When you purchase an item of consumer electronics it isn’t actually the manufacturer who has the main legal responsibility if the product goes wrong. The oft quoted “sale of goods act” applies to the person with whom the customer has exchanged the ownership. In most cases the contract of purchase is with the retailer and thus the onus is with them to assist the customer after sale. A manufacturer has a limited responsibility in the case that the retailer cannot, or will not, honour the warranty but in most cases it is the retailers generosity and discretion that prevails when the customer is speaking directly to the manufacturer.  Also remember that after six months the customer is deemed to have accepted that the goods are in working/acceptable order and if there is a problem after this period the customer must prove that the product was faulty at manufacture. Under six months the manufacturer must prove the product was not faulty at manufacture.

A manufacturer warranty is actually a form of insurance that is generally taken by the manufacturer on the products (either internally or externally guaranteed) and it is measured against the expected returns (when producing hundreds of thousands of units some must fail). A manufacturer may provide the company that purchases (the retailer) that warranty at whatever level suits their business model. In some cases a warranty is a point of negotiation because it must be built into the cost of dealing with that customer. In some circumstances a sales package may be offered to the retailer that says they cannot return any product to the manufacturer, in which case the retailer gets a better price because the cost dealing with that retailer is lower (in both logistics and support). A retailer will have a common warranty period that they can pass on but sometimes they might agree a shorter period because either the quality of the goods cannot be so easily quantified (re-manufactured product) or because they can achieve a lower retail pricing but give the customer a lower service level.

In most cases where a retailer sells the same product (not re-manufactured) as another but offers a lesser warranty this isn’t an indication that you are getting a lesser product and it isn’t that the retailer is trying to con the customer. It is just that they are offering a different service one that is consummate with their business model. This is also the case for extended warranties: they are offered where the supplier wishes to give the customer greater choice or an enhanced service. Although I will acknowledge that in some circumstances extended warranties have been pushed on customers to increase margins and also that re-manufactured stock (which often has a lesser warranty) has sometimes been sold by retailers as new stock without the customer knowing.

 

There pop-up on the forums from time-to-time, and they complain why we don’t have one feature or another. In the latest thread on DigitalSpy they complained that our product didn’t feature 1080p, or DiVx decoding. So, I thought I wanted to post something on DigitalSpy, however common sense and experience tells me if I post it there I might regret it because it could be a reactionary posting by me, so I will post it here to vent:

It depends on where you are targeting a product in the market as a manufacturer. We pay a licence for all technology we use (this may be different than you experience) for example we even have to pay a royalty for the use of Phono connectors. It would be a cost for us and eventually for the consumer, we already have people complaining about cost, should we limit our market further?

I won’t defend the scaler in the product, I have been over this issue countless times. Personally I recommend if you aren’t satisfied with the scaler to use the “Original” mode. We manufacture Televisions as well, and I know that the scaler chip we use can cost as much as the entire MPEG decoder chip (in a good TV). In a TV part of the cost you are paying for is the scaler, if we put a dedicated scaler chip in our STB product you would effectively be wasting the money you spent on your LCD TV and paying double.

An experience of using the scaler in a DVD player is more about ensuring the quality of the output of the DVD decoder and is mostly enhanced by using HDMI output for a digital-to-digital movement of signals.

In the end it comes down to a matter of choice, as a manufacturer we make choices that we have to balance (costs/sales) and the consumer has to make a choice to decide if the product is right for them. We make the product we feel most appropriate to make, we even take feedback, but ultimately the we are responsible for the choices and how they affect our sales. Some might even say they don’t have a choice because we are the only manufacturer of Freesat approved HD PVRs, that is still about choice, you don’t have to buy anything or you can buy a non-Freesat product or you can wait until another manufacturer decides to make a product.”

At least here I can remove it…