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Don't let this happen to you

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  • Don't let this happen to you

    Evidently I've lost even more braincells to age than I ever imagined, because I purchased a used printer from an individual via a website. When I got it, it was putting horizontal lines across the image. I tried all the self-help steps listed on the manufacturer's site, and even posted to newsgroups looking for help, to no avail.

    But that isn't the point of this post. This is:

    I finally called the manufacturer, and they told me it would cost $25 to talk to a technician who would analyze my problem and give me a repair quote. I hung up, tried even more self-help options, and finally broke down (in more ways than one) and called back. I gave them my credit card number and agreed to the $25 fee.

    After a long time on hold, I was connected to a technician. He was unable to determine the cause of my problem, but said they'd repair the printer for $350 (it cost $400 new). Their "repair" consisted of shipping me a refurb unit and taking mine in exchange.

    After further discussion with the tech person, he revealed that all repairs for this particular printer cost $350 and are handled in exactly the same way. In his words "even if it's just a 5-cent screw".

    So, I paid $25 to be told by a specialist that they never had any intention of helping me with my printer problem and that there was only one blanket method of repair that the customer service rep could have told me about, only I hadn't paid the $25 yet.

    Perhaps for some they can recommend installing a new driver, or tell them which buttons to press to reset or something, and for those it might be worth the $25. But for serious problems, it makes more sense to toss the unit and buy a new one.

    Oh yeah, they informed me that I could have put my printer under warranty, even though it was 2 years old and I bought it used, except that I called with a problem first, and now they know it has a pre-existing problem and therefore doesn't qualify. But if I paid the $350 and got the "repair" I would then qualify to purchase an extended warranty from them.

    And if I paid for the repair they'd refund my $25.

    In retrospect, it occurs to me that printers today are like VCRs. You don't have them repaired, you toss them and buy a new one. On my most brain-dead day I'd never buy a used VCR, so I don't know what possessed me to think buying a used printer was a safe gamble.
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning

  • #2
    Doug, I sympathise, but I bought an Epson 1200 from the South African equivalent of Ebay, and I've had absolutely no problems with it. I think it must be the luck of the draw. I've used it tonite for the first time in 3 months, and after one cleaning cycle it's running like a dream.

    I wanted the 1200 because it was the last Epson A3 printer that could use refilled cartridges without too much difficulties.

    Just as a matter of interest, was the horizontal stripes banding? If yes, could be something as simple as cat hairs on the heads or a bad cartridge.

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    • #3
      Sorry to hear about your bad luck Doug. Was there no guarantee with the purchase? I'm guessing it wan an Epson. Would you care to comment on that, or not? It seems to me that the way they handled your problem might not have been the best business practice.

      Ed

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      • #4
        If this was the one and only bad experience I ever have buying used equipment, it will more than eat up whatever savings I accumulate from the rest of the transactions.

        And it wasn't Epson, it was a laser printer.
        Learn by teaching
        Take responsibility for learning

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        • #5
          Ooo, that's a bad one. I didn't realise it was a laser printer. Not too much is supposed to go wrong with lasers

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          • #6
            You could probably dispute the $25 charge with your credit card company. The company mislead you into believing you would actually get some help for that money and they failed to deliver!

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            • #7
              They said I could apply to have it overturned, but doubted it would work since they did offer to fix my problem and I turned them down. But I applied anyway.
              Learn by teaching
              Take responsibility for learning

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              • #8
                Sorry to hear about your frustrating experience, but I didn't know that there was ever much hope of getting a printer repaired (or much of anything else anymore -- shoe repair stores used to be around every corner, now I'm not sure if there are any in my metro area.)

                When I tried to get a printer fixed in the mid-80's, the repair shop (local business - face to face contact) told me that the repair would require the replacement of the circuit board (or something like that), and that the cost would be nearly as much as going out and replacing it (since printers kept getting cheaper, just like computers). So I did replace it -- for less than the cost of the original printer, I was able to purchase a much better printer.

                I've wondered how often that was going to happen, but I've been lucky since -- haven't had any printer problems. Now I go out and replace them just because there's something better.

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                • #9
                  Did you try...(1) going into the Spool settings and changing the format to RAW instead of EMF ( or vice-versa),..(2) try a new computer to printer cable,..(3) plug the unit into a seperate grounded electrical circuit,...(4) replace the entire toner ctg. assembly and thoroughly clean the rollers and blow out all areas with compressed air,..Tom

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                  • #10
                    That sure sounds like HP to me. That is the only kind of repairs they do, flat rate. Normally the type of line you describe on the print-outs is caused by a bad drum or developer. Most of HP's laserjets use a toner cartridge which contains both of these units. I know that they are expensive but have you tried changing the toner cartridge?

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                    • #11
                      I haven't tried compressed air, but the whole thing was wiped and vacuumed.

                      I bought yet another cartridge (my 3rd) and it did make the major lines go away. However, I still get the zillion tiny lines, about 1-2 mm apart, plus one darker line that prints in exactly the same place on every sheet.

                      If it had printed like this when I first got it, I would have just chalked it up to "laser printouts suck for graphics" and lived with it. At least I wouldn't have had the aggravation I shared with you all.

                      I happened across a web page that described the exact problem I was having, though in generic terms for laser printers in general, and it said it was caused by improper storage of cartridges. Since my first two cartridges had exactly the same problem, I must assume they were both improperly stored or handled (I suspect irradiation in shipment, since the guy I bought it from is military).
                      Learn by teaching
                      Take responsibility for learning

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                      • #12
                        I'm sorry you have had such a bad experience. You still haven't said which printer you have there.

                        You aren't too far off about laserjets being not exactly ideal for some types of graphics. Presentation graphics are not too bad but high resolution pictures are touch for lasers because they are page printers. You have to have a lot of memory to use a laser for printing highres photos. Most of the new HP laserjets come with 32Meg of RAM standard now a days with options for more with expansion. I hope the problems clear up with use which is sometimes the case.

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