Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Hewlett Packard and post guarantee service

My experience of this week may not be typical but it is the source of huge frustration.

A couple of years ago I bought a HP Photosmart Pro B8850 printer. In part I bought this because the heads are changeable so I thought if they got blocked I could just replace them easily. Blocked heads were a continual problem I had with a photo printer from another main manufacturer.

In the first year my printer developed a fault and under guarantee HP replaced at no cost, fantastic service, that one also developed a fault and again replaced at no cost. Finally I thought a major manufacturer who understood service.

The machine is now out of guarantee and has developed a fault. 2 days of calls to HP, being directed to one number which directed me back to the original number, talking to seemingly nice people somewhere in the north of England called Steve, David, Tracey (I think, she was a bit hard to understand), there were others but I gave up the will to live in their fantasy world of service, who were totally unable to help. It seems that if you have a HP photo printer aimed at professional photographers or serious home users and your printer has a problem out of guarantee no one will help. HP do not service these printers, completely wipe their hands of any responsibility, won’t even give advice as to how or where you might get help to repair your printer, they will give you numbers of companies that when you call them say they have never repaired HP printers, just lap tops. HP are prepared to sell you software telephone service starting at £15.99 but if you know the problem is hardware forget it.

I did the obvious, try to find a third party that would repair my machine, hours of internet searching and telephone calls determined that no one in the UK will touch the Photosmart Pro printer range. One company said they did not do so because HP do not make spare parts for the range, I don’t know if this is correct but it did seem to chime with my fruitless searching. If anyone out there knows where I can get my machine sorted please let me know however I don’t think such places exist. The replacement machines I had during the guarantee period came from Hungary so maybe I have to take my printer on holiday.

So what have I learned? Recognise that a printer is designed to be junked when it fails. And make sure in future that when I buy an electronic consumable recognise that it is just that and be prepared to throw it away when it goes wrong or maybe buy the extended warranties offered so that they continue to give me new ones when the original fails, oh and don’t buy HP ever again.

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