World Class Ink – A Lesson in How NOT to treat a customer

It’s a wonder how companies intend to stay in business when they treat good customers like red-headed step children. While it is always great to find what appears to be a great product for a price that is “too good to be true”. One never stops looking for it. We always think that we can find it. It’s like trying to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You know it doesn’t or shouldn’t exist but you never stop looking.

Well, I had found what appeared to be a great deal on inks and to tell you the truth, had the people running “” known just a teeny bit about customer service, they’d actually be a great resource for product. The problem usually comes down to service, customer service that is. In most cases, companies in the business of selling commodities like Sprint (and are “OK” to deal with just as long as you NEVER have a problem with their product or service. The problems start popping up when you have a problem and you need someone to actually “HELP”. In the case of these clowns, all they would have had to do was do some math to figure out that sending me a couple of replacement cartridges and media to make up for what I had to waste would have kept me happy and actually had me singing their praises to anyone that would listen. As is usually the case, they instead tried to see if I would simply “go away”. When I didn’t they tried to figure out “what can I try to offer this customer that will cost me the least amount of money”. You see, most people working for companies think that way, they think that customers service issues are merely a nuisance to be gotten rid of. Unfortunately, it seems as though the supervisors and administrators of these companies don’t know any better, so when there’s trouble, they run and hide as well.

The smart companies and their management do the opposite, they look at customer service as an “opportunity” to make their company, their product and their people look good. You see, once you a customer is buying from you, they have already made a mental decision to spend their money at your company. So to keep them buying from you is not nearly as hard as trying to convince someone who’s never bought from you before to start! Don’t believe me? Try doing a search for “easier to retain existing customers than to get new ones” and see how many articles and blog posts you get as a result. In any case, the following is an example of a very short sighted company with a reasonably priced product that did EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER TO CHASE AWAY A ONCE SATISFIED AND HAPPY CUSTOMER back to their original supplier.

A fellow printer recommended we take a look at “World Class Ink”  as a potential third-party ink supplier for our large format Epson Stylus printer needs. We did and their shipping was not bad, the ink colors matched the OEM inks quite well and prices were great! What more could you ask for? (More on this later! Hint — you get what you pay for.)

Color matching prints is a time consuming process and ink costs are a major factor when pricing our large format print. OEM inks do not get discounted even when purchasing multiple cartridges. Reliable, consistent third party inks for Epson printers are not easy to find so I thought I had found a real gem here.

Well, on October 13th, I had what anyone who does large format printing would call a “bad” day. None of the prints being sent to the printer were printing with the proper colors, all of them were way too dark. I kept on sending the print but everyone of them was too dark. I changed every variable I could think of:

  • Rendering Intents
  • Profiles
  • Black point compensation
  • Different PMS colors
  • Different PMS swatchbooks
  • Constant “soft-proofing” to see exactly what was going on
  • Constant Nozzle checks to make sure that we were getting all jets firing

Print after print wasting time, ink and some of my hair!

When I was at my wits end (11:30 PM!), I did another nozzle check but happened to look more carefully at the actual print out. I then compared it to an old nozzle check I had laying around and noticed a difference. The light magenta section was not magenta at all, it was black! I immediately emailed World Class Inks:

date: Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 11:40 PM
subject: Epson 9600 print problems!

Dear World Class Inks,

I am in a terrible jam! I have been working feverishly all day to try to get a logo printed but the red color just kept on printing like a dirty red, almost a clay red. After many, different profile changes and rendering intent changes with NO CHANGE, I decided to do a nozzle check. There were a couple of jets that were not firing but they could not account for the color differences. I then took a closer look at the nozzle check printout and the section that should be light magenta looked black to me. Although I am EXTREMELY careful when installing the cartridges, I still decided to pull the LM cartridge out to check and it is labeled correctly. I then looked at the actual ink lines and I am almost positive that the LM line looks BLACK!

Please advise what I should do!


This line should be Light Magenta, almost pink
The Light Magenta line is contaminated with black ink!

The next day, Friday October 15th. I called but kept on getting their voicemail! No one is calling back and no one has responded to my email!

date: Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 8:55 AM

subject: Epson 9600 print problems!


They responded in the afternoon:

from: <>
to: Jorge <>
date: Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 2:52 PM
subject: Re: Epson 9600 print problems!

Hello Jorge. I am sorry, but we have been having phone problems all day. Can you tell me your order # please so I can look at your order detail and try to help you the best I can?

If you require further assistance, please do not hesitate to reply.

Warmest Regards,
Scott Hoffman

I sent them my order number as soon as I saw their email (an hour later) and asked if anyone could call me so that I could fix it over the weekend…NO EMAIL AND NO CALL.

The following Monday:

to: “” <>
date: Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 12:30 PM
subject: Re: Epson 9600 print problems!


I called and spoke to a young lady this morning who was basically offering me a replacement cartridge as a solution for my 9600 that I have been unable to use for 5 days now. She told me she would have Scott call me when he got in and that was about 2-3 hours ago.

Can I please have someone call me to address this issue?


The following day:

to: “” <>
date: Tue, Oct 19, 2010 at 10:48 AM
subject: Re: Epson 9600 print problems!

Dear Scott,

It is clear that you are not taking this very seriously so I will lay it out a little better for you.
1.    I have purchased several sets of cartridges from you for my printer
2.    The products you’ve sold to me have been working fine and thus my printer has been working fine.
3.    I replaced a Light Magenta cartridge sometime last week and shortly after I did, my colors started getting darker.
4.    I spent an entire day trouble shooting my icc profiles, my rendering intents and even my PMS color book selection
5.    I then did a nozzle check and happened to notice that the Light Magenta section was in fact BLACK!
6.    I checked the ink line and it was in fact BLACK!
8.    I have been unable to print any work since last Thursday and today is Tuesday.
9.    Everyday that you delay in dealing with this makes my situation and thus YOUR situation and position worse.
10.    I initially was asking you for assistance with how to clear this up but my request for assistance has not turned into anger at a company whose customer service merely told me that my 90 day warranty had expired on the cartridge.
11.    At this time, the product you sold me has disabled my printer.
12.    I have all the documentation and proof to show that my printer’s problems are a direct result of your product because:
◦    my RIP software keeps a log with date and time of every print job I execute
◦    I have UPS shipping logs showing that we have been shipping jobs printed with this printer
◦    I have a print out of light black for a file that defined as 63% magenta
◦    I have a Light Magenta Cartridge that is hot stamped as an LM cartridge that has black ink in it
I called yesterday and the young lady said that she would have you call me and as of Tuesday morning, no one from your company has lifted a finger to help.

Now, I have print jobs that should have been shipped out last week and another two that have come in this week that I cannot even begin to print. Would you like to help me deal with this problem voluntarily or should I pursue more effective but less friendly methods?

Jorge Julian

I gave them a few days and called them again, I couldn’t believe that a company’s management could be so daft to simply let a paying customer go over something which they clearly had not only the power to correct but something that would cost them so little…or could they???
To be continued…