Why won't it work straight out of the box?

  TOPCAT® 15:49 06 Jul 2005

The pages of Consumerwatch are strewn with stories of malfunctioning computer equipment received from various suppliers. Correctly assembled from the boxes some these items simply refused to operate as they should, causing the hapless recipient to seek help from customer support. This in itself can and has been a harrowing experience at times for some.

Not all the blame can be laid at the vendors' door when things don't go right. The couriers should take their fair share of it because of the way these delicate goods are handled in transit. As a case in point, I refer to an article in another PC magazine that was doing an 'Ultimate Computer' review. Out of twelve very expensive computers they received only four worked straight out of the box. It took the review team some considerable time to resolve a plethora of problems they faced. Most of these concerned completely dislodged or unseated hardware items that had resulted from atrocious handling by the couriers. Now, if PCs are like this when they're sent for review and highly tested, what hope does the average consumer have, more especially when opening the case invariably negates any warranty?

It is time the vendors 'bolted down' the components to the best of their ability on machines, especially those earmarked for courier distribution. It wouldn't be a bad idea either if all vendors had a serious talk with their couriers when complaints can be laid at their door. It is undoubtedly in their interest if they want to continue moving boxes out of the assembly site door. TC.

  picklsey 03:37 07 Jul 2005

could not agree more i had a pc a few years ago that had to be returned for repair,the couriers came to pick it up i watched him drop the pc on the ground open the van door pick it up and throw it on the van.i gave him an earfull and reported what happened to the pc suppliers.i don,t know what came out of it.

  €dstowe 09:03 07 Jul 2005

I agree with almost all of what you say but there is one (minor) point where I take issue.

Because of the friction fittings (slide in and rely on a tight fit) of many of the components in modern electronic devices, these can be very prone to slippage and movement during transport. This is worse if a component has been removed and re-fitted because the grip on a second insertion is less than the original. The fault here is in the original concept of this quick assembly system. I remember quite easily when printed circuit boards (as they were known) were held in place in their mountings by two or more screws. In modern setups, this is neither practical nor economical so we have to put up with the consequences.

As some on here may know, I have my computers sspecially made and even very careful transporting from my maker to my studio (about 20 miles on the back seat of my car) can sometimes cause a cable or a PCI card to come adrift - only very slightly but sufficient to cause it to malfunction.

  wiz-king 11:53 07 Jul 2005

This is the main reason, to made a computer ruggedised is very expensive. If all the boards had to be screwed in place and soldered into the circuit it would increase the cost,to say nothing of dispensing with the idead of easily swappable components - unless every board had little infrared transmitters and receivers in each corner.

  Indigo 1 14:53 07 Jul 2005

I too have seen similar problems with components dislodged in transit and having once worked as a courier I have witnessed a complete disregard for the way most packages are handled, no matter how they are labled. I have seen boxes marked "Computer Equipment Fragile" etc being kicked and thrown to the ground from the van, usually the people just laughed when I complained. I did not last long in that job.

I think there is lack of careful courier companies and would like to see a dedicated computer carrier who would specialise in carrying PC's carefully, it could be a nice little earner for someone.

BTW, I have also seen components completely missing altogether, I recieved one PC without any RAM at all yet it had supposedly been tested in the factory ! The company assured me that it was impossible for a PC to be shipped without any RAM but they exchanged it anyway as the seal was still intact. I could see the RAM was missing by shining a torch through the ventilation holes, it was not loose in the bottom of the case either, I don't think it would be possible to dislodge RAM without doing more obvious damage to the PC.

  PUNKA 20:00 07 Jul 2005

Manufacturer makes,distributes to warehouse,Ordered by shop,carried by lorry to shop,moved to Warehouse,Customer buys,moves from Warehouse to shop,Customer collects,puts in car takes home.
Alternative,Manufacture makes,Sends toCourier Warehouse,Distributed to Customer.
That's what my company does,seems to work quite well in the Customer care reports we receive,I would not say all the Couriers we use are Angels,but they are mostly self-employed and this does ensure some care is taken.hth.

  jack 20:19 07 Jul 2005

Many yonks ago when PC's were but a gleam in Big Blues Eye and Alan Suger was making a strange grey box thingy- I amuzed my self with modifying Atari ST's into a fairly decent machine with a small daugher board and a better processor.
There was a guy who specialized in other aspects of mod
So I sent him my creation to do more with, and when I got it back it was totally trashed.

So to return it to him in Nottingham I talked a chum to drive me there from deepest Kent with it on my lap- for the resurrection to take place.
Perhaps thats the way - fetch it and take it yourself.

  squillary 18:30 09 Jul 2005

jack: that was Paul Rossiter in Nottingham, wasn't it? Great bloke. I'll guess it was an upgrade from 8Mhz to 28Mhz? How times have changed B^)

  TOPCAT® 21:13 09 Jul 2005

Surely it's in the best interest of both vendors and consumers for machine internals to be better secured prior to dispatch. It shouldn't add too much to the price and, of course, soldering in components shouldn't come into it. Swapping out components should remain quick and easy, after the warranty period. The machine should be prepared so it is received and functioning properly on assembly and power-up. Admittedly, none can be made totally 'courier proof' and 'dead' machines will still be received even with internal restraints. These would surely have some visible damage to the packaging, or worse, and should not normally be accepted. A difficult decision for some, eagerly awaiting their shiny, new computer.

I think the answer to the subject question lies in the delivery charge. Most if not all vendors state it includes transit insurance, so, it seems to me, they are prepared to rely on this to make a claim, every time the unfortunate recipient of a dud machine contacts them. That's why they urge us to appropriately mark the delivery note at the door, as it helps them in their claim.

Most of all, this frustration, upset and hassle could probably be avoided with some forward thinking an action on the production line. That's my personal view on this. TC.

  John-259217 23:02 09 Jul 2005

It should certainly be possible for computer suppliers to improve this situation.

Perhaps they should look at the lengths Bang and Olufson go to to ensure their products arrive intact.

I watched a program (may have been the Gadget show?) recently which looked at their "torture chamber".

Some of the tests included simulations of truck/boat/rail delivery journeys and the effects of dropping a boxed television from normal carrying height (waist high or thereabouts).

Needless to say the products are required to pass all test before their put on sale.

Here`s a link click here if your interested.

  wiz-king 16:50 10 Jul 2005

I had to service some infra-red gas analysis equipment that went in nuclear subs. It was designed to test for a range of gasses including uranium hexafluoride - nasty stuff - this equipment was designed to withstand being thrown about by depth charges, large temperature variations and the normal vagaries of submarine life. Now that was ruggedised to MIL specs and we had to account in writing for every variation to the design, hand in the lock-washers and draw out new ones - no using lock-washers twice or swapping bolts!

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