Tuesday, April 17, 2012

And, The WInner Is....

But first, here's the question.

Which company sucks swamp water more? Would you think it is Hewlett-Packard or Walmart?

In my humble opinion -and one in my mind that I am trying very hard to keep the blue words from filtering through here (although that may ultimately be an impossibility) is that it is pretty much a tie!

Here's the scenario.

A few years back, I purchased a new item -a four-way printer-copier-scanner-fax machine -made by HP. I think I had that piece of equipment for perhaps 3 years, possibly 4 years. I won't say it gave me excellent service during that time because for openers, I never got the fax aspect hooked up and it gave me some fits now and again as to feeding the paper in to print but I hated it after I purchased it because of the scanner and how that operated. The scanner operated with a roller mechanism so only photo or materials of a bendable type of material could be fed it and scanned. This made it impossible then for me to scan and save copies of some of the really, really old photos I have here from the late 1800s thru the 20s and 30s and which I wanted to scan and save to my computer for my family tree files.

So, last summer, one day I was over at Walmart, eyeing up printers/scanner models and my neighbor's son -who was then working in the Computer department -told me about this really great sale on this particular model that was a 3-in-one item -print-copy-scan and the scanner on it was of a flat top variety which meant I could use it easily then to scan in those old, old phots.

As usual, my checking account was down to next to nothing but the neighbor kid told me all the good savings I'd get with this unit because it was marked down to half-price -$25 -and that sale price also included two print cartridges too which would cost the equivalent to the printer if purchased separately. That, plus the print cartridges alone were way less money anyway than the ones I needed for the machine I was then using which required cartridges that were also a lot cheaper than the really expensive cartridges needed for the printer/scanner I'd had before the fax-print-scan-copier deal!

I mulled it over in my mind and finally decided to spring for this item at the $25 sale price.

That purchase took place either in late July of 2011 or early in August and I didn't get it all set up though until almost the end of August when Pastor Carrie -the minister we had then -was here, working on the special pages for the Cookbook our Women's group put together last summer. She hooked it all up for me and boy, I was one very happy camper with my nifty new print-copy-scanner.

Yes indeedy, I was in seventh heaven you could say!

I used it a fair amount of times to scan some things and sure, I printed a few things here and there too, but it was not that I overused the item. Not by a long shot.

But anyway, about mid-January, I went to print something out and lo and behold, my dear little printer refused to fulfill my requests! What? Four or five months at the most that I'd had the print-copy-scanner and now, when I would try to print, it would feed the paper in about 2 inches and then jam up. I saw when I tried to print that whatever under neath there was responsible for "grabbing" on to the paper was doing it but it was taking the paper at a slight angle which in turn then would bugger up the paper -giving it a slight crease in the bottom edge of the paper which in turn would prevent the paper from feeding through properly. I don't know -because I'm not an engineer or anything - but that's how it appeared to be doing to my really unexperienced mechanical eye!

I tried every solution offered online at the HP site to troubleshoot the equipment and get it operational but to no avail. So, being broke as usual, ya know, I figured to bide my time a bit and keep an eye out for another unit similar to this one, on sale, and just replace it.

Then, however, in early February, for the heck of it, I tried to print something one day and surprise, surprise, the lovely little printer worked!

Yep! For all of about 2 days I was able to print things on demand and then, as quickly as it had initially gone out of order, came back to life then too, presto magic, the same problem returned!

Now that really ticked me off and caused me to do a good bit of cursing thus giving Maya and Kurt a great opportunity to learn some new words that they also found out just as quickly as they learned them that they'd best not be heard using those words because they were part of Gram's vocabulary but not allowed in theirs!

So, back to the drawing board I went on my search for a replacement printer. I looked at Walmart online and saw they had what I thought was the same model as the one I already owned on sale for $29 and went over to check that out but then learned that no, it was a printer/copier only machine and I didn't want to have to hook up two machines (a printer/copier plus a scanner unit too) if I could get all three for the price of one item.

Finally, on March 29th, I broke down and ordered a replacement unit from Walmart -same item as I already owned but which was a non-working entity and on March 30th, I picked up the new machine at the Walmart store nearest to me here. That being the Clearfield store -about 22 miles one way from where I live.

The day after I brought it home -March 31st to be precise -I hooked the new unit up to the computer and once again, I was a happy little computer camper!

As it turned out though, my joy was to be very short-lived as today, I went to use the printer function on the unit only to see to my dismay that once again, this machine was doing the exact same thing -crumpling up the bottom edge of the paper as it tried to feed into the printer and then, of course, jamming up!

I still had the box the print-scanner-copier came in but didn't have the packing materials or the packing slip. I did have access to a copy of the purchase though because I had bought it and paid for it via my paypal account. So I phoned Walmart's Customer Service Department to find out what my options were to get this piece of equipment replaced.

The nice young man (I think he was young as he sounded that way -had a very nice soft, slow, easy southern drawl though) took down my information and was quite happy to learn that I had the purchasing information on hand via my paypal account because he said with that, it would give me my proof of purchase.

However, I had to go to the Walmart.com online site and change my password to get in there -since I couldn't remember my password (of course) and he offered to walk me through the details there. He started explaining where to go on the site, what to key in, etc., and then I asked him the bad question.

"Please don't tell me you aren't going to tell me  all of this information and then, tell me to print it out, are you?"

He got really quiet for a few seconds and then said, "Oh my! I forgot about that!"

So he told me to take said print-copier-scanner over to the store where I had picked it up and to explain to the person(s) at the customer service desk my predicament. He said that maybe it might be possible for me to go online there and get the information and print it out, using Walmart's computer.

So, off I went -whizzing down the highway, into the store and explained to the lady at Customer Service what happened, what the guy on the phone had told me, etc., and she called for managerial assistance who then told her I couldn't print anything out there and without a receipt, well, I was screwed in other words!

Back home I came, doing more than my fair share of grumbling once I arrived back home too, you can bet your bottom dollar on that, for sure!

It was one thing to have the previous print-copy-scanner go south on me after having had it for 4-5 months -not necessarily that I felt I got my money's worth out of it, but well for $25 purchase price, I figured I couldn't really complain all THAT much then, could I?

Although, in my mind, a piece of equipment that normally sells for $50 and the store had on sale for $25, still should hold up a little longer than 4-5 months, wouldn't you think?

But to pay full freight of $49, plus the tax too, for a grand total then of $51.24, one sure would hope to get more than 3 to 5 pages printed out wouldn't you?

The scanner -on both units though -works beautifully!

I haven't yet contacted Hewlett Packard but I do plan on letting them know what a piece of crapola each of these machines has turned  out to be for me anyway!

In the meantime, I'm trying to think of someone I know who has a computer and working printer that would allow me to use their computer and printer long enough to go to the Walmart.com site and with some help from another nice (hopefully) customer service rep at Walmart's call center, be able then to print out a receipt for this piece of junk so I can get the frigging thing exchanged, hooked up and put me back into the printing world once again!

I suppose by the time I'm able to coordinate getting a copy of the receipt, my 90-day warranty period will have passed and I'll really be totally screwed then, won't I?

And one more thing too - how many people actually keep all the boxes that their purchases come in? And how many people actually also save -in an organized fashion preferably -every freaking receipt too for every damned purchase they have ever made?

Isn't Walmart's policy just a trifle too involved to be realistic for people to get redress when they have a punk experience with a purchase?

Frankly, I think they should have just made an equal exchange since I could give them the Invoice Id number and all that, and then, they could have turned it back in to HP for them to figure out what the hell is wrong with that particular machine!

Kind of strange don't 'cha think that both machines ended up with the same problem except on worked for 4-5 months whereas the other one, only lasted 17 days!


Jeff Hardy said...

interesting post. Now you can use this buyers directory to promote office automation products import & export business.

CiCi said...

If I were you I would not ever ever get that same machine again. No matter how much on sale. I hope you get both machines exchanged for one that works. That is the only fair thing.

terri said...

Hewlett Packard owes you some money! I hope you're able to make some headway with this problem and get reimbursed!

Suldog said...

The one thing that has deteriorated more than just about anything else in this world is customer service. I mean real customer service, where someone cares and makes good on a mistake, not just kind words and sorry but we can't do anything.

Write H-P a letter - a real letter - and try to find an actual name of someone high up to send it to. The higher you go, the more likely you'll get a personal response, has been my experience. Be friendly (which you are) and explain how much you LOOOOOOVE them, usually, and you've bought so many things from them in the past and never had a problem, but this has soured your relationship and you may never buy from them again, darn it!

If they don't make good, I'll be surprised. And, if they don't make good, broadcast it far and wide, Jeni!