It’ll be a cold day in you-know-where before I fork over any more money to Hewlett-Packard for a printer or a computer.

I don’t want to get into a war of words on product quality with one person saying that hp products are the best around and me saying the opposite. In fact, I don’t necessarily think that’s the case. Hp has had a reputation of quality for decades. My printer, a 990 Cxi DeskJet prints fine. I like the features of the printer driver and the fact that I can do automatic 2-sided printing. My laptop has had plenty of troubles but it was an insurance replacement “factory refurb” so I don’t necessarily want to judge the quality of all their laptops from that.

No, it’s not their quality that I necessarily question, it’s their corporate indifference toward their customer…their business practices that makes owning one of their products more trouble than it should be. (I speak specifically of the public consumer and not necessarily the business client. I’ve no experience there.) My experience is basically the following:

  • With the laptop, and I assume it’s no different with their desktop models, one does not get full operating system CDs. One gets “system recovery” CDs. These should definitely be labeled differently. One can’t “recover” from a problem with them at all. Their is only one thing that you can do with these CDs…destroy all your data and installation customization and start from scratch. Thankfully we have 2 computers, as I have had to do this twice and have not lost much in terms of personal data because I’ve been cautious to transfer stuff to the other computer ahead of time. Time and energy and frustration however…that’s another story! What I’ve seen on their forums is that hp’s policy is to not sell you the license to XP (you are told this in their fine print), but to only give you the right to use it…on their terms. You need to re-install a .dll? You need to run a special utility? You want to exploit some feature that’s not installed but is on the XP disk? Well, unless you have access to another XP disk, you’re out of luck!
  • Printers – hp has built a reputation about their printers, but their rhetoric is growing tired. Many printers are just as good. The market is full of quality printers. That isn’t the defining selling/buying point anymore. Now it’s cost of ownership. Cartridges…need I say more? The expense of owning an hp printer is nuts. I own one. I’m nuts. I know! ;c) Because of this expense, I chase my tail trying to re-fill the cartridges (half the time in vain…printer rejects them) and buy re-cycled ones. The color cartridges are 3 colors in one so that if you run out of just red…well…you need to do something with the whole cartridge. Hp discourages re-filling by the way it designs their cartridges and their ink-level detection software doesn’t take into account any re-filling you might have done either. I’ve known for some time that my current hp printer will be my last one but have figured that I’ll wait until it dies to replace it. I’m beginning to think that that I’m wasting too much money to keep going like that. It may be cheaper to simply switch now!
  • Drivers – Is your product obsolete? Don’t expect to find drivers for it at If you’re not up-to-date, you’re out of luck.

This sort of customer relations, which pretty much shouts “customer is hostage!” rather than “customer is king” basically turns me off and, I think, increasingly turns off the rest of consumer public. We’re looking for companies who will work with us in the complexity of computing. Complexity insures that there will be problems. I’s rather buy from someone who works with me to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.




Important links – our family web site – my wife’s French Sunday School blog – our church in France – our house of prayer (HOP) in France – My web development freelance business
My CV/Resume in English (PDF)