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Sgt Hartman

Is it just me or is the failure rate for 'durable goods' off the scale?

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Seriously, am I cursed or has the standard of modern kit fallen through the floor?  In the past six months alone:

 

Printer X 2 - Died, first went back to the shop and was replaced with no fuss, second followed suit about a week later. Bloke on the returns desk "it's not uncommon".

New car - 600 miles on the clock and it cacks itself on the M6 leaving us on the hard shoulder. 'Manufacturing fault, terribly sorry, we'll fix that!' Does it again on the Toll road at 1000 miles. Fixed again, grovelling apology.

Xbox - 1 year. Dead. Replaced.

600 quid LG TV - 2 years and the backlights have blown. Currently awaiting repair estimate.

Floating shelving unit from Homebase - So poorly made it was literally unusable. Returned.

Childrens toys - Tat. Brittle, battery guzzling, plastic crap. Half of them are knackered after a week.

 

I'm starting to understand why stores try to punt me extended warranties. It's because they know the lifespan of most of their goods is garbage. When I took the Xbox back the bloke offered me a two year extended warranty on the new one, I told him no and that if it failed again the product was junk and it would be going out the window. It's going strong...So far.

/rant over.

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You get unlucky with some. I've been "unlucky" with blu ray players, even some expensive ones with "good brands" turn out to be crap. Look inside them. Chinese tat. Sorry China. I've been lucky with TVs so far. As for cars, one of the bosses at work has a new Jag. It needed a software upgrade before it worked properly.

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That's ironic considering the posts in the other thread about software.

I know people tend to harp back to old times and say "Things aren't as good as they used to be" which is a generalisation and is frankly wrong in so many respects.

But as regards purchased products, quality standards have slipped with cheap imports. I think we've been conditioned to believe that you can get things for little money, and indeed we can, but there's a reason why they're cheap.

If everyone exercised their consumer rights and took stuff back and demanded refunds, the model might change. Instead many just buy another one. "It was only £20 and another one is only £15, I can get it in Sainsbury's". Churn of products is "part of the model".

In the same way, for services, "churn" is "built in". Mobile phone companies have lovely high street stores to schmooze you into committing to £50 a month for the new phone with lots of personal attention and someone well-trained to "appear to be your mate" and make you "feel good", but the support is appalling. The back-end systems and technical capability may well be riddled with failures and errors and subsequent customer service non-existent. Looking at you, EE and BT.

Phones that catch fire. Screens that shatter if dropped only a short distance. Poorly thought out, rushed products in a glitzy case. Hello Samsung.

It's all about getting that contract in the bag. Working on the "up-front". Launching things before they are actually ready. Getting lengthy contract sign-ups (witness the BT TV ads). That rush of instant gratification ("it's only £32 a month!" What a deal!) that fades so quickly but the bills continue for 2 years.

Mind you there's that long running epithet:

"Fisher Price would not confirm what would be this year's Christmas must-have toy. However they did say that it would be powered by 12 AA batteries, made entirely of plastic, and broken by New Year's Day".

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Don't get rid of the old turnatable, Mark. That seems to last, but it probably was a luxury item back sometime. Printers don't seem to be very strong, although my Canon one is good. A bit plasticky, and not worked too hard, but OK for the money.  A whole lot better than the HP one I had to take back to the shop.

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I repaired an old Kismet footpump the other day. It's English made c.1950s out of brass and steel. It will last forever, mine just needed a clean and a new hose.  

I reckon most modern consumer goods have a 2 year design life. The loss in quality over the last couple of decades is astonishing. The only stuff that's properly made is some very high end consumer stuff and industrial equipment. I'm keeping my 80s Japanese motorbikes until I die!

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14 minutes ago, DTMark said:

That's ironic considering the posts in the other thread about software.

I know people tend to harp back to old times and say "Things aren't as good as they used to be" which is a generalisation and is frankly wrong in so many respects.

But as regards purchased products, quality standards have slipped with cheap imports. I think we've been conditioned to believe that you can get things for little money, and indeed we can, but there's a reason why they're cheap.

If everyone exercised their consumer rights and took stuff back and demanded refunds, the model might change. Instead many just buy another one. "It was only £20 and another one is only £15, I can get it in Sainsbury's". Churn of products is "part of the model".

In the same way, for services, "churn" is "built in". Mobile phone companies have lovely high street stores to schmooze you into committing to £50 a month for the new phone with lots of personal attention and someone well-trained to "appear to be your mate" and make you "feel good", but the support is appalling. The back-end systems and technical capability may well be riddled with failures and errors and subsequent customer service non-existent. Looking at you, EE and BT.

Phones that catch fire. Screens that shatter if dropped only a short distance. Poorly thought out, rushed products in a glitzy case. Hello Samsung.

It's all about getting that contract in the bag. Working on the "up-front". Launching things before they are actually ready. Getting lengthy contract sign-ups (witness the BT TV ads). That rush of instant gratification ("it's only £32 a month!" What a deal!) that fades so quickly but the bills continue for 2 years.

Mind you there's that long running epithet:

"Fisher Price would not confirm what would be this year's Christmas must-have toy. However they did say that it would be powered by 12 AA batteries, made entirely of plastic, and broken by New Year's Day".

The product is not the main "thing" any more...its the service behind it that worth the money. Printer ink per litre is more expensive than champagne...AFAIK, printers are actually loss makers...its the ink thats the profit.  Manufacturers make sure that 3rd party ink doesn't work, so you're locked into spending 50 quid a time for one of their sets.  They then change the cartridges for their new printers, so that you can't use your old ink in it.  HP even have a plan called instant ink, whereby you dont even need to buy ink cartridges.

I heard that AO.com were are actually a loss making business, if it was purely by selling products.  Its the extended warranty side that supports its business model.

Product failure is built in - its so these companies have multiple bites at the cherry.  Some iphone 7 contracts are 70 quid plus a month...1500 quid for a ruddy phone over 24 months...

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22 minutes ago, DTMark said:

That's ironic considering the posts in the other thread about software.

I know people tend to harp back to old times and say "Things aren't as good as they used to be" which is a generalisation and is frankly wrong in so many respects.

But as regards purchased products, quality standards have slipped with cheap imports. I think we've been conditioned to believe that you can get things for little money, and indeed we can, but there's a reason why they're cheap.

If everyone exercised their consumer rights and took stuff back and demanded refunds, the model might change. Instead many just buy another one. "It was only £20 and another one is only £15, I can get it in Sainsbury's". Churn of products is "part of the model".

In the same way, for services, "churn" is "built in". Mobile phone companies have lovely high street stores to schmooze you into committing to £50 a month for the new phone with lots of personal attention and someone well-trained to "appear to be your mate" and make you "feel good", but the support is appalling. The back-end systems and technical capability may well be riddled with failures and errors and subsequent customer service non-existent. Looking at you, EE and BT.

Phones that catch fire. Screens that shatter if dropped only a short distance. Poorly thought out, rushed products in a glitzy case. Hello Samsung.

It's all about getting that contract in the bag. Working on the "up-front". Launching things before they are actually ready. Getting lengthy contract sign-ups (witness the BT TV ads). That rush of instant gratification ("it's only £32 a month!" What a deal!) that fades so quickly but the bills continue for 2 years.

Mind you there's that long running epithet:

"Fisher Price would not confirm what would be this year's Christmas must-have toy. However they did say that it would be powered by 12 AA batteries, made entirely of plastic, and broken by New Year's Day".

All very true, especially the Fisher Price quote.

:lol:

I'd say we have more choice now but it's a greater choice of crap. The good stuff is far more expensive because it knows the majority of its competition is junk whereas I can't help but feel that being simply 'good stuff' was the default standard not too long ago...Or at least being functional for a certain amount of time. The gap between the two is now a canyon, I use Stihl machines for work and they are awesomely good bits of kit. Very expensive but bombproof. On the flip side I've bought a spade from a reputable brand that wasn't cheap, stuck it in the ground and discovered that it was made by Aardmann. Returned.

And since when did shipping unfinished goods become the norm? There are video games that are clearly unfinished being sold for 40 quid a pop. 'Oh we'll fix it with a patch soon'. Dunno how they get away with it.

Speaks volumes when I take things back, I always expect to be given a mild third degree you know? Or at least have a bit of surprise shown when a gizmo that costs hundreds of pounds has been outlived by a fruit fly, but no. It's chucked on a (large) pile and your waved off to go get another one. I'm being naive I think.

Kids toys are unadulterated shite. There is now a ban on any more plastic, noisy tat coming through my door. On Christmas Day my house looked like someone had launched an RPG into toys 'r'us. 

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I've had several cheap HP printers and they have all been crap. Paper feeds that.. don't.

I had to replace ours recently and I spent a bit more on a "Brother" one. So far it has been good, the cartridges are relatively cheap, and the paper tray takes about 3x the quantity of pages the HP ones took.

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29 minutes ago, MrPin said:

Don't get rid of the old turnatable, Mark. That seems to last, but it probably was a luxury item back sometime. Printers don't seem to be very strong, although my Canon one is good. A bit plasticky, and not worked too hard, but OK for the money.  A whole lot better than the HP one I had to take back to the shop.

The turntable is about the same age as me, 43, and similarly, most of it still works.

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38 minutes ago, Dave Beans said:

The product is not the main "thing" any more...its the service behind it that worth the money. Printer ink per litre is more expensive than champagne...AFAIK, printers are actually loss makers...its the ink thats the profit.  Manufacturers make sure that 3rd party ink doesn't work, so you're locked into spending 50 quid a time for one of their sets.  They then change the cartridges for their new printers, so that you can't use your old ink in it.  HP even have a plan called instant ink, whereby you dont even need to buy ink cartridges.

I heard that AO.com were are actually a loss making business, if it was purely by selling products.  Its the extended warranty side that supports its business model.

Product failure is built in - its so these companies have multiple bites at the cherry.  Some iphone 7 contracts are 70 quid plus a month...1500 quid for a ruddy phone over 24 months...

I suspect that it's the "anticipated" service, as opposed to the actuality. It's all about status and glitz. I sound so bloody old. I don't think that I am. Genuinely. OK, I am a bit of a miserable git sometimes. But since I'm a developer I do expect things to work properly.

Partner (Nick) wanted an iPhone 7 for Christmas. Contracts were about £56 a month. As you say, over a grand for a mobile phone.

Were it a reliable "pocket computer" capable of so much more then maybe.

Knowing that Apple can and probably will "break" the alarm that gets you out of bed in the morning should you receive an SMS while it's "snoozing" with a single "update" (cough: iOS 10.2) I don't think so.

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That's a seriously impressive failure rate!

I find I end up returning quite a lot of electronic goods from Amazon these days that simply fail out of the box or were not as described.  Fortunately Amazon's return policy is very good.

I think it's just that costs are going up and purchasers are demanding greater and greater cost-cutting measures in material, specification and quality control to try to hit the same price point that they know will be competitive for U.K. Consumers.

We have only ourselves to blame really,   generally we go for the cheapest option down to the penny without looking too closely at how well something is actually designed or what warranty it comes with.

If people demanded quality they would get it.

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Its Chinee stuff.

Dont buy stuff made is China. Seriously.

They spec very low and then deliver underspec.

Built quality, design and QA are non existent.

 

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Churn, is the name of the game, if it doesn't break, or it can't be mended or becomes quickly obsolete or unfashionable so will be quickly need replacing.....regular premiums/subscriptions/services to maintain, purchase or insure also creates huge ongoing profits.....batteries that lose their power such as rechargeable will see further income is gained later from a purchase, like refills and disposal attachments that forever require replacement at high cost....So anything built to last, paid for once and can easily locally be repaired by anyone with low cost easily available parts that will rarely be required so not worth insuring against parts or labour.;)

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Just now, winkie said:

Churn, is the name of the game, if it doesn't break, or it can't be mended or becomes quickly obsolete or unfashionable so will be quickly need replacing.....regular premiums/subscriptions/services to maintain, purchase or insure also creates huge ongoing profits.....batteries that lose their power such as rechargeable will see further income is gained later from a purchase, like refills and disposal attachments that forever require replacement at high cost....So anything built to last, paid for once and can easily locally be repaired by anyone with low cost easily available parts that will rarely be required so not worth insuring against parts or labour.;)

I'm not convinced.

Churn doesn't guarantee customers will come back to you if they had a bad experience.

I also don't believe most companies consider things that deeply.

They just sit down and say, if we can make this product at this price and market it this way we can sell x million at £x profit each.

I honestly don't think they worry about how long it will last outside the consumer rights warranty. That is more a function that they just spec "cheap". IMHO.

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5 hours ago, DTMark said:

I suspect that it's the "anticipated" service, as opposed to the actuality. It's all about status and glitz. I sound so bloody old. I don't think that I am. Genuinely. OK, I am a bit of a miserable git sometimes. But since I'm a developer I do expect things to work properly.

Partner (Nick) wanted an iPhone 7 for Christmas. Contracts were about £56 a month. As you say, over a grand for a mobile phone.

Were it a reliable "pocket computer" capable of so much more then maybe.

Knowing that Apple can and probably will "break" the alarm that gets you out of bed in the morning should you receive an SMS while it's "snoozing" with a single "update" (cough: iOS 10.2) I don't think so.

...and of course with mobile phones such as the iphone 7, as you invest so much into one over 24 months, you have to take out the obligitory insurance @ £15 month, otherwise you have this expensive contract that you are still liable for even if you destroy the phone...This then pushes the cost of the phone, up by another £300+ over the length of the contract..

Thats why I have a second-hand iphone 6 with 30 day rolling contract with Three...If it breaks, its a bit of a pain in the ar5s, but at least I'm not liable for a massive contract...

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The same can be said for poor quality resturant food - My mrs is a bit of a foodie & is a stickler for sending back dishes that don't meet 'her standard' I used to find it a little embarrassing but quite agree on the principle. It can sometimes spoil a night out as she refuses to eat anything if its been sent back - so we don't bother going back. 

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Thing is these days quality control is based on the process and not the product, you can't reliably test millions of things coming off a production live individually and so things that would never have left the factory are now routinely sent out to consumers.

Not suffered too badly, but have had the odd thing here and there. A Samsung DVD play which simply didn't work, a TV that had some issue where it kept thinking a headset had been plugged in. 

The only good things about this is shops are now so used to it returns are much easier than they ever were. 

 

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10 minutes ago, mattydread said:

The same can be said for poor quality resturant food - My mrs is a bit of a foodie & is a stickler for sending back dishes that don't meet 'her standard' I used to find it a little embarrassing but quite agree on the principle. It can sometimes spoil a night out as she refuses to eat anything if its been sent back - so we don't bother going back. 

I've done this with pints or bottles now for a while. How a pub - that sells lager - can't work out how to keep it chilled to a decent temperature is beyond me.

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24 minutes ago, ccc said:

I've done this with pints or bottles now for a while. How a pub - that sells lager - can't work out how to keep it chilled to a decent temperature is beyond me.

Had a fair bit of that recently, not even temperature related.

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7 hours ago, Sgt Hartman said:

Seriously, am I cursed or has the standard of modern kit fallen through the floor?  In the past six months alone:

 

Printer X 2 - Died, first went back to the shop and was replaced with no fuss, second followed suit about a week later. Bloke on the returns desk "it's not uncommon".

New car - 600 miles on the clock and it cacks itself on the M6 leaving us on the hard shoulder. 'Manufacturing fault, terribly sorry, we'll fix that!' Does it again on the Toll road at 1000 miles. Fixed again, grovelling apology.

Xbox - 1 year. Dead. Replaced.

600 quid LG TV - 2 years and the backlights have blown. Currently awaiting repair estimate.

Floating shelving unit from Homebase - So poorly made it was literally unusable. Returned.

Childrens toys - Tat. Brittle, battery guzzling, plastic crap. Half of them are knackered after a week.

 

I'm starting to understand why stores try to punt me extended warranties. It's because they know the lifespan of most of their goods is garbage. When I took the Xbox back the bloke offered me a two year extended warranty on the new one, I told him no and that if it failed again the product was junk and it would be going out the window. It's going strong...So far.

/rant over.

I know someone who's a product designer and they source a lot of components from China. He's observed that there's a heck of a lot of quality variability in Chinese sourced components, and that the quality often slips between the initial shipments of a component and later shipments. And a lot of 'premium' goods from e.g. German suppliers are stuffed  full of these components too.

Having said that. I've started buying expensive kitchen goods with built in 5 - 10 year guarantees, from manufacturers who have a brand to protect. It's no guarantee of a decade of fault free service, but it tips the odds in my favour. E.g. I bought a Honda car as a car dealer mate observed 'they just don't go wrong'.

I've finally learnt that buying down to a price just gets you junk in most cases. As the saying goes 'buy cheap, buy twice'.

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8 hours ago, Sgt Hartman said:

Seriously, am I cursed or has the standard of modern kit fallen through the floor?  In the past six months alone:

 

Printer X 2 - Died, first went back to the shop and was replaced with no fuss, second followed suit about a week later. Bloke on the returns desk "it's not uncommon".

New car - 600 miles on the clock and it cacks itself on the M6 leaving us on the hard shoulder. 'Manufacturing fault, terribly sorry, we'll fix that!' Does it again on the Toll road at 1000 miles. Fixed again, grovelling apology.

Xbox - 1 year. Dead. Replaced.

600 quid LG TV - 2 years and the backlights have blown. Currently awaiting repair estimate.

Floating shelving unit from Homebase - So poorly made it was literally unusable. Returned.

Childrens toys - Tat. Brittle, battery guzzling, plastic crap. Half of them are knackered after a week.

 

I'm starting to understand why stores try to punt me extended warranties. It's because they know the lifespan of most of their goods is garbage. When I took the Xbox back the bloke offered me a two year extended warranty on the new one, I told him no and that if it failed again the product was junk and it would be going out the window. It's going strong...So far.

/rant over.

Its consumers fault.Im not joking.My small business is importing/retailing.I used to import and sell a good quality dog cage/pen that sold at £75.Very good sales,fantastic feedback.People started selling cages that looked similar but were poor quality. (lighter,exposed wires,painted instead of electro coated etc)They sold for £55.My sales died because everyone bought the £55 ones.I stopped selling the good quality ones.

This is the same right across mass market products.Its crazy,but its true.You make more selling crap and if you dont you will be put out of business if you try to sell higher quality (in mass market products).

Those Homebase shelves you mention are a prime example.They will of shaved off every penny with the factory they can.The ironic thing is iv found for 20% more you get a product miles better that will last triple the time,but consumers dont care.

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I walked into Argos and there was a wall of recall notices. Here are some at B&q http://www.diy.com/product-recall/

ok so they sell a large range of products and these are but a few are downright odd eg. There is one for a 3pin USB power adapter. I had something similar with an energiser recharger. It was plastic cased unit clipped together made with a very cheap plastic which fell apart exposing live wires off the plug connectors! I mean who certified the thing. I know USB chargers are notorious with millions of deadly units out there.

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stuff is crap, dont even get me started from kids toys to high end goods it is garbage. I was not a big shopper but now I by something backed with a lot of customer reviews I just dont bother. I have had to outsource some stuff to china and they make the first few really good then standards slip till your in with them and they just ship crap. 

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