HP Customer In Need of Warranty Service Gets the Runaround for Installing Linux

Paul Lilly

It's entirely possible for software to cause hardware damage. For instance, an overclocking utility, whether buggy or abused by the end-user, could potentially result in fried hardware. But should installing Linux on a system that ships with Windows automatically void existing hardware warranties? A reader who wrote in to the Consumerist is complaining that HP gave him the runaround when attempting to have the OEM replace an in-warranty battery on an HP netbook he installed Linux on.

His name is Kyle, and he says HP's tech support had him run a series of test to determine the problem. Eventually HP came to the same conclusion as him, that his battery is the culprit.

"However, even now that he knows for sure my battery needs to be replaced, he still refused to send me a replacement, without the warranty ID, which of course can only be obtained by running their Windows utility, which would mean me having to wipe my entire hard drive and install an operating system I don't need, just to get a number they don't even need," Kyle fumes. "After giving up with him, I ask to speak to a supervisor."

The supervisor proceeded to tell Kyle that without the warranty ID, he would need to purchase a $25 USB flash drive form HP to restore his computer to factory condition and pull the necessary information.

In the end, it took a 2-and-a-half hour phone call culminating in a chat with a case manager, but HP ultimately caved and agreed to send him a new battery without the warranty ID.

How do you feel about how this went down? Was Kyle in the wrong for not recording his warranty ID before installing Linux, or is it unreasonable for HP make it so difficult for Linux users to obtain warranty service? Sound off in the comments section below!

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