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HP: No sales, no repairs

Hewlett-Packard pulls the plug on nearly 1,000 service outlets. It will allow just 40 big partners to fix its PCs--those who also sell them.

Hewlett-Packard said Wednesday that only those who sell their consumer PCs will be able to service them.

The move will winnow the number of authorized service providers from about 1,000 to just 40, though HP notes that those 40 partners have more than 6,000 locations. Those still authorized will include national retailers such as Best Buy, Costco, CompUSA, Fry's Electronics and Circuit City, HP said.

"We are going to limit warranty service authorization to those retail partners that sell our consumer PC products and will de-authorize all service providers that do not sell HP consumer (products)," HP spokeswoman Cherie Britt told CNET

The service providers in question are the ones HP has approved to do repairs and warranty work for its desktop and notebook PCs, including Pavilions, Presarios and Media Center PCs.

Britt said the service providers being de-authorized accounted for just 2 percent of HP's repair business. Despite reducing the number of repair options for consumers, Britt said HP expects the move to "increase customer satisfaction."

"We've got the country covered," she said.