An open letter to Kodak

Mar 24, 2010
March 24, 2010

Judy Goonan
Director, Customer Relations
Eastman Kodak Company

Ms Goonan,

In the spring of 2009, we watched ‘The Apprentice’ which featured the new Kodak All-in-One printers that boasted both less ink usage and cheaper cartridges. How could we pass up a reasonably priced printer that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg in printer cartridges? So, we researched and ended up deciding on the EasyShare 5300. We attempted to purchase it online shortly thereafter only to find it was no longer available. After having to do even MORE research, we ended up with the ESP-3 AiO.

We get it home and the troubles began. The installation ‘hung’. The program ran and ran literally all day. A 45 minute call to Customer Service FINALLY ended in them telling me that I didn’t have enough memory to install the printer.

At some point during the installation, the driver must have installed to some degree because we WERE able to use the printer at half capacity (we couldn’t use the fax or scanner functions).

We immediately shut off the color function to conserve ink due to our needs (as we mainly print documents) and used the printer minimally. At no point did we use color, but the printer told my computer that color had been used at approximately the same rate as the black ink. We confirmed that the color function was shut off on the computer and on the printer itself as we continued to monitor the ink usage. We replaced the black ink cartridge when the printer indicated it was needed and the printer ceased to function at any capacity. When we replaced the black ink only, the printer immediately told me after first print that I was out of ink. I suspect it was because I didn’t also replace the color cartridge (as I was certain it wasn’t needed, since we had used virtually no color ink). We again shut off the color usage and were able to complete the task but continued to get error messages telling us we were out of ink. Sometimes we could print a few pages at a time, sometimes not.

Fast forward to a month ago. I reformatted my computer. Went to re-install the printer. Had the same ‘hang’ issue. So, I dug into the internet looking for just the drivers to run my printer. As you are probably aware by now, I was unable to find one. So, I hopped on the Kodak website to search for it. Chatted with a rep who didn’t waste my time and tried to get me to the correct Customer Care. Unfortunately, they were unavailable at that time, so I took down the number.

I called the AiO Customer Care and explained to the Representative that we didn’t have enough memory to install the GUI (don’t know what it’s specifically called as we’ve never had it) and needed the driver alone. He said that he could get it installed. Dubiously, I went through all the steps and tried to get it installed. Finally, after about 45 minutes talking with this nice fellow, he had me pull up my system information which showed what I’d told him within the first 5 minutes of the call. The fact that I didn’t have enough memory (512K) to install the GUI. At this point he told me that there WAS no driver for my printer and that it was enmeshed in the program that wouldn’t install. He suggested I upgrade my computer. I should point out most computers older than 2 years have a BASE of 512K memory NOT including anything else running (like the OS, necessary system files, et. al.). Even now, most start with a base of 1024K.

I want to make clear that I’ve had many a printer over the past 20 years and have NEVER had this issue before. Of all the previous printers we’ve owned, I’ve always been able to get the driver alone and I’ve NEVER had to replace both cartridges because just one cartridge runs out of ink. I’m sitting here looking at a $200.00 copier/paperweight/paper holder with buttons.

There are numerous resolutions to this preventable issue.
* First and foremost, SEPARATE the driver from the User Interface. This should be a no-brainer. There are millions of us who have a picture/printer program that we’re in love with. If we want to try Kodak’s picture program out, great. If not, take the cash for the printer and run. ALL of the printers I’ve ever had prior to this one had stand alone drivers that I could pull from the installation disk.
* Better system analysis to tell immediately if you don’t have enough memory to run the program. After it tells you that you don’t have enough memory, state that your printer will now function as a copier only. Having it run without being able to complete gives us false hope. I’d have taken it back immediately if I’d known that right off and possibly purchased a different Kodak printer.
* Place in BIG BOLD LETTERS on the printer box that if you DON’T have the system requirements, you will NOT be able to use the printer/scan/fax functions.
* Pare down the system requirements of the program so everyone can use it or have a ‘lite’ version plainly stating the system requirements of each ‘version’.

In closing, we’re very unhappy with the Kodak name in general and with their printers specifically. Even after we upgrade our computer, we will be offloading this paperweight at our earliest convenience but we’re afraid we’ll never be rid of it except to throw it away. We will also be writing reviews on forums warning other consumers away from a company that both: attempts to nickel and dime people to death by having their printers send a false ink level so you’ll buy more ink whether you need it or not and makes SURE you take up your hard drive space installing THEIR memory hog of a product to use their printer.
We will be suspicious of purchasing another Kodak product again.


<real name and address withheld>

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