Low-Quality Xerox Production Inundates Russia

PRAVDA.Ru refuses from services of the Xerox company

The word "Xerox" used to be a synonym of the word "freedom" during the Soviet period of the Russian history. This rule worked for a lot of people, but not for everyone.  Freedom-loving Soviet citizens managed to copy Vladimir Nabokov's, Alexander Solzhenitsin's books on machines of the American company Xerox, that were placed in state institutions. Xerox machines were used during the perestroika period as well. The totalitarian regime does not exist anymore, and it turned out that a Xerox machine was just a machine that was not unique at all. In addition to that, its quality was not as high as its producer advertised. Such little things often dissipate myths, including myths about freedom, democracy and the technological superiority of the West. Nevertheless, Russian people still believe that printers and copy machines of the company Xerox are incredible pieces of the modern technology.

PRAVDA.Ru has not managed to avoid such a stereotype either. The company once purchased Xerox XE82, series  number 2881549223. The machine worked fine for a certain period of time, until it came out of order one day. There was a guarantee for the machine, specialists categorized the repairs as E2 mistake. However, the machine broke soon after the repairs. It kept on working, although each page got printed out with a big black stripe. We had to go to the service center again, although the latter did not seem to hurry in its decisions.

The reasons of the delay became clear a bit later. As it turned out, the damage of the development part of the machine was not a common kind of damage, and there were no necessary spare parts in the service center to fix the machine. Taking care of their customers, the service center ordered necessary spare parts on standard (not urgent) terms of delivery. That measure was done in order not to make the customer spend more money on urgent works. As a result, the repairs was started on December 24th, 2001, but was finished only on March 18th, 2003. The works cost $150, taking into consideration the fact that the machine itself cost $300.

It is worth mentioning that PRAVDA.Ru purchased another Xerox machine for its needs during repairs. The machine did not work very well either; it does not work at all now. The service center wants to charge us the same amount of $150 for fixing it. There would be no need to bring that up in the memory, but our American Xerox machine came out of order again, after the professional repairs. The company was rather tired of those endless troubles, so we decided to address to the Xerox Hotline with a request to withdraw the machine due to its obvious defect.

It took us three weeks to get a response, which turned out to be childishly dispiriting. The service refused to withdraw the Xerox because the "machine did not have a guarantee, and there was no defect found." As it was ruled, the machine or its parts are not to be substituted in accordance with the machine's guarantee.

In other words, such a respectable corporation as Xerox refused to repair its own production, which was manufactured by its own service center. If a Russian company did something like that, it could be possible to explain the situation with anomalous peculiarities of the Russian state of mind. It seems that Americans are to have a different outlook on that. But it seems wrong.

If it called quality and service, thee is nothing for us to do, but to bow our heads for the Xerox corporation, since our impression of the American level of service was different. Furthermore, if such things happen in the capital of the largest country in the world, where is the guarantee that something like that will never happen somewhere in Alabama or Minnesota? Do infuriated American customers curse the Xerox's production too, suing the company, being sure that Xerox machines are all bad?

The lengthy correspondence with service center employees and managers did not bring any result. The center simply suggested that we should pay another $150, without any further guarantees. As a result, PRAVDA.Ru decided not to use such  low-quality production of the American corporation at all. The management of the service center was notified about that.

The ways for large American companies to get into the Russian market are rather usual, although there can be certain peculiarities found about each of those cases. Corporation Xerox was present on the Russian market during the Soviet period, and there were certain advantages about it. However, the company was about to lose them on account of democratic changes in the beginning of the 1990s. The most important thing for the Russian business is to have an approach to ministerial officials. Xerox, as well as other American companies, experienced considerable progress, when the company agreed to manufacture a part of its production at Russian enterprises. This helped the company to win tender after tender to deliver office equipment to various state institutions. This eventually resulted in a series of corruption scandals.

On the one hand, the fact that foreign companies organize assembly production at home companies is very good for the Russian economy: people have more jobs and the budget has more revenues. However, Russian customers have to buy the poor Russian production under the disguise of "high-quality goods." Moreover, this production is not meant to be as good as its Western analogues that are available in developed countries. Transnational corporations do not conceal the fact that providing high-quality production to the countries of the Third World is not their major goal. Companies strive for conquering the market of developing countries, in order to make "aborigines" get used to brands, so that they could never imagine that there can be other production available, besides Coca-Cola, McDonald's, or Xerox. Global corporations do not offer much to "aborigines" - just fake stuff for the poor. There are not many people in Russia, who can afford buying genuine jeans, for instance. That is why, a lot of Russians wear $20 Calvin Klein jeans that are made somewhere in the Moscow region. It is shameful to wear such pants after washing them two or three times.

It deems that this is a bitter lot for those, who surrendered to the advance of the Western civilization. However, people refuse buying "American" goods or eating fast food at times. This is probably right. It is better to support a Russian manufacturer, albeit an imperfect one. A heart has to make a choice in this respect, and the main thing about it is not to make a mistake.

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Author`s name Olga Savka