Friday, January 23, 2009

Response from Lexmark RECEIVED!

The Story So Far:

Persistance has paid off - I received a letter from Lexmark in the mail today. Right off the bat, I have to be honest - it's a response to my first letter, dated December 19, 2008. According to two postmarks, it looks like it got lost in the mail once or twice before it finally made its way to my house:

Here's the letter:

The text reads (emphasis added by me):

Dear Brahm, 
Thank you for your inquiry. 

Certain Lexmark color lasers, including the C530dn printer, do print manufacturer and serial number data on printed output. This technology was developed by the color copier industry nearly 20 years ago as a measure to combat the counterfeiting of currency and it continues to be used by many copier and printer companies throughout the world. We do not believe this technology violates any law or infringes any privacy rights

The technology cannot be disabled in your C530dn. We regret that you are unhappy with our product. Under the circumstances, we would be happy to provide a full refund of your purchase cost for this printer. Please contact 1-800-LEXMARK if you would like to return this printer. 

Edward Russo, Lexmark Support Specialist. 

SO. My choices are return the printer for a full refund, or keep pressing the issue. 

To me, the choice is pretty clear. Lexmark stated it pretty plainly in their letter: "you won't find a colour laser printer throughout the world without this technology". 

Though I appreciate the offer of a full refund, I still need a colour laser printer and my privacy concerns have not been adequately addressed - I'm invested in this issue for more than just my personal needs. In the eyes of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, I believe I have fair grounds to submit a complaint, which is what I will start working on in the next few days. 

I'm also going to send Edward a response and see what he meant when he said "certain Lexmark color lasers". If there is a consumer model color laser that does not print forensic tracking dots, I would be much happier with an exchange, and that information would be great for consumers to have. 

Perhaps other Lexmark consumers would be happy with a refund after finding out that their printer is spying on them. If so, I recommend that you write a letter to:

Lexmark Intl. Inc
740W. New Circle Road
Lexington, KY  40550
NA CPD 3rd Level Support
Dept. 5040L51/004-2
C/O Ed Russo

Good luck consumers! I will keep this blog updated as I put together a new letter for Edward. Barring that, it's off to the Privacy Commissioner!  

Sunday, January 11, 2009

No response yet, follow-up letter sent to Privacy Officers, President, CFO of Lexmark

Hello friends, it's the evening of Sunday, January 11th and my consumerist cries have not been heard: Lexmark has not sent me any response to my December 3 inquiry as of this evening! 

I don't expect to receive anything tomorrow, so it is with some regret and a slight pang of excitement that I am dropping my follow-up letter in the mail tomorrow, which differs from the last letter in a few key ways:
  • I've imposed a 30-day timeline for a response;
  • I've specified that the response be sent to my address;
  • I've outlined what happens if I don't get a response - the issue goes to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
  • I've CC'd the letter to the big-wigs: The President of Lexmark Canada and its Chief Financial Officer, supposedly responsible for legal information. 
Letter (click for big):

At this point I've got to shift gears with my strategy. The fact that I'm a Canadian and that there exists a Canadian headquarters for Lexmark means that they'll be the ones who have to deal with me, not the head office in the States. I'll continue to CC their privacy officer on general letters if I have to keep sending them, but I think I have to focus on communication with the Canadian office. 

While writing letters to presidents of massive corporations is fun in its own respect, I can't lose sight of what this is all about: privacy rights! No one has the right to have the ability to track every document I print and trace it back to me. It's poor business practice to sell products to consumers that violates their right to lead a private life, especially without their knowledge or consent!

Next up: Wait 30 days, see if there's a response. If there is a response, pursue it to the fullest degree. If not, write to the Privacy Commissioner and bring this blog to the attention of as much online media sources as possible. In the interim, traffic won't really do any good. I want to give them a chance to respond before attempting to bring them into the internet spotlight.