Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The End of This Story

Hey folks, sorry for the lack of updates - even though I don't think I have any followers! I've been pursuing this initiative since last October and unfortunately, I've run out of steam. I'm making this last post an "official" end to my mini-crusade. 

Before I close off, I want to mention that I've since received two more letters from Lexmark - another response (identical to the previous letter) from Edward Russo in Kentucky (US customer support). I've also received a letter from Tim Emens, President of Lexmark Canada, signed in what appears to be real ink! Unfortuantely, the text was copied word-for-word from the other letters. I imagine the company receives just enough complaints about the forensic dot technology that they've just standardized their response. 

Mr. Emens' letter mentions a name and customer support line for Canada specifically - Suzanne Deland, reachable at 905-763-5544. If I would like to return my printer, she is the one that I am supposed to talk to. A quick Google search doesn't turn up that number, so it's probably a secret executive customer support line! 

I am not going to take Lexmark up on their offer to refund the full purchase price of my printer. The reality is that while the overall issue of privacy of yellow tracking dots still concerns me, I was never fearful of being personally monitored via this technology. I was never dissatisfied with the printer itself, and I fear the process is more time that I can commit at this point. I'm tempted to call and swindle some free toner, but I no longer have the time to commmit to this issue! 

I am happy, however, that I jumped through all of these hoops and produced some consumer-centred documentation on how to pursue manufacturers (or at very least, Lexmark) if you are dissatisfied with the forensic dot technology. 

It's my hope that people can find these pages useful, and that during my five-month consumer rights crusade I contributed something useful to this particular issue. 

Here's a short summary of my most useful learnings:
  1. ALL Lexmark colour laser printers have this tracking dot technology. It's probably accurate to say that any modern colour laser printer you buy will have it as well. 
  2. You CANNOT disable this technology, at least not by any practical means. It's deeply embedded in the hardware of the printer, don't bother trying! 
  3. Entry-level tech support does NOT know that this technology exists. Don't even try to get help from them, though you may end up with free photoconductor
  4. Lexmark Canada and Lexmark International (based in the USA) both have Privacy Offices: 
    Privacy Mailbox
    740 West New Circle Road
    Lexington, Kentucky 40550

    Attention: Privacy Officer Inc.
    50 Leek Crescent
    Richmond Hill, ON
    L4B 4J3
  5. 1-800-663-7662 is a verified and often-not-published phone number for Canadian Support, according to Google it is a link to their Service Dispatch team. 
  6. Suzanne Deland in the Canadian office may be able to help you, if you call 1-905-763-5544. This number doesn't show up on Google or Yahoo. 
  7. If you are persistant, a refund of your printer is definitely possible. You just have to keep poking around until you get in touch with the right people - while I had terrible luck contacting Lexmark by phone, I had excellent luck contacting them by snail mail. 
So, that's it! Good luck with your own consumer battles, and thanks for reading! If you leave me a comment, I can and will respond to it, but I expect this to be my last post on this issue.