I suppose I’ve been spoiled by online merchants like Amazon and even Dell. I expect to place an order online, fill in my debit or credit card details, specify a delivery address and then expect my goods within a few days.

Sadly, not all big names are like this.

HP are, without doubt, the most useless company to try to buy directly from.

My daughter needs a laptop for university so I’d narrowed the selection down and found a decent option at John Lewis (where she gets staff discount). I then looked at HP’s own website where they were offering the same unit with £150 off, so that was the cheaper option. I filled in my details online, billing address as my debit card and delivery address to my partner’s house where most other stuff gets delivered to. This was on the 9th May. They then did nothing with the order until the 12th, when they rejected it, helpfully telling me:

“Thank you for shopping at the HP Store.

Unfortunately, the order cannot be completed, as we are unable to verify some of the details on the order used for the purposes of our payment verification process.

Please note that there is nothing to worry about, and if you believe that your details were recorded incorrectly on the order, please re-submit, checking that the information given is complete and correct.

Some helpful hints:

–       Your credit/debit card must be registered to the billing address provided;
–       The billing address is to be entered in the same format as what appears on your credit/debit card statement;
–       The card holders name must be the same as the person stated in the order billing address details;
–       An alternative payment option may be available via HP Store, such as bank transfer (BACS).

If you have any further queries relating to this order, please contact our customer service team by emailing {removed} or calling our advisors on 084.560.429.21 (lines are open Monday – Friday 09:00 – 17:30).”

I was travelling that day, but rang from the hotel given that none of those “helpful hints” matched whatever issue they were having. I was offered the option of prepayment instead so I placed the order again and was told to expect an e-mail with payment details. This arrived a few minutes later:

“Thank you for shopping at the HP Store. We acknowledge the receipt of your order and we are currently checking all the data.

Your order number is: {removed}-002

The acceptance of the order is dependent on receipt of your payment. You will receive an order confirmation email as soon as the order has been approved.

We will send you a pro forma invoice along with payment instructions within the next days. However, if you would prefer to arrange for immediate payment, please find below the required information, allowing you to proceed with the fund transfer:

BACS Instructions:

Payment Ref: {removed}

Please ensure that you provide your HP Store Order Number as payment reference.

The order will be released when HP has visibility of the funds in our bank account. Please note this can take up to 6 days, due to the banking process…”

So, as instructed, I made immediate payment using online banking and was told that payment would be made instantly. This was on May 12th. No order confirmation e-mail. No pro-forma invoice either. Nothing.

I rang them this morning. No, they hadn’t done anything with the order as it usually takes them a few days to match the payment to the order – despite me putting that as the payment reference – and that they now needed me to send them proof of payment. This meant taking a screen capture, editing it to remove all the other details and then e-mailing it to them. Nothing at all about this in their e-mails, obviously. That would be way too easy, wouldn’t it?

We will see what transpires now. Just as well she doesn’t need it for a couple of months, eh?

In the meantime, a challenge for you: try to visit the HP website and work out how to track your order. The best I managed was to do it in six steps: Home | Support & Troubleshooting | HP Branded Products | Buy Direct Online | Buy HP products online direct from HP | Track My Order. Not exactly intuitive, is it?

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