Talking out of a lemon

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July 21, 2003 // UPDATED 10:59 am - April 30, 2007
By: Elena Centor
Elena Centor

The other side of the printer saga

As promised, I called Lexmark to get their side of my printer saga. I wanted to know whether my experience of having them send four replacement printers in an 18-month period was typical.

Turns out, I'm very special.

Typically, when a journalist contacts a media relations person at a corporation the media relations person connects the reporter with an appropriate person to chat with. In this case, my media relations host, Mark Yost, set up a conference call with six specialists including not only support and communications folks but an engineer.

The first thing I wanted to know is how many X63's and X125's had to be returned because of technical problems. I figured with six people around the conference table, someone had to know the answer.

"Are we dealing with the Edsel of printers here?" I asked.

"Absolutely not," they responded.

However, they declined to tell me how many printers had been returned. (I'm not sure if they were unwilling or simply unable to provide this information.)

What they were willing to say is that my experience was "very unusual."

Shannon Lyman, marketing communications manager, said, "I've seen various call logs and I've never seen anyone with 12 entries. It's very unusual. You've had several issues here, more than we've seen from any one customer."

OK, so I was beginning to feel that maybe I was at fault. After all, if I'm the only person in the entire country who has had so many printer problems, what other explanation could there possibly be?

Lyman asked if problems reoccurred when I changed the cartridge.

"As a matter of fact, it does," I said, adding, "But each time resulted in a different problem."

Mike Lesshaft, manager of their Customer First department, then explained, "A cartridge is very complex. There's a lot of technology that goes into it. When you buy a new cartridge it's like getting a new printer."

Who knew?

Ink cartridges are high-priced for certain, but high-tech? This would take some adjusting to.

Although we had a lovely conversation, and the team said they were embarrassed by the number of problems I've had, no one sitting around the conference table could give me an explanation of why I've had so many snafus.

In the end, they assured me they were going to take my information to the development team, the technical support team and anyone else who had anything to do with developing and servicing these machines.

But, do us X63 and X125 owners have lemons on our hands? I still have no idea.

It was a pleasant conversation, but it was still a customer service talk. At least, I now know I don't have to worry too much about the power of the media.

If you have a good workplace dilemma or just a good story to tell, please contact Elana Centor at You can remain confidential, as can your company.