Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Kodak Schmodak (DO NOT let Kodak charge you to replace faulty printheads). Read on ...


I have now had two Kodak printers (C310 & Hero 5.1) which have both been plagued with faults and an obscene thirst for ink.

I will never buy a Kodak printer again and urge you to consider the following carefully before buying one yourself.

Obviously the failing printheads on these makes my headline, but watching your cartridge levels almost visibly deplete runs a close second.  More than once I've lost half a cartridge of each trying to resolve a printout quality issue or by turning it on and off trying to get the printhead to un-jam again (and again and again ...).

I also grew tired of my colour cartridge continuing to deplete even though I was only printing in black.

The most frustrating and unreliable technology products I have ever used by a country mile.

Farewell Kodak.

PREVIOUS UPDATES (Temporary good outcome ... see original post further below)

8 October 2012

Here we go again ... red has stopped printing since it started to go at the end of the last cartridge - which I have now replaced, along with black - and I can't solve the problem through a head clean.

The ink levels have dropped alarmingly while I've been trying various maintenance options ... and I still haven't printed a single successful colour page.  Another £20 in ink down the drain?

What will you do for me this time, Kodak?

Update 12 Oct 12: After a few Twitter exchanges, had a call from the help centre today and we ran yet another test confirming that red was indeed not working (quite depressing when you get a solid yellow circle when you try to print a red one).  And guess what?  The printhead needs replacing - albeit that they'll send me one free.  And so they should, the machine's only just over six months old.  After the previous (replaced) printer developed similar problems almost immediately, it makes me wonder a) how long this one will last and b) what happens once the machine is past its warranty?  Are we expected to shell out for a new printhead every six months?

Update 18 Oct 12: Printhead here and replaced - up and running again, but calibration sucked the last of the black ink out of the cartridge that had already been diminished by troubleshooting.  Thanks, Kodak - I won't forget you owe me at least three cartridges by now.

I think, given the plethora of similar printhead stories I see in forums, we have pretty much established that there are inherent problems with Kodak printheads.  DO NOT LET ANYONE TALK YOU INTO BUYING NEW ONES - STAND UP FOR YOUR CONSUMER RIGHTS (In the UK, the 'Sale of Goods Act' gives you recourse on items not fit for purpose for SIX years).  I was a bit gutted to see on the FixYa forum that Kodak in the States actually provide replacement cartridges as well - so why am I being told, each time cleaning and troubleshooting bleeds them dry, that they can't do anything about that?

Update 27 Nov 12: I've been sent two sets of combo ink packs - either in compensation or to shut me up! If printhead problems result in you losing a lot of ink trying to troubleshoot, the precedent has been set here in the UK, folks.  To give Kodak their due right of reply, this is what they told me:

"After reviewing your case history clearly you have experienced and exceptional failure rate that is far beyond the rates that we have on record from previous customer cases.  Like any consumer electronics brand we do experience a small percentage failure rate that we continue to strive to reduce, but is well below industry standards.  As one of the leading print manufacturers in the UK, selling in excess of 10,000 printers a week, a small number of cases posted on public forums would lead you to believe a far greater number are faulty, but I can assure you this isn't the case.  In addition we would not have the breadth of UK leading retail partners if our products continually failed."

PART ONE - The Nightmare Begins

Remember the ads? New Kodak printers will save you heaps on ink? Well, apart from the three faults my printer developed since April (they sent me a new printing head and then last week tried to fob me off with a dusty replacement printer after the lid arm/hinge broke), it soon became abundantly clear that these claims were misleading. It DRINKS ink - even colour cartridges when printing in B&W!!?  The watchdog slammed them for their claims and made them revise the wording.  Now I see there's a class action in the US claiming misleading advertising, which is backed up by a 'survey' I received from Kodak yesterday asking if my purchase was made before or after 22 August 2011. I smell humiliation in the air. In the meantime, AVOID buying Kodak if your decision is based on the hype. (Update 29 Mar 12: BUT READ ON ....)

Update 7 Nov 11: Today I was directed to this Complaints page - makes pretty ugly reading ...

Update 19 Dec 11: Two more direct 'formal' complaints from me and no response to either. I'll just keep blog/Twittering. "Treat someone well, they might just tell someone - treat them badly, they'll tell EVERYONE"!

New Year's Update 4 Jan '12: Nothing to see here, folks, despite several more ignored emails. Kodak's customer services is non-existent!

Update 20 Jan 12: ... and so Kodak's previously longstanding reputation for excellence ends with a file for bankruptcy.  Let's hope they sell off enough of those patents to give me a printer I'm happy with.

Update 11 Mar 12: ... total rage today!! SECOND printer head just died, after using half the ink calibrating and cleaning the printer and then watching it drink MORE ink as I tried the head in the dodgy replacement printer they sent me.  I am now returning to the place of purchase and exercising my rights under the Sale of Goods Act (good for 6 years after purchase, in case you weren't aware - Trading Standards told me so). AN ABSOLUTE TOTAL PIECE OF (thirsty) JUNK!!!

P.M 11 Mar - Been on live chat. At last - an acknowledgement that previous printheads were faulty ... "We have implemented several changes to our product and manufacturing processes. The latest printhead you will be receiving will include these changes, and we are confident it will correct the problem." BUT they will not replace my lost ink today because "the cartridges were not faulty" - ermm, yes, but I lost ink because of the faulty printhead.  Watch this space - they promise to escalate.  Oh, and I'll be without any means of printing for up to 8 days .....

Update 13 Mar: The more I thought about it, the unhappier I got, so I decided not to wait for the new printhead and return the printer to Currys/PCWorld instead and [I have to swallow hard when I say this, given my past experiences with them] they were brilliant (... so far)! No quibbles, despite nearly a year since purchase.  In fact they said they'd had 5 faulty Kodak printers returned in the last couple of days and the problems seem to stem from those bought in the first half of last year.  I'm told I should have a NEW and possibly upgraded printer in the next few days.  Now the waiting game.  Have I mentioned I can't print?

Update 17 Mar: It was too good to be true, wasn't it? Kodak have sent Currys a REFURBISHED printer and another new printhead.  I wouldn't have left the service desk the other day had I not been told I'd have a new replacement. And, of course, my request for lost ink to be taken into consideration has fallen on deaf ears, because the cartridges are considered 'consumables' .. and, I quote from Richmond Currys ... "whether used for printing or in an 'annoying' way" ... like trying to get your printhead to work. Called them to say I'm not taking delivery and waiting for the store manager to contact me ...

Update 22 Mar: Good grief! Kodak actually contacted me after a Twitter post promoting this blog and are suddenly bending over backwards to help.  In the meantime, Currys' manager had offered me a new C310, but I'd heard reports about noisiness and similar ink consumption ... and no mention of lost ink - except to say that what was left of my depleted #10 cartridges (which have not yet printed a single page but have been half-used cleaning and calibrating trying to get the old printhead to work) could not be used, as the C310 uses #30.  Anyway, upshot is Kodak are now sending me a new upgrade with full (not starter) new cartridges.  This story may have a happy ending after all, in which case I'll be delighted to set the record straight.

Update 27 Mar: I'd like to say this has been resolved ... but it hasn't.  Having been told a new printer was being couriered to me by special delivery last Thursday (for delivery yesterday at latest), and that I'd be emailed with a tracking number on Friday, neither of these developments have materialised.  Chased up today and have been sent a despatch email (dated today) advising 'delivery within 5 working days'.  Sigh.  And it also refers to a 'replacement or upgraded' printer - no mention of the 5.1 I was promised.  So, despite the little ray of sunshine, it still looks like Kodak's Customer Service is badly broken.  Now been unable to print a thing for 16 days ... and it wasn't good even then.  The waiting game continues.

Update 29 Mar: New printer here, full (not starter) cartridges ... and all home computers are happily talking to it wirelessly.  Took a while, but hopefully a happy outcome.  Upgraded machine and will now just monitor to see if ink consumption any better.  I believe in fairness and will hopefully be able to put out a shout soon confirming Kodak is back on top of its game.  All credit to [awaiting permission to use name] who sorted this out for me and has taken a personal interest in seeing that Customer Services communications are more joined up in future.


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  2. Developed another printhead jam today, which I've fixed, but now can't print what I started because all the colour has been sucked out of the cartridge by the re-starts! More money lost on wasted ink! Kodak should allow you to print in b&w when colour runs out, but of course they want you to use even more of the other cartridge when you replace one of them. Rage has set in again. I feel another complaint coming on ...

  3. Here we go again - countless re-starts and still the printhead (the machine's Achille's Heel) stays determinedly jammed. I've had enough - Kodak are going to feel the sharp edge of my tongue again!!!