Because I’m such a huge fan boy of all things Palm since day one, I was ecstatic when the TouchPad was finally announced at CES this past February.
After watching updates on my Pre about the release of the new device (because I had a doctor’s appointment–if I didn’t, I thought about flying out for the announcements from HP), and waiting (rather patiently) for the announcement as to when the thing would finally be released (FIVE MONTHS LATER), finally the day arrived for me to pre-order my very own 32 MB TouchPad.
Now, when I say I waited patiently for ANY announcement, my wife and friends would probably disagree. I suppose I talked (and tweeted) about it on most days. When I wasn’t, I surely was thinking about it all the time and looking for any news I could get my hands on about the TouchPad (and other webOS products). So, when it was finally announced that pre-orders would be taking place in the following 3 weeks.
I had been trying to figure out where I would purchase it for pre-order and after reading EVERYTHING, I decided that purchasing it directly from HP should probably be my best bet. Especially since I started to receive emails and even a telephone call from one of their small business reps named Thomas Leake. He seemed like a genuinely knowledgeable HP employee, and by purchasing from him, I would hope to build a bit of a rapport and quite possibly receive my TouchPad a few (or a couple) of days prior to its July 1st launch date. Placed my order and asked about all the accessories. Heninformednme that they wouldn’t be available until the 15th, so I decided not to order those from him.
Leading to the release date, I would check the HP website for any sign of shipment. Well, no such luck. Until Friday, July 1st when the website sent me an email to notify me that day’s pending shipment.
Okay, well… I wasn’t really thinking I’d get it before the release date, more like hoping to get it a few (or a couple) of days in advance of the official release date, but at the very least ON the official release date. Why wouldn’t I? They were HP; the manufacturers! Not some retailer who also had to wait for their own shipments from HP.
So, needless to say, I decided to call HP and ask them if it was really shipping that day and if it hadn’t already shipped to please cancel my order. At that time, it was confirmed that the item did not, in fact, ship out yet, but they could not cancel the order since the tracking number had already been assigned. After I threatened to refuse shipment, and cancel the charges on my card, I asked to speak to a supervisor and was denied the opportunity. In addition, after telling the man on the telephone that I just wanted to purchase it locally so that I had it on its official release day, he told me that none of the stores had them yet either. I would take my chances.
The first place I went into, Costco, did not have them on their shelves, but when I went to the pick-up counter, I saw the female employee talking to another employee about the TouchPad while holding one up. I said, “THAT’S what I want!” I went to the cashier, purchased it (FOR $20.00 LESS THAN HP ALREADY SOLD ME ONE FOR), and told the female employee all about it and recommended it to her to purchase for her granddaughter’s graduation.
As you can imagine, I was starting to boil. I had my brand-new TouchPad in my hand, purchased from a local retailer on the day of the official release, and for $20 less than I could purchase it from HP for. In addition, that evening, I heard about the promotion of the TP bundle from The Home Shopping Network and started to regret not purchasing it from them (even though I would’ve had to wait another day or so).
I was starting to think about what I would do with my other new TP expected to arrive FIVE DAYS AFTER THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH (because of the 4th of July holiday weekend) and figured, not to worry about it, HP would understand and gladly accept the item back.
Now here’s, where I start to really boil. Through many of the online webOS boards, and Twitter, I found out that most of the people who purchased the 16MB TouchPad model were automatically upgraded to a 32MB model for free because HP lacked inventory of the 16MB model. Customers actually paid $100 less to HP for the same model I purchased from HP! Again, surely HP would take care of me…
When the TouchPad I ordered directly from HP finally arrived on Tuesday, July 5th, I decided to call HP and asked them what I should do.
Now in the months leading up to this release, I was hoping that eventually I could upgrade my entire company’s sales staff (5 others) with new TouchPads to use at the office and ultimately replace all desktop systems, so I wasn’t too worried about having to keep a second TouchPad if need be. Especially since I was sure that I’d be able to get it for $80 (with Costco discount) less than the one I had already purchased.
When I called customer service to discuss my return (or discount), Marco Naranjo answered and seemed polite and knowledgeable enough for what I was about to present. I told him that I wanted to return the TP I just received from HP and wanted him to issue a return back onto my credit card. I told him I had purchased one on the day of release (at a discount) and also told him that I heard that there were many people who purchased the same model as I did received it for $100 less than I paid for it through HP. If he would give me the same deal, I would consider keeping the unit to save the headache of a return.
He refused, but after asking a ‘supervisor’, he would be able to give me a $50 discount. Now, why would I pay $549.00 for something someone else paid $499.00 for? You don’t need to be a business person to realize that didn’t make any sense. He got back on the phone and said that he could give me a $55.00 credit. Are you kidding me? Then, once again, he came back and told me he was authorized to give me $75.00 off the machine. I asked him if that made any sense to him.
I told him I was a big Palm fanatic and had been a loyal customer since the beginning (one of my recent tweets: Me:Leather organizer-1985 > Casio > Palm5000-1996 > PacBell cel > PalmIII > PalmV > PalmVx > Treo90-2002 > Treo180 > 300 > 650 > 700p > 755p > Pre > TP). I also told him I was a HP shareholder.
None of that really mattered to him, so I, again, asked to speak to a supervisor. He then asked what I would like to speak with them about and asked him if he was kidding. Really? You don’t know whatni want to speak with them about? Again, refusing to get me a supervisor to speak with, he said, okay, if you want to return it, I’ll need to charge you $15 to return it. BOILING!
I guess he came to his senses, because after another few minutes on hold, he came back and told me he would waive the $15 fee. What a guy!
Really HP? Uou would rather have a loyal customer like me RETURN a new TouchPad then give me the discount you gave everyone else and sell two?
I even got an email from Marco confirming our conversation and thanking me for the call and offering a 15% discount off accessories. That aren’t even available yet! Terrible!
I’m still debating if I should write a review of the TouchPad! It would probably include things like advertising Kindle when it isn’t even available yet. Or the Music store? Or thenediting of documents tht does not even exist yet!? Or their Pivot magazine with MONTHY updates (we’re in the 21st Century! How about daily or weekly?)
There were many comments (and some flames) after posting this to Precentral. Have a look, or comment yourself HERE.