No fault of Epson especially. The same would be true of any other make of printer that has built-in print heads. Repairing it yourself will cost you more in time and strife than getting it done. Printers without built-in heads may have higher running costs. Eighteen months is not very long for the £150 it cost you, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.
My Stylus C80 is still going strong after two years of light use, my EPL5900 is still going strong after three years of heavy use. I use compatible ink cartridges and refill toner. If they pack up tomorrow, I can buy a faster or better Epson printer for half the price I paid for those.
Just forget your bad experience, and take an objective look at the reviews. It looks like a straight choice between Epson and Canon. If you buy the C84 click here I suspect that you can reuse your remaining colour cartridges (about £20 worth?)
I wouldn't take a hammer to it yet. Maybe someone will come along who can get it going again. Perhaps they could offer to post you a nearly empty black cartridge. Mine is still 3/4 full.