Samsung Mega-Fail

Thinking about buying a Samsung Galaxy or other product?  Read this first.

Today’s New York Times brings news of a Samsung mega-fail. (All quotations are excerpted from the Times article.)

The product in question was a Samsung all-in-one printer purchased in 2010.  The owner began having problems in 2012 when Samsung apparently changed the design of their toner cartridges.  The new design would not fit his printer. He returned the cartridge.  The new one did not fit either.  After a few more iterations, he contacted the company.  Samsung offered to send out a technician to “upgrade” his printer — at his expense.  No thanks.  Enter “The Haggler,” a New York Times Sunday Business regular.

The Haggler contacted Samsung.  First response from the company:

“We are sorry to hear of the problem described by Mr. Showstack and have investigated his concerns,” the person wrote. “Samsung printers work with all cartridges except counterfeit or gray market cartridges. To the best of our knowledge, the problem described by Mr. Showstack is an anomaly; and we have received no similar complaints from other customers on the referenced model. We have since spoken to Mr. Showstack and offered a courtesy on-site repair, which he has accepted.”

The only problem is that the cartridges were genuine Samsung products.  So what happened when the technician arrived?

“It did not go well. The printer did not work with a new cartridge brought by the technician.”

Ms. Quinlan then sent another e-mail from the anonymous spokesperson repeating that Mr. Showstack’s issue appeared to be an anomaly. And further: “Nothing indicates that there is a general compatibility problem with this printer model and replacement cartridges. Mr. Showstack has accepted our offer of an exchange unit so that we can bring his printer and cartridge to our labs and conduct tests to investigate the problem.”

“Further, in trying to look into the problem himself, Mr. Showstack says he heard that Samsung had printed an internal bulletin stating that there is indeed a compatibility problem with the printer and cartridges he’s been using.

So the Haggler wrote to Ms. Quinlan: What about other models of Samsung printers? Do they have a compatibility problem? And is it true that Samsung has published an internal bulletin on this subject, suggesting that this is a known problem?

Here is Ms. Quinlan’s response, in its entirety: “We have no further information to share.””

Personally, I will not buy another Samsung product.  Caveat emptor.

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About Tony Lima

Tony Lima has been working with technology, economic modeling, forecasting, and market research for 40 years. His background makes him uniquely qualified to navigate this varied landscape. Begin with his education: B.S. in chemical engineering from M.I.T. , M.B.A. from Harvard, Ph.D. in economics from Stanford. His day job was professor of economics at California State University, East Bay. He retired in 2016 to devote his time to consulting and writing. But he has found time to: write (eight books and over 100 articles ranging from wine economics to detailed analyses of meta-language code generators) consult with companies ranging from Microsoft to CEDEX keep his expertise up-to-date, constantly reading and sorting through the avalanche of information available daily maintain three blogs: Wine Research, Wine Economics, and Economic Policy Local policy analysis: Los Altos

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