In the late 90’s, my store became a Canon copier only shop. They were the first to introduce affordable digital copiers to the print-for-pay market and they seized on that with a slew of new machines that ran circles around anything else priced in the same range. Xerox still had some beastly machines, but the costs on those were quite high for small to medium stores like mine. As a result, Canon ruled!
So one day I signed a contract to upgrade both my machines to two newer ones. The one had a lease expiring in another month or two and I did not want to exercise the buyout option. I ran that thing hard. Knowing it was on the shorter lease, it got every copy I could put onto it. I was running at least 200,000 black prints a month so it got used hard. The other machine still had 2 years left on it but they wanted the sale so bad they ate the entire remaining balance of the lease. I did the math, they didn’t sneak it back in with financing fees or anything. I had negotiated the new pricing first before I agreed to do both machines, and the numbers worked out. So they bring us these two huge, new machines. I am looking forward to running these things like crazy. Like before, I staggered the end times of the leases so I don’t get caught short a machine. I remember that the original machines we had was a Imagerunner 600. I don’t recall the name/number of the new ones but they were newer, faster and better. Supposedly.
Perhaps 4 or 5 months into the new lease, one day the machine just shuts off in the middle of a job. There was no power surge or anything, it just shut off and then restarted on its own like nothing was wrong. There were also no error codes showing. We brushed it off and kept working. A few days later it did it again. it just shut off and restarted by itself. OK, that is a little annoying now so we call for service and have the tech come out. He looks at the machine and plugs his computer in and then says that there are no internal error codes saying it shut down. I just look at him and assure him that it did. So he runs a few tests, pulls a few boards and tests them but in the end can’t find anything wrong. So he put the machine back together and left.
Two days later it did it again.
Now we started this cycle of hell for the next 2 months. Every few days the machine would shut off for no reason and restart, I would call them and they would come out and find nothing wrong. They replaced many parts over these two months, from power supplies, simple switches, power cables, even brought in their own electrician to look at out lines and couldn’t find anything wrong. Then one day after I had called for probably the 30th time, they show up with 2 Japanese-looking guys in business suits. Turns out they got tired of me calling and asked Canon-Japan for help! So for 4 days straight I had 2 Japanese techs and 2 guys from the local company in my store tearing that machine down almost to the shell. They replaced boards, roller, wired and so on and couldn’t fix the machine. Finally at the end of the 4th day I heard the two Japanese guys yelling at each other when one just threw up his hands and walked out. I don’t speak or understand Japanese, but I could tell they weren’t nice words. The other guy talked with the tech and then he too left, and the two Japanese guys got into their car and left. I am just staring at the tech and asked him if he knew what the two guys were yelling at each other. He just says ‘Well, good news, sort of. You have them stumped to know end and take it personally that they can’t fix their machine. So they authorized us to bring you a new one and they are sending this one back to Japan. I don’t know exactly what they said but the one guy was calling himself a failure for not being able to fix it”. I hope he didn’t commit Seppuku or anything.
So the next week I had this lemon removed and a new machine installed. It was officially a ‘loaner’ machine while they worked on mine. I didn’t mind, it even had a few upgrades that mine didn’t! The new machine is installed and it worked great!
Well about 4 months after they took out my lemon, I get a certified letter from Canon. it seems they have declared my machine fixed, and want their loaner back. Well now I am not happy, I was just getting used to some of the upgrades this one had. Plus, are they sure they fixed it? I talked with the local rep and they indeed shipped it back to Japan. he said he had to spend a whole day breaking it down and packing it to go out. So the next week they come by and take back their machine and bring me back my lemon, that is hopefully now no longer fruit.
Thankfully it worked well for the remained of it’s lease with me. Nothing wrong but the usual maintenance issues. And looking at the insides I think they had replaced every part that they could reach. It looked brand new, although the serial numbers matched on the outside case to the one I had bought. So for my 4 year lease I got a new machine after 5 months and another all-but-new machine 4 months after that. They had even reset the meter to zero (well, it was like 450 or something but close enough. Had almost a million copies on it when it left). I guess I won?