Friday, July 14, 2006

HP and it's repair parts scam.

Today I was trying to change the printhead in a HP CP1700 printer here at work. This is a ANSI "B" or Tabloid sized (11" x 17") printer and inadvertently broke the latch mechanism. Nice little unit. Retailed for between $350 and $400. It has separate cartridges for each primary color so if you run out of cyan you don't have to go and buy a tri-color cartridge just to change the cyan. As I said, very well built/designed unit. The printheads are held in by an over-the-center latch mechanism. There is a little purple glass filled plastic part that is the bail for the latch. It could not have cost more than a buck to make, if that. It is shaped like an inverted Y with hinge pegs on either end of the Y and a slot in the upright portion. The latch mechanism has a hook that catches the slot when it is engaged. One of the hinge pegs broke off the part. The printer is now totally non-functional since the unit refuses to operate without the latch engaged.

So I start by calling HP's parts department to determine the cost of the part. They have no idea what part it is, they have no diagrams or assembly drawings, and are basically clueless. If I know the internal HP part number they can order it, but without that magic part number I'm screwed. So they transfer me to Tech Support. Tech Support says that unless the unit is under warranty they'll charge me for the call and offer to transfer me to "pre-sales" where they may be able to assist me. Pre-Sales also had no clue as to what the part number was, had no drawings or diagrams nor any way of looking them up. They give me the names and phone numbers of three "authorized repair" companies. All of them wanted to charge a minimum of between $90 and $120 bucks an hour to come out, look at the unit, go back and order the part, come back out and replace it, plus the cost of the yet to be named part.

Remember, the whole damned printer cost $350. HP doesn't want to sell me the part (which is rediculusly simple to replace) and thier "Authorized repair centers" want to charge me somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 to fix it, that is assuming the part is even available.

Screw that! I took the broken part, took a #12 ACCO Binder clip, removed one of the bent wire handles, rebent the ends a bit shorter, using the original part as a guide, clipped the ends off a bit and Viola! printer hums along fine.



Blogger Jason said...

Good job! When my HP stuff starts screwing up I'll consult you first. ;-)

July 15, 2006 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My HP Photosmart P1000 printer power on failed. I tried desperately to get into the printer to see if I could resurrect the power supply or the switch, whichever failed. Finally resolved by buying a used printer off eBay. Now, I have the "new" printer and the almost new cartridges are over on the right side of the broken printer, locked up tight. After several more days of futzing with it, I used my Dremel saw and sliced two rectangles of plastic off the old printer to get at the cartridges to install into the new printer. (sigh) Now no way to resurrect the old printer and STILL no way to get its case off. That's 'way too secure for me!

I think HP just doesn't want to have its printers fixed, no matter their original cost. They are true throw-away company units.


July 15, 2006 7:19 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

K5FNI, I've about decided that when it comes to home use printers that don't have to churn out print after print day in and day out, the best course of action is to buy one of the cheap $40 printers and when they run out of ink, chuck em and buy a new one.

I got a Canon Pixma iP1600 as part of a package deal at Fry's a year or so ago and I positively HATE it. It has to be the worst designed printer I've ever seen. It doesn't even have a catch tray for the prints. It is a $40 printer that Fry's was essentially giving away after rebates. Ink Cartridges for it cost about $35 each (one each tri-color and black). The cartridges are tiny and hold very little ink, they have an EEPROM on the cartridge so nobody can sell refilled ones. Screw you very much US CONGRESS for the DMCA! people can't even reverse engineer a friggin eeprom that tells the printer when the tank is dry even when there is still half a tank of ink left without violating a "Software copyright".

Used to you could take an empty ink cartridge to Office Depot and at least get a ream of recycled paper, but now they won't hardly take any cartridges because they all have that damned chip in em.

July 15, 2006 9:37 PM  
Blogger Hilemanhouse said...

Cannon printers are just as bad it is the same price to replace the head as it is to buy the ink for them, and the head comes with both inks

August 01, 2006 7:13 AM  
Blogger dcgirl said...

My son had a problem with a Dell MP3 player. He needed a part and they only wanted to sell him a brand new unit. I emailed the president of Dell (used the BCC function and every combination of email address and requested read receipts - this narrowed the field until I had the real address). Since I told him that the had major competition and I wouldn't be hesitant to post unfavorable reviews of his product on various opinion websites we were offered a new unit to replace this (out of warranty) unit.

I did the same thing with my Lincoln. It had a problem when it was under warranty and kept repeating even after out-of-warranty. When I got nowhere with the dealer, I went to the Chairman of the Board using the same method as above. Sometimes it pays to go to the top.

August 24, 2006 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I just had the same problem...exact same problem...any your advice just saved me $400 for a new printer and hours of frustration... Thanks!

October 19, 2006 9:41 AM  
Blogger Chucktr said...

Wish that I had found this BEFORE I spent $35.00 to get a new part. That silly latch can be purchased from:
And its Part Number is C8108-CARRIAGE_LATCH
Now all I have to do is figure out how to put the new one back in without breaking it..

February 17, 2009 2:12 PM  
Blogger Al said...

Would HP distribute flawed software, then charge users $169.00 to fix it?
I looked up a problem on the Web, the link led me to an online chat window. Someone took my contact information and called me instantly, gave me a scary explanation of the problem, and demanded payment. Is HP doing this or are they being impersonated?

September 22, 2010 8:24 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Al, I don't know, that sounds like a phishing scam to me. Never ever give your contact info to someone unless you KNOW who it is and went to their website directly instead of going through a search window or a link found online. I think you got scammed badly. For instance if you didn't go to your browser's address bar and type yourself, you don't know who in hell you were talking to and it PROBABLY wasn't anyone actually connected with HP.

I DO know that if you define "flawed" as buggy as hell, then yes, every product that takes a driver ships with a POS driver software. HP is not alone in that but they do seem to take it to the extreme. When you buy a printer, you get something like 300 megabytes of bullshit add-on program crapware that installs itself along with the printer driver. this is especially true of the ALL-IN-ONE machines. I've taken to not installing the driver disk at all and simply going to the HP website and downloading the latest minimal function driver-only package.

September 22, 2010 8:45 AM  

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