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Old 10-20-2008, 09:29 PM   #1
Kakyou
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Defective product

Just sent this mail off through that maze of a trouble ticket system.

Received the Digital reader yesterday. (Over 3 weeks after my credit card was charged I might add).
After attempting to charge the unit via a pc and the included cable I noticed that the device did not appear to be charging. After several hours, the power indicator still showed low battery.
I the shut the device off using the menu command.
I then plugged the device back into the usb cable to try and charge again.
It immediately started the device back up, however there were several problems.
1. the third indicator light on the bottom and right control pads went on and 2. the top status light began flashing red.
Also I noticed the screen had developed a faint shadow extending from the log to the bottom of the screen. It looks like an ink smear extending over half the screen.
I let the device sit in this state for over half a hour, and it would not start up into the main menu.
I tried resetting the device with the rest button and the device restarted. the lights went off and the shadow dissapeared... for about 10 seconds.
Subsequent resets continued to yield the same results.
I then tried to reset while holding the center button on the bottom control pad down. This time the device successfully started up, however the top indicator light continued to flash red and the third light on the bottom and right control pad are still on.
I then shut the device down again and the screen went out, but the lights did not go out. At the point the only way to start the device again was to use the reset button.
At which point the whole circle started again.
I then left the device overnight and sure enough it was completely dead when I checked this morning. I connected it to a charger again and the device started right up. And guess what?

Exactly the same results. I assume at this point this is not the proper operating condition of one of your devices (I could be mistaken of course.)

Please send me instructions on how to correct this problem. If this can not be corrected without sending the machine back for repairs, please give me details on how to have it shipped back at your cost for a full refund. I am sick of your companies poor attention to customer service and I refuse to waste any more of my time on iRex. I expect and require your response within 24 hours.
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Old 10-21-2008, 12:32 AM   #2
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Ouch, sounds like we have our first certified true lemon... I'm very sorry for you!

It will be interesting to see how iRex handles this one in light of their current reputation...
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:43 AM   #3
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Speaking personally, if I receive support requests from customers of my business who come in with "all guns blazing" like this, they go straight to the bottom of the pile for support. Politeness costs nothing, and achieves a lot more than aggression and rudeness.

A statement like "I am sick of your companies poor attention to customer service and I refuse to waste any more of my time on iRex." is completely unjustified for an initial e-mail. If you've written to them a dozen times, and not had a satisfactory response, then it might perhaps be reasonable, but for an initial contact? I'm afraid it comes across as very rude to me.
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:27 PM   #4
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Harry,

Actually I agree with you on that. I understand that the poor sap who has to read the email I sent is not necessarily responsible for any poor service I have received in the past.

However. Honestly I don't care anymore. I have been anxiously waiting for this technology to mature since electronic paper started making the rounds five years ago. I own practically every ebook device ever made and have worked with companies like Palm, Rocketbook, Sony, iRex, Bookeen and Amazon. I even have a first batch Sony Librie somewhere under a stack of papers somewhere.

I have seen this segment of technology appear, flounder, resurge, die out and reappear again and I applaud the efforts of those who try new things. What I can't condone is lazy, sloppy behavior however.

Sure I have received defective products before, or had shipments delayed, or had my emails unanswered. But never with the frightening consistency that iRex can maintain. Over the years since it's formation iRex has struggled with this time and again. But it seems as though they still haven't learned even the basics of how to run a business. Sure they have some great innovators, but if they can't give their product appeal, then the story ends there and innovation can meet a premature end.

I evaluate product for enterprise use and in some industries there is significant interest in the functionality that iRex has brought to market. But my recommendations for their products stay consistently down. Wait, the functions and stability are not there yet. Wait, the company has not developed a product support structure that would be considered acceptable for enterprise adoption. Wait, the company has to eat through their funding eventually and some more mainstream consumer electronics company will buy up their patents and IP for a song.

So to get back to it. You are right. No need to be rude in the support request. Sure they have already ignored all my other emails and attempts to contact them. Sure the only responses I ever do seem to get come from postings to public message boards, and then usually delayed and unsatisfactory.

But I really just don't care anymore. This company has made me look back at my dealings with Sony almost with fondness. Go ahead and throw my requests to the bottom of the queue. I'm not expecting any better.

Oh, and as a former customer service manager for a technology products company I can tell you that certainly many support reps will bury irate contacts. We eventually fired those people.

Last edited by Kakyou; 10-21-2008 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 10-22-2008, 03:02 AM   #5
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Status update

What a wonderful surprise! I got my reply, and within a day too! Could this be a sign of brighter days to come? Well, no new judgment yet. But arguably a good sign.

Will post progress as it comes along.

----------------
Edited to protect the innocent. Also took off the iRex names

Dear XXXXXXXXXXXX,

the green LEDs indicate an error with one of the capacitive sensors. With "the third sensor at the bottom" do you mean the one with the arrow pointing left or the one pointing right? The third LED on the right side (pointing down) indicates that "a sensor is not found".
As a reference, check page 11 of the user manual:
Bottom sensor, pointing left = nr. 8 in the drawing
Bottom sensor, pointing right = nr. 10
Right sensor, pointing up = nr. 5
Right sensor, pointing down = nr. 7
My conclusion is that one of the connectors of the sensors has come loose or is malfunctioning. This can only be repaired by iRex technical support.

We will sent a return box to collect your device and analyze it in our repair center in Eindhoven.

kind regards,

--------------------------

Hello XXXXXXXX. Here in the information you requested.

The light that are stuck on are listed as #5 and #10. Also #11 is flashing red. This stays on until the batter is dead, even if the unit is shut off.

I am also attaching a photo of the shadow. This shadow as I mentioned will disappear when the device is reset, but gradually reappears while the screen is frozen on the startup screen.

Last edited by Kakyou; 10-22-2008 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 10-22-2008, 03:07 AM   #6
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I'm pleased to hear that you've had what you consider to be a satisfactory response.
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Old 10-22-2008, 12:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Kakyou View Post
But I really just don't care anymore. This company has made me look back at my dealings with Sony almost with fondness. Go ahead and throw my requests to the bottom of the queue. I'm not expecting any better.
Well, to be fair Sony is a MUCH larger company. Sony probably has more people just answering customer emails than the total number of employees who work for iRex. Many of the issues/complaints about iRex I see really come down to them being a very small company. The size of their customer base seems to be a lot larger than the company is setup to handle. Hopefully they will eventually grow and some of these issues will get better.
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Old 10-23-2008, 02:23 AM   #8
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Actually I have found you are more likely to get good service from a small company than a large one. Big companies tend to just factor in a % of customers they can afford to lose and then balance that against the cost of service to get the best price performance.
Small companies that are trying to grow need every possible customer as well as goodwill to increase their customer base. Not all small companies are like this, but successful ones usually are.

Take for example Waterfield Bags in San Fransisco. A small custom laptop bag shop. I put in an overseas order with them maybe once a year. Each order has been great. Product shipped quickly, email response to questions is frighteningly fast. I once placed a suggestion in the comment field of one of my orders and I got a separate response almost immediately. And a hand written thank you note in every order from the owner.

They do impressive volume, and must have a tiny staff, but they value each one of their customers.

Good customer service is an option for any company. But so is staying in business.
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Old 10-23-2008, 02:29 AM   #9
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Status update 2

Another day and wow! another response!

I just read the Presidents blog update talking about the customer service and shipping problems, and while I find the excuse quite weak, I do think this is a dramatic improvement. Still not out of the woods yet.

oh yeah, and I still have a broken device. But things are definitely looking better.

--------------------------

Dear Mr. XXXXXXXXXXXX,

Thank you for indicating the exact leds. This makes the fault analysis easier: one sensor is broken or has a bad connection to the main board. Repair is needed by iRex in Eindhoven (NL)

were are checking how we can best collect your device. Do you still have the original product box? The fasted way to collect the device is if we sent you return labels (either by UPS or as a pdf that you can print and place on the package) and other shipment documents, like invoices etc.
If you can see to it that the product box is properly placed in a package with sufficient foam or other protective materials. This would be the fasted way to have it returned so we can analyze your DR1000 in our repair center. Also, this way we are paying for the shipment cost.

The shadow on the display is difficult to determine from the picture (thank you for the upload). We will have to examine this effect in the repair center as well.

kind regards,
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Old 10-23-2008, 02:32 AM   #10
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picture of the mysterious shadow

Oh, and here is a pic of the shadow. Note that this is not permanent
damage to the screen, but a strange image that appears and darkens while the device drains the battery down
Click image for larger version

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Old 10-23-2008, 02:39 AM   #11
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It seems, from the picture, as though it's confined to the upper left quadrant of the screen. I'd guess it's an issue with the display controller.
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:03 AM   #12
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Actually, that's just a shadow from the camera.

The display error is the faint shadow in the center below the logo (circled in the picture).

It looks like very faint ghosting, similar to the last page ghost you get when you change a page, but it behaves quite differently.

1. It appears several seconds after the device starts up and slowly darkens as the page sits frozen on startup.
2. It spreads out and you can almost visually watch it move.

If anything I think it's some kind of short in the controller. Actually if it weren't for the fact that the device gets frozen on the startup page I might not have noticed it for a while.
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kakyou View Post
The shadow on the display is difficult to determine from the picture (thank you for the upload). We will have to examine this effect in the repair center as well.

kind regards,
Well... if you want to be a real stickler about it you should ask them to cross ship you a new unit. Since yours is basically DOA they should just exchange it for a new one as most any retailer will do... usually within the first 10 to 30 days. You shouldn't have to wait for a new-in-box device that didn't work to be repaired.

BOb
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Old 10-23-2008, 03:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kakyou View Post
Actually, that's just a shadow from the camera.

The display error is the faint shadow in the center below the logo (circled in the picture).

It looks like very faint ghosting, similar to the last page ghost you get when you change a page, but it behaves quite differently.

1. It appears several seconds after the device starts up and slowly darkens as the page sits frozen on startup.
2. It spreads out and you can almost visually watch it move.

If anything I think it's some kind of short in the controller. Actually if it weren't for the fact that the device gets frozen on the startup page I might not have noticed it for a while.
I wouldn't worry about that so much. Mine does that too. As soon as the display controller is initialized and does a refresh, it's gone. In your case, because of the other defect, that may not happen as soon or at all, which is why the effect becomes more pronounced.

This also happens when sketching: the black particles start to drift upward as the controller is only updating the area you are currently sketching on, but as soon as you do a full refresh (like entering the menu) it disappears.

Hopefully the button issue is easy to repair and you get it back soon.! (or a even new one, though there seems to be a bit of a shortage right now )
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Old 10-23-2008, 03:50 PM   #15
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Actually I have found you are more likely to get good service from a small company than a large one. Big companies tend to just factor in a % of customers they can afford to lose and then balance that against the cost of service to get the best price performance.
Small companies that are trying to grow need every possible customer as well as goodwill to increase their customer base. Not all small companies are like this, but successful ones usually are.
That's true if the small company has a relatively smaller customer base, or has a simpler product to support. I'm sure customer support for a laptop bag is much less complicated that support for a bleeding edge electronics product.
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