I *finally* got what may be an undamaged stand this morning (the FedEx guy came at 10:26, delivering a package that was to arrive between 8:00 and 10:30... utterly typical), and the box looked to be in better shape but I didn't have time to inspect it fully before I had to rush off to work 4 hours late. HP and FedEx have absolutely no mercy for anyone who is unable to be home during business hours, by the way. There are no exceptions to their policy of only scheduling deliveries for their timeframe.
All in all, I would rate my post-sales experience with a letter grade of D+. The only reason it isn't a D- is because they overnighted the replacement stand. I'll reconsider the grade if the (second) stand is indeed completely undamaged AND the TV is in pristine, immaculate condition when it is delivered tomorrow morning.
I suggested that when someone orders both a TV and a stand, HP should have the stand prefabricated and white-glove-deliver both the stand and the TV, but apparently their contract with FedEx won't let them do that.
Here are some tips when dealing with HP and FedEx. Hark unto me, young padawan Jedi:
1. HPShopping keeps exceptionally late customer service hours. They are open until 2:00am EST.
2. It *is* in fact possible to call 1-800-GO-FEDEX and speak with a flesh-and-blood entity, for what good it will do you. The answering machine does not tell you this, but if you press '0' you will be connected to an operator. According to my wife, this is something that works with many large companies.
3. HPShopping customer service staff has the ability to give you access to print out FedEx package labels that you can use on returned items. This means that your FedEx delivery person *should* be able to pick up your damaged stand at the same time they drop the (hopefully) undamaged one off.
4. HPShopping customer service staff will say just about anything to get you off of the phone if you're having problems with FedEx. Especially when they tell you things like "I guarantee you that FedEx will arrive by 10:30pm". Also, I have had two appointments with FedEx that HPShpping says they "scheduled" that Fedex missed.
5. If FedEx actually is scheduled to show up at your doorstep, expect (but don't count on) it to be at the very end, or 1-2 hours after, your delivery window.
6. Important: If you are normally not home during business hours, you may want to take a vacation day in order to wait for your stand to be delivered. The stand is way too heavy for the box that it is in; I think that that is their main problem. For every time they load or unload the stand from a truck, your chances of receiving a damaged stand are approximately doubled.
7. If you're in an apartment complex, be sure to tell your HPShopping salesperson/customer service person to tell FedEx to deliver your package to the apartment complex office if you cannot make it home. Since I could not move it by myself and didn't have a furniture dolly, I had to open the box up in the middle of their office and cart all the pieces out to my car one by one, and then up my stairs one by one (by this time I knew the stand was damaged and I was pretty irritated).
8. Attempting to repair a damaged stand (with wood glue, for example) will void your warranty on the stand, according to HPShopping.
9. Be nice to the HPShopping representatives, for yea, they hath the power of life and death over thy return and replacement. However, be ye firm with them so that they shalt not take advantage of thee.