Among various trends from 2006, one stood out: I sent more consumer electronics back for warranty replacement than in prior years. The tally included:
- two laptop batteries, of the “let’s catch on fire!” variety
- an LCD monitor that lost two rows of pixels after a month of use
- a remote control plane, notable because the shipping charges cost half as much as the plane itself, and because the replacement from the factory exhibited the same fault
- A dead-on-arrival disk drive
- A cell phone battery that stopped taking a charge after a few weeks
Aside from a bit time on hold waiting to talk to tech support, and having to stand in line one time at the post office to mail a box, the process of getting replacements wasn’t much of a nuisance, though it did eat up time. (I’m not counting having to endure the return line at Fry’s, because buying the wrong type of video card was my own damn fault, not a warranty issue.)
I’m wondering if we’re seeing more electronics companies manufactur and ship closer to the edge, and whether what’s been a run-up in quality over the past several years is going to reverse.