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Author Topic: Epson refuses to honor a 90 day repair warranty  (Read 2075 times)
wildstork
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« on: June 01, 2010, 12:37:52 PM »
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This issue is regarding an Epson 9600 I bought new when it first came out.  This printer has been incredibly reliable... apart from the normal Epson issues of blocked nozzles and lots of ink wasted in cleaning cycles.  When it prints it prints beautifully or I would have replaced it long ago.  The issue is that the light black nozzle dropped out back in November and I was unable to recover it through repeated head cleaning cycles.

I phoned Epson Pro Graphics and they recommended two repair facilities within a 90 minute drive.  The first was busy for at least a week.  The second said they could get on it immediately and that the problem should be resolved in a week.  That was November 16 of last year.

Six weeks later I received a call that the printer was ready.  I arrived to find no technician in the shop (the one who repaired my printer was on a service call).  I loaded a sheet of paper and ran a nozzle check.  There was no yellow.  I ran an alignment test pattern and the numbers were off by a wide margin.  The head alignment had never been done after a new head was installed.  

I phoned Epson.  Because of the cock-up, the six week wait and the fact that the technician was not trained to work on Pro Graphics printers Epson decided to pick up the cost of the new head and arrange a service call from their service provider, Decision One.  They agreed to pay for parts if I would pay for the service call and labor.  I offered to bring the printer in to any service facility to save travel time (for the repair technician) and they said this service was for house calls.  I live two hours away from the technicians.

The first Decision One technician arrived in early January and had the printer working after several visits.  Decision One withdrew $450 from my bank account (I was required to provide a credit/debit card number before they would dispatch a technician) without informing me that they would do so.  I learned of this when I received an invoice for repairs performed stamped "PAID".

The printer worked for several weeks before vertical banding at 1440 became a major issue.  I phoned Epson and they scheduled another visit from Decision One.  When I called, Epson stated "just indicate this is a Warranty 90 repair issue and we'll deal with the rest."

The technician began a series of visits that soon reached 10 or more by the end of March.  He never left any documentation indicating what the problem was or what he repaired.  He would stay as late as midnight to complete his repairs.  He was never able to stop the vertical banding at 1440 bi-directional and introduced banding at 720 uni-directional after replacing my original Carriage Motor.  He freely admitted that he had no clue as to what was causing the banding, so he just replaced any part he could think of (since Epson had agreed to pay for parts).  In the mean time I had a printer that now banded at two of three useable settings and this was a 90 day warranty repair.

In late March the head was replaced for the fourth time and the main board for the 5th time.  The following morning I turned the printer on and was greeted with a flashing Service Required 0001001B warning light on the control panel.  I phoned Epson and learned that this meant that the print head was overheating and that I should turn the printer off.  They arranged another visit from Decision One.  I requested a different technician citing the inability of the first technician to resolve the issue after some 10 visits.  (On one occasion the first technician drove the 2 hours to my place and arrived to discover the Carriage Motor was for an Epson 10000 and not a 9600.  He still spent an entire day futzing with the printer and impacting no change in the banding.)

The new technician arrived and spent a full day trying to resolve the banding and couldn't.  The following morning the Service Required warning appeared again as soon as the printer was turned on.  I shut the printer off, waited 20 minutes and tried again with the same result... seven times.  I phoned Epson and they rescheduled another Decision None visit.  

Technician arrived several days later and drained ink from the lines with a syringe.  He was covered in ink and claimed there was air in the lines.  In his report to Epson he stated he did not see the Service Required lights when he turned on the printer and that there was no banding.  (Interesting that he turned the printer on in my presence and saw the flashing Service Required lights, after which I commented "I'm relieved the flashing lights came on as I didn't want you to think you wasted a trip.")  Epson Pro Graphics phoned me as the technician's report was contrary to what I had emailed Epson.  I sent photos of the Service Required lights and the tests made the day before, in the presence of the technician, clearly showing banding at 720 uni and 1440 bi.

Epson scheduled another service call for late April.  I stayed home and waited for the technician.  He called around 11 am and stated that my printer had been placed on "Administrative Hold".  I had to phone Epson to learn that Epson was deciding whether to repair my printer.  I was told a decision would be forthcoming.

A week later I learned that Epson had decided not to repair my printer under the warranty period.  I had asked Epson Pro Graphics, on March 1, if they had a refurbished 9880 they could sell me as I had lost all of my business in the months since November?  I was told "Epson doesn't sell refurbished wide format printers."  I was also told that they would not honor the $900 rebate on a 9900 printer on March 1, one day after the Epson rebate expired, but that they might be able to get me some ink.

In mid April I was informed that I owed Decision One $4,000 for repairs.  This was changed to $2,500 a few days later as $1,500 was for parts that Epson was paying for.  I asked why I should be billed for repairs done under the Warranty 90 period?  What, after all, did a warranty cover if Epson was paying for parts?  I was told I owed $2,500.  

I then asked why I should be required to pay $2,500 for repairs to my printer that resulted in banding at 1440 bi and 720 uni... not to mention that I couldn't even load a sheet of paper since April 1 due to the Service Required flashing lights?  

A week later Epson's Customer Service called to tell me that I now only owed $1,000 IF I'd buy a refurbished 9600 for $1,500.  I couldn't believe I was hearing this!  I asked where this refurbished printer came from as I had been told Epson didn't sell refurbished wide-format printers?

Last week a final decision was made and Epson called to state that Decision One had decided to drop all charges for repairs.  I asked "what repairs?  They repaired the same head 4 times, the main board 5 times, the carriage motor 2X, the stepper motor once, the capping station twice and the timing fence twice and still couldn't stop banding that this printer never exhibited.  I paid for these repairs and Epson now refuses to honor their warranty!"  

I was told this was the best they could do.

As good as this printer worked when it was working, the consensus I've heard from speaking to many who own Canon, HP and Epson is that the three printers are virtually indistinguishable in their output.  The thermal heads don't have a perfectly round dot (which the Epson has) but this is not noticeable unless you're looking at the image with a high powered loupe.  The Canon's and HP's done waste ink with cleaning cycles, like the Epson, and the longevity figures on both Canon and HP are significantly better than Epson.  The final point is that if and when you need service for an issue you can't resolve... who are you going to trust?  I personally wouldn't trust Decision One as far as I could throw them!  

I certainly don't want Decision One ever working on any printer I own.  I also have reservations about a company that charges for repairs and then makes an administrative decision not to honor their repair warranty because their service provider does incompetent repair work.  That Epson would side with their service provider who has proved their incompetence beyond any reasonable doubt, and leave a wide format printer unserviceable after being paid for repairs is unconscionable.

There are various choices in wide format printers.  Buyer beware!    

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deanwork
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2010, 03:42:04 PM »
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What happens with these old Epson printers that have been well used is that the carriage itself wears out. The grooves that the head unit travels on become worn down, and the head becomes wobbly, and you see micro banding, eventually at all resolutions. You could put a million heads on it and it wouldn't make any difference. There are probably some very good technicians working for Decision One, but my experience with them was pretty scary. The guy said he works on all kinds of equipment  but had never worked on an Epson before. He was on the phone with someone who told him what to do. My problem wasn't resolved either. But I just gave up. They really want you to trash these older printers and not keep them going. Its always been like that.  I'll bet  HP is the same way though.

john
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Shutterbug2006
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2010, 12:09:21 AM »
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Decision One doesn't have company technicians everywhere.

What they do, is contact a service company or independent technician closest to the customer; to arrange to have them swap parts to effect repairs. They will advise the technician to do specific things, but the technicians are not necessarily Epson factory-trained. They pay the technician or service company, a rate negotiated between them, an hourly rate. Travel time is paid particularly where significant travel is involved. In some cases, the technician who shows up, has no formal electronics training.

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wildstork
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2010, 02:39:27 AM »
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That may be true with Epson printers that have been well used John, but mine was never a production machine.  It would often sit for weeks without being run.  In fact, I did a status check before taking it in to the repair shop back in November and all items listed on the status report indicated three out of five stars (apart from the waste ink container that showed two stars).  The printer never exhibited a banding problem I couldn't resolve with several head alignment printouts right up to the time I lost the light black nozzle.

This issue is an illustration of the gross incompetence of the two technicians who came out to repair the printer as their alignment tests were always off by a wide margin after they left.  The second technician, after working on the printer for six hours, brought a print out of the studio and had a big smile on his face.  He said "I think you'll be happy with this."

I took the print and brought it into the kitchen where there were bright ceiling spot lights that were ideal for checking banding.  Before I even entered the kitchen and before putting on my reading glasses I could see obvious banding.  I offered these clowns the use of my 4X, 8X and 10X loupes as they clearly had poor vision.  They were constantly entering the wrong numbers when evaluating their alignment printouts so the likelihood of them getting proper alignment was nil.

Most upsetting was that the second technician wrote in his reports that there was no visible banding when he admitted in my presence that there clearly was visible banding but that he couldn't resolve the issue.  It doesn't get any worse than this.  Epson should rethink their policy of contracting out to these cash register repairmen as they are clearly under qualified to work on wide format printers.

Lawrence  

Quote from: deanwork
What happens with these old Epson printers that have been well used is that the carriage itself wears out. The grooves that the head unit travels on become worn down, and the head becomes wobbly, and you see micro banding, eventually at all resolutions. You could put a million heads on it and it wouldn't make any difference. There are probably some very good technicians working for Decision One, but my experience with them was pretty scary. The guy said he works on all kinds of equipment  but had never worked on an Epson before. He was on the phone with someone who told him what to do. My problem wasn't resolved either. But I just gave up. They really want you to trash these older printers and not keep them going. Its always been like that.  I'll bet  HP is the same way though.

john
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deanwork
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2010, 07:04:16 AM »
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Come to think of it, when Decision One came to work on my 10K about 5 years ago,  the tech didn't know how to do an alignment evaluation printout at all. I had to show him how to do it AND how to evaluate it. Like I said, he had never worked on an Epson large format printer before.

j






 They were constantly entering the wrong numbers when evaluating their alignment printouts so the likelihood of them getting proper alignment was nil.

Most upsetting was that the second technician wrote in his reports that there was no visible banding when he admitted in my presence that there clearly was visible banding but that he couldn't resolve the issue.  It doesn't get any worse than this.  Epson should rethink their policy of contracting out to these cash register repairmen as they are clearly under qualified to work on wide format printers.

Lawrence
[/quote]
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Deepsouth
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2010, 10:16:26 AM »
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You have my great sympathy. However, more than our sympathy, you need a lawyer that specializes in consumer law issues like this. I would have pulled the plug on this process earlier. This reminds me of trying to get a gas dryer fixed. The first tech admitted he'd never worked on one before. I made sure he left it inoperative but safe. I called the service provider and spoke with the owner. He sent out one of the "more experienced techs". Couldn't fix it either. The owner finally came out and fixed it.  Moral is, if you have problems like this, take it up with management immediatly. The people answering the phones know nothing and can do very little to resolve your problem. Get your CC issuer involved as well.


It's been my experience that the U.S. offices of Canon, Mitsubishi media and Epson have very little authority to be flexible in responding to their customers. They are so distant from their home offices in Japan, where the decisions are made, that there is virtually no chance that customer feedback will affect service.
Some of use remember Epson's long denial about the "gas fading" issues on the 1270/1280 printers (which I never had, BTW). Outsourcing service is a great way to divorce poor service experiences from the manufacturer.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 10:17:21 AM by Deepsouth » Logged
wildstork
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2010, 04:45:10 PM »
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I made it clear to Epson Pro Graphics that I would post my experience with Decision None on any number of wide format internet forums as they left me no other recourse.  I stated very clearly that my problem was not with the product, rather Epson's choice of aftermarket service (which they suggested and hooked me up with).  It was bad enough to have DN debit my bank account for $450 without even informing me as to what the charges would be.  Then to have them pull the plug on repairs because they claim they've spent too much time on the printer is really hard to believe!  One would think it wouldn't take 10 or more visits before DN's upper management would communicate with their technicians to find out what the problem was and why they weren't addressing it?

On several occasions I phoned both Epson Pro Graphics support as well as the supervisor at Decision None and put them on the phone with the technicians who had no clue as to how to rectify the problem.  You'd think they would make the call themselves... but I'm guessing they were getting paid well for their travel time as well as their labor, so they just decided to rack up the hours with no concern for actually getting the job done right.  

Why Epson continues to work with these jokers is a mystery to me.  And again, it leaves me little interest in Epson for a printer replacement as I don't care to repeat this experience.

Lawrence
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