticky keys?
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:19PM (#18504475) Homepage Journal
    Laura Breeden bought a new Compaq Presario C304NR notebook in January. She bought it because she wanted to get rid of Windows and all the malware that surrounds it and move to Linux, and her old laptop lacked the memory and power to run Ubuntu Edgy. The salespeople assured her that the C304NR was "Linux ready." But they didn't tell her that running Linux would void her warranty. - this does not say whether she bought the laptop with MS Windows preinstalled. Not like it matters much, just a question.

    Until recently, she's been happy with it, and with Ubuntu Edgy. But a couple of weeks ago she began having keyboard problems. The keyboard is misbehaving when she begins to type quickly: keys are sticking and the space bar does not always respond when pressed. - they don't build them like they used to.

    When she called Compaq -- the unit comes with a one-year warranty on the hardware -- they asked what operating system she was running. When she told them Linux, they said, "Sorry, we do not honor our hardware warranty when you run Linux." In order to get warranty service, she was told, she would have to remove Linux and reinstall the original OS. - now this is trully evil (thus my question, was MS Windows preinstalled on the laptop? From the CSR it sounds like it was.) In any case what do sticky keys on a keyboard have to do with the OS?

    Laura is not a software engineer, but she failed to see how her choice of operating system could damage the keyboard. Furthermore, there isn't a word about the subject on the Compaq C304NR Web page -- nothing to alert consumers to the fact that if they chose a reliable, secure operating system like Linux instead of Windows, they would lose their rights to service under warranty. - Laura is not a software engineer, but she is at least 10 times smarter than those Compaq representatives, but she is not evil enough.

    She bought the notebook from Best Buy, and they did their best to sell her a maintenance contract ($200 for three years). But since the notebook only cost $549, she thought that was a lot of money to add to the purchase price, and she also thought that she could depend on the Compaq warranty. - or maybe she IS EVIL? What? Not paying for the obligatory extra warranty from Best Buy? Evil I tell you.

    I've been tracking this story for a couple of weeks with a PR rep from Hewlett-Packard Customer Service, who has been trying to "do the right thing" by Laura. There has been some discussion of swapping her unit with an HP notebook which is available with Linux preinstalled, but after a couple of weeks of back and forth, nothing has changed. - normally 'do the right thing' in large corporations means either doing nothing (best case) or doing something trully evil, like suing the customer for their choice of product.

    The PR rep told me, after wading through all the terms and conditions attached to the notebook's warranty, that "it is impossible to anticipate every single issue that a customer can face, so the terms and conditions of warranties can't list every possible scenario. Usually if a customer installs a different OS, it has a big impact on the PC and will void the warranty. - BS. Evil BS. Usually the OS does not do anything intrinsically bad to the hardware it is running, except for using it of-course.

    However, since the OS couldn't have been responsible for keys sticking on a notebook keyboard, I think this is an exception to the rule." She also asserts that Compaq's "warranty terms and conditions are in line with the rest of the industry." - yeah, it is in line with the industry of Evil. Sticking keys on a product must be a new evil way that a customer is trying to undermine the innocent distributor.

    I have a feeling that she is correct about that. Gateway and Dell have both declined to respond to queries about their own warranty coverage in a similar scenario. Tier one manufacturers like Dell and HP are locked up in double-blind secrecy about their marketing deal
  • by oh_my_080980980 (773867) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:20PM (#18504495)
    From the Article:

    "Until recently, she's been happy with it, and with Ubuntu Edgy. But a couple of weeks ago she began having keyboard problems. The keyboard is misbehaving when she begins to type quickly: keys are sticking and the space bar does not always respond when pressed."

    KEYS STICKING. SPACE BAR DOES NOT RESPOND WHEN PRESSED. That's HARDWARE failure not SOFTWARE.

    I sure as hell hope you are not a tech because if you can't read the article and understand the basics of her problem, you are a useless. Learn how to troubleshoot moron.

  • by Yonder Way (603108) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:21PM (#18504517)
    Linux is actually a supported OS on some Thinkpads.

    Vote with your $$$. If HP is screwing you, screw them. Give someone else your money that values your business.
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:22PM (#18504535) Journal
    Unless the whole thing is staged to generate nerd-rage on slashdot.

    What proof is there that this event ever happened? I know that HP is pretty hated around /. and linux.com in general.

    Here's a story: I called novell support, the guy called me a "faggot" and told me to "go fuck myself". I called Apple to order an iPhone and they told me the same thing. They also said the holocaust was a lie! Boycott Apple please.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:23PM (#18504581) Homepage Journal
    So in other words, because HP is dishonest, their customers should be dishonest too? Greeeat. That'll help.

    Here's a radical idea: everyone lives up their obligations. HP sold a laptop with a warranty. The warranty (if I read TFA correctly) says nothing about what OS should be running on the machine. They are obligated, ethically and legally, to fix the machine under that warranty.

    Customers also have an obligation in such situations: when they call tech support, they are obligated (ethically if not legally) to tell the truth. When you call tech support, you're admitting that you have a problem you can't solve yourself; odds are pretty good that you don't know what information is relevant to solving the problem, and so you should answer all the questions they ask you. Of course, you should also be able to answer the questions, without having to worry that you'll lose support as a result ...

    It's absurd to blame the customer in a case like this. She was doing what she was supposed to do; HP wasn't. This sounds like massive lawsuit material, and I hope she gets enough money from them to buy a brand-new laptop (from someone other than HP, probably) every day for the rest of her life.
  • Re:Illegal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eno2001 (527078) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:26PM (#18504643) Homepage Journal
    Yep. That's what I do. I get an extra HD and back up the original factory installation. That way if some dickhead from coporate wants to see a Windows box, he'll see one. Wanna know why this works for Linux users? Because the ONLY time we call support is when the hardware is actually broken. Unlike the Windows dorks who think their systems are broken when it's really a software issue.
  • by JacksBrokenCode (921041) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:28PM (#18504697)

    A keyboard is not an example of such hardware.

    Unfortunately they have a blanket policy stating that certain things must remain as installed in order not to void your warranty. Adding granularity to that policy in order to allow only certain pieces of hardware and (likely) only certain hardware vendors to be covered under the policy, etc. Each of those stipulations is going to require testing to make sure that it is solid enough to be covered by the warranty, etc. Doing this drives up support costs.

    C'mon slashdot, you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you want to install things on your own, accept that bulk etailers are geared for the computer-illiterate masses and your modifications will likely void warranties and support contracts. If you want to modify operating systems or hardware configurations without violating agreements you should purchase your box from a smaller supplier who is geared towards people like you or build it yourself. That will probably be more expensive than buying a cheap Dell, but it's the age-old axiom "you get what you pay for".

    Slashdotters, for the love of god, please stop complaining that after shopping around for the cheapest deal you're not getting top-of-the-line service. This is as annoying as the people who buy all their airfares at the cheapest possible price and then complain that they don't have legroom.

  • by Kamots (321174) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:30PM (#18504727)
    If I replaced the software in my cars computer, and then one of my doors falls off, I'd expect it to be fixed under warranty.

    Now, if I destroyed my seals due to bad ignition timing, then that's arguably my own fault and wouldn't be covered.

    Amazingly, this is how car warranties do work... unauthorized modifications don't void the entire warranty, they just void the coverage on damage that can be linked to your modification.

    Now, IANAL, but it may not be a legally binding clause to state that loading a different OS invalidates the entire hardware warranty. I think there's consumer protection laws that'd require there to be a potential link between the two. Hence, replacing a physically defective keyboard should still be covered.
  • Re:Illegal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wallywam1 (715057) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:33PM (#18504771)
    I'm really curious as to whether this is representative of HP policy or just some tech support person overstepping their bounds. I've never done full-time tech support, but from what I understand there is a great deal of pressure placed on the support people to get the customer off the phone as quickly as possible. The you-installed-Linux-it's-your-fault approach might just have been a ploy.
  • Re:Illegal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:34PM (#18504787) Homepage
    A local IT support company locally called NEXT/IT actually tells customer that linux causes viruses and security holes if it's anywhere in their office. Microsoft tries hard to make sure their partners spread BS FUD like that from the corporate level to the field techs. I find it offensive and inform customers that if a company rep starts spewing things like that then they need to see it as a warning that they are probably lying about other aspects as well.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @02:47PM (#18505079) Homepage

    Nobody has hardware diagnostics any more. It used to be that when you had a hardware problem, you booted the hardware diagnostics disk and ran tests. Better manufacturers provided you with such a disk.

    Today, most of the "PC diagnostic" tools run on Windows, which assumes Windows is 1) installed, and 2) will run. This makes sense, because Windows is most likely to be the defective component.

  • Re:Illegal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @03:02PM (#18505441) Homepage

    When you are using unsupported drivers who's to say the driver didn't screw up the hardware.

    So does it void your warranty if you install an unsupported driver in Windows? And supported by whom? If I have an nvidia card, is the driver from Nvidia "supported"? What about the one from Windows Update? Or is it only the driver HP supplies for me? And what if I install a 3rd party piece of hardware or software which results in installing "unsupported drivers"? What if you tried listening to a Sony audio CD and got a rootkit?

    Until they provide a list of all "supported" software, or all software which voids your warranty, they should just support the hardware. It's a general assumption that people are going replace software, or at least install additional software, after they buy a computer. If manufacturers are going to start denying warranties because of software installed, it sets a dangerous precedent.

  • by kasperd (592156) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @03:06PM (#18505549) Homepage Journal

    There's a warning in x86config when setting monitor refresh rates that warns you that your choice may destroy your monitor.
    That shouldn't be true with modern hardware. Five years ago I got a new CRT (replacement for an old one which was kind enough to die shortly before the end of the warranty). The shop had told me, the new one supported the same frequency ranges as the old one, so I just connected it and started up the computer. Once X started, the monitor went black and showed a message stating the input frequency was outside the supported range. And I guess that kind of protection was pretty much standard at monitors at that time. The monitor didn't break, but of course I returned it anyway, cause I was supposed to get a new one at least as good as the old one. (Apparently the sales people didn't know that 75kHz was less than 85kHz.)

    Badly written drivers CAN destroy hardware, in rare cases.
    No. Badly designed hardware can destroy hardware. If there is any way in which the software can destroy the hardware, it is by definition a latent flaw in the hardware. Yes, a badly designed driver can expose the flaw, but the hardware was already flawed. And yes, sometimes manufactures do produce an entire series of equipment where all of it suffers from the same latent flaw. As long as it is one component destroying itself, it may be reasonable to deal with. It of course gets worse if one piece of hardware has a flaw which causes it to destroy other hardware. (Imagine a flaw in a graphics board that allows a bad driver to drive up the output voltage to the point of breaking the monitor. Luckily that scenario is probably highly unlikely, but I guess high voltage is the most likely thing which isn't trivial for hardware to protect itself against).
  • Re:Illegal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by trianglman (1024223) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @03:18PM (#18505755) Journal
    The thing is, the warranty makes no mention of any software requirements. Its all well and good if they don't want to support Linux (well, imo its wrong, but still legal), but if they don't say "Changing the OS on this system voids the warranty" then what HP/Compaq is doing is fraud. You can't arbitrarily void the warranty. Otherwise they could say, "Oh, you installed Firefox? We only allow you to use IE, your warranty is now void." etc.
  • by HalfOfOne (738150) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @03:19PM (#18505775)
    HP (as a whole) can't hate Linux. I know this because we run HP servers where I work, and their entire Smartstart process for loading the OS onto their servers are Linux driven.

    This is a simple case of a helpless helpdesk for the desktop division not being able to peer above the edges of their box, let alone think outside of it. Nonstandard? Exterminate it. Not our problem. This is true of every level 1 desktop support organization I've ever seen.

    I doubt you'd get the same response from the gold level guys on the server side of things. Actually, IIRC, one of them used a minix variant to troubleshoot a problem I had with an old LC3, since we didn't want to mess with the existing disks or OS partition.

    Is HP as a whole to blame? Yeah, they should get their stuff together. But they're sitting in a field of pariahs at the moment.
  • Re:Illegal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @03:27PM (#18505889) Homepage

    Because the ONLY time we call support is when the hardware is actually broken.


    Are you certain of this? I have been to some LUG's where there were Linux newbies there who were migrating off of Microsoft not because they like Linux, but rather because they hate Microsoft. (I think that this migration is for entirely the wrong reason.) Many of these kinds of users seemed to blame the hardware of their machines, and feel that they could "demand" support for their hardware, even if it was an unsupported platform (Linux).

    The thing is, a serious Linux user will check out the hardware in advance and verify compatibility, and most serious users are knowledgeable in hardware to determine that there are hardware issues. However, newbies are not. You cannot categorically say that all Linux users know their hardware, because I have seen that this is not so. I have seen new users rage against companies like HP, Dell etc. when sometimes they have not bothered to RTFM.

    Likewise, I have been admonished for buying hardware that I knew would not be Linux compatible by other users. My Ati All in Wonder 9800 pro does not work under Linux, but I knew that before I bought it. I think that zealots (which is what some of the newbs I met were) harm Linux for all by actually complaining to the companies for the lack of support for Linux, but by doing it in a non-constructive manner.

    So, I think that EXPERIENCED Linux users know when the hardware is broken, but then they also know to restore the default OS when getting the hardware fixed.
  • Re:Illegal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GuyverDH (232921) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @04:00PM (#18506495)
    Too bad Windows mucks things up in the handholding to the point that it makes everything soooo much slower than it needs to be.

    You don't need to be a techie to figure things out. You just need to be able to figure things out.
  • Re:This is why.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by codemachine (245871) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @04:14PM (#18506785)
    It would seem to make more sense for the vendors to have a LiveCD version of Windows to boot and test with, instead of assuming that you'll never modify your hard drive. For those who actually keep Windows and use it, their setup would hardly be "factory" anyhow.

    If you're going to require an untouched install for warranty, then you'd better be the ones providing it, either via a ROM chip, a LiveCD, or through a seperate recover partition that buyers are instructed not to wipe (or else warranty is void). In which case you should also state the "usable" hard disk space, not the total, when selling the machine.

    Expecting people to not actually write to their hard drive, therefore not using the system at all, is a pretty stupid requirement for hardware warranty anyhow. And is almost certainly illegal in most juristictions.
  • Re:Illegal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zotz (3951) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @04:19PM (#18506829) Homepage Journal
    "From their point of view, they need to have the software in a known state so that they can troubleshoot the hardware."

    Well then, what they need to do is provide a live CD that can test the hardware no matter what state the software is currently in. Once they know the hardware is good, they can give software support or not based on what is on the hardware.

    all the best,

    drew

    http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=zotzbro [youtube.com]
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @04:21PM (#18506873) Homepage Journal
    Too bad.
    If that is an issue then they can include a bootable CD that puts the hardware in a known state without overwriting the hard drive.
    There is no such thing as a none custom software set up. People load software and yes even sometimes malware on a system. There is an assumption with a computer that you will load software on it. If they are going to not offer warranty support if I load a different OS then it is up to HP to clearly state that before I buy a computer from them.
    And let's be honest. From what I have heard about HP/Compaq there tech-support is reload the the restore image and if that doesn't work send it in.
    Don't get me started on what a ripe off HD based restore images are! Yea you have an 100 gigabyte hard drive but X amount is your restore partition because we are too cheap to include a disk.
  • by DimGeo (694000) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @04:49PM (#18507321) Homepage
    ... that which can be explained by incompetence. I doubt the phone jockeys could tell what was going on, they just knew their company only supports Windows. To dodge stupidity, one must learn to hmm... bend reality a little.
  • Re:Illegal? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Syphondex (1067362) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @06:07PM (#18508447)
    just a quick story, I have a Toshiba A100 and recently had the keyboard repaired under warrantee. I run ubuntu 6.10 pure (no dual boot) and sent it in for repair. On the sheet it asked for various details, one being "Windows login name" and "Windows Password" I summarily cross both out, wrote that a Linux Os was installed and gave my login details. Less than 24 hours later i recieved my toshiba back with replaced keyboard, a nice breakdown of what they did. On that repair sheet it stated that the login details i had given them did not work (possibly they couldn't be bothered trying but whatever) and another line saying that they used a different image (i assume they swapped the HDD out). i got it back, without any charges, no BS about linux or that i wasn't using the factory OS. Maybe customer service is a New Zealand thing but i can only give a glowing report of my experience. My guess is that if you went to an HP/Toshiba/Dell authorised repair shop instead of the manufacturer themselves you may get more joy?
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @06:33PM (#18508745) Homepage Journal

    No, they aren't requiring that she use an additional product. They are requiring that she use the operating system that was provided with the machine when she bought it. Your transmission fluid analogy is also faulty. If you used a non-specified transmission fluid in your transmission and there was a problem that could legitimately be related to that transmission fluid, or couldn't be diagnosed with their normal procedures because of the transmission fluid you would be SOL.

    Yes, the operating machine provided with the machine, to which the warranty does not apply. And in the latter case, yes, if there was a problem that could legitimately be related to the transmission fluid, then yes, they could deny you service. That's why transmission fluid conforms to standards; you just pick another fluid that conforms to the same standard.

    If they needed their tranny fluid to do a diagnostic, then they would be responsible for putting it in, because they cannot require that I use it. They can only require that I use a fluid that conforms to proper standards.

  • Re:Illegal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by couchslug (175151) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @07:39PM (#18509445)
    When you get a helpful tech, do ask how to contact their supervisor in order to praise their professionalism. Even if their boss does nothing for them, the praise will help them get through the stress brought on by the more "difficult" customers.

  • by DrCode (95839) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @07:56PM (#18509627)
    Good point, and it might be true of applications too. For example, heavy use of emacs might wear out the 'Esc' and 'Ctrl' keys.
  • Re:Illegal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stephentyrone (664894) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @08:44PM (#18510015)
    That's ok, you're not a real american until you're 18 either.
  • Re:Illegal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Phoobarnvaz (1030274) on Tuesday March 27, 2007 @09:13PM (#18510255)
    The thing is, the warranty makes no mention of any software requirements. Its all well and good if they don't want to support Linux (well, imo its wrong, but still legal), but if they don't say "Changing the OS on this system voids the warranty" then what HP/Compaq is doing is fraud. You can't arbitrarily void the warranty. Otherwise they could say, "Oh, you installed Firefox? We only allow you to use IE, your warranty is now void." etc.

    Used to work for a former major OEM doing phone/online(email) support. Before we would even start doing anything...the first question out of our mouths (taught to us by management) that we can only troubleshoot/support anything under warranty was to ask if there were NOT ANY third party devices or software on the computer. The reason for this is that the company was under no obligation to support a device or software which you bought from someplace else. The third party software & hardware would not be in the configuration or be sold by the OEM. Unless you replace the OS or take off only god knows what hardware/software on there...you'd be shooting yourself in the foot & creating a worse problem. For the most part...the people who wanted free tech support to too cheap to learn anything about how their computer worked in the first place.

    For instance...would you want to take your Chevy car to a Ford dealer to fix the problem of an after-market or even stolen device you had to have installed or installed yourself on the car??? Why should I have spent company time fixing an issue little Johnny caused in the first place by downloading & installing warez or developing a virus.
  • Re:Illegal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dwater (72834) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @12:46AM (#18511571)
    "ship it to us, but back it up first; if we suspect a software problem we reserve the right to return the disk to its original state before returning it, but we'll try not to do that unless it's necessary."

    IIRC, this is what AppleCare say.

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