Sunday, May 8, 2011

Beware of Company Loyalty Programs

I've been very pleased with my Canon MX700 all-in-one printer until it began to print crooked lines and fonts a few weeks ago.  It has a great paper feed system and intuitive menu interface.  The printer was a little over a year old so when I called Canon for tech support, I knew I'd have to pay a small fee for help.

After walking me through some procedures that were obviously contrived and ineffective at getting to the root of the problem, the Canon tech specialist said the printer needed repair and proceeded to offer me a Canon repair center outside San Francisco.  Knowing most people wouldn't be willing to drive 40 miles for a low end printer's repair, Canon then offered one of their newer printers at an alleged 25% discount with free two day shipping.  Needing a new wireless printer for my new iPhone, I decided to take the offer.  I was then forwarded to a Canon loyalty sales representative.

Canon's rep proceeded to lie in her sales pitch that I was being offered free shipping for a more compact printer.  When I received the printer, the packing slip denoted I paid $17.00 shipping, something I wouldn't have paid had I ordered it from Staples store nearby.  Staples has a program that they will ship the item directly to you for free if you require home delivery. 

When I received the PIXMA 882 I learned it wasn't the latest model available and that it was slightly larger then my former MX700.  Once again, the Canon sales rep had lied.  Regardless, I unpacked and set the printer up anyway to learn it was an absolute disaster.  For instance, the printer didn't have any of the simple features my former printer offered and couldn't do such simple things as scan to PDF without a lot of convoluted steps.  How about a scanned PDF that exports one page at a time you have to check off each page to eventually merge into one document?  My former printer scanned into one PDF.  I tried adjusting the settings from my computer but nothing worked to make it scan into one PDF document.

In sum, loyalty programs are a brilliant way to sell replacement products directly to the customer but it's clear companies most likely lie that a problem can't be corrected in order to sell a new printer. They make it seem they offer a large discount when in fact the retail value of any printer is never sold in stores.  Essentially, Canon lied about the discount, lied about the free shipping and most likely lied about the printer not being repairable from my home.

I'm going to bring my old printer to a local repair shop that I should have done in the first place.  Needless to say if I'm forced to buy a new printer it won't be a Canon next time.