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Got Some Stupid Tech Support Stories?

Most of us have had the experience of calling tech support at some point. We would like to think that the person on the other end of the phone knows what they are doing. Many times they do. But, not always. My most recent experience was with HP.

My Story with HP

Several months back, I picked up an HP Color Laserjet 2600n for the office. Nice printer. Gets the job done. Except for the fact that mine had an annoying issue. Whenever I printed something in color, anything with blue in it (the color blue, purple, and various other shades) lost color for about a one inch gap vertically all the way up the sheet of paper, starting about an inch from the right side of the page. In other words, for one inch of the page, the blue toner simply does not function. The printer is under warranty. So, I call HP.

irst call was mostly as expected. I talk with the nice lady who takes down the details, gives me a case number, then passes me onto some Indian guy for some real help. The Indian guy is obviously working through a pre-written troubleshooting flow chart. He guides me through some diagnostic tests with the printer, etc etc. In the end, he blames the printer. He says the printer is causing the toner not to be properly applied to that area of the page. I would have thought the toner was the more likely issue, but I went with it. Especially because HP offered to send me a replacement printer via Fedex at no charge. They would even pay for the return shipping of my original printer back to them. I had to secure it with a credit card to make sure I didn’t keep the new printer, but that’s fine.

Then the fun part began. First printer is on its way and gets “delivered”. Well, at least that’s what Fedex says. Problem is, I have no printer and HP did not require signature confirmation. So, Fedex says “we delivered it” and I call HP and said “I ain’t got no printer, dude.” So, they take it up with Fedex and, in the meantime, send me printer #2. Printer #2 DOES arrive. Much to my dismay, however, the printer is smashed. The front cover hinge is broken and the paper tray underneath the unit is in a few pieces. At this point, I’m more frustrated with Fedex. Can’t those ass hats deliver a damn printer correctly?! So, I call HP and tell them the SECOND printer arrived in bits and pieces. They tell me to email them pictures of the damage and send it back and they will overnight a THIRD printer to me. At this point, I have 4 laser printers involved with this thing: the one I bought, the one Fedex delivered to the tooth fairy, the one that got busted, and the one being sent overnight delivery.

So, I pack up the broken printer to send it back. The new one arrives. I set it up, put my toners into it, plug it in and run a test print. The damn thing does EXACTLY the same thing. Arrgh! So, I call HP AGAIN (BTW, their number is 1-800-474-6836….I have it memorized by now) and tell them the scoop. We start troubleshooting again. He asks me the weight of the paper I use. I didn’t know…its just Staples paper. What the hell. Next he tells me to unplug the printer from the surge protector and plug it directly into the wall. Problem is that that is a colossal pain in the ass since I have no empty plugs near the printer. Besides, the printer is ON! How the hell could the electrical cause this thing not to print blue! He insists. I accidentally unplug the whole desk trying to comply and end up powering off my phone while I’m talking with him! Good thing is that he called me back about 10 minutes later. He then has me run a new diagnostic test on the printer. It does the same thing (no blue). He says it must be the toner. Its nice of HP to go the more obvious route after running through three printers for me.

When all was said and done, the new toner fixed my problem. It was the more obvious solution, but we went through a lot of effort to get to that point.

My evaluation? Fedex, you got serious issues. One printer is off in deep space somewhere – I have no idea. The other one got all busted up, probably by some Fedex employee trying to play basketball with a laser printer. As for HP, their service was actually pretty good, however I think they misdiagnosed this thing from the start and the guy was going through some REALLY stupid potential causes before arriving at the obvious. And from a business standpoint, if this is any indication, they are throwing a huge amount of money out the window due to these problems. HP is out two printers (one missing, one broken) and may lose value on the third because it is now technically a used printer. Is this just cost of doing business?

Oh yeah….HP, meet UPS.

Some REAL Stupid Ones

This site has a collection of really stupid tech support stories. Some of them are real classics:

  • Me: “The ethernet card you supplied doesn’t work under Linux.”
  • Tech Support: “Have you installed the DOS drivers?”
  • Me: “I’m using Linux, so the DOS drivers won’t work.”
  • Tech Support: “Why not?”

Once I called my local phone company to see if they were offering ADSL in my area.

  • Me: “I am calling to see if ADSL is available in my area.”
  • Customer Service: “56k? Yeah, we offer 56k.”
  • Me: “No, no. ADSL.”
  • Customer Service: “Oh, no, we quit offering 28.8k a long time ago.”
  • Me: “No, I’m talking about ADSL.”
  • Customer Service: “What city do you live in?”
  • Me: “Dalton.”
  • Customer Service: “No, we quit offering 28.8k a long time ago.”

I had trouble downloading an operating system upgrade for a PDA, so I called tech support.

  • Me: “I can’t seem to get this download to complete. What might be causing it?”
  • Tech Support: “What operating system are you running?”
  • Me: “Windows NT.”
  • Tech Support: “Well, you have to be running Windows 98 or better in order to download it.”
  • Me: “Ummm, I am. I’m running Windows NT4, SP5.”
  • Tech Support: “Are you on a PC or a MAC?”

Yeah, these are some real doosies.

Got Some? Do Tell!

Got some stories of your own? Feel free to post to comments.

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10 thoughts on “Got Some Stupid Tech Support Stories?”

Deputy Van Halen says:
Abraham: I will be happy to answer your questions regarding AT&T U-verse products. To start, could you please tell me which state you’re located in and the zip code?
you: — deleted —
you: where is max turbo available
Abraham: Thank you for sharing this information and considering AT&T U-verse Services online today.
Abraham: Are you an existing AT&T Home Phone customer?
you: no
Abraham: Max Turbo Internet plan is subject to availability depending on the location.
you: right, where is it available
Abraham: Are you looking for TV and Internet?
you: max turbo internet
Abraham: Max Turbo has just been introduced ,so it is available in selected location for now.
you: how do i find out those locations
Abraham: After you checked the availability,you will go to order page and click on Internet section,if you see Max Turbo then it is available to you.
you: how do i find out where it is available
Abraham: On the Internet selection page , you can click on it and you will see all the plans that is available at your location.
you: i understand… how do i find out _where_ max turbo is available
Abraham: Let me know your full address and zip code, I will check that for you.
you: i know it is not available in my neighborhood… i want to know WHERE it IS available
Abraham: For now Connecticut has Turbo max available only.
you: are you making that up
you: says “Available today for AT&T U-verse residential and small business customers in the Austin, San Antonio and St. Louis markets”
Abraham: As Max Turbo has just been introduced, we have not introduced in all location,however in future,it will be available to all location.
you: so if i live in connecticut, i can get it
Abraham: Online we only serve Residential customers,so for business,you will kindly be requested to call customer care.
Abraham: Let me help you with the direct number.
you: no thanks
Abraham: Yes, if your in Connecticut you will get Max Turbo.
Abraham: The contact number for your AT&T specialist is 1-866-805-3921 for business service.
Abraham: Is there anything else I can assist you with today?
you: nope
ToDo: says:
This is the story of a technological wizkid’s first ever call to tech support

My school had a copy of Maya that I was supposed to be installing but the activation wouldn’t work. Finally realized that my user didn’t have privileges to internet access so I got access and tried again. FAIL because a previous install had failed and I had no idea where the registry keys that made it know that were hidden. Wiped computer clean OS install new install of product (did I mention it had never been opened?). Finally get to activation screen and go to enter product key (should be a sticker on the cd it says). *Takes CD out* NO ACTIVATION KEY STICKER ON A BRAND NEW CD. I check packaging and CD case several times for hours. I finally determine no user error and try to activate manually with a telephone call. Number is not in service. I search web for similar problems. I check packaging for product website. I check website for tech support link. No link. I use my godly powers on google to site:”” search for tech support. Its in something like product specs or a related page (Idiots). I call the number.
Support: This is …
Me: My product activation won’t work.
Support: This is user tech support you need product tech support here’s the number
Support: This is …
Me: My product activation won’t work.
Support: Did you get to the activation screen?
Me: yes
Support: Alright I want you to write down the numbers on the CD
Me: There are no numbers
Support: Are you sure?
Me: Yees
Support: Is it on the package?
Me: No.
*This continues for awhile*
Support: I don’t know. Can I put you on hold while I get someone who knows more?
Me: ……………………….ok
*talking in background*
*waiting room music*
*30 min pass* (yeah I really sat listening for that long)
*I hang up*

Next day:
I call the same support hoping to get a different person
Support: Hello this is…
Me: This is “Me” I called yesterday about a problem with activation
Support: Who helped you out?
Me: “Support”
Support: OK well let me see if I can help.
*same routine* (now you know its a script)
Support: I don’t know. Let me get my supervisor.
Me: …………………ok
*noisy background talk*
*some minutes pass*
Support: Hello. Are you there?
Me: Yep
Support: Sorry that took so long we’re really busy today
Support: I’m going to transfer you now so if you could just wait a minute
Head of Support: Hello how can I help you?
Me: My product activation won’t work.
*same script*
Head of Support: Well We can send you a activation number in the e-mail
Me: OK!
Head of Support: Alright well I need you to send an e-mail with your MAC address to this address and you’ll get a reply with the code.
Me: Ok
(Thank god I knew how to find a MAC address because they probably didn’t)
*sends e-mail*
I call them and find out that even the underlings know about this process and its not auto reply so it might take a few days. Finally I recieve the e-mail with an activation that is 4 digits too short!!! Call support about error and find out that they have no idea please try this # (the same support number I called them with). I get a support rep and ask go through how I’ve been at it for over a week 4 hours a day on the phone and more online on forums and I just want a solution (they take pity and give me nothing) He then asks me WHY I’M INSTALLING THE SOFTWARE. BECAUSE I WANT TO USE IT AND MY SCHOOL NEEDS THE COPY THEY BOUGHT INSTALLED
Apparently “high school” were the magic words because I got a business-class support extension (conveniantly not an option on the support menu). I called this number and he created a profile of my case and the known problems etc.
(NOW we’re getting somewhere). Bussiness Support: I need you to write down this ID number. This will transfer all the information on the problem to the support personell. OK. I get a lengthy wait to some support and they take my number and walk through everything I’ve already done including the e-mail. I tell them the number was too short.
They say please try the e-mail again. I try it (takes a day this time). Its the same number. I call back and tell a new support who conveniently doesn’t need to go through the script. He has no idea so he gives me the extension’s exxtension to the Head of Business Support. This guy tells me that he has no idea. He starts hashing through the script again and and I start answering EXACTLY the same but something about the length of the key being to short tips him off to ask which version I have. He then tells me that the version I have isn’t supported by them as that was when Alias still owned the software. OK so what happens? He tells me I should talk to the people at this number…(We are no longer main support, we are no longer user support, we are no longer product support, we are no longer business-class support, we are now corporate-headquarters main office!) I call and have the longest wait for any ringtone ever………… Then I get the waiting room music that reminds me of the people with red hats. The main office responds finally with a funny accent and pretty much asks what the hell I’m calling their office for and I tell them I was referred by Head Support of Business Class with case file ID etc. I get a pause and some typing and he responds I don’t think we can solve this the old company no longer exists and we would have to ask the programmers. OK can you do that? I’m afraid that’s not possible he says it was made over 4 years ago and they’re not currently with the company. Ok so what happens? Well I can’t take it back because it has no key and I bought it from a retailer instead of them. so I check the retailer and find out they’ve lost records from that far back so they can’t make a refund. All in all I spent a month on the phone for four hours or more nearly every day and I’m glad it was a high school problem because Maya costs several grand and I realized later that that last phone number wasn’t a support number with an extension……..IT WAS THE COUNTRY CODE AND NUMBER FOR THEIR OFFICE IN FRANCE!!!!!!!!

This story is real and I apologize for the length but trust me this is really short compared to a month of conversation.
Moral of the story:
1.Ask to be leveled up first.
2.Ask for a case ID
3.Don’t call support in the first place!!!

Toronto Web Design says:
Okay so here it goes. I am repairing this laptop computer for a friend/customer. Laptop is the HP Pavillion vp 7. Problem is, every time the machine turns on, the default wirless network connection is all messed up. All it says is “Local Network”, even though the router is plugged right into the Internet, and all other computers on the network can easily access the net through the router.

Anyways, so I call HP. After spending an hour on the phone trying to explain to the rep that the problem is with the network adapter, she finally has me remove and reinstall the network drivers. This doesn’t work. Still every time computer restarts, the wireless connection is “limited”. So then she tries to take over the laptop using this lame adoptation of VNC server. The first thing she does is she looks at the windows updates. 5 minutes later she decides that I’ll need to roll the machine back 2 months. I go “Are you sure?, This may really mess up the computer, you know, some programs that were 2 months ago are now gone,,”. she says “Trust me”. So i go, “okay whatever you say”. And I go ahead and restore the damn thing.

Long story short, this compleatly f***ed up the computer. I have NEVER had such awful support experience, ever. They hire some real morons at HP.

Jenny says:
So, one time the internet stopped working.

Called up the tech support, which was speciffically for the internet. After going through the stupidtiy of pressing the right buttons.

Tech support: Have you tried going to
Me: Yeh. It’s not working. That’s why I’m ringing.
Tech: Go to
Me: I can’t.

After about 15 minutes of this stupidity, I got fed up and asked to be put through to someone else.

I think I got their supervisior.

Supervisior: All the information is on
Me: So you’re telling me that in order to fix my internet, I need to visit an internet site?
Supervisior: Yes, all the information is there. Why can’t you follow my instructions
Me: Because it’s broke. That’s why I’m calling you.

S: Go on the website.

Me: *click*

Pingback: HP Support Problems, Cheap Hardware, or Both? » PC Mechanic
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Nick Green says:
I just recently went through something similar with HP. It was over a HD. When you think about the money they save on out sourcing, and the money they save on poor training and follow up techniques. Then compare that to the loss of perfectly good hardware and sales, and the cost of additional customer service reps who have to deal with the angry customers…You have to wonder, wouldn’t it just make more sense and streamline the company to just pay competent and motivated workers well and save all the extra hassle??
Steve Thornton says:
My Dell PC went black just before its warranty expired, so I called tech support. They sent a guy to my place three times but the problem was not solved (yeah, he finished up the first two times and went home while my Dell still didn’t work). He installs a new motherboard, hard drive, video card, etc. Finally, the guy is working on my computer, calling Dell, and he says, “They want you to send it to them.” So I shipped it across the country. Eventually, I start getting calls from a guy at Dell who’s trying to fix it. He can’t figure it out. At one point he actually says, “I think you have too many programs on it.” Another time, he calls me at 6 a.m. to discuss the matter, forgetting the 3 hour time difference. Two and a half months later, I finally hear that my computer is fixed, and they send it back to me. When I get it, I don’t have an operating system. I can’t load Windows onto it, so they send a tech guy to my home. He brings a whole box of parts — drives, CPU, motherboard, etc. — and literally rebuilds my Dell PC. Finally, it works, but it’s been bashed in transit and when I call Dell about this, they say, “Contact the shipper. And your Dell is now out of warranty. You’re on your own.” So three months without my Dell and then I’m on my own.
backithink says:
or how bout this one lol

Customer: “When my computer boots up, all I get is a black screen that says, ‘boot2/’.”
Tech Support: “What operating system are you using?”
Customer: “I’m using Windows 98 and NT 4.0.”
Tech Support: “Ok, I’m the Mac tech. The Windows tech is gone, but I can try to help you.”
Customer: “Ok, what should I do? I’ve reformatted the hard drive and have fresh installs of both operating systems.”
Tech Support: “Sir, have you put any cheese or mustard in your a drive?”
Customer: “What? Did you just ask me if I put cheese or mustard in my floppy drive?”
Tech Support: “Yeah, we’ve had that happen a lot lately.”
Customer: (staring blankly at roommate, who was laughing uncontrollably on the floor) “I think I’ll wait for the PC tech to get back. Thanks for the help.” (click)

backithink says:
this one i found hilarious

Tech Support: “Ok, let’s try looking at your BIOS.”
Me: “All right.”
Tech Support: “Reboot your computer, and when it’s coming up, hit F1 as many times as you can.”
Me: “Can’t I just hit it once?”
Tech Support: “No, your computer should start beeping. I want to make sure it beeps.”
Me: “All right, it beeped. BIOS came up a while ago.”
Tech Support: “Ok, let’s walk through some things….”
He proceeded to do nothing more than confirm there was nothing wrong with my BIOS. He had me reboot again, and, of course, I got the same error message.

Tech Support: “Ok, let’s try bios one more time.”
Me: “All right.”
Tech Support: “Now, when it’s rebooting, I want you to hit the F1 key as many times as you can. It has to beep for this to work.”
Me: “I really don’t think my computer ‘beeping’ has anything to do with the problem.”
Tech Support: “I think I know a little more about computers than you do, ma’am.”
Me: “All right, fine, I’m hitting it. My computer is beeping.”
Tech Support: “I don’t believe you.”
Me: “…Excuse me?”
Tech Support: “I think you’re lying. I need you to hit it as many times as you can. This is very important.”

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Oct 24, 2007

643 Articles Published