If there is one site on the Internet that I both respect and hate at the same time it’s Consumerist.com. On one hand they give customers some pull in fighting consumer issues and on the other they post stories that damage reputations without actually researching the complaint!
“Randy tried to get new O and P keys for his HP laptop. The outsourced, English-is-not-his-first-language, customer service rep won’t sell or send him the keys and instead insists that Randy sit in for a $298 repair. Blithely indifferent to Randy’s increasing incredulity and rage, the customer service rep suggests that for that amount of money, Randy should just buy a new laptop for $400. That’s right, a new laptop because two of the keys are bad. The ridiculous chat transcript, inside…”
They then posted the transcript of the online chat that “Randy” (the Tipper) had with HP support.
So what’s wrong with this scenario? Well here’s the thing: the Consumerist doesn’t research their stories! They get their stories from these anonymous tippers and post the stories on their site without contacting the company being accused for their side of the story. I’m sorry but that’s just bad reporting.
But then again, no one can claim that the Consumerist has ever been about upholding journalistic integrity. It’s just a site where you can rage against “the corporations” that apparently do nothing but screw everyone around us (even though, you know, they employ thousand and give use the products that we consume and love). And don’t you dare disagree with a Consumerist story, as soon as you post a comment even slightly critical of the Tipper or of the site you get banned. Permanently.
So what should the Consumerist have done with this story? Well for starters they should have researched the nature of the replacement keyboard that the Tipper requires. They would have soon realized that the “English-is-not-his-first-language” tech support guy was right: you can’t just mail replacement keys for this specific keyboard, the entire thing needs to be replaced. That’s just the DESIGN!
Secondly, I agree that $298 is ridiculous for a keyboard repair when you can buy the keyboard itself for $25 (here) and then go down to your local Best Buy and have them install it for you for about $40. Or just do it yourself, it’s not hard. But what gets me about the Tippers attitude is this: He claims that he’s got warranty but he never offers to fax over his receipt! That’s all he has to do, fax over his proof of purchase. HP would take a look, apologize, correct their records, and replace the keyboard for no charge.
Consumerist should have called HP, got the full story and then worked with the Tipper to resolve the issue. Instead they hurriedly post another one-sided story (from a Tipper who sounds like a douche) that’s guaranteed to gain traffic and agreeable comments from the tech-illiterates that populate their comment section.
Sorry for the rant but websites like Consumerist just piss me off.