Although I've never written about it, I have been, until this week, quite happy with my HP OfficeJet 7410 printer-fax-copier. Its built-in WiFi, sheet feeder, and duplex printing ability fits into our dual home-office situation quite well.
A few days ago I wrote about a problem I was having with duplex (two-sided) printing. It took nearly 6 hours of time to resolve the problem, most of that dealing with the clueless tech support personnel at HP.
At first, I thought that a driver update had broken two-sided printing. After following that trail for about 3 hours by myself--trying to find and reinstall the old version of the drivers proved impossible thanks to HP's use of the "Vise" installer--I eventually realized that none of my computers, even the Windows machines, could print correctly.
You'd think the fact that the failure occurred on several computers simultaneously would be an obvious sign that the printer has failed, right? The first tech support person I talked to agreed, and diagnosed that the duplexer unit on the printer had failed. So, they sent me a new duplexer accessory. It arrived the next day, but did not resolve the problem.
When I called again, despite my existing case, the representative at "HP Total Care" insisted we start from square one and told me that I needed to reinstall my printer drivers. I have, of course, already tried that, and I explained that multiple computers could not properly print, and I refused to waste any more time jumping through nonsensical hoops. While I was on-hold waiting for his supervisor, I reinstalled the Windows drivers anyway, since I had plenty of time to wait.
The supervisor told me that I "must comply with the troubleshooting steps or I would be ineligible for support," then passed me back to another first-line tech. I told the tech that I had complied while holding, and then he had me change completely unrelated options using the printer's front panel, such as the fax and copy settings. It was clear that his troubleshooting script didn't match the reality of my printer when he kept telling me to press menu option number 5, which is Cancel, so we wasted even more time than necessary with these steps.
Eventually, I asked to talk to a second-level tech support rep, but that was a mistake. Again, he insisted that I reinstall the printer drivers (yet again!), and when I told him that neither a Mac nor a PC could print correctly he gave me a 30 second rant about how Macs were "completely different" and "outside the realm of this discussion." He then offered to take control of my Windows computer remotely and re-install the drivers for me using a "special procedure." When I refused to allow him access to my network, and said I wanted him to send me a replacement printer under the "Total Care" package that I paid for, he said that he would but that if the problem persisted it would not be covered under warranty. Because of my refusal to kowtow to their voodoo procedures.
I asked to speak to his supervisor. After a few minutes the second-level tech came back on the phone and said he would send me the replacement. When I asked about him voiding my "Total Care" agreement, he said to "forget that I said that."
The replacement printer arrived. And, of course, it completely resolved the problem. What should have been a simple process resulted in a several hours of phone calls and a very frustrated customer due to the failure of HP's tech support to listen, use a little common sense, and go "off script" to solve a problem. While I still like the printer, I'm no longer a satisfied customer, and I certainly can't recommend HP Support to anyone who isn't knowledgeable enough to see through their nonsense and demand service from their bordering-on-rude personnel.