I needed a printer/scanner/fax for my job. And since I already owned an HP laptop I decided to buy an HP printer. My thinking on this was that the HP printer should have no problems marrying up to the HP laptop, and since the internet service here is extremely slow (10 to 20 kbps a second download speed) I thought having equipment from the same company might at least give me a little edge over having two different brands, and I wanted as much compatibility as possible.
So I bought an HP Officejet 4500 Desktop printer. Everything looked good after being pulled out of the box, I did have to buy the cord that attaches the printer to the computer separately, but the printer did come with ink cartridges so no big deal. It even stated clearly on the box that one had to buy the cord separately so no complaints there.
After following the very easy instructions I had the printer all set up and ready to attach to my computer. Now this wasn't my first rodeo, I had done this a few times before, both at home and at work, so I attached the cord to the laptop and let windows take over.
Windows gave it the old college try, but stated that it was unable to download the correct driver so recommended I use the CD that came with the printer. OK, not a problem, I inserted the CD and followed the instructions. Everything looked good but at the end of the install attempt the software stated that it was unable to install correctly, would have to uninstall itself, and then would shut down and restart my computer.
Total disaster! Upon restart all the drivers on my computer were switched off! The audio driver, internet access, everything! For what ever reason the printer software had effectively disabled my computer.
Now having had a lot of experience using computers I thought, no problem, I will just go into the control panel and restore the system to before all this happened. But when I got into the restore menu I discovered that the printer software had also removed all my restore points!
Needless to say, I was pretty upset. But I reasoned that maybe HP's customer support could help me out. So I used my iPod to find HP's customer service number, since it wasn't printed in the instruction sheets or on the box in any place that I could readily find it, and gave them a call.
After fighting through the annoying computer menu, which seemed to be designed to discourage people from calling, I got through to some poor guy in India. I explained the problem to him, but, since there was no error code for him to find in his trouble shooting booklet, he decided that it would be best if he sent me to his "supervisor".
All-righty then, I waited on the phone for a while and was finally rewarded with a "supervisor", this time in a Florida call center. I then explained the problem and she assured me that it was no big deal, and that it could easily be fixed.
And here is where it went South. I have owned the laptop now for a couple of years, so it is not under warranty. But I had just bought the printer. And had I not attempted to install that printer to my computer, it would still have all the valuable work data, 3,000 songs from my CD collection, and all the other software that I had spent a lot of time, trouble, and money adding to my computer.
Now although the printer software caused all this trouble, the "customer service supervisor" told me that she would only charge me $99.95 to help me fix this. That's right, to fix a problem caused by the brand new printer software I had to pay $99.95 for special premium service.
I then explained that first of all, I am only just a few dollars away from having to live in a VA homeless shelter. I have no credit cards and I barely scrape by paycheck to paycheck. Nor did I feel that I should have to pay for customer support to fix a problem caused by a brand new printer!
I then pointed out that when I worked as a customer service rep for a large auto company, I had run into many situations where brand new OEM parts had caused problems with out of warranty vehicles. And in everyone of those situations since the new part had caused the problem, it was our responsibility to fix all of those problems at our own expense, regardless as to whether the vehicle was out of warranty or not.
Undeterred, the "customer service supervisor" informed me that I had to pay for help. Truthfully in fact, I don't think she was a customer service rep at all but someone in their sales department.
In the end, I lost everything on my computer, and may lose my job because of it. I thought only the big banks treated their customers as patsies suitable only for bilking of their hard earned money, but I guess HP has decided to treat their own customers in the same manner.
I have worked for years in customer service and support myself, so this is especially galling to me and I will never own an HP product again.