Complaint: Radio Warranty - Infant Mortality

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by Guest, Nov 2, 2000.

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  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Not Yet a delighted ICOM Customer (unidentified) writes

    "I recently bought a new ICOM IC-2100H radio that died quietly in it's
    sleep (on a shelf in my kitchen). It was only a week old. In
    my heartbroken condition, I thought that I should exchange my
    deceased infant for a new, working one. Because I purchased it
    from a reputable dealer in Texas, with whom I have dealt before"...
    " I figured it would be easy... but...

    Now, many phone calls and voice mails from
    Texas and from ICOM, I am told that this will be handled just as
    if it were near the end of warrantee, not in the first week.
    "Send it in, we'll get around to it some day soon, and send it
    back whenever we get it working again".

    I thought that when a BRAND-NEW radio fails catastrophically like this, it would be the "right thing to do" to send the customer a new one and then he can send in the dead one. This way I don't have to come up with shipping materials, visit the shipping store and pay for having the broken thing shipped off for several weeks when I haven't even received the Visa bill for it yet!

    Don't Dealers and Vendors have a 30 day "swap" period at the
    beginning of the warranty to cover Infant Mortality? As it is,
    I probably have only 10 minutes use of this radio and now I am
    having to pay shipping and live without it for several weeks
    while ICOM Techs perform transplant surgery. (By the way, it seems
    that the whole RF section is dead: lights are on, CPU front panel
    works fine, but zero transmit, zero receive action.)

    I believe that reputable companies should do more to back up their
    products than this. As it is, over 2 days, I was "phone tagged"
    to Mary, Sara, Sharon, Will, Will again, a service tech, Sara again, and Ray at ICOM, and somebody in Texas.

    Do other companies (Kenwood, Yaesu, Alinco) have the same runaround,
    or do they concentrate on delighting their customers?


    Not Yet Delighted
    QRZ Editor AA7BQ writes:

    Wal-Mart has an unconditional return policy. I knew of a guy
    who would go down and buy a new video camera each December so that
    he could make his holiday films, only to return it on the
    first of January - no questions asked. Down in South Florida,
    hurricane warnings went up recently and people flocked into the
    stores to stock up on emergency supplies. After the storm
    was a no-show, back to Wal-Mart they went, goods in hand. People were
    actually asking for and getting refunds on 79-cent gallon
    jugs of drinking water.

    So you think it's easy being a retail dealer... hmmm.

    Ham radios are consumer commodity items, just like toasters
    and microwave ovens. The margins (i.e. profit) on these items
    is miniscule. A well known ham equipment dealer once told me
    that his company made more money selling one of the QRZ CDROMS
    than they did selling a Yaesu FT-1000. I didn't argue because
    it's probably true. The big profit items are cables, connectors,
    microphones, books, etc. The big radios are only to draw the
    traffic into the store and the profit on them is near break-even.

    The market has been so bastardized by
    cut-rate discount sellers that brick-and-mortar dealers have
    to compete with mail-order deals at near wholesale prices.
    Some folks even visit the store, try out the radio, and then
    place their order online to the cut-rate, no-store,
    no-sales-tax dealer.

    So, you bought and it died after a week. Would you be surprised
    to hear the story of the guy who plugged his brand new
    mobile (12v) rig into 110 Volts AC in his travel trailer and
    fried it instantly to a crisp, only to demand an immediate
    warranty replacement. I'm not kidding - it happens every day.

    Let's say that you were a dealer and some bozo just pulled this
    on you. You gave him a new radio and Icom said, "Nope, we don't
    want it, it was misused.". You're stuck with a several-hundred-dollar
    doorstop, and a happy customer from whom you were making less
    than $20 in profit in the first place. You do the math: how
    many radios do you now have to sell to make up for that one

    I don't know anything about your radio and so let's just stipulate
    that it was a factory defect and let it go at that. What is the
    dealer's responsibility under the law? In most states none
    because the product was covered under a manufacturers warranty.
    In most states, a dealer will give you a new radio, but only
    if they feel they should, or, if they want to earn more of
    your future business. If they don't care about either then
    they've still held up their end of the bargain and have fulfilled
    their responsibility. The radio was warranteed by Icom when
    you bought it and you knew that, otherwise you probably wouldn't
    have bought it.

    I will be the first to agree that dealing with Icom, Kenwood,
    Yaesu, or any of the other smaller manufacturers can be a pain.
    Kenwood, for example, earns billions of dollars a year in
    consumer electronics. If you added up all the ham radios in that
    mix, it would probably be $10 million or less, or in other
    words, less than 1 percent of their business. How excited
    will they be about single unhappy ham? I'm not saying that this
    behavior is right, only that it's a reality. Sadly, there's
    nothing unusual about getting poor factory repair service on
    a mass produced consumer good these days.

    So, the 30-day Dealer Warranty? Sorry Dorothy, but we're
    not in Kansas anymore. If you want a 30-day warranty then
    it's a MUST that you ask about it BEFORE the purchase.
    Get it in WRITING and buy with confidence. Implied warranties
    usually don't hold up very well and spoken ones aren't
    worth the paper they're printed on.

    Sorry about your experience,

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