Samsung’s non-existing printer support: Do you have hours to waste?

Samsung's non-existing printer support

Background & The SamSung SCX-4828FN Printer

After the sudden death of a HP printer and the horrible HP customer service experiences, I thought it was time to try a new brand of printers and forget HP. Seeing Korean brands are making some good products (TV, monitors, etc), I decided to try a SamSung SCX-4828FN.

For its C$250 price, the Samsung design seems nice and the construction seems solid. And I haven’t seen many bad reviews online (more on this later).

Software and Samsung customer service

* The printer driver software installed without reporting any problem or error (more on this later). And the test page printed ok.

Note: The printer manual CD, unfortunately, is defective and unreadable by the computer (running Windows XP) and Samsung has not included a paper-copy printer manual as a backup.

* Unfortunately, the initial “successful” installation had actually caused at least two hidden problems.

The first problem was discovered right away. The default page alignment for the word processing program was changed, leaving the content of the bottom fifth of each page to be printed on an additional page.

The second problem was more serious and discovered the next day. The printer installation actually caused a critical accounting software to fail to execute and caused it to report an error saying, “XML support not detected. […]

Having never dealt with Samsung printer/technical support, I assumed when the reps were told of these problems, they would be helpful and knowledgeable enough to identify the solutions in minutes. Wrong! The first level support was unhelpful and, to be blunt, clueless. The rep repeated the claim that the printer installation could not have caused these problems. Huh? These programs worked fine before the printer software installation and now they failed afterwards, and the Samsung rep didn’t even have the courtesy to accept and acknowledge their problems!?

The next day, another first level support still insisted it wasn’t Samsung’s problems. And then I was told there was a really really long wait for the second level support reps. No second level support ever called back even after hours of waiting. In passing, I heard that only 5 (yes, just FIVE) reps were working to serve the 1-800-726-7864 Samsung technical help line for all of US *and* Canada! *&^%!!, no wonder there was such a long wait for the second level support rep! Assuming these reps actually know something!

At this point, I was so displeased with Samsung’s technical support that I tweeted, “Samsung has no printer support. Better to avoid Samsung printers. Reps know nothing.” This is just NOT the way I hope to see happening when I try a “new” brand of printers.

Fortunately for me, I was able to find someone knowledgeable to help correct the accounting software problem broken by the beeping Samsung software/driver installer. The wordprocessing software’s default is still messed up but I’ve found a work around.

As I politely told the Samsung customer service representatives, I was displeased with the service I got. But I am much more disappointed with Samsung as a brand. The fact that Samsung has such ineffective printer support lead me to tweet/vent my anger and frustration.

Concluding Thoughts about Samsung printers and Samsung technical support

If you have or work in a small to mid size office, why would you want to consider Samsung printers and risk seeing some of your critical office softwares crashing and failing to startup after installing Samsung printers?

Maybe if your company has a team/department of dedicated IT support technicians, and you don’t mind solving extra problems caused by Samsung and with no help from Samsung. Do you feel that lucky?

P.S. In hindsight, maybe I should have paid more attention to a 10/29/2010 customer’s critique, “Samsung technical support is terrible! and anticipated the clueless Samsung technical support.

P.P.S. Samsung Canada has responded to my tweet. I will update this entry if there are further worthy development to report.

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Jan 24, 2011 Update: For further updates, please see the bottom of this cross-posted entry.

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HP = Bad LaserJet Printer and Bad Customer Service

HP = Bad LaserJet Printer & Bad Customer Service

The broken and unreliable HP LaserJet printer

After the latest breakdown of a HP LaserJet m1522nf multi-function printer and the unprofessional customer service provided, I won’t consider buying HP printers anymore.

HP LaserJet used to mean quality and I think my old LaserJet 3330 came with a 2-3 year warranty (more on this later). Unfortunately, the now dead m1522nf only came with one year warranty and it died after only 18 months. The printer couldn’t finish its powering up initialization sequence and the tiny LCD display on the printer wouldn’t even come up. So the HP LaserJet is quite dead after its short life of 18 months.

The broken HP “customer service”

An unreliable and inferior quality product was bad already but what made the situation worst was HP’s broken/substandard “customer service”.

When I first called HP customer service, I still harboured faint hope that HP would stand behind their products, do the right thing and fix the printer free-of-charge even it is just 6 months out of its 12 month warranty. Failing that, I just wanted the customer service rep to provide a case reference number for my record. And this is where HP customer service failed completely.

The Costa Rica based rep and her supervisor refused to provide a case number unless an address, phone number, and email address were provided. As a disappointed customer, I have no interest in giving HP any future business and have no desire to provide them further with my private information. Is this too difficult for HP to appreciate?

Concluding thoughts

To me, the sad thing is that HP printers used to stand for quality, reliability, and good customer services. Remember my old LaserJet 3330? The customer service and warranty was so good in the past that they shipped a new replacement unit to me free-of-charge when I had problem! Unfortunately, this is definitely NOT the current HP customer service anymore!

Substandard, easily broken printers and horrible customer services have put me off from buy any HP printers in the future. I don’t know if my bad HP experiences are unique, if many people are experiencing the same problem, it is sad to see a formerly good brand’s image being tarnished by poor quality products and bad customer services.

P.S. By the way, I want to be clear that I have no problem with outsourcing customer service departments to international locations with cheaper cost AS LONG AS these international locations can provide equal or better customer services. When these outsourced customer service departments failed, they can easily destroy good reputations built over decades!

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How Twitter helped Krystal Yee win her Rogers fight

Really enjoyed Krystal Yee‘s article “How Twitter helped Krystal Yee win her Rogers fight“. Here is an excerpt from the article (emphasis added),

5. My 5 tips

1.Know when to negotiate. The best time to negotiate with cell companies is when you have less than 1 year left in your contract.

2.Be polite! You’ll never get anywhere by screaming. [Kempton: Totally agree on this one, polite but firm.]

3.Don’t waste much time with a customer service rep. Ask to speak to the retentions department. [Kempton: Often the 1st level reps will want to try to “help”, so I talk to them a little out of politeness even I know they can’t help.]

4.Do your homework. Find out what other companies are offering and use that as leverage. [Kempton: This is the most important part. You can’t ask for the moon if no one else is offering it. But if all the competitors are offerring the same deal, chances of you getting a matching deal shouldn’t be too difficult.]

5. Be prepared to leave. If you don’t get what you want, there are plenty of other companies that are eager for your business. [Kempton: I left Bell and signed up with WIND Mobile and have never been happier. No contracts to sign with WIND.]

My experience with Rogers Wireless taught me a lot. If you think you’re being treated unfairly by a business, don’t spend your time and energy being upset about it. Speak up and make them take notice.

In case other find it useful, I should also mention Twitter helped me fix my problems with some defective cookware as I wrote in “KitchenAid to the Aid using Twitter“.

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Aeroplan: Making money from spoilage by expiring your points?

Aeroplan class action lawsuit - pix 1

This site promises to cover the spectrum of “good, bad, ugly, and beautiful customer service experiences“. When Aeroplan managed to change the rules arbitrarily to its advantage and getting its customers angry enough to file a class action lawsuit, it seems justifiable to name it as one of the uglier example of “customer services experiences”. (CTV News with videoTorStar, and CBC News)

Aeroplan class action lawsuit - pix 2

Readers may recall Ontario banned gift card expiration in 2007. In that case, gift cards were cash and “expiring” gift card/cash felt like robbery for some people. Changing the way the Aeroplan points are expired (from a very flexible/liberal three years to one year) can be seen as what the companies did in “expiring” gift cards.

It is unfortunate that Aeroplan seems to be setting an ugly example of “Customer Service“.

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For further info about the Quebec Superior Court July 2009 motion: see class application 500-06-000476-099 in French where you can download the full PDF text of the class application in English (check out paragraph 14 – 20) and Merchant Law Aeroplan National Class Action info.

P.S. In the corporate world, “spoilage is what happens when a gift cad is purchased and never redeemed“. Spoilage is pure profit for the corporations since they get paid but don’t need to deliver any goods or services in return.

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Superstore/Loblaws: “Try it … you’ll love it!” guarantee

PC Dim Sum - pix 2

Many of Superstore/Loblaws‘ in-store President’s Choice brand of products carry the “Try it … you’ll love it!” guarantee (or money refunded with proof of purchase). I see this as a great promotional method to get customers to try PC brand products and ways to collect customer feedback. The guarantee lead me to try their PC brand of Chinese frozen dim sum.

PC Dim Sum - pix 1

Unfortunately for me and for PC, the frozen dim sum tasted awful and nothing remotely like what you have in a Chinese restaurant or the cheapest frozen dim sum you can buy from Chinatown.

So I took up the PC’s guaranteed offer and called their 1-888 number and managed to get a $10 gift card as refund, saving me the hassle of bringing the box & receipt and lining up at the store for refund.

PC Dim Sum - pix 3

As smart consumers, I think we should take these money back refund guarantees by companies seriously for two reasons. Firstly, if they guarantee we will “love it” and we don’t, they should refund. Secondly and more importantly, I believe by us complaining about the product quality or taste, the complaints allow the companies to improve their product offerrings in the future. Having a monetary cost associated with the complains will give them a better chance to be heard by some mangers somewhere because the money payouts have to be recorded, accounted for, and justified.

Lastly, I should mention that I have tried various President’s Choice products (from various food products, to non-stick pans, and even meat and poultry scissors) and they taste pretty good and work pretty well.

Thanks Loblaws. Thanks for setting a good example of Customer Service Excellence.

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KitchenAid to the Aid using Twitter

I expect a lot from well respected brands like KitchenAid, which was why I tried to get two, in my opinion, poorly designed and engineered pans replaced. You can read more in Getting help from KitchenAid via Twitter” (Sept 2010). Here is an excerpt,

“Yesterday, I tried to get some help from the nice people from KitchenAid via their twitter account. This morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see them replied promptly. Wow, KitchenAid is listening, very cool.”

It took a few weeks for Meyer (the company that owns the KitchenAid brand) to get things resolved and now I am happy to report the extraordinary steps Meyer took to fix everything.

Once I described the pans’ problems to a nice Meyer consumer relations manager, he immediately agreed to fix the problems for me. He ended up shipping two beautiful Anolon advanced hard anodized pans (with “the best nonstick coating in the industry, Dupont Autograph 2“) that are upgrades to my old KitchenAid pans. And when I later told the consumer relations manager that UPS had mistakenly charged me customs duties for the replacements, he sent me a cheque to cover the $60+ duties.

Thanks Meyer and KitchenAid. Thanks for taking the extraordinary steps and setting a great example of Customer Service Excellence.

P.S. Here are some beautiful pictures of my Anolon advanced hard anodized pans.

KitchenAid-Anolon-Meyer pix 1KitchenAid-Anolon-Meyer pix 2

KitchenAid-Anolon-Meyer pix 3KitchenAid-Anolon-Meyer pix 4

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Got Screwed by IKEA in a good way

IKEA is an international company that many people have bought furniture from. Few days ago, I found out it is also a company with wonderful customer services that will go the extra mile to make its customers happy.

You see, the bottom bolt of our IKEA floor lamp broke a few days ago.

IKEA -pix 2

Since the rest of the lamp was ok, we tried to rescue it by seeing what customer services at IKEA can do. Even we had no receipt, the nice lady ended up spending half an hour to help us. She got her colleague to track down a brand new lamp and took out a new bolt, nut and washers with a tool to allow us to fix our lamp. And our lamp is working perfectly again now.

Yes, a bolt, a screw, a tool, or a nut can really show how good or bad a company’s customer service is.

Thanks IKEA. Thanks for setting a great example of Customer Service Excellence.

IKEA -pix 1

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