Don’t Bother with Brother

If you are shopping for a printer, DON’T BUY BROTHER.

This advice comes from a former Brother customer.   When my first multi-function Brother printer stopped working five years ago, I bought another one because I liked the features and speed.  Also, Brother printers are often rated highly by independent sources.

That’s why it was distressful when a few weeks ago my second Brother printer stopped communicating to our computers, not lasting as long as the first. At our house, multiple people print off the same printer so wireless functionality is a must.

So, I went to the Brother website to get the customer service number.

Whenever you need help with a Brother product, the first thing that catches your attention on their website is the lack of any kind of phone number. 

Click “support” then click “contact us” and here is what you get:

Looking to Contact Brother?

Go to the Support Page for your model.

Enter your model number in search box below.

There you’ll find help articles, resources, and how to contact Brother for your model.

How’s that for customer support?  It is a DIY operation.

No matter how hard you search, you cannot find a phone number to get help. 

If you type “Brother USA customer support phone number” in your browser, the first four results are all official Brother links that contain no phone numbers.

However, the fifth link does give the phone number and that’s because the source is “pissed consumer.”  Thank you, PC.

Why is Brother so stubbornly insistent on not giving out their phone number?  Their blatant DO NOT CALL policy reveals that they perceive customers as irrelevant and bothersome.

After finally calling Brother and waiting nearly 15 minutes, a representative came on the phone.  Once I explained my problem, he put me through a series of steps, it seemed like two dozen, to troubleshoot the problem.

Then he said that Brother does not have drivers compatible with the Apple operating system we were using.  Not only that, he didn’t know if they would ever have compatible drivers.   

End of call.  End of an hour of my life.

“How odd,” I thought to myself.  You mean this large company made the intentional though irrational business decision to write off all Apple users in not ensuring their printers work with Macs? 

I reached out to an independent Apple dealer who found literature on the Brother website that proved the Brother employee wrong.  The problem was with my older printer; newer ones did have the compatible driver.

I decided not to buy Brother and researched for the best non-Brother printer to buy, and guess what?  Brother was highly rated yet again.  I really wanted to go with a different company due to the poor customer service.

Despite my better judgment, I bought another Brother.  How could I go against all the positive reviews? 

For the first few days, the new printer worked fine.  Then out of nowhere it didn’t. The only way it would print was by turning the machine off and on again. Well, that was unacceptable.

Before calling the company yet again, I examined their online “help” documents, carefully following each “press this” and “type this.”  Nothing worked.

I was forced to contact Brother back.  I’ll skip the suspense.  After 90 minutes of the representative instructing me to do the same exact steps I had done on my own, nothing changed.

This time I searched for help online published by Brother users which provided me the most helpful information including a possible solution:  I needed to change the sleep mode.

I followed the instructions, changed the default setting of one minute to 50 minutes, and checked to see that the change was accepted. 

Yet the printer still didn’t print.  When I turned it off and on again, I looked at the sleep time and it had reverted back to one minute.

I braced myself for my one more phone call from hell.  Only this time I had a simple question:  how do you turn off the sleep mode on the printer? 

Instead of answering my question, the representative kept putting me on hold evidently unsure on how to go off script.   When she came back, she explained to me how we have to go through all the steps that I now had memorized before answering my questions. 

That’s when I shook myself out of sleep mode.   I knew this was a waste of time so I said “goodbye” and hung up.

Do you know how maddening it is to have a customer service representative not provide service to me, a customer?

Since I ordered the printer from out of town (no, not Amazon), I had to re-package it in its original box and packing material (which I had saved) and drove it to the local FedEx office.

The printer was slightly heavy, but heavier was the aggravation.  Once I dropped it off, a huge boulder was lifted off my back and life seemed good again.

I couldn’t wait to delete all Brother-related files from my computer.  Tomorrow, my HP printer will arrive.   And I already tested their customer service center.  Within a few minutes I had a live person on the phone.  Oh, and HP’s phone number is prominently on their home page at the very top, center location, in red.  Now that’s service!

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