HP does a good job of repair-work, actually. They have an online chat tool that I can use to report the problem, troubleshoot, verify warranty and authorize repair - all the stuff that I would have to do with a phone agent, but without the wait times, the difficulty of explaining what exactly is going on, etc. They ship you a box and FedEx it overnight, and usually get it from my doorstep to the repair center and back again inside of a week - all at no cost to me. The problem of course is that I have to be around during the day. With teaching and volunteer work there's really just one day a week. Return shipping is the one part of the process I see real room for improvement; they don't do weekend deliveries or let you schedule a day to have the computer shipped back, which is fine when they're just sending you an empty box which can be left outside the door, but obviously not when that box contains a repaired computer! Granted, this is more a shipping problem than an HP problem, but I do think HP could help here. For instance, if I can tell them I'm home all day Thursdays but not any other weekday, they could hold my computer in the warehouse until Wednesday, whenever they get done fixing it. Or they could just offer the option of weekday shipping, even if it's at a premium or a slower shipment.
Anyway, computer is back. feels like a new machine almost, with the very responsive keyboard and the new undercarriage. Who am I to complain? :-)