Most 'malfunctioning' gadgets work just fine, report claims
Lazy consumers blamed for most product returns
People often return gadgets to the shop they bought them from because they think the gizmo’s faulty - but only five per cent of them actually are, according to new research.
The study was conducted by tech services giant Accenture and it found that, in actual fact, 68 per cent of gadgets returned by buyers do work properly - they just don’t meet the customer’s expectations or were set-up incorrectly.
Another 27 per cent of returns were chalked-up to the customer simply changing their mind about the product. Or perhaps because they thought twice when they saw the dent that their MacBook Air purchase had made on their credit card?
According to Accenture, that leaves just five per cent of returns attributable to genuine product malfunction.
The study also estimated that returns cost the US consumer electronics industry around $13.8bn (£6.9bn/€9bn) last year, with return rates ranging between 11 and 20 per cent depending on the product.
However, return rates could be affected by the amount of time we’re prepared to spend setting gadgets up. According to a study by Dutch scientist Elke den Ouden, which is cited in Accenture’s report, the average consumer only spends 20 minutes trying to get, say, a DVD player working, before giving up and returning the item as faulty.
Earlier this year, electronics warranty firm SquareTrade claimed that, according to its in-house research, the Xbox 360 has a 16.4 per cent risk of malfunctioning. It found that disc read errors account for 18 per cent of returns, while 13 per cent are due to video card failures and the same figure for frozen hard drives.
Problems with study
1) Kyle gave Accenture too much credit (11th post, 2nd thumb down), though they'd miss out of malice more often than incompetence. These are the same jokers that made a killing while Enron investors lost everything. Any report issued by them should be treated as complete BS until proven factual.
2) When the external packaging says that WinME is supported, but the disk inside won't install because it requires XP SP2, that isn't the fault of the consumer. That is fraudulent misrepresentation and it should be returned, but under Accenture's counting scheme it is a "properly working product".
3) RTFM? Sure, except that the manual NEVER has the information you actually need in it. It says "Channels must be pre-scanned to ensure proper operation". It fails to say HOW to pre-scan the channels, nothing in the index or table of contents or anywhere in the manual; under Accenture's counting scheme it is a "properly working product".
4) RTFMed! I did read the manual, and it says that even after the cables are attached, if you have "No Signal Received" to return product to place of purchase. The manual didn't say anything about verifying that the cable are correctly attached; under Accenture's counting scheme it is a "properly working product".
5) "Blame the consumer" is a quick way into bankruptcy. Even consumer will eventually figure out that if a name is attached to crap they'll quit buying it.
insufficient or end of line info
I bought a PS3 a few weeks ago and used it for a week. I had some difficulty with it as I was looking for a memory slot but I couldn't even open the cover that housed the flash drive n usb slots. I went back to Future Shop and enquired about it as I wanted to use my usb n flash drive with it. Although the slot was descrbed in the user manual I was told by buddy in Future Shop that I had a 40Gb model which was now obsolete and didn't have this particular flash drive slot. The newer model PS3 would have an 80gb drive and the slot. So I returned the 40GB PS3 and opted to wait for the newer model which would be available next week. So What is the problem here. Misinformation or am I a stunn'd bugger thats should know better.
User or Developer Malfunction?
Without knowing the fraction of purchased devices returned, the fraction returned as faulty but not is not even anecdotal. One would also question whether faulty was the excuse used or whether the purchaser was unable to realize the functionality of the device because of the opaqueness of its operating system. Studies of the use of scientific calculators, going back to the HP-35, have consistently indicated that the majority of users obtain less than 0.33 of the functionality of the device, and this from the most logically designed electronic devices in history. So the question arises of whether faultiness is in the eye of the customer or the eye of the merchant. This is admittedly a slippery slope. How much must a device be dumbed down to eliminate user incompetence and lack of comprehension? How many customers are eliminated by such dumbed down devices?
Try before you buy elsewhere
There's always the large amount of times you buy something from a shop, say a monitor from PC World, to see what it's like, then returning it to go and buy it from somewhere that doesn't make you pay such a ludicrous price for it.
Dell? @Tom, @@Theory
It seems like the older the Dell, the better. My aunt bought a refurb Latitude PII-266 in 1998 and used it on her cattle ranch for about 8 years - Central Florida heat and humidity and even cow "stuff" did not seem to hurt it.
I got a refurb Latitude D630 last year for a little more than 1/2 the new price; the unit shipped had video issues, but Dell cheerfully built a new one for me with the refurb's specs and didn't ask for additional payment. So far, so good.
Morals of the story: if you go Dell, go refurb, go business-class (Precision, Optiplex, Latitude), and test the heck out of it the day you receive it.
No picture, because The Reg staff haven't provided a saint or devil Michael Dell...