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Old 05-18-2009, 06:18 AM   #1
Over
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Your gadget will start to malfunction after the warranty expires

Have you noticed that many times your gadget will start to malfunction after the warranty expires?

It can be a coincidence or a defect, but have you ever wonder if these gadgets were designed that way? Your cell phone's battery charge starts to last a couple days instead of the usual 4-5 right after the warranty expirations (or a couple months latter)? Your mp3 player starts to malfunction a month after the warranty expires until it just brakes completely? Had you had to send your Kindle for a battery replacement (with costs greater than what a battery really costs) just a few months the warranty voids?

Products that last longer aren't economically good for the companies that produce them. What if they design them with a short life cycle on purpose, so that you'll have to update/replace/buy another one after a few years?

Are we being cheated? I'm not even talking about environment consequences of such practices that forces us to consume and consume and consume...
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:31 AM   #2
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As much as I try to believe it might be coincidence... No I'm rather sure they do it on purpose.

But a lot don't include batteries under warranty anyway or if so it's limited to 6 months or something. In a lot of cases lately I see that some even mention: the battery should work for 18 months or so after that it will start to decrease rapidly.

Another thing is battery tech it's not yet at a peak level I'd say. There just isn't incentive to improve it to much if it's at the "good enough" level for the companies.

I think the major problem is that companies tend to stuff so much into their devices that the tiny batteries they include just don't handle it well enough.

Take cell phones for example...

Companies try to sell so many extra things along with them. But what I would like to see is a low-feature phone with an eInk screen with some other bits included by default that would make it usable as a wifi AP for the 3g connection. And basic functionality. No extra apps and so on. Just something I can expect the battery to last for a fourthnight in standby.
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:36 AM   #3
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Hmm, only my ear plugs seem to outlast the warranty only a short time...

Our TV is from 2001, my mobile phone from about that same year (and it will hold a charge for about 6-7 days, with the original battery), my PDA is from 2005, my monitor from around 2004...

Maybe it's only those new-fangled devices that can't stand the test of time?
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:49 AM   #4
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i'm convinced they do it on purpose. "planned obsolescence". i bought the extended 5-year garantee for my washing machine : ONE MONTH after it ended, i had to replace the plastic beaters inside the drum, which broke off. (although, it's been a few more months, and the machine is still working, touch wood...).
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:55 AM   #5
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Maybe it's only those new-fangled devices that can't stand the test of time?
I think there may be some truth in that statement too. Especially with some of the newer battery technologies such as LiPo and the like. Some, I feel, just haven't had the time in the market to be fully erm 'refined'.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
i'm convinced they do it on purpose. "planned obsolescence". i bought the extended 5-year garantee for my washing machine : ONE MONTH after it ended, i had to replace the plastic beaters inside the drum, which broke off. (although, it's been a few more months, and the machine is still working, touch wood...).
It's definitely "planned obsolescense", has to be. I had an iMac (my first Mac) that decided to have a meltdown about a week after the warranty ran out, an iPod that did exactly the same, and I can't count the number of kitchen appliances that decide to quit the nanosecond the warranty expries.

Yet I have a 70+ year old mechanical typewriter that works flawlessly every time (well, when I've used it, it's more of an ornament now).
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:52 PM   #7
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I have long thought this. It works with cars as well as electronic gadgets. Consumerism at its finest.
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:29 AM   #8
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I have a lot of "out of warranty" electronic items that are still running strong (TV from 1996, Receiver from about 1998, back laptop from 200). My refigerator lasted 10 years before the motor started to go and I replaced it. I did have a microwave die on me after 3 years of use.

Early failure is more of an exception than a rule for me.
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Old 07-22-2009, 10:26 AM   #9
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I know this thread is a couple of months old -- but just HAD to relate a story regarding this very subject.

My Samsung HDTV quit working completely less than 24 hours after the 1-year mark. I keep the receipts of my high-dollar items taped to the actual item (in this case, in a little envelope taped to the back of the television).

I get myself all worked up ready to royally chew out Samsung, but totally keep my cool. I called, got transferred to "Elite Customer Care" (or some such like-named department). Told them that according to my receipt, I purchased this television on July 1st, 2008 at 4:20pm. It is now July 2nd, 2009 at 11:00am. The guy said to take a picture of my receipt, email it to some Samsung address as attachments so they can see the letterhead of the store, the item (TV itself) with the price, the total price, and that it was actually paid for.

I did that -- all while on the phone with him. He said everything looked good, and he was going to extend my warranty. In the next few hours, I should receive a call from my local service center to schedule a time for someone to come out to fix my TV (free of charge!). Got a call fifteen minutes later -- some other guy confirming my receipts. Fifteen minutes later, another call from my local service center's technician saying he lived just a couple of streets over from me. That he got off work at 5:00pm, he had to run an errand, and should be by my place no later than 6:00pm.

He showed up, took my TV apart on the spot, replaced my power supply unit, showed me exactly what went wrong (two capacitors popped) and said I could fix this myself (we talked about electronics, and after seeing my house, it was quite obvious that I do know electronics -- wasn't going to take the TV apart myself until I could make absolutely sure there was no warranty left on it).

So, in the course of just seven hours -- my television was fixed.

Well, there you have it. My "One Day (less than 24 hours!) Out of Warranty and the Device Dies" story.

Good work, Samsung. Good work, indeed.
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Old 07-22-2009, 11:11 AM   #10
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wow, that's some great customer service from samsung ! thanks for the story, it gives me hope.
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Old 07-22-2009, 11:55 AM   #11
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The Uk's oldest working television set was made in 1936:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8159406.stm

It looks more like a cocktail cabinet to me.
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Old 07-22-2009, 06:52 PM   #12
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I think it is just as likely to be a case of selective memory. It is a fact of life that humans tend to remember "bad" things much more readily than positive things. We will naturally pay attention to and get emotional about something that fails just outside of warranty. This attention and emotion will serve to make us remember this incident clearly. On the other hand we will pay little attention to, and feel no great emotional reaction to, items that last well past their warranty period. Hence when thinking about this issue these items will be less likely to be remembered.

Having said that, modern appliances do tend to be made as cheaply as possible in order to increase profits. Cheaply made products will tend to fail earlier than well made quality products. Hence, more products are likely to fail "just outside their warranty period".

Is that "planned obselescence"? Doubtful in my opinion. Firstly, "planned obselescence" is illegal and any company caught engaging in the practice opens themselves to fines. Of course that does not mean no company would attempt it just because it illegal. Secondly, to intentionally build a product to fail within a specified period would actually take more research, development and planning than to simply build a product as cheaply as possible. So why would a manufacturer decrease their profit per item for an uncertain and unspecified gain in future sales. Thirdly, consumers tend to dislike items that fail just outside of warranty and therefore are less likely to replace the item with another by the same company. So it is unlikely that any gain would be realised by the practice anyway.

Cheers,
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:31 PM   #13
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I think it is just as likely to be a case of selective memory. It is a fact of life that humans tend to remember "bad" things much more readily than positive things. We will naturally pay attention to and get emotional about something that fails just outside of warranty. This attention and emotion will serve to make us remember this incident clearly. On the other hand we will pay little attention to, and feel no great emotional reaction to, items that last well past their warranty period. Hence when thinking about this issue these items will be less likely to be remembered.
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I'm not entirely convinced by this hypothesis because of the example of my freezer.

In the late 1980s I bought a cheap second-hand freezer, whose label proudly proclaimed that it was "Made in the GDR." This triumph of socialist technology is still working today, and has long outlived the republic that gave it birth.

Visitors look at it with fascination. Visiting Germans tell me Honecker stories. I'm actually quite fond of the appliance, though every now and then I wonder whether it would be more ecological to replace it with a more energy-efficient freezer, or whether I should wait until it breaks down, so as to defer creating landfill.
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:58 PM   #14
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i confirm the astounding reliability of east german appliances. when i was a student i shared an appartement with 3 german guys. they had a radio which we kept in the kitchen for listening to music during meals. we used it every day (Radio Nova : "toutes les musiques"). it was a rather massive and utilitarian affair and possibly older than i was. they assured me that every east german had a radio just like it, although i can't remember the brand. one day there was some sort of electrical incident and the plug melted. i bought a new plug at a do it yourself shop, cut off the end of the cable, stripped the wires and put it on, and it worked as good as new. the thing was unkillable.
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Old 07-22-2009, 10:50 PM   #15
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I had a printer that lasted one week past the warranty. Then again they had sent me several "new" printers in that year so I never had to buy any ink.
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