We have a HP Desktop computer we brought here from the US, and a few days ago it refused to boot up. Just sat there and did nothing. I admit I might have had a hand in this development, because I unplugged it during the last thunderstorm, afraid it would be hit by lightening, and since I was in a hurry getting out of the house, I just pulled the cord without a proper shutdown.
So I searched my way through HP online help options that weren't very helpful, only to discover that the computer in question is out of warranty and no online help - not even via chat with somebody in Bangalore - would be forthcoming. I did, however, find a customer service center near Joburg somewhere in Midrand, and today I packed up the computer and - I am now a pro at those things - my Kindle and went there to try my luck.
What a pleasant surprise! After going through the obligatory queuing period (there were chairs, and I was actually looking forward to the quiet half hour of reading time) I stated my problem, encountered some hemming and hawing as to what the cause might be and whether HP could even solve it, but eventually I was waved through to the inner sanctum of sorts, where two very relaxed guys were busy fixing up computers. Their eyes lit up upon glancing at my computer and they practically drooled over how nice it was. Here I thought computers were pretty much the same all over the world, but our "fancy model from America" clearly stood out above and beyond typical African HP-ware!
I stated my problem again, encountered some more doubts having to do with the fact that our Windows CDs for that computer are missing (lost in the move!) so that if a new hard drive was needed it would be impossible to get Windows reinstalled without the original disks, but eventually they plugged it in, ran some tests, then a recovery utiltiy, vacuumed it out, wiped it clean, and handed it back to me. Just some software problem in the boot drive that was now fixed. I never had to fill out any forms (or produce my passport copy, for that matter) nor pay any money, just walked out of there with my computer working again. What's more, I had barely made it to my car, when one of the guys came running after me and handed me a power cord. It wasn't mine, but he insisted I take it anyway, "just in case." He had noticed I only had a power cord fitting into a US outlet, and wanted to make sure it would work properly here in South Africa.
Maybe my expectations are a bit low after a year's worth of haggling with Eskom over my power bill, but I was pretty impressed by that service. It's not that I'll urge you to now buy a Pavilion Elite from HP. In fact, I always thought it was bit finicky and it may well decide to give up on us after all. But companies that provide good service are good companies to do business with, and HP South Africa totally made that list for me today!