Thursday, November 20, 2008

Phone Tag

The Story So Far:

This morning, I tried getting in touch with someone at Lexmark Canada. It's harder than it seems to talk to anyone useful. I did, however, record the calls so I could make better notes about them.

I'm not posting the recorded calls - I think that's creepy. Here are the transcript notes.

Call #1 - 1-800-539-6275
  • Talked to a guy named James, obviously Canadian. I explain my "problem" to James, including the fact that Lexmark USA called the issue a security issue.
  • He transfers me to a new menu system that I have to navigate. A robot woman finally directs me to a person.
  • Holding, holding, holding.
  • Robot woman: "Your call was unable to be completed. Call the toll-free number again". Damn!!
Call #2 - 1-800-539-6275
  • I re-navigate through the menu for tech support. It asks for the first four numbers of my printer's machine number, it tells me I am a liar. I navigate to the "support for all lasers" option.
  • I tell the robot I have an existing service request number and enter it.
  • "Your call is being routed to a dispatch agent".
  • Signal volume fades incredibly, a very-outsourced woman answers the line.
  • She asks me what the issue is... but there is a language barrier in understanding the issue.
  • She mumbles mumbles mumbles TRANSFER YOU mumbles
  • A man answers the line - again, a very outsourced man answers the phone.

  • Brahm: Explains yellow dots issue, matrix of yellow dots, Lexmark USA confirmed this is a security measure, why is it implemented in Canada?
  • Lexmark Outsource: "Don't worry, we are here to help you." (actual quote :-) )
  • Lexmark Outsource: Are you next to the printer so we can diagnose the issue?
  • Brahm: It's already been diagnosed, I've done the test pages, I've sent them samples, I'm looking for answers, about why it is happening. I want to know why the dots are being printed, not how.
  • Lexmark Outsource: Was the issue resolved?
  • Brahm: No, because the dots still print on the page. Lexmark USA says it's a built-in feature, they print on purpose.
  • Lexmark Outsource: I am sorry, but it is not a built-in issue. It is not a feature. There are many parts that can cause this issue, the toner cartridge, the photoconductor unit, etc etc, we need to identify the part causing the issue.
  • Brahm: I'm sorry sir, I've already done through all of that, I talked to {removed} at Lexmark USA, I received a new set of PC units, that doesn't fix the problem, we've swapped toner cartridges, that doesn't fix the problem, these dots appear because it's an anti-counterfeiting measure, and I want to know WHY they appear on printers sold in Canada.
  • Lexmark Outsource: Not sure about that... as far as I know, we can diagnose the issue, and I am not sure what is calling it.
  • Brahm: Okay, do you know of anyone who works in product engineering, or anyone who works in the Canadian HQ who works in security, or something like that?
  • I received the number 1-800-663-7662 x0 for Canadian Customer Support and thanked the agent for his help.
Call #3 - 1-800-663-7662
  • A french-Canadian sounding robot picks up the call. I am optimistic about the Canadian-ness of the line.
  • Lisa picks up the call. I give her the brief rundown - I said there was a security issue, I've been passed around Lexmark USA and outsourced tech support, I need to talk to someone about laser printers.
  • Jason gets the new call. I give him the rundown about the yellow dots, the American tech support, the photoconductor replacement, the admission of the security feature.
  • I said that HE said it was a "security feature mandated by the government" and hoped I didn't sound crazy.
  • Jason offers to put me through to tech support. I start to protest but he says "I'll put you right through" and mashes "hold" as fast as he can.
  • Oh NO... Outsourced tech support answers. I give the rundown... AGAIN... and the call is disconnected. Signal faded, who knows.
Today's Learnings:
  • 1-800-539-6275 has 5,610 Google hits. This number is also 1-800-LEXMARK. This goes somewhere in the states.
  • 1-800-663-7662 has 47 Google hits. I think this is the secret number to the inside! At least for Lexmark Canada.
  • Outsourced tech support - while good for "not enough toner" troubleshooting - can be pretty painful at resolving any real issues.
  • Lexmark's easy solution for the yellow dots is to just toss you on a line to India. I think letter-writing and emails is the way to go.
  • Lexmark USA and Lexmark Canada both have privacy offiers.
    Privacy Mailbox
    740 West New Circle Road
    Lexington, Kentucky 40550

    Attention: Privacy Officer Inc.
    50 Leek Crescent
    Richmond Hill, ON
    L4B 4J3
For the time being, I am going to give up on phone calls. Phone calls are too hard. The next order of business is to write hard-copy, paper letters to both the Canadian and American privacy offices, and maybe to a general address at each head office as well. At this point, I want to know:
  • What American law mandates the yellow dot security feature?
  • Why is this feature included on printers sold in Canada?
  • Is this legal in Canada? If so, please indicate exactly which laws make this so.
  • Is there any way to disable the feature? If not, why not? Is a solution being developed to disable this feature?
  • Are there other features embedded in this printer that make it easier to track documents that I print?
Go consumers!

No comments:

Post a Comment