The Printospeed Laser printer company was proud of its reputation for high-quality services and products. It was especially concerned with the problems that it was having with its customers returning defective toner cartridges. About 2,000 of these were being returned every month. Its European service team suspected that not all the returns were actually the result of a faulty product, which is why the team decided to investigate the problem. Three major problems were identified. Firstly, some users were not as familiar as they should have been with the correct method of loading the cartridge into the printer, or in being able to solve their own minor printing problems. Secondly, some of the dealers were also unaware of how to sort out minor problems. Thirdly, there was clearly some abuse of Hewlett-Packard’s ‘no-questions-asked’ returns policy. Empty toner cartridges were being sent to unauthorized refilling companies who would sell the refilled cartridges at reduced prices. Some cartridges were being refilled up to five times and were understandably wearing out. Furthermore, the toner in the refilled cartridges was often not up to Printospeed’s high quality standards.

(a) Draw a cause–effect diagram that includes both the possible causes mentioned, and any other possible causes that you think worth investigating.

 (b) What is your opinion of the alleged abuse of the ‘no-questions-asked’ returns policy adopted by Printospeed?


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