HP Printer Support – Officejet Pro L7580

Exactly two years and two months ago, I bought an HP OfficeJet Pro L7580.  That cost me about $500, and had a one year warranty.  At the time, I was prescient and bought a $35 extended warranty – all through Harvey Norman.

The following is not a rant, as such, but it does highlight how support structures can become so alienated from the client that the client gives up in frustration.  I have had so many people advise me – since this episode – that they will never, ever buy an HP printer again for similar reasons.

To tell the tale, it was a fine autumn day about three to four weeks ago when my black ink cartridge ran out.  That was fine, there was no urgent need for it and so I didn’t worry about it for a little bit.  Besides, we went away for a week’s holiday – it could wait until then.  Upon my return, I went to Harvey Norman and bought all the ink cartridges – they were all running a bit low.  I nearly died at the $200 (approximately) price tag (I bought the XL ones).  Then the problems started.  I replaced the black and yellow cartridges (they were both empty) and fired it up.  Then the cyan cartridge claimed to be empty.  That struck me as odd, but I replaced it anyway.  I fired it back up – and it claimed the cyan cartridge was empty.  It would show a full ink cartridge, and then go straight to the empty cartridge error message.

I mused as to whether this was a dodgy cartridge, and so googled the symptoms I had.  I found a seven-page forum showing that the problem essentially had one solution:  buy a new (Canon) printer.  The ink had dried out.  Apparently you have to regularly print with the printer to stop this occurring.  I’d never heard of this one before (sigh).

So I sent an email to HP support.  Remember, I know the printer is out of warranty by over a year, but still:

Subject: HP Officejet Pro L7580 All-in-One Printer e-mail support

Country of Residence : Australia
product_name : HP Officejet Pro L7580 All-in-One Printer
part_number : C8187A,CB037A,C8188A
purchase month : 2
purchase year : 2008
problem area : error messages
serial number : MY7C4642PB
operating system : Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64

How is your product connected to your PC? : USB Cable

errormessage : Replace the following empty ink cargridge(s) to resume
printing: Cyan (C) Job Cancelled

problem description : I had just replaced the black and yellow cartridges.
It sat idle for three weeks (we had a holiday awayas well). Upon replacing
the black and yellow cartridges (they had previously shown as empty,but the
cyan and magenta ones were about 1/4 full), the cyan one started coming up
as empty. It flashes up with the 1/4 and then goes to the error message.

I replaced the cyan cartridge and I get the message continuing. I have now
spent nearly $200 on ink cartridges and am not a happy camper.
troubleshooting : I have read on other forums that it seems I have left it
sit for too long? I had no idea this would be a problem – I’m not sure that
it is. I would hope very much that it isn’t.

A Harvey Norman 24 month extended warranty was purchased at time of purchase

(08/02/2008).

This machine has not had heavy duties, but it has been fairly continously
used.

setting changes : I have changed/reformatted laptop to Win7 64 operating.
Otherwise no real changes.

tech skill : Intermediate

first name : Micheal
last name : Axelsen

phone : 0412 526 375
email : micheal.axelsen@appliedinsight.com.au

And of course meanwhile I am tweeting, as a mad keen twitterer, about these dramas.  For a week I tweets, tweets and tweets, and no contact.  Here’s some of the flavour of the discourse interspersed with my emaildiscussions.

Unhappy. I think my HP Officejet printer may have given up the ghost after just over 2 years. Empty cartridge message but new cartridge.

@ThCartridgeFmly Old one showing 1/4 full, but suddenly flashed over to empty. So replaced it with brand new hp one out of box. Same msg.

@raark wtf is a pixma?

@raark I need something that works. I’d thought HP was reliable. Can’t print client invoices! Argh!!!

@raark Where were you when I was in harvey norman two years ago then?

@raark I do have an extended warranty, so *fingers crossed*

Hewlett Packard (HP) customer support has just lost me as a supporter of HP products. Let the record state this fact.

After emails & phone calls, HP & I are not getting on. We are seeking counselling and request privacy at this time. #fail

My HP printer failed. Could be cartridge or printer. HP support useless. Solution? Buy a new printer. Old one 2 years & 2 months old.

All right so far.  Let’s see what response I get from HP (quite timely, the next day):

Subject: RE: HP Officejet Pro L7580 All-in-One Printer e-mail support

Hello Micheal,

Thank you for contacting HP Customer Care.

Micheal, we regret to informyou that, as per our database, your product
appear to be Outof Warranty.

According to the new HP Policy we are providing Specialized Web Support for
Out of Warranty Products.

Therefore, we would like to direct you to the HP support Web-site.This
dynamic website has free and easy to access support content, and is
continually updated with answers to our customers most frequently asked
questions.

www.hp.com/au/customercare

NOTE: Clicking the link may give an error indicating it is invalid. If this
occurs, copy the portion of the address on the remaining line and paste it
at the end of the address showing in your browser until the complete
address is displayed in the Address box.

* Open the Web-link.
* Click on the Out of Warranty product announcement on the right hand side
of the page.
* Select you product and you will directed to support page of the unit.

However, if you believe that product is In Warranty (purchased in last 12
months) , please email back copy of Proof of Purchase of the product.
Please mention Serialand Product number on it. We could update the
database and provide In Warranty Support.

If you wish to avail paid support by paying one time support fee. Please
contact the regional HP Phone Support on the following number.

The Online Technician will assist you in this regard.

1300 721 147 If dialing internationally: +61 3 8833 5000
Monday – Friday – 9am – 5:30pm; Saturday 10am – 3pm; (excluding public
holidays)

Sincerely,
Kevin
HP Email Support Team

All right, I’m a little snarky.  Remember, I just want someone to tell me what might be wrong with my printer (is it the cartridge?  is it the printer?):

RE: HP Officejet Pro L7580 All-in-One Printer e-mail support

Hello Kevin.

That was not the right answer.

Thanks: Micheal Axelsen
Director
Applied Insight Pty Ltd
m: 0412 526 375
t: 07 3139 0325

The ever-helpful Susan advises me to contact the HP support phone line:

Subject: RE: HP Officejet Pro L7580 All-in-One Printer e-mail support

Hello Micheal,

Thank you for contacting HP Customer Care.

Micheal, I understand your concern and apologize for the inconvenience
caused.

I request you to please contact your regional support at the number given in

the previous mail and they would assist you further.

Sincerely,

Susan Gloria
HP Email Support Team

At this point I rang Sean on the helpline.  Sean – and I’m sorry, but I’m going to guarantee Sean was not local – wanted my private details (name, address, serial number).  He also wanted me to pay the service fee immediately – before hearing what the problem was.  I’m sorry, but I’m not going to pay before you tell me whether you think you can help me.  Sean sounded suspiciously like he was reading from provided notes to me.  As I didn’t want to give my private details lightly, I was provided with the same website as above – www.hp.com/au/customercare.  I had already been to that website before making my first submission.  It was positively of no use.  I told Sean – and I admit I was fairly uptight about it – that I didn’t feel that throwing me to a website I’d already been to was an appropriate response.  Particularly not if I was a non-technical user of the device.  After telling Sean that I did not think much of HP’s approach to supporting customers, I sent the following email:

RE: HP Officejet Pro L7580 All-in-One Printer e-mail support

Hello Susan.

I contacted regional support at the number given in the previous mail. They
did not assist me further.

Thanks: Micheal Axelsen
Director
Applied Insight Pty Ltd
m: 0412 526 375
t: 07 3139 0325

It’s a $500 printer, and no-one will send me to the right resource and no-one will give me a path to resolution!  This time I got Jason replying back to me.

HelloMicheal,

Thank you for contacting HP Customer Care.

We would like to direct you to the HP support Web-site.This
dynamic website has free and easy to access support content, and is
continually updated with answers to our customers most frequentlyasked
questions.

www.hp.com/au/customercare

NOTE: Clicking the link may give an error indicating it is invalid. If this
occurs, copy the portion of the address on the remaining line and paste it
at the end of the address showing in your browser until the complete address

is displayed in the Address box.

* Open the Web-link.
* Click on the Out of Warranty product announcement on the right hand side
of the page.
* Select you product and you will directed to support page of the unit.

However, if you believe that product is In Warranty (purchased in last 12
months) , please email back copy of Proof of Purchase of the product. Please
mention Serial and Product number on it. We could update the database and
provide In Warranty Support.

Sincerely,

Jason

HP Email Support Team

OK I’m not happy.  In their defence, HP is giving me back timely responses.  It’s just that I am screaming in cyberspace, but no-one at the support desk can hear what I am asking:

RE: HP Officejet Pro L7580 All-in-One Printer e-mail support

Hello Jason.

Whatever. You people have no idea how annoyed HP customer support as a
whole has made me. Three emails. One telephone call. All directing me to
the link as if the link is the font of all knowledge. The link is next to
useless.

I have never experienced such a lack of support. I know it’s only a
consumer device, but you could at least send a link specific to the product
in mind. I wouldn’t be asking if it was a frequently asked question. It is
precisely because it ISN’T frequently asked that I am asking the question.
HP needs to pick up its act; you could at least direct me to a repair centre
that doesn’t want all my details and payment before they’ve even asked what
the question is. I would also remind you that in Australia there are
requirements beyond your own warranty relating to merchantable quality.

As I say, whatever.I have contacted my extended warranty people and
hopefully they are able to make my HP into something slightly more valuable
than my boat-anchor. I am so, so sick of products that don’t last, but I am
even more sick of customer support that is nothing but.

Thanks: Micheal Axelsen
Director
Applied Insight Pty Ltd
m: 0412 526 375
t: 07 3139 0325

I don’t think Kevin liked my tone (we’re back to Kevin it seems):

Subject: RE: HP Officejet Pro L7580 All-in-One Printer e-mail support

Hello Micheal,

Thank you for contacting HP Customer Care.

Micheal, I would like to inform you that as per the HP policy we are unable
to assist you and the only option available is the paid support .

Since the issue might be related either with the cartridgeor with the
hardware of the unit itself.

Therefore, please contact the HP phone support number and they will assist
you further

Sincerely,

Kevin

And I continue to tweet:

@kissability They actually told me it could be a cartridge or printer problem. But I’d have to pay to find out. I have extended warranty.

@kissability it’s ridiculous I have a printer that is two years old that cannot be made work (no-one will even look at it).

@kissability And meanwhile I can buy a 30 year old motorcycle that passed its safety certificate ‘with flying colours’ today.

@xandertigerclaw +infinity – there’s your global warming problem right there. Meanwhile I have a 45 year old typewriter that still works.

@raark no – they’re replacing it. No-one’s even looking at it to see what’s wrong. #crazyworld

@ThCartridgeFmly Replacing entire printer (!) on my extended warranty. I think it’s a printer problem (not that anyone’s checked). Crazy.

@IdeasCulture meanwhile I’ve been complaining about HP and they haven’t touched me :(. I am untouchable.

But that’s OK, I didn’t like Kevin’s tone either:

Subject:    RE: HP Officejet Pro L7580 All-in-One Printer e-mail support

Hello Kevin

Thank you for contacting me, the HP customer. The one who has spent about
$2000 personally on HP products in the past two years, and who advises SME
clients of 1250 seats on their hardware and infrastructure purchases.

I would like to inform you that I appreciate that you feel bound by the HP
policy. I have a policy too, now, in this context. Perhaps you can guess
what it is.

How could you even know what the issue relates to since no-one asked? All
HP did was ask for private details and money. And if it is the freaking
cartridge, I just bought $200 worth of genuine HP cartridges. You could at
least have given a diagnosis to see if it is the brand new cartridge that is
the problem. I am not going to pay someone to solve a problem on out of
warranty hardware if it is related to a new consumable.

As for contacting the HP phone support number, I already did that. They
didn’t assist me further.

As I say, end of story. I’ll see how my extended warranty – which I PAID
for ALREADY! – deals with it. So far that seems more likely to get a
positive result. Sheesh.

Thanks: Micheal Axelsen
Director
Applied Insight Pty Ltd
m: 0412 526 375
t: 07 3139 0325

And so finally I’m back to Jason:

Hello Micheal,

Thank you for contacting HP Customer Care.

Micheal, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused.  Your email has reached the HP E-mail Support.  As per our policy, we are not in a position to assist you.  As mentioned previously, please call our online phone support for further assistance.

Sincerely,

Jason

By this stage I guess I’m just mucking with them.  I’ve come to the realisation that HP isn’t going to lift a finger to help me.  They haven’t even directed me to the user-based self-help forum – that really surprised me.  But – and this is the real kicker – I ring my extended warranty people.  I tell them that in my opinion my printer seems to be dead.  This is on a Saturday.  But to my surprise, I am quickly advised that I have a year to go on my warranty, and that a technician will call me back this week.  I get the phone call.  They are going to replace it with a brand new printer.  So, I am looking at a printer that was absolutely fine three weeks ago, but then had a cartridge problem.  That needs to become landfill while it is replaced with a brand new machine.  Honest to goodness, is there any wonder why we have a global warming problem?  It’s cheaper for me to throw the machine out and claim on extended warranty than pay $35 for them to tell me they can’t fix it.

And a week late I’m still tweeting about it:

@ThCartridgeFmly yes well HP isn’t on my christmas card list… think it’s terrible for the environment though to replace without looking.

@ThCartridgeFmly HP Officejet Pro L7580 – apparently if you don’t keep using it the ink dries out and it dies.

And through all of that, no contact from HP, no contact from Harvey Norman either[edit:  that’s not quite true – I only mentioned HN once, and their extended warranty dealt with it immediately, so no flak on HN should be had. And their social media manager rang me directly this morning to discuss as he’d seen this blog post and my tweets – which is a plus – MSA 30/04/2010] I received the phone call today telling me I can come and collect a replacement HP (grr) printer.  Positively unbelievable.  If HP had directed me to a website where I could solve my problems instead of the generic customer care website, it might be different.

For the record, I’ll continue to recommend HP to clients where appropriate.  I’ll take some convincing though to recommend a home printer from HP again though.  Every tells me I need a Canon Pixma.  Maybe this is true.

Am I unreasonable in my requests?  I know the device is out of warranty, but if I could at least have been directed to the support page directly, that would have been helpful (except of course that I’ve already been there and there’s nothing there about my problem).  Thoughts and comments?

4 thoughts on “HP Printer Support – Officejet Pro L7580

  1. Rick Reply

    Lol.

    I’m still wondering why you didn’t go straight to the extended warranty folk first since you knew you were well out of manufacturers warranty….from an ex Chandlers salesman all I can say is ….customers!!!!

    If you had bought a telly from $ony with extended warranty and it stopped working just after manufacturers warranty ran out would you have gone at it backwards like you did?

    It’s a throw away world – you can’t change it if the manufacturers don’t wanna 😉

    That’s my opinion anyways

    But thanks for the above, I enjoy reading a good rant that hasn’t come from me for a change.

  2. Micheal Reply

    I wasn’t after a fix on warranty, I was fully prepared to pay and fix the damn thing if there was something to fix. If my Sony TV blew up, I wouldn’t go to the Chandlers salesman to get it fixed – I’d at least get a TV repairman to look at it wouldn’t I? I also – naively – thought I’d have to prove to somebody on extended warranty that it was broken.

    I’d also bought a two year warranty, which I wasn’t sure about, but thought it expired after two years (turns out Harvey Norman’s two year extended warranty did comply with fair trading rules, and actually extends the warranty BY two years, not TO two years, so I was within warranty).

    If it could be fixed for a $3 part (or I was pressing a wrong button) shouldn’t I go to the manufacturer to find out? I still don’t know if there’s anything wrong with the damn machine.

    I shouldn’t have to throw it out.

    I’d also make the point that if it is sold when it is unlikely to last beyond two years, the customer should know this. And I really wonder whether this might make it not of merchantable quality – i.e. fit for purpose. If it has to be used at least once a week without fail (and I don’t know if this is the case here, because NO-ONE will tell me if that’s what could be wrong), there’d be plenty of people that would purchase without knowing about this requirement. Including me (although, again, I don’t know if that’s a requirement).

    As for a throw away world – to use an expression I saw recently, you may poo money but I don’t. If everything I bought lasted two years only, I’d go broke buying electronic crapola. I don’t see why in an age of emissions trading schemes, climate change and chemical exposure with electronic waste in landfills the manufacturers should get away with it. And before you ask there’s no way on God’s green earth that I’m buying a 3D TV.

    It’s all pure BS.

    Thanks: Micheal “Captain Cranky” Axelsen

  3. Rick Reply

    We are in agreeance insofar as our mutual disdain for 3d telly.

    I meant that manufacturers consider it a throw away world…not I. Perhaps I have too many bad memories of mewling customers coming in wanting stuff fixed under warranty when the manufacturer has long since turned up it’s toes.

    Buy a Canon and it will love you for years I’m sure….well buy one after your replacement Hp chokes on it’s own ink again in any case 😉

  4. Micheal Reply

    Yes – thanks for that Rick. Yes, as a few people have found out recently (viz. rain tanks), a warranty is only as good as the manufacturer is in business.

    A warranty only means that they ‘warrant’ the item will work as intended for the period outlined under conditions of normal wear and tear – not abuse or accidental damage.

    Anything after that period is subject to repair by any technician – can’t invalidate a warranty when it doesn’t exist – so I suppose I could take my HP printer to any repair shop.

    MSA

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