As we all know, when it comes to our print business reliability is the key. With a plethora of poorly built digital print equipment available, usually at an attractive price, it is always a leap into the unknown for those that decide to invest in one. Sometime you are lucky and the machine can prove to be a good purchase that serves your business well. At other times the old motto, “Buy cheap, buy twice” springs to mind!
Having been purchasing production equipment now for over 20 years, I have learnt by many mistakes made over those years. The first is to believe nothing that the sales person tells you until you’ve seen it with your own eyes. With stopwatch in hand and the most difficult print files Ripped and ready to go, this is the moment when you find out the truth.
With all this in mind, last year I purchased a proven UV printer direct from a very reputable manufacturer. Although the machine was “second user”, it came with a guarantee that it was “fully refurbished” and “just as good as a new machine”. Well, 12 months on and all I can say is that I hope is their new machines are more reliable!
Just a few weeks after the six-month warranty period expired we had our first problem. Two new printheads and ten grand later it was working again. Two months after that and the vacuum pump failed along with a circuit board. Another six grand!
So, when a printhead failed two weeks ago we were at the point where we’re thinking we’ve made a bad purchase as the machine lets us down every time we go to use it. Then things quickly got even worse here at Mole Industries…..
The printhead that had failed this time was the one that was replaced just six months (and half a litre of yellow ink!) after it had been installed. I obviously questioned the quality of the printhead and what warranty was provided with it. The answer given was, “We don’t provide any kind of warranty with our printheads”. Unbelievable! You can buy a car for £6,000 and get a lifetime warranty with it.
I asked for this to be put in writing and nothing materialised, even though I chased it for a week. I kicked up a fuss with the sales chap who sold me the machine without much luck. I threatened them with legal action. I said I’d go elsewhere and charge them for the new printhead. I said I’d sell the machine and others that I’d bought from them at the earliest opportunity. Again, no response.
Only when I made a final, heartfelt plea did they reluctantly agree to change the failed printhead at no cost. And all of this whilst dealing with one of the largest digital printer manufacturers in the world.
Sometimes I wonder where good old ‘customer service’ has gone. If you do find it, please let me know.