HP Printer problems: no such thing as a recall
By Ray Hanania
I purchased an Hewlett-Packard HP Photosmart 5520. It’s an inkjet printer that has four cartridges, blue, yellow, pink and black. I bought it because I wanted to be able to use wifi to print from my cell phone and iPads using my home wireless system.
It cost about $130, from “Best Buy.” Best Buy isn’t always the “best” buy at all. Sometimes, it is the worst place to go because they sell junk and then drop support and supplies for it once the junk inventory is sold out. It’s happened many times in my 20 years purchasing from them.
The HP Photosmart 5520 seemed like a great printer. But it turns out that the printer has a major problem involving printing using the Black Ink Cartridge. Out of the blue, the printer will stop printing in black. You will think that the black ink cartridge is out of ink, even though you just purchased one. But we all know that the ink cartridge industry is a scam. The ink cartridges don’t last long. And if you don’t print often, the ink evaporates quickly over time. You end up spending a fortune to print a few pages. Each cartridge costs a lot. $10 for each cartridge, of $40 for all four. But that’s the low volume cartridges. They sell extra XL cartridges that falsely promise they will print more pages, for double the money.
That’s what I ended up doing. When the black ink stopped working, and seemed to “fade,” the conclusion any consumer will make is that the ink is out. You may think, wow, what a rip-off. I just bought it. But when need a printer, you need a printer. And you go out and spend another $40 to buy new cartridges. You replace them all, just to make sure.
And then you try to print a page.
And it doesn’t work.
If you go online, HP has no real user support forums of any use. They just have the typical forum bully pulpits where the techies control the discussion and delete and block anyone who disagrees with them. They also are intolerant of criticism.
They claim the problem is small, but in reality, thousands of consumers have complained about the HP Photosmart 5520s, and other series printers, failing to print in black ink.
Here’s a link to a place that makes a recommendation, generally, for printer heads that don’t work properly. Click here to read the worthless advice that doesn’t help at all.
After struggling with the stupid printer for days without any results, I went out and purchased a new printer, Canon ImageClass Printer that cost about $200. But instead of inkjet garbage cartridges, it uses the old fashioned but far more reliable laser jet cartridges. Those cartridges are more expensive ($80 per cartridge) but they last far longer and you print far more.
Canon also has better inkjet color printers and so far my research shows they are far better than HP or even Epson printers, which I abandoned long ago for the same problems. The inkjet cartridges don’t last long and they are very expensive to constantly replace when you only use them occasionally.
Worse in this all too common problem with HP and Epson printers is the industry practice of forcing you to pay extra money to purchase a warranty. Imagine. You pay $200 for a printer, and the store says, well, if it breaks in 15 days, that will be your problem unless you pay $29 more for a warranty. And even with that bullying technique, a strategy to make you feel that it might break, when it does break, you bring it to the store and they tell you they don’t handle the warranty. You have to go to HP.
I’ve been to HP online and they are very unresponsive to consumer concerns. They don’t care. They make it hard to get questions answered, and they certainly are not going to make it easy for your to fix a printer. What they want you to do is what the American auto industry makes you do, use the car until it breaks and then go out and buy a new one. They don’t want things to last long.
And finally, as if to add insult to injury, when I did install the new, expensive cartridge in the HP Photosmart 5520 that wasn’t smart at all, HP did send me a spam advertisement urging me to join their “Rewards” program to take advantage of a lot of other benefits. It took me forever to escape from the promo, which popped up on my laptop computer like a virus.
HP Photosmart 5520 isn’t smart at all. And it is definitely not a smart buy for consumers. Avoid HP printers. There was a time when HP was the leader in technology. Just ask Steve Wozniak who worked at HP, although now I understand the stupid decision that HP made to reject Wozniak’s “personal computer” creation, the Apple II. Yes, some moron at HP rejected the idea of owning Wozniak’s computer invention, and fortunately Wozniak went on to make it with Steve Jobs.