questionsis online manufacturer tech support worth…

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Online support is for the birds and only helps if it is something simple. I buy a lot items from Costco and I like their return policy. If something is wrong just return it and get Your money back. There are some time constraints.

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It depends a lot on the manufacturer.

Generally, they all have scripted solutions and will put an actual technician on the line when it seems like your problem is actually their fault. You'd probably get more help at a computer centric forum, or by posting your problem on the manufacturer's forums than a chat.

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@onae: This particular problem is that the $2,700 printer I purchased came with a defective toner cartridge (reported "very low toner" the first time I powered up the printer). So a discussion forum isn't going to help (I already tried shaking it and reinstalling it). I just need them to own up to it and get me a new cartridge. The chatbot kept asking me the same question over and over again.

The toner cartridge in question is four hundred dollars new. The other thing is that I want them to replace the cartridge to make sure that it is just a bad cartridge and not something else wrong that is causing it to report very low when all the other ones are fine.

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Unfortunately, HP's help desk is in Asia, probably India. Phone support may not be much better. However, if this is a new printer, it should be under warranty. This may take waiting until Monday.

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@olperfesser: The single most useful (actually, the only useful) thing the chatbot did for me was promise that HP would call me back on Monday. I'm not holding my breath on that to actually happen but we'll see.

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@mybestuser1: I would consider returning it but the printer in question is a beast; it weighs 90 pounds and ships in a box that is more than 3 feet to a side. Being as it was shipped here (and not sold by any brick and mortar retail AFAIK) it would be a royal PITA for me to box it back up and ship it back.

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This is why I have AmEx. I call them. They fix my problem. I am happy.

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I purchased a defective HP printer from Walmart, called HP and they gave me a credit for more than the printer could be replaced. The credit got me a better printer and a ream of quality paper. They also sent a prepaid return box.