Monday, December 17, 2007

Printer Woes

Last week, my Hp Photosmart 8250 printer, which I have used and really liked for just about two years, started giving me an error message, "Out of paper." It wasn't out of paper, so I fiddled with it for about an hour to no avail. It wasn't an hour I had planned to spent with a sick printer so my mood went south. I had also gotten one of these printers for KeiChi as a Christmas present at the same time and her printer had stopped being able to feed slick photo paper about a year ago. The coincidence of the problems sent me to to look at customer reviews and I found that this printer has had paper feed problems for many people. I also found out that HP has been less than interested in resolving the problems, giving some customers a kit to clean the rollers, charging some customers about $35 for a kit to clean the rollers, and offering to fix the problem for other customers at a price about equal to a new printer. I can't vouch for the truth of these claims; it's just what I read in the customer review section.

I did not attempt to call HP since my last call to their service center was a disaster, but emailed them instead. The rep who answered my enquiry claimed he was ready to own my problem and told me to make sure the paper was in the printer lined up correctly, not too many sheets, blah, blah, blah. All things I had checked during the "bad mood" hour. He also told me how to clean the rear rollers (he said they might be "dust coated") so I got out an old lint free washrag, and wiped at the rollers. They were fairly dirty, and my white rag got a few brown spots on it from the rubbing. However, there was no visible coating of dust and I know dust like George Hamilton knows toasted. Just for my own gratification, I left the cover off the back of the printer, plugged it back in, and attempted to print something again. I could easily see that the paper was getting nowhere near the rollers I had just cleaned. I deduced they had nothing to do with the problem and emailed him back. The next morning I received an email from him as a follow through. He was wondering if any of his solutions had worked. I sent my email again, complete with my actions and deductions, and am awaiting a reply.

I don't suppose that there will be a good resolution to this problem. I don't plan to drop the printer(s) from a very high window or throw them in front of a moving semi, per some suggestions in the Amazon customer reviews, but I am also not inclined to pay Staples to recycle them since I paid them two years ago for two printers I had hoped that we could use for a very long time. I have written this whole rant without even mentioning the hundreds of dollars worth of HP ink cartridges I have used. I know Staples will miss that business and it might even be worthy of notice by HP. I don't know if this will make me feel any better - I just think that planned obsolescence is one of the evils we should rail against.

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