Sure, it sux that the support is so BAD.†
But the REALITY is he got lucky!†
Again, I agree. Many of us received even worse support. He was lucky.
Does he have a right to complain?† Of course.† Will it do any good?† No!†
Again, I strongly agree. The record shows that complaining about bad service and incompetent tech support from HP doesn't do any good.
IS his situation SIGNIFICANTLY better than most?† Yes!
Again, I must sadly agree. Karrphoto thinks he recieved bad support. Many of have received far worse support.
The fact is, HP support sux, most people here know it by now and it's expected.† It's not right, but it's reality.
And I entirely agree with your bottom line conclusion. So given that we agree on every point, why are my conclusions "a rant?"
As to my other critics, two of them are, far and away, the biggest defenders of HP on this forum. No matter what HP does, the company is supported and defended by those two. Even when the final evidence shows that the complaints against HP were entirely justified, those two steadfastly defend the company. There is nothing to be gained by responding to them, because they will defend HP to the bitter end no matter what the issue or the complaint.
The other point made in one of the above postings is that tech support must ask a series of questions to weed out the customers who cause their own problems by not reading manuals and who have failed to take simple steps to correct issues. But that rebuttal doesn't address the points made by Karrphoto, does it? He went through that process in a long conversation with tech support, and by process of elimination tech support should have realized that none of the other possible causes were the issue. At that point tech support should have concluded that it was likely that a cheap disposable part was the problem; and then informed Karrphoto that it would be shipped to him by next day air -- thus solving his problem within 24 hours. It should also be noted that we are not talking about a $100 printer that stupid and illiterate consumers buy at Walmart. Anyone who buys the Z3100 is a very advanced computer user to begin with and are likely calling tech support after ruling out the obvious issues.
To anyone considering a purchase of a Z3100, you should read all of the posts for the last year. Yes, it is a lot to read. But you are about to spend thousands of dollars. Read all the posts, pro and con, and come to your own conclusion. Don't shape your decision by four or five posts in this single thread. Judge by all of the postings, in all of the threads, and come to your own conclusions.
While you are doing so, keep a tally. Count how many complaints there are about HP tech support, how many about Canon, and how many regarding Epson.
After reading all the posts, and making your tally, consider what will happen if you encounter any problems. The key question is the type of support you will receive when you encounter a problem. That is what you should judge by.
It would be naive to purchase a mechanically complicated printer, that depends on equally complex software and firmware, and buy it on the assumption that you will not have any problems. You at least need to ask what type of support you will receive in that event.
Will you receive prompt support?
Will you receive professional support as you have every right to expect for a professional product costing thousands of dollars?
The only reasonable and accurate conclusion to be reached from all the postings is that some people have received prompt, professional, and competent service, while others have received support ranging from inadequate to incompetent to grossly incompetent. Without a quantitative survey, it is impossible to judge which reflects the majority. So you have to decide, to quote one of my critics above, as to whether you will be lucky or unlucky when it comes to tech support. Roll the dice.
But there is one other accurate conclusion from reading the postings and taking the tally that I suggested. That Epson has far fewer complaints in this forum.
The bottom line is the case of Karrphoto is a warning. HP could have solved his problem by simply shipping him parts that cost HP a tiny amount of money at their actual cost. Karrphoto would have his problems solved within 24 hours, and he wouldn't have even posted here.
Finally, if you decide to buy the printer, insist, as a written condition of the sale, that it include the new pinch rollers and star wheels as delivered. Do not accept any promises that HP will change the parts "if you have a problem." Buy a new printer with the new parts, and accept nothing less. Your dealer can always replace the parts prior to delivery of the printer -- and they will do so if they want your money and the sale. It is certainly possible that all Z3100s now being shipped and sold have those parts. But you should still insist on that as a condition of the sale.