Hewlett Packard Technical Support(?) - AIO Printer

A customer has been using an HP L7680 All-in-One printer for a couple months - as a network printer. All was fine. Recently he said he wanted to be able to scan documents. I attempted to use the scanning function from his workstation and it was no go. I called HP Technical Support and after working some time with the technician I was advised that we had a faulty unit - they would ship a replacement.

When the replacement arrived I followed the instructions - uninstalled the software and then reinstalled the software. I was able to print via the network to the printer - I could access the web interface of the printer. HOWEVER, if I attempted to launch the HP SOLUTION CENTER I immediately received a reply that NO DEVICE FOUND - along with a button to click that said OK! (as if this was ok).

By the way, what do you think of printer/scanner software that tells you it is going to take 20-30 minutes to install? This to me sounds like BLOAT.

I called HP Technical Support. They established a remote session with my workstation. They redid the steps that I a had already told them I had done - uninstalled the software and then reinstalled the software. NO DEVICE FOUND. You have to love that at least these beasts are usually consistent. After hacking around for a total of about 2 hours this support guy was able to scan by manually launching one of the executables buried deep within their software directories. So, obviously the hardware was working. It got to be 5pm and I told the technician that the business owner had to close up shop and we would have to discontinue the support call and resume at a later date.

The support technician then told me to allow 3 to 4 hours for the next support phone call! At this point, without the followup call, my customer had already paid me more for my time than the $400 cost of the printer.

Instead of making the 4 hour phone call the next day (12/17) I wrote an email to Mark Hurd, CEO of Hewlett Packard. I received an email response the following day (12/18) apologizing for my difficulties and letting me know my issue had been forwarded to the Customer Escalation team and I would hear from them. The Customer Escalation team must have been fairly busy - I received a telephone message on 12/24.

Yesterday I made a site visit to the customer and called the Customer Escalation department. When I explained the issue I was told - 'you need technical support - but let me try and work with the software issue' . This guy had me delete a few files, reinstall some software and try again. NO DEVICE FOUND. Then he said he would transfer me to Technical Support. I asked if there was some higher level of Technical Support I could access since the guys that say 'please be on hold so I may consult my resources' have NO EXPERIENCE and about as little technical knowledge. I wanted to work with someone that was a troubleshooter - not a script reciter. The Customer Escalation guy told me that there was just one access point to technical support. Then he said if I did not find the support technician to be helpful - I should ask to speak to the supervisor because they are technicians and have experience. Before he transferred me he said he would call me back late in the day to followup on my technical support experience.

Then I spoke to 'William' from Banglor or whatever his name was and wherever he really was. I told him what the issue was and for the next several minutes he asked me questions that I had already answered in my initial description of the issue. Eventually he asked me to 'please be on hold while I consult my resources'. Before he could put me on hold I jumped in and told him that the guy who transferred me to him instructed me to ask for a supervisor.

From this point it took about 15 minutes of him asking me my name, email address and other stuff that he already had in the case notes. After all this delay he told me his supervisor was on the telephone, this was the only person available for me to talk to, and he had no way of knowing how long he would be - but that he could have the supervisor call me back - within 90 minutes. I said okay. That was at about noon EST on 12/27. It is now 12/28 and I have not heard from the supervisor.

I did, however, have another phone message from the Customer Escalation department guy.

I returned the call, spoke to a different guy because my guy had finished his day. I gave the different guy my report. 1) Supervisor never called me back. 2) HP AIO software is BLOAT and this is just one of several really bad experiences I have had with it 3) Is this the experience that HP wants to have with their end users (my customers) where they have to pump more money into making something work than the actual device cost in the first place.

I added - as something for the mythical suggestion box - in this day of venders trying to make inroads into the SMB market space - that HP should consider having a Technical Support access for SMB Consultants where we can find someone that knows more about their product than we know - instead of script readers.

By the way, on my own, after getting off the phone with 'William', I found that the web interface for the printer has a SCAN funtion. I doubt that it is as pretty, functional or robust as the workstation scanning software but guess what - I was able to show the customer how to scan with it and CUT HIS LOSSES.