Hewlett-Packard Company Photosmart Printers

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"Black cartridge only" uses color ink!!!
Posted by Sngbrdb on 03/28/2008
MARIETTA, PENNSYLVANIA -- I can't believe it, but it's just been confirmed by an online chat support technician... When you set your printer preferences to print in black only, and pick "Black print cartridge only", you still use color ink.

Silly me, I was trying to save my color ink for things that needed it... like color printouts!! I set my default to fast draft, two pages per sheet, and black cartridge only to save resources for jobs that really need it.

Now, when I really need it, I'm out of color ink, and can't print at all!!! Not even on "black only".

Here's the transcript of my session with HP:

Olivia: Hello James,
Olivia: Welcome to HP Total Care All-in-One Chat Support. My name is Olivia. How may I assist you today?
James B: Hi
James B: My printer is running out of color ink, even though I'm telling it to only use the black cartridge
James B: Now it won't print at all, even though I only want to print black & white using only the black cartridge
Olivia: I understand that even if you are printing in black the catridges are getting empty. Am I correct?
James B: yes, the color cartridges are getting empty
Olivia: May I know if you are receiving any error messages on the front panel of the All-in-One?
James B: yes... when I print, I get a popup on the screen saying I'm running low on colors... I click 'ok', and a message on the printer screen tells me the same thing. I click 'ok' to print in black only and it prints. However, now the printer is telling me "cannot print" until I replace the magenta and yellow inks
Olivia: May I know when exactly you had replaced the catridges?
James B: I'm not sure of the exact time frame... they've been replaced at different intervals, the last color was magenta, I believe, maybe three or four months ago
James B: my default printer settings specify fast draft and black cartridge only...
James B: if I need to print in color, I have to manually change the print properties when I print a document
Olivia: James, part of color ink is also taken for printing good quality print outs
James B: ?
James B: even when you specifically check "use black cartridge only" on the driver window??
Olivia: If the print only black cartridge or print in grayscale is selected, it reduces the usage of color cartridges
Olivia: But, color cartridge would be used
James B: wow, does it say this in the manual somewhere?
Olivia: However, usage of color cartridge is reduced so that there is no need to change the color cartridge in frequent intervals
Olivia: No
James B: wow
Olivia: Is there anything else I may assist you with?
James B: no offense to you, it's an HP issue, but that's absurd!!!
James B: yes, where do I send a major complaint?
James B: still there? I really want to file a complaint somewhere
James B: this really is unacceptable
Olivia: You can send your queries and complaints to 1-800-474-6836.
James B: what department is that?
Olivia: You can contact the above number and check for the department you want.
Olivia: Is there anything else I may assist you with?
James B: okay, thank-you very much. No, that's everything, thank-you
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Posted by Anonymous on 2008-03-28:
This isn't anything new, nor is it unique to HP. There actually is a noticable quality difference between a printer that has only black ink. I wouldn't go out on a limb and say that it is done only for quality purposes, but that does come into play.
Posted by CrazyRedHead on 2008-03-28:
I have a Brother that is color and it still uses the color when printing in black and white. It is so that the color doesn't clog up. Which is why when one color is out the entire thing will not print in any color, it won't even turn off. I can still fax but with no print out.
Posted by Rick$ on 2008-03-29:
A while ago the color stopped working on my HP d145. I replaced the color cartridges but was still getting poor results. So I decided to ust this printer in 'Black Only' mode for B&W jobs and bought a new 8100 for pics and color jobs. Now, as I'm trying to print my tax returns my d145 refuses to print even in B&W because the color cartridge is now at 0%.

So, it looks like I'll have to buying color cartridges to use this printer even though I can't actually print in color. So much for 'Black Only'

Thanks HP!

If anyone has any ideas for a workaround I would love to hear them.
Posted by Rick$ on 2008-03-29:
btw, I'm not buying the quality argument. Inkjet printers worked fine for years with ONLY a black cartridge. IMO this is all about selling more overpriced ink cartridges.
Posted by Ponie on 2008-03-29:
In defense of HP (but only the good Lord knows why I do), they've finally brought their cartridge prices more in line. When I bought my first HP color printer, one black and one color cartridge came to a little over $65. Last fall I purchased the 4-in-1, 5610. Couple of weeks ago I bought a color and a large black cartridge and the total price was $39 and change. Didn't know about the use of color when printing in B&W. Good information to have when my printer starts notifying me I'm out of color ink and I didn't make that many color printouts.
Posted by sngbrdb on 2008-03-31:
I'm not arguing that using color when printing black makes a better black (though Rick$ has a point)... but when you have a choice to "use color" or "not use color", telling me both use color is absurd!! I'm telling the printer "I don't care about the quality, just use black ink"

I have five color cartridges... each costs $10 at Wal-Mart. Add $20 for the black cartridge, and I've got Ponie's $65 beat, hands down. I may not have to replace them all at the same time, but overall, it's still pretty expensive
: (

I could almost buy that it's so the color doesn't clog, except that thing spends more time in "device maintenance" mode than it does printing. : \ Y'd think device maintenance (whatever that is) would handle unclogging ink.

Ah well, Ken's probably right... if one manufacturer does it, they all probably do.

:: sigh ::
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How Company Abandoned Their Warranty
Posted by Djreplay on 04/05/2006
After purchasing a relatively inexpensive printer I had it fail to operate after I removed a jammed sheet of paper, powers off immediately.
I chatted live with a very pleasant representative who gave me a number for local repair. This is where the problems started.
The repair shop told me in earnest that they don't even bother to repair these items but send them to Florida, it would be ridiculously expensive. he said that calling HP would most likely get me another printer.
I called and sure enough I could get another printer...at full retail, plus shipping. When I considered this ?alternative? to having NOTHING, I asked if they would at least provide free overnight...or even 2 day shipping.
NO WAY. So even though I purchased a printer with a warranty, at the companies discretion the warranty was voided and I have 2 new expensive cartridges and no printer.
Their concern for the consumer who needs to print a picture does not extend to their responsibility to back their product.
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Posted by CobraCat77 on 2006-04-05:
Sounds a bit like my story. Bought a $1300 Presario and a $300 3-year, extended coverage warranty. When I called them concerning my laptops failure, they said i had no warranty and I had to prove it. Well, after faxing my warranty receipt 3 times, I had to speak with a senior exec who finally recognized I had paid for it. Screw HP.
Posted by viperpa33s on 2006-04-05:
Basic printers are relatively cheap these days. The ink is where they get you. I never get a warranty for a printer cause it costs more to fix than the printer itself. Would also be to much of a hassle just for a cheap printer. If you only had it a couple of days, you could of went back to the store and exchanged it for a new one.
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HP 8250 Printer refilled ink cartridge issue
Posted by Bosun on 09/24/2007
VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON -- HP 8250, never again HP -

I have been buying HP instrumentation products since the late 1960's and came to respect the high quality and design excellence of their products. I purchased an HP 8250 printer fewer than two years ago and am now throwing it, the last HP product that I'll ever buy, away.

The final straw was when, in an attempt to not get ripped off by the cost of HP ink cartridges, I installed re-filled HP cartridges and the printer advised me that it could no longer determine the quantity of ink remaining. Every time I switch the printer on it repaeats the message whch requires me to push two buttons to rid the machine of the message and to allow it to print. To make things even more difficult for their customers who choose not to buy new HP cartridges, there is an interesting bug in the code that has the printer hang up in this 'message mode' toggling back and forth between screens on the two screen message - the only way to get out of this loop is to open and close the top cover. Now, every time I turn the printer on I have two or more extra buttons to depress and two more reasons to never buy an HP product again!

The first few months the printer worked well with the exception of the paper trasy assembly which is a design from hell - difficult to load, impossible to remove to celar a paper tray jam and suitable only for letter size or legal size paper. Doesn't work well with envelopes or any of the label stock smaller than 8 1/2 x 11. After about three months, the paper feed began to fail, printer advising that it was out of paper when it was not. This problem occurred on anyewhere from 50% to 75% of print commands.

These problems were enough to turn me off HP products but the absolute kicker was, as I have indicated above, the Company's solution to trying to force customers to use their ink and their ink only.
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Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-24:
It does require a little work but the codes can be defeated. I have found a few pages online with instructions. However I have never been satisfied with refilled HP cartridges. The third-party inks tend to be inferior.
Posted by Sparticus on 2007-09-24:
It is unfortunate that many of these printer companies are trying to thwart the whole "ink refilling" business by putting blocks in their programs... They should embrace it... where there is a will there is a way... Maybe if they didn't charge $40 for a new ink cartridge that only costs them $2 to make... we would buy theirs instead of just refilling...
Posted by ThinLazyAmerican on 2007-09-24:
Buy a laser printer. Problems solved!

Best money I ever spent on a printer.

I owned 2 HP inkjets and 2 Epson inkjets.

For the price of a complete Inkjet refill, I purchased a new Konica / Minolta Laser printer.

I don't even think about ink anymore!

HP printers are crap, but the computers are o.k. in my book!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-24:
I like the recycling aspects involved with the refills. We really don't need more plastic in the landfill. Even though they are small, just imagine how many are thrown out every day. I was at the post office one day and they had postage paid envelopes to put your used-up cartridges in. I know someone is making a profit off of this free product, but it makes me feel better to know someone is reusing them. I know that Office Depot and others also take these refills, but I don't frequent them often enough so the mail-in works well for me.

Thanks TLA for the suggestion on the laser printers. That is a great idea.
Posted by ThinLazyAmerican on 2007-09-24:
You are seriously misled if you think recycling those cartridges makes any difference.

The mail-in envelopes add to the overall cost of the cartridges and I'm not talking about your cost.

Stop buying inkjets.

Use less paper.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-25:
TLZ--I will look into a laser printer as I said because I am interested in conserving in every way I can, but I still feel recycling anything plastic is better than throwing it into a landfill. Paper breaks down--plastic doesn't. There are still a huge amount of inkjet printers out there. Can you imagine the landfill if everyone just threw them out? Yikes!
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HP is unable to make its "all-in-one" product work as advertised
Posted by Peter Aleff on 05/05/2010
PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA -- I requested repeatedly that HP provide me with the proper software to run its newly purchased Photosmart Premium C309g "all-in-one" so that it can scan documents and save them to my computer, and also read SD memory cards from my cameras to save the photos on these cards also to my computer.

HP is advertising its machine as an "all-in-one" but has so far been unable to provide software that lets it perform the above functions. I have given their support technicians repeatedly all the data about my computer and system that they requested but none have been able to send me the software which HP's advertising promised. They produced a 15-page thread of questions which I have all answered, some of them several times, as shown on their ticket number 8038129400, but they have not produced any solution to the simple problem I described: HP's machine does not do what HP says it will do.

Instead of providing this promised software, their technicians sent me six pages of lengthy instructions with multiple steps and interventions in the registry which I believe goes far beyond what any supplier can ask a good-faith customer to do, just to compensate for HP's inability to supply non-defective software with its product.

HP's lack of concern for the working of its software extends to the notifications about updates for that software: that notification pop-up is incomplete, it cuts off much of the text and all the links where to click to get those updates. Moreover, this intrusive pop-up does not even let me close it, so each time I have to email to HP to find out the new URL where I should obtain those updates and make that pesky notification disappear.

HP is well aware of this problem because it mentions it on its website, but it has done nothing to fix this annoyance. Similarly, HP knows about the problems with the scanning and photo-saving software, but it has done nothing to remedy them except posting an alert about the disappearing scans on its web page and offering a download. That download does not work with HP's software but tells me after the downloading and installation attempt that the software installed on my computer does not need this patch.

I told HP in a recent email that I prefer they solve the scanning and saving problem by sending me properly written software instead of obliging me to endure another tech support session on the phone, like the one that was needed to make their machine connect to my network, which is about as desirable as a root canal procedure. Here is what I had written:

>>>> I don't want to give you my phone number
>>>> because I prefer to communicate by email -- I am
>>>> often not near a telephone or unwilling to be
>>>> interrupted by it, and I don't want to spend hours in
>>>> a typical tech-support phone conversation.

Still, despite this rather clear rejection of another tech support phone session, a case manager at their "escalation team" emailed me in response to my alleged "request to speak to someone at HP", showing again a total disregard for all the prior correspondence with the technicians at their lower support level. All I am asking for is that HP send me the software its "all-in-one" needs to perform its job, but so far that appears to be beyond their capability.

Their tech support behaved so far in the same dismal way that another dissatisfied customer described on this forum on 4/20/2010 at http://www.my3cents.com/showReview.cgi?id=76968 under the title "
"Hewlett-Packard Company Complaint -- HP makes customers do more work - Terrible procedures in place".

Like the customer who wrote that complaint, I have been an HP customer for a long time and own several of its earlier printers, such as a Laserjet IIP Plus and a Photosmart 8150, but it has become clear to me that the old HP which supplied these once reliable products does no longer exist and no longer appears to have the basic competence to make its products work as advertised without trying to have the customer perform their complicated repair work, and without caring that some of their commercially offered software is defective and does not work.
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Posted by Alain on 2010-05-05:
Thank you for this information.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-05-05:
Personally, I can't stand "all-in-one" products. IMHO, when one component fails, you are SOL.
Posted by MRM on 2010-05-05:
Dryad, I take it that you have never used All-In-One printer. They are reliable, they are space-saver (instead of having 3 standalone devices), and they cheaper (than buying 3 standalone devices).
Posted by Alain on 2010-05-05:
You're right, Dryad! (Although I currently use a Cannon Printer/scanner/copier that's working well).
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-05-05:
I'm currently using an HP laserjet6p printer.
Posted by MRM on 2010-05-05:
I was planning on getting a wireless printer but do I really need that?
Posted by warddw1526 on 2010-05-05:
MRM, I found that there have been many problems with wireless printers. There are a lot of problems that can pop up with interference with the wireless signal. Things like cell or cordless phones can cause interuption.
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Bad Printer - Horrible Policy To Their Customers
Posted by HP Hater! on 06/10/2009
In the spring of 2008 my old HP printer bit the dust. It had been a great printer, and we still use what is left of it.

However, I needed on that worked completely so I purchased the C5500 (?) because I had such good luck with the last HP. It worked fine until last March of 2009. It went out so I called HP. He walked me thru several steps to check it but came to the conclusion that, probably during an electrical outage, something (I forget what exactly) blew and it was irreparable.

On March 30, 2009 I went to Fry’s Electronics in Manhattan Beach, CA. 90266. I purchased the same printer, now the HP C5580 All-In-One, because I was familiar with it and felt that the reason for the last one to go out was beyond anyone’s control.

When I brought it home, my husband installed it. Saying it was very complicated and difficult to do. He has much experience with printers and he is a Photographer and does most of his own printing. He has also owned many printers over the years and many of them HP’s……without such difficulty.

Shortly after that, April 4 2009 to be exact, my ‘new’ printer would not print on the Versa Check paper that we used for our checks. The error message continued to say “Out of Paper’. Both of the previous printers worked fine for this printing.

I called HP assistants and he went into my computer and fixed the problem. He was just great and patient as so very helpful. He spent over an hour with me…..his time and mine. My service ticket # was 802-360-1809.

Not long after that I couldn’t get the scanner to work. The printer says, “Try starting scan from computer. Refer to documentation for details.” I never could get that to work. I don’t scan very often so I thought I would deal with that later.

In the meantime, my envelopes would not print….the standard #10 envelopes which had printed at the beginning of my ownership of this printer…..and both the last printers. The error messages says, “Wrong size paper” I tried changing anything I thought might be the problem.

Now, June 3, 2009, the printer again would not print on the Versa Checks.

I am now furious! I called HP service. They couldn’t even find my last Service Ticket #. They wanted to go thru all the fixing again. I run a business and do not have time to spend hours on the phone fixing a product that is basically new and has ALREADY been fixed before…..now it has more problems.

I told HP that I wanted my money back, a whopping $162.36. I need to immediately get another printer as I need to print checks…immediately. The service representative continued to say, “So. How can I help you today? What is the problem?” I continued to repeat…over and over, I did not want to spend any more time on it and would like to speak to a supervisor. They made me wait 1 hour and 25 minutes until they would finally put her on. During this time the conversation with the representative continued with “So. How can I help you today? What is the problem?” I was about to blow my mind. I said, ‘Did you not hear with I said in the beginning and have repeated many times?”

After this 1 hour and 25 minutes, Nadia in India, came on the line. She began by telling me that she had been in a meeting and had to leave that meeting to help me.

I informed her that I had been in the middle of keeping my business running when I had to stop and deal with a printer that stopped working, loosing my time and waiting so long for a supervisor. Not only, I was unable to leave the phone even to go to the bathroom.

She asked what the amount was I was requesting which was/is $162.36.

She assured me that someone would call me back the next day to speak to me in regards to my problem/s. My service # was 802-578-2518.

On Monday, June 8, 2009, a HP representative contacted me. He said it was impossible to take the printer back and refund my $162.36. The only thing he could do was send me a refurbished printer…..YES…A REFURBISHED PRINTER!!


It is very clear, to me, the importance of Hewlett-Packard’s customers. I asked him, "For $162.36, to keep a returning customer you can't do that?" "No." he replied.


TIME! Time lost trying to fix problems, TWICE. TIME waiting on the phone with HP loosing time for my business plus having no printer when needed, making it necessary to purchase another (NOT HP) printer, immediately so as to continue my work. $162.36 for printer
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Customer Support So Patronizing It Was Nauseating!!
Posted by Bjbjoyful on 07/06/2013
COLORADO SPRING, COLORADO -- After purchasing 3 HP Printers within 3 years, and the last two having the same design default where the black cartridge quits printing, the company would not work with me at all because I had not called tech first. I had purchased a two year extended warranty for nothing. When you hear "I am so sorry you are having this problem", but they don't want to help, HOW SORRY ARE THEY?

Not so great customer service.
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Why Bother With Hp-Short Life And Higher Cost To Repair Than Buy New
Posted by Pdelucca22 on 03/24/2013
After only 1 year, my beloved HP Photosmart all in one printer suddenly could not print black. All other colors printed beautifully! I tried everything to self-diagnose and correct the problem. I then took my printer to a well-known retailer that sells multiple brands/products. The retailer was very helpful but warned me that it was likely I'd have to bury my printer, even though it was really only approaching adolescence. I didn't want to give up so I called HP for support trusting they would want to assist - especially since in my view, my printer was really very new (after all, we should be able to get more than 1 year's service from expensive products with only moderate to average use, right?).

HP informed me I would have to enter into an extended service agreement which would cost more than to buy an equal and NEW HP replacement; the only way to address the issue. WOW - what service! Thanks, HP! Another HP consumer reported all kinds of problems with expensive HP hardware including missing screws - guess what - I think HP just gave them to me!
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Posted by madconsumer on 2013-03-24:
many of the low cost printers and electronics are considered disposable. as you discovered, to repair the item is often more than to replace.

make sure to recycle the old printer.
Posted by ok4now on 2013-03-25:
It's actually cheaper just to buy a new printer. Here's why. The new printer will come with all new ink cartridges. With the high cost of manufacturers ink it's almost like getting the printer for free. They make their money on the inflated ink replacements not the printer.
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Hewlett Packard ships Refurbished printers as New
Posted by Haccom on 03/16/2012
Print samples; HP C410e
Print samples; HP C410e

I contacted Hewlett Packard via their Customer support website to replace an existing HP PhotoSmart (PS) C5200. I did this because I felt the vendor could provide the fastest info on this product's successor. I was sent to sales and told my initial machine, although still available, had far been surpassed by their latest PS printer, the HP PhotoSmart Premium C410. I fell for the pitch and was confident buying from HP directly instead of Amazon, NewEgg, etc. The product arrived and has been problematic ever since.
1-MY BIGGEST COMPLAINT IS THAT HP FRAUDULENTLY MISREPRESENTED A FACTORY "REFURBISHED PRODUCT" AS NEW (the customer will eventually find a small label marked "Factory Re-conditioned" cleverly hidden in the rear of the machine) AND CONTINUES TO COVER THIS UP.
2-MY SECOND COMPLAINT IS EXTREMELY POOR SOFTWARE (don't be sold on impractical software bells and whistles on a unit that can barely print in monochrome).
4-FOURTH, CUSTOMER SUPPORT WAS UNRESPONSIVE AND THE CSR (cust. service rep) FAILED TO FOLLOW UP AS HE PROMISED (they won't id themselves and never provide a means of staying in contact with any single Support person).
Consumers should note that in addition to the fraud, the company will continually push product accessories at the customer's expense, and avoid establishing a customer encounter record to hide evidence of consumer complaints. The object is to also charge the customer for Product Support as much as possible. In my case, I have been ripped off on all counts, in addition to the cost of a minimally functional product. My experience has been (after four machines, from laserjets to all-in-ones) that nearly all HP products have STRONG DESIGN FLAWS, but function well in one or two capacities only. In this case, the C5200 prints quality photos but is inadequate as an all-in-one. Conversely, the C410 has VERY POOR PHOTO PRINT CAPABILITY and poor, SLOW general print function. THESE PRINTERS HAVE NO LEGACY QUALITY, i.e. because one in the line functions well does not mean subsequent PhotoSmarts will. GIVEN THE FRAUD, I WOULD NOT BUY ANOTHER HP PRINTER REGARDLESS OF ITS REPUTATION. THE COMPANY HAS ALREADY SACRIFICED THEIRS.


Same Photo Image Comparison between
HP PhotoSmart C5200 (left; 5/2010 yr.) & HP PhotoSmart Prem C410 (right; 10/2011 yr.)

Despite using the same idealized photo print color settings of the C5200 (image 1; below left) all images of the HP PhotoSmart Prem C410 (image 2; below left) have a "Solarized" photo appearance with an inaccurate color profile that could not be corrected. Note that the C410 also has mechanical issues. Using the same paper, the C410 feeds improperly with photo paper. Printing was only minimally effective for B&W non-photographic copies and documents.
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Posted by trmn8r on 2012-03-16:
There is a lot going on in your complaint.

I can't get past one thing, and that is that they evidently sold you a refurbished printer as new. That is a big deal, and I don't think that is legal.

This printer wasn't a warranty replacemnent, but you actually purchased it? If so, I'd demand they take it back.
Posted by trmn8r on 2012-03-16:
I see HP has a program where they sell refurbished products.

But they should tell you if that is what they are selling you!
Posted by Melissa on 2012-08-24:
Their customer service is the worst. They promised they would call me back but never did. They do not care and I will NEVER EVER buy an HP product again. The HP photosmart printer I made the mistake of buying is no good.
Posted by Don on 2013-10-13:
I had a bad 2yr old 8500a and was going to go to Office Depot and buy a 8600 for $150. I called HP and was offered an exchange 8600 for $170, but they could take back my un opened ink and give me a 3 yr warranty for $20 which I thought was a better deal. They seem to die at 2 yrs. In looking up the SN I saw the refurbished sticker on the back, a complete surprise since on line they go for around $110. I am willing to keep the printer but want a price concession. They are supposed to call next week. With the warranty I feel ok but like someone wrote this is a deceptive trade practice.
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Posted by Tamarapauling on 02/10/2012
COOKEVILLE, TENNESSEE -- The HP Scanner has not worked from day one - I continue to get an error message - "The scan cannot be performed because another program or computer is using the network, try again later" HP customer support, in two days, wasted 6 hours of my time and could not resolve the issue - they uninstalled and reinstalled their software so many times and I shut down and re-started my PC many times - I was then told the issue would be escalated to their next level for a fix - HP gave me a call time of 11:00 AM and did not bother to call me - I contacted them again and they said they would call me at 3:30 and once again it was a lie and no call! I finally called them and a supervisor, Fredrick, was rude, curt and did not speak good English, stated he had the solution - same issue on the phone for two and 1/2 hours and the software was again uninstalled and reinstalled - when it did not work and the same error message appeared, he hung up on me! If you call support you get either someone in the Philippines or in India - I immediately hang up if I reach India because the techs are down right DUMB and DO NOT speak good English!! What a nightmare - I am going to purchase a new scanner and it will NOT be HP! What is wrong with this sub-standard company that they cannot fix this issue - Looking at the web, this particular error message is a common issue!
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Posted by Alain on 2012-02-11:
For what it's worth, we've used a Canon MP470 for a couple of years now with no problems and excellent performance.
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Tired of messing with this printer...
Posted by RumRiverMan on 06/21/2010
"I concluded they don't make enough money on their printers, so they have to prod and poke consumers into buying their proprietary ink, in order for it to work the way it's supposed to."

"I'm tired of trying to get the wireless connection to keep working, I have strictly gone to full time USB connection."

"I'll not be buying an HP printer next time around, and I'll probably avoid anything else using a similar "get the money after the sale" approaches."
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