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Warranty for stupidity

 7:34 pm on Jun 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

I couldn't resist posting this one... I've had a classic customer case this last week. Guy bought one of our products that most people love. He tells me he's not happy with the performance. I expect this once in a while, so no big deal... I'm more than happy to help him get it working. Most of the time it's something they've done wrong installing it, so that it doesn't work right.

So I get him to send me photos and it's completely screwed up. It's obvious whoever did it doesn't know what they're doing. He tells me two guys installed it for him, and as I ask questions, he eventually admits that they dropped the item off the roof (which is 4 1/2' x 2' and 5 pounds) and stopped it from hitting the ground at the last minute, by grabbing the cable... which in turn broke the cable off. They then "installed their own cable" and proceeded.

So in a polite way, I basically try to tell this guy that I have serious doubts they have installed it correctly, or repaired it correctly... considering how it looks and the fact that they dropped it off the roof. He writes back and starts to get annoyed, saying that it "should be under warranty", because the cable broke "as if it was brittle"... A cable that is meant to conduct electricity... Not stop a plummeting 5 pound 4' long item falling off a roof.

I'm wondering what goes on in somebody's head that would make them think the two idiots who screwed up their brand new product by dropping it off a roof, and then basically doing a crap-tacular job installing it... have no reason to be accountable at all... But the guy who's thousands of miles away and sent them a pristine product with zero flaws... is somehow at fault. lol




 8:18 pm on Jun 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

i'm siding with the customer. any product should be able to withstand being flung off the roof of a one-story building. i test all my new computers like this.


 9:40 pm on Jun 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

they dropped the item off the roof (which is 4 1/2' x 2' and 5 pounds)

Ooh, you're selling fancy fixins for dollhouses. What is it, one of those doodads that make smoke seem to come out of the chimney?

any product should be able to withstand being flung off the roof of a one-story building. i test all my new computers like this.

Similarly with TV sets and windows.

Seriously, cable attachments are often a weak point. I periodically have to replace the pump of my cat fountain because when you take it out for cleaning and then put it back, it applies stress to the point where the cord comes out of the appliance. Liquid electrical tape takes care of it for a while, but not forever.


 11:33 pm on Jun 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Do you do case studies of usage of your product on your site?

Sounds like you ought to start...


 1:22 am on Jun 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yeah, I guess I made it sound like the house was that big. lol

I've never done a study. All I've done is learn to see the patterns over the years. Selling things that are performance oriented can be a pain. Because one person's 'great', is another person's 'sucks'. Luckily, most people are in the 'great' category. But there's some people that think... OK, I spent 5 times more on this than my last one, so it should perform 5 times better. Then when that doesn't happen, they get upset. That part I can understand, but what happens is... They basically start lying. First nothing was done wrong on installing. Then they let it slip that something was. Then every time they talk about it, the performance magically starts getting worse and worse. I will do returns, even though I take a huge hit... because it is basically a totally used item that I cannot resell without complete restoration.

But the funny part about this one, is how this guy doesn't seem to think the dudes that dropped it off the roof are guilty at all. Somehow I'm guilty because I didn't make something capable of surviving a drop off the roof. lol He just wrote me again, saying the same thing.

I want people to be happy, but geez... I gotta take a loss, and the bozos that dropped it get to keep their fee, no problem? How is that fair? I'm just going to send him a new cable and hopefully that will get rid of him. Probably not though.


 4:03 am on Jun 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

He's giving it to the bozos, too. More than likely, they didn't get paid, because the installed widget didn't work.

Ask to speak to one of the bozos to confirm installation specs... privately. Only then will you get the rest of the story. Your customer is likely putting the screws to both you and them.

His position is somewhat understandable. He bought your widget, paid the bozos for turnkey installation, everything went haywire, and he's left holding the bag. He's gonna be upset, but to blame you for brittle wires is a stretch.


 5:50 pm on Jun 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

ROFLMAO hahaha . . . reminds me of an eBay seller that had bad freedback. "The buyer bought a sleeping bag and opened the box with . . . . a boxknife, slicing it in several places."


 2:17 am on Jun 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Avoid the temptation to appease the customer just to avoid an argument with him. If a customer is completely in the wrong, you have to draw the line somewhere. I used to satisfy every ridiculous customer request just to avoid a negative feedback or to avoid having an uncomfortable conversation with them. Returns are a big cost in retail and eventually you have to stand your grounds.

A good middle-ground solution might be to allow him to return the item, minus freight costs, and with a 25%-35% restocking fee. Sometimes people just want to save face, and this gives him an out.

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