I have been an avid supporter of Lyson in the past, advising friends and fellow photographers of the quality and service.
I have to tell you all of my recent experiences and you can decide for yourself now.
I have been using Lyson since the late 90's in my Epson printers. I have had great results from the inks and the cost savings were substantial.
The inks are made by Nazdar in England and Lyson USA buys them from there and rebrands them and in my particular case as Cave Paint Ink for the Epson 2100/2200. I have been purchasing my inks from Calumet in LA up until I moved 2 years ago to Northern Ireland. Recently I started buying them from Marutt in the UK.
I have had 2200/2100 over the years and as they die out (clogged heads) I would just purchase new/used ones. In the past three weeks I have gone through 3 printers, all with the same magenta clogged head issue (5 in total in the past 2 years). I figured that the first one was just its time and the second due to being used but then the 3rd gave up in the same way.
At this point I contacted Nazdar (016 1442 2111) and the receptionist told me she was going to switch me through to Jake (firstname.lastname@example.org
) or Allan in support. When I spoke to Allan and told him of my problems he seemed like he had very little idea of anything pertaining to troubleshooting this problem. At this point I probably should have gone over his head but I didn't. He then asked where I had purchased the magenta ink. I told him "CALUMET". He said, "where?, CALUMET? I have never heard of them". RED FLAG. I told him they were the largest photo retailer in the world, with stores in the US and Europe. "Nope, doesn't ring a bell". Allan then said that he would have Jake call me. That never happened. I called back a few days later and spoke again to Allan who said he was talking to Jake and that I after I quoted the batch number of the ink, that I should take this up with Calumet. I disagreed and queried that if they were the ones who made the ink, why wouldn't they take responsibility for it clogging my printers? CLICK, the phone went dead, we were disconnected and when I called back two seconds later at 5:02 he was no where to be found in the building. Classic.
Friday I get a message on my phone from a retailer in the UK saying he handles support issues for Lyson, his name was John Read from Marrutt (018 2576 4057)(email@example.com
) and "he was sure he could help me". Friday afternoon I received an email stating that he needs a copy of the invoice/receipt for the magenta ink. When I finally got a hold of him on monday morning I told him that it was probably with my US accountant and might take a while to find. He said nothing could be done until then. I told him that Lyson have the batch number and couldn't they start checking that end of it out? "Nope" not until I find the invoice and if I don't like it I should take it up with the guy in the lab over at Lyson, Dave Snowden (016 1947 4760) (firstname.lastname@example.org
At this point I am started to get really frustrated as I am trying to update some of my portfolios and don't really want to be wasting my time talking to support. I'm contemplating just going out and buying an Epson 2880 and be done with it. Instead I try to contact Dave and leave a message at reception and send him a quick email about the problem.
Tuesday morning comes and no response so I call again and get him on the phone. He was taken aback that I was talking to "him" and how did I get his number? I told him John Read gave it to me. He said that it wasn't Lyson's problem and that I should contact Calumet LA as they sold me out of date ink (it expired 3 years ago). I told him there was no warning of this on the label to which he explained, "its not my problem, take it up with Calumet". I asked why don't Lyson insist that resellers have an expiry date on their packaging? Again, "not my problem". He then went on to say "I see you live in Northern Ireland, I come from there also". I took this as a slight against Northern Irish in that he felt I was complaining for the sake of complaining. He then laughed at my annual consumption of ink (maybe a 28-56 oz) and told me I "was wasting his time". No kidding, I was wasting his time? He then hung up on me.
Wasting his time? Where has customer service gone. Unbelievable.
Yes I understand that I have an issue with Calumet re the packaging but I'm aghast at how Lyson handled the whole situation and then hung up on me. Last year they wanted me to be a beta tester for their latest inks on an Epson 7900 and this year they treat me like this.
Thanks for reading this, I needed to get it out.
Just received an email from Dave Snowden at Lyson.
"I regret having to say to you what I did on the telephone but it still has to stand.
1. You bought your ink from Calumet in Los Angeles. Your contract is with them and not with us so you must go to them with your problems.
2. The ink you have is very old and past its useable shelf life as we sell it and is accordingly out of warranty with ourselves.
3. It is the responsibility of the private label holders to make indications of shelf life on their own labels.
4. Your printers are Epson 2100ís so they are very old in terms of ink jet printers. Failures are not going to be surprising.
5. My job is the development of these inks and supporting and solving problems with them but the ink you are using has been discontinued for quite a long time now and is out of technical support.
6. If you had been a customer of John Read at Marrutt, we have a different business relationship with him which does provide warranty and support but not with a product this old.
7. While I expect you donít want it, John Read can get you set up with an Epson R2880 and our latest ink generation (more than 5 further years development) which provides dramatically superior photographic print quality and so far no complaints from the installed base. We provide free custom profiling for his customers so they can achieve the best possible printed results.
Iím sure you will understand that we at some point must discontinue product lines when the market for them has diminished to nearly zero and that has happened a long time ago with the products you have been using. You have been sold a product not fit for purpose based on its age by Calumet in Los Angeles, something which should have been indicated. Calumet did however buy this ink off our then US distributor who has not been affiliated with us for over three years. You do not however tell us when you bought it or why you exported it.
I have told them when I purchased it (just need to find the invoice) and as for why I exported it, I moved as I had told Allan in the first conversation. So its all up to me to try to get Calumet to own up to the fact that they have sold me out of date ink and Lyson US doesn't put an expiry date on it. The manufacturers of the product say once again that they have no grounds to involve themselves. He also states above that Cave Paint Ink (as it is named in the US) has been discontinued but it is my understanding that it is still made under the "Photochrome" label by Lyson.
Very atypical in an industry where warranties are honoured over borders and most manufacturers are fighting for customers. It is strange to see a parent company just throw up their hands and say "we're not involved". I'm guessing in the end they are really not interested in my piddly little business or customer satisfaction.
I'm on to Calumet to see if they will honour anything.