RPS Asks: What Do You Do When Tech Dies?

By Craig Pearson on January 12th, 2012 at 4:41 pm.

My mouse! My beautiful mouse!

My default position when old-ish tech dies is to assume it’s too much hassle to deal with the company, and that something that lasts 3+ years needs to be replaced properly. It might just be me, but I don’t think it is. I hear a lot of people asking for suggestions to replace dead technology: it seems more people check Amazon before checking warranties. But December and January were disastrous months for technology for me. In order: my monitors died a week apart and my mouse squeaked its last. I’m still getting teary-eyed just thinking about it.

The first thing to go was my Hanns-G 28″ monitor. I hated the thing: Despite being huge with a 1900×1200 resolution, it had terrible backlight trouble. I’ve longed for it to die, but when it would no longer switch on, finding a suitable replacement proved troublesome. Shortly after I’d bought one, my secondary Samsung refused to turn on as well. When the Hanns-G went I didn’t even think to check if it was in warranty as I tend to just assume that things won’t be replaced. I was eager to get rid of it, but replacing it cost £250. When the second monitor died, I couldn’t even find details of it existing on the Samsung site. I spent another £100 to replace it.

Then my Logitech mouse died. By then I was sick of spending money replacing things that really shouldn’t have died. The mouse, an MX518, had lasted half the time of its predecessor, so I went on the Logitech site to see what options were available. They have live chat support and I connected to one of their operators. I explained that the mouse was no longer scrolling and that it was a problem that was occurring no matter where it was plugged in. The support staff took a few details down. The mouse was just out of warranty, but because I’d received it as a gift and couldn’t remember when I’d been given it, he arranged for a new mouse to be ordered. Technically an upgrade.

When I think of the keyboards, mice, headsets, graphics cards and monitors that have been tossed out, I get a little queasy. Would Hanns-G/Samsung have given me a replacement? Are Logitech particularly good at this sort of thing?

So what do you do when things break down? Are you aware of your warranties, or do you just check what the next affordable replacement is? Who’s good at making sure their customers are looked after?

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133 Comments »

  1. Darko Drako says:

    Logitech, are notoriously excellent for customer service. It is a very good reason to buy accessories from them. This also applies to ultimate ears headphones which they now own.

    I think hanns G are normally covered by 3yr warranties. How old was the one you just threw out?

    • Premium User Badge

      Craig Pearson says:

      Just over three years. But the replacement is shiny.

    • gwathdring says:

      Notoriously?

    • Leeroy says:

      I’ve found logitech customer service to be fantastic, so much so that I recommend them at any opportunity. Customer loyalty is, i guess, a dying thing but logitech have mine.

    • westyfield says:

      Devilishly good, one might say.

    • Savage Henry says:

      Funnily enough, I’ve just lost a channel on my Logitech earphones. I don’t usually bother with the warranty on them and seeing as I go through a pair of earphones every few months, I may give their customer service a go after reading this. Thanks Craig!

    • neonordnance says:

      Logitech also happens to make nigh-near-indestructable gear. My MX 518 lasted about three times as long as the Razer Habu I had before it, and it continues to work even after I upgraded to a R.A.T. 7. Not to mention their computer speakers are fantastic for the price.

      Highly recommended.

    • Sic says:

      Logitech makes pretty horrible stuff, but I agree, their customer support is excellent.

    • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

      Logitech make affordable products of reasonable-to-good quality and have industry leading customer service. A decent combination, my mouse and speakers have been solely Logitech products for over 6 years now.

    • idiotapocs says:

      Last time I had to contact their support because my freshly received new logitech product was broken. They replaced the product and also gave me a refund. Not intentionally, I guess.

    • Irony says:

      Their support may be good, but I’ll still never buy one of their products. They intentionally design their “non-gaming” keyboards so that certain key combinations that are common in games will not work together, forcing you to spend more on one of their more expensive “gaming keyboards.” I refuse to support a company that employs such skullduggery.

    • yourgrandma says:

      I purchased a G9x to replace my G9 and it was defective. The mouse would continue to track about a inch from lifting it. Then another one had a broken right click then three more replacements later (not kidding) i finally received a G9x that wasn’t defective. The best thing though is i didn’t have to pay a dime of shipping. Logitech is a great company but some of their products seriously need some quality control.

      That hassle didn’t faze me though because i bought a g27 a few weeks later and I’m loving it.

    • rei says:

      @Irony Really? That’s good to know, thanks. I still like the mice and speakers I have and have had from them, but I’ll think twice about buying their keyboards then.

      As to the article, monitors are actually really easy to repair yourself a lot of the time, because usually it’s just a blown capacitor that (just about) anyone can replace with little soldering experience. As long as you’re aware of the slight risk of electrocution if you poke at the wrong bits.

    • Resurgam says:

      I think the reason people comment on logitech having good customer service is that their products are unreliable cheap in make and feel, pieces of garbage. At least in my experience. I’ve probably lost a mouse, a keyboard and a G25 wheel to logitech. I mean the damn thing died overnight after just 3 months. At least they gave me a full refund. So I suppose they’re not all bad.

      Also my PSU caught fire once while playing GTAIV with a frankly obscene number of mods on it to make it playable… didn’t think they would replace it even if I tried. Took days for the smell to dissipate.

    • Sic says:

      Logitech wouldn’t be so bad if their prices had reflected the quality of their products, but they certainly don’t. Essentially, they sell bland, cheap, middle of the road type stuff; only they charge a premium for it.

      I guess that’s the price you’ve got to pay for their customer service, but I’d rather just go out and buy quality peripherals, and not bother with customer service at all. There are tons of good brands out there, if you do a bit of research. None of which will sell you an ordinary rubber dome switch keyboard for about 1000% more than the average price; or try to tell you that rubbish PC speakers are anything other than rubbish.

      The worst part is that half the world is raving about the MX518. I’m honestly starting to think that most people are actually completely stark raving mad. Not only is it the ugliest peripheral ever created, but it doesn’t even have a proper sensor. It has mouse prediction and acceleration issues, just like any other rubbish mouse; and people actually praise it. It’s completely ridiculous.

      How Logitech has managed to get into this position of reverence I have absolutely no idea, but they should probably teach it at some sort of marketing school, because it’s completely outrageous.

    • PodX140 says:

      Logitech are the absolute best in the business I say. And I have no idea why everyone say’s they sell low quality stuff, I’ve have 6+ logitech products in my household and all of which I find to be extremely high quality, and we’ve only had 1 of those (a mx revolution) break, which logitech promptly sent a replacement for, which was actually a more recent model, rather than a refurbished one (also, they never ask you to send them your product, so I don’t even think they DO refurbish products).

    • Sucram says:

      After a few years my G9 started skipping , Logitech gave good suggestions to try to resolve the issue before sending a G9x as a replacement.

      I have used plenty of cheap mouses and for myself I’d rather spend £40 on a product with a good life span from a company which give good support, rather than buying a so-so products that breaks after a few months.

      Some Logitech products are expensive, but you can often pick them up cheaper. I also bought a harmony remote from the Logitech site. It was listed as having a ‘blemished box’ so was half price even though everything looked fine to me.

    • Wolfoz says:

      I had bought the missus a set of Logitech Z5500 speakers a few years ago, and found they were dead. I had looked on google first to see if there was any known issues (before I bought them) and remembered seeing something about the fuse supplied in the subwoofer being iffy and regularly causing newly bought Z5500′s to die on their first try by a customer.
      Logitech were getting couriers to take away the full speaker set, and bringing it back repaired within a week or so. This must of cost them silly money.
      I decided to just go get the replacement fuse. It cost me 15p. I reckon if Logitech are willing to spend silly money keeping customers happy and sorting their issues quickly, rather than at least attempt the cheapest option, good on them. Quite a few other companies would do well taking their cue from logitechs customer service practices.

    • coolz says:

      @Irony @rei Not solely a Logitech issue. I’ve had many keyboards do this with my wacky bindings. Most refer to it as “ghosting”. I haven’t run into it since moving to WASD defaults.

      Good explanation into “keyboard ghosting” here: http://www.microsoft.com/appliedsciences/antighostingexplained.mspx

    • Brun says:

      The only Logitech peripheral I have is a G15 keyboard, and that’s mainly for the little LCD screen it has so that I can see who’s talking in Vent. All of my other peripherals (Mouse, Headset) are Razer products.

    • Eraysor says:

      The left Windows key on my G15 keyboard died recently, and the keyboard is 4 years old. Fortunately it’s one of relatively few keys to have a duplicate!

    • Premium User Badge

      frymaster says:

      irony is being sensationalist. Their non-gaming keyboard suffered from ghosting, as a great many do, that happened to affect a semi-common gaming combination. There’s no indication that the keyboard was deliberately designed to block that combination; what’s more likely is that they just don’t test those sorts of combinations on non-gaming keyboards because it doesn’t occur to them.

      (I think it was W, shift, and space, or something like that)

    • LintMan says:

      I have to agree about Logitech support: when my G90 mouse wheel broke, I asked about in on their forum, and was PM’d by one of their support reps. He took my info and I had a new one within 3 days – and didn’t even have to return the old broken one.

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      Chuckaluphagus says:

      @irony: Not an evil conspiracy, just a common problem of all matrix keyboards (the cheapest type). It doesn’t affect most people in normal non-gaming use, so most don’t even know about it. The reason it doesn’t happen with the more expensive keyboards (including gaming keyboards) is either that they’re specifically designed to avoid it, or they use a key switch technology that has each key complete a separate circuit (buckling spring keyboards, for instance.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Also only good things to say about Logitech. Have had a £40 set of very decent 2.1 speakers for five years and a £30 mouse for three years. Both high quality, never regretted either. Mouse software is a bit shit mind.

    • bill says:

      piwgfsya ‘s comment appears to be spam. I’d guess it’s a copy of one further down the comments.

      Don’t know how you’re going to block this new kind of spam….. I’m actually surprised the spambots didn’t think of it earlier.

    • bill says:

      I wonder if logitech would replace my mouse… the scroll wheel is all messed up after my daughter dropped it for the 100th time.

      Babies are not friendly to tech.

    • slight says:

      It’s not very well known but in the UK you have a 6 year statutory warranty for anything that should be expected to last that long, which would include electronics. The example given for something that wouldn’t be covered is the oil filter on a car which expected to be changed every year or two.

      The warranty doesn’t necessarily require them to give you a replacement, they could offer a repair for example, and the further through the five year period you are the less they are required to offer you. For example if the item is 3 years old they might offer you a partial refund.

      You should take up statutory warranty claims with the place where you bought the product, not the manufacturer.

      I can’t find the government website with this info on right now I’m afraid which had a good simple explanation, but here’s a somewhat less clear factsheet:

      http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/consumers/fact-sheets/page38311.html

      The EU mandates a 2 year statutory warranty period. This has been the case for some time now so I expect that it should be signed into all member states’ laws by now. The UK argued that the 6 year warranty I outlined above means that they are already in compliance.

      This is not legal advice, I’m not a lawyer. yada yada ;)

  2. Premium User Badge

    bglamb says:

    Don’t you need to keep the receipt or something for that?

    • Cvnk says:

      Only stores need receipts. Manufacturers only care about serial numbers/date codes. Sure a the manufacture’s warranty period is measured from when it was made not sold but it’s normally pretty hassle free.

    • Randomer says:

      I was asked for a receipt when I tried to use the manufacturer’s warranty on my ati gfx card, despite having registered the product when I first bought it. It’s possible that they would have played ball with me even without the card; after I searched and couldn’t find the receipt, I never bothered to contact them again.

    • Kefren says:

      I always have a folder for each purchase, with order details (or scanned receipts if bought in a shop), PDF manual, drivers etc in one place. I go there first if anything breaks. So my list of priorities:

      1> Warranty.
      2> If no warranty or the company refuse, then never buy from them again.
      3> Try and repair myself (e.g. mouse), or pay locally for repair. Sometimes it is dearer than buying new, but it’s more environmentally friendly. We have mountains of electronic waste, and export loads to other countries so we don’t have to look at it, but buying new all the time is a bad habit. (Some facts here http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/how-can-universities-ensure-that-they-dispose-of-their-unwanted-it-equipment-in-a-green-and-socially-responsible-way/). Since I’m not aware of any PC or peripheral manufacturers actually doing anything to minimise waste and pollution, yet we know planned obsolescence exists http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence, I hate being conned into that culture of ‘buy buy buy’.

    • Ryn Taylor says:

      Kefren, you are amazing. I wish I could be that organized.

    • Kefren says:

      @Ryn: It just becomes a habit. When I order something there are always order recipts and confirmation emails which you keep until it arrives anyway – I just pop them into a folder named after the item.

  3. DrGonzo says:

    Yes, warranty. Couldn’t afford to replace most of my computer if it came to it.

  4. deadly.by.design says:

    If it’s within 3 years, I’ll check to replace. Otherwise, it’s usually worth upgrading.

    Mice and keyboards are different, though. My original (blue) MX510 still works, though I’ve since put it next to my iMac to connect when bootcamped. (currently enjoying a G500 on my PC)

    • Premium User Badge

      Craig Pearson says:

      Before I had the MX18, my MX500 felt like it lasted at least five years.

    • gwathdring says:

      Our MX500 is at least 5 years old and still going. My MX 620 is 3 or 4 years old and still going. My logitech gaming headphones lasted about 4.5 years, and with some spit and duct tape still sounded great for another half year before finally giving out.

    • gekitsu says:

      im with craig here – i owned a mx500 for so many years that guessing its age would involve some googling as to when they started manufacturing these things. that thing was hardy!

      i just recently replaced it with a lachesis.

    • skyturnedred says:

      I had to check what my mouse even is (MX518) because I’ve had it for so long I’ve had no need to read about mice technology at all.

  5. Melliflue says:

    I had a Samsung monitor die on me a few years ago. It was a couple of years old but it came with a 3-year warranty. Although Samsung had stopped making that particular model they did give me a replacement monitor from the product line that took over, so I actually got a better monitor than my old one.

    I do remember thinking they were a bit slow about it though.

  6. jon_hill987 says:

    When the backlight on a monitor packs in (after taking ages to turn on previously) it is worth replacing the cheap caps on the starter circuit with higher rated ones. Will cost you £2 and your time with a soldering iron.

  7. westyfield says:

    Most hardware I’ll check the warranty. Apart from one time when I procrastinated so badly I almost certainly lost out on £150 worth of replacement graphics card. (It broke, I bought a new one as I’d planned to upgrade anyway, was going to get the old one replaced under warranty and sell it, forgot to do so and then the warranty expired.)
    Peripherals last a fair while for me, and I’ve only had one thing (a mouse) die without any indication that it was going to do so. Most peripherals tend to get worn out and slowly deteriorate before finally giving up. I think when this Razer mouse dies I’ll slip back into the loving embrace of Logitech, as noted above they are lovely for warranties.

  8. Williz says:

    Always check your warranties / register your products for warrant if needed.

    My 8800GTS 320 died on me and I decided to cash in in on the warranty about 2 years after I replaced it. Got a brand new 460 Ti 1gb

    • feffrey says:

      Personally I utterly despise having to register for warranties. I had a EVGA GPU that died after 2 years. when I bought it I knew I had a 3 year warranty. Went to get it replaced, and they informed me that because I did not register the card in 30 days after I bought it, it only had a 1 year warranty.

      Yes it is my fault for not reading the fine print, however I still do not like it when companies due crap like that. So for my next GPU I did not buy EVGA nor do I recommend them to anyone else.

    • Elementlmage says:

      Same goes for XFX.

      They will gladly espouse their “double lifetime warranty” on any site you choose to purchase your graphics cards from, but I will be damned if I found any scrap of information that came with my 8800gt telling me I had to register it within 30 days to GET the warranty. And, of course, two years later when I need to get it replaced, I go to their site to file for an RMA and am greeted with “Opps, we’re sorry, but you didn’t register it within 30 days!”

      Nope, you’re the ones that are going to be sorry when won’t see any more of my money.

      And where does EVGA get off charging $300 for the mediocre motherboards anyway?… rant for a different thread…

    • Kenny007 says:

      I’ve personally been thrilled with my EVGA products, both in their build quality and performance. In the 1 instance I had to do a RMA through them (which later turned out not to be the faulty part at all despite most signs pointing that way), I was able to swap my motherboard and be back in business in under 2 working days (used their cross shipping option). Since then, I’ve taken comfort in their standard 3 year warranty and the fact that it’s not a pain to get the ball rolling on a return.

      I think my 460 has a lifetime warranty due to registering. That’s nice.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      A little hassle registering for a warranty is more then worth it in the long run should the device fail. Many companies have one year or longer, sometimes lifetime warranties. When I was picking GPU’s for my latest rig XFX’s lifetime warranty was what swayed me over other brands of similar prices. We recently had a hard drive fail, and was quite surprised (and happy) to discover it was still under warranty after 3 years. It was replaced for only the cost of shipping.

      So a small pain? sure. But well worth the cost of replacement bits.

  9. Unaco says:

    What do you do when Tech dies?

    Sacrifice, the right sort of course, to appease the Gods.

  10. Shooop says:

    Logitech are very generous folks, always contact them first if you like what you already have enough. Their generosity even applies to Ultimate Ears, who they bought in 2008.

    The polar opposite would be Turtle Beach. I had two brand-new headsets from NewEgg and both had the exact same microphone defect. Whoever works their “tech support” is an unprofessional, sniveling asshat as proven by their responses to my emails.

  11. sneetch says:

    I had a lovely Roccat Arvo keyboard I bought about a year ago mainly for the thumbster keys, it died when I spilt a glass of a refreshing alcoholic beverage into it while it was plugged in. I assume in cases like that there’s no point in trying the warranty?

    (I’m just glad the keyboard held the entire glass).

    • SAM-site says:

      The warranty won’t, but your home insurance may well do if you’ve got accidental damage cover.

    • Starky says:

      Insurance isn’t worth it for something so minor, it wouldn’t cost the access, and would hike the premium up.
      insurance is only really worth checking if the accidentally damaged item is worth more than £300.

  12. CaLe says:

    The only thing I’ve ever replaced on warranty was my 360 which red-ringed. I usually just get a newer and better version of whatever it was that broke. That’s rare though because my stuff generally never breaks.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Foosnark says:

    Depends on the gadget. Sometimes I want an upgrade or to replace the brand entirely. Sometimes I don’t want to wait 6 weeks for repair or replacement.

    My very first laptop was a Packard-Bell. I know. :P When the power supply went BANG! and a red line appeared on the black and white monochrome LCD display, I took it to the store for replacement. That store didn’t have one in stock, but another location two hours away did, so I went and picked it up. Lasted all of 7 days before it died too, just not as impressively. Returned it for a refund and bought a Toshiba.

    When my last laptop died, it took Geek Squad approximately 73 years to ship it to Texas, poke at it, ship it to Canada, poke at it, ship it back to Texas, replace the motherboard (and format the hard drive, goodbye ALL MY STUFF), ship it back to the store where I dropped it off.

    The first LCD monitor (an LG) that I bought worked great for 3 weeks and then suddenly got deeply weird. Shipped it to the manufacturer for repairs, went out and bought another monitor anyway. When the first one came back 6 weeks later, I gave it to my wife to replace her CRT too.

  14. Loopy says:

    I’m guilty of just looking for a decent new replacement for any freshly dead tech at Amazon I’m afraid.

  15. Nighthood says:

    Please Craig, for the sake of everyone: Stick to PCG.

    • westyfield says:

      That would somewhat defeat the point of leaving PCG to go freelance, would it not?

    • sneetch says:

      Please don’t Craig, thanks.

    • Nick says:

      Second PCG related nasty comment I’ve seen from you, personal problems Nighthood?

    • Kadayi says:

      Any particular reason for the hate?

    • Premium User Badge

      Klydefrog says:

      I think this is one of those comments that John ought to replace with a link to a picture of a pony

    • Shooop says:

      Is there some reason for this or are you just wasting precious server space?

  16. Eddy9000 says:

    I have all inclusive insurance on my laptop so once every three years when it packs up I turn it on and pour a cup of tea into it and tell my insurance company that I dropped my beverage again.

    I’m pretty sure that when London disappears in a nuclear holocaust only cockroaches and my Logitech MX performance mouse will survive.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Durkonkell says:

    I have recently lost a LaCie external hard disk (out of warranty, bought a replacement) and a Western Digital internal hard disk (replaced instantly under warranty by WD). Longer term, my Logitech G7 mouse broke (left mouse button would send multiple clicks when I clicked once) and this was replaced by Logitech with a MX Revolution. A year later, this developed exactly the same problem. Logitech replaced my warranty replacement (?!) with a brand new G700 (it was so new I had to wait for them to actually get their initial warranty replacement stock in).

    I had to send my WD hard disk back (although they dispatched the replacement as soon as I made the claim), but Logitech have yet to ask for any of my mice back. Customer service: Excellent. Left mouse buttons: Need work.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thermal Ions says:

      I should remember to check out the warranty. I tend to wear out my Logitech left mouse buttons too, and just assume that they are out of warranty. I tend to keep going for Logitech mice though as I like the fit in my hand (especially compared to say Microsoft’s awful range) and they’re at a price point that I’m more comfortable with. I just can’t bring myself to spend over $100 on a mouse or keyboard.

      Hell, in the keyboard stakes I’m still using a Fellowes KB-2961 that has a DIN connector (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIN_connector). Of course it sticks out the back of my case a mile after attaching the PS/2 to DIN converter.

  18. Premium User Badge

    PeopleLikeFrank says:

    I often do both! If the item in question is old enough that an upgrade is warranted, I’ll get an upgrade, but I’ll always get a replacement as long as the warranty is stil valid, and then sell the old item. This is made fairly easy since I buy almost everything computer-related online, so i’ve got an easy record of when everything was purchased in Gmail.

    One of the last things I RMA’d was a video card which up & died. It may or may not have been related to a 3rd party RAM heatsink falling off, but I stuck the original cooler back on & sent it back in. It wasn’t until I resold the replacement to someone else that it came to my attention they sent me the same model, but with half the VRAM! (Due to the fellow I sold it to getting cranky at me.) I chalked that one up to Karma, gave the dude some money back. :p

  19. gwathdring says:

    My ancient PC from the year 2000 is still running just fine on windows 98 and Linux. Hard drive is a little small, though. The monitor, surprisingly, still works though I’m so used to LCDs now I find the faint hum of a CRT a little weird. I got it back when you could still get good customer service from Dell–that ended after the first year of ownership. Also they made up for a year of good customer service by selling us Windows @#($*%)* ME.

    • iniudan says:

      ME was such a wonderful thing, so a pretty blue. =p

      Me I am lucky on computer hardware also, every piece of hardware other then mouse, keyboard and headset I ever bought all still working.

      Headset and mouse, it is the insane the number I smashed against something because my leg got tangled into the cord. Keyboard I just worn them down too fast, but I am in a small market of ISO keyboard (UK model based) user in a market of ANSI keyboard (US model based), so quality keyboard are kind of hard to come by.

      My TV is also from the 70s. Don’t watch TV anymore, just keeping it around for the NES, SNES, PSX and N64, for that monolith (it weight a ton) never broke.

  20. sinister agent says:

    So what do you do when things break down?

    I hurl myself onto the floor, pound furiously with my fists, and scream and scream and scream.

    You might think I’m joking.

    • Shooop says:

      Objects Sinister! He means what do you do when your accessories break!

    • Premium User Badge

      Spork says:

      Funnily enough when (PC) things go wrong for me I tend to give my poor old Logitech G15 keyboard another whack. 5 years on and it’s still doing fine (though it lost its back legs ages ago).

    • sinister agent says:

      There is no appliance in my house that cannot be fixed by a solid kicking. With the possible exception of the DS.

  21. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Now that I think about it, I don’t think any of my computer parts (internal and external) died while warranty was even a remote possibility. The last thing to break was a hard disk that was 7 years old.
    The only exception was my last mouse, but I had dropped that thing on the ground so often, sometimes quite violently (it’s a bit cramped around my computer, so I sometimes trip over the cable), that I would have felt bad asking for warranty of any kind.

  22. johnpeat says:

    Given that all Electronics sold in the EU must have a 2 year-warranty (excluding consumable parts like batteries) I tend to give up on anything older than that which fails – apart from anything else, it’s probably more than paid-back it’s initial cost.

    Dealing with Manufs over warranties is never less than agonisingly horrible. They’ll make you jump hoops, package things up, spend a fortune posting them and then either ignore them for months or pretend they never got them. It’s a waste of time and effort more often than not.

    As someone who fixes PCs, I know this isn’t an uncommon view. About half my work comes from people who’s kit is still in warranty but they simply cannot be bothered to deal with the retailer or manuf. when it’s quicker for me to put in a new screen/hdd/memory or whatever.

    I don’t doubt that the appalling customer service offered across the entire industry wasn’t a deliberate attempt to push us into this position…

  23. netizensmith says:

    I don’t bother seeing if anything is in warranty. I just dig out the receipt, see if I feel it ought to have lasted longer than it has and if that’s the case I take it back to the shop, ask nicely for a replacement and continue to ask more and more aggressively if necessary until I get one. I’ll usually try and fix stuff myself first though if I think there’s any chance of that working.

  24. Buttless Boy says:

    Depending on the age, I’m likely to try and fix something myself since I like tinkering with electronics. If it’s something like a monitor or a hard drive though, I give up and buy a new one. That shit’s complicated, yo.

  25. Cryptoshrimp says:

    I’ll always check warranty and follow it up if they’re still valid. Gaming hardware is expensive enough to last more than two years, I think. I’ve actually started to enjoy jousting with my local electronics company about warranties – free replacements are awesome. If it’s not in the warranty, I’ll either try to repair it, or have it repaired. If that fails, or is too expensive, I’ll get a new thing.

  26. Daniel Klein says:

    Whenever I think of buying/replacing things, I factor in more than monetary cost. Stress and my own time is something I value very highly, so while it might be “cheaper” to save warranties/fight vendors to get replacements/fix stuff myself, I just won’t do it, because it is more expensive by my reckoning.

  27. MattM says:

    When buying components for my computer warranty length is a big deal. Five years is great, 3 is ok, and 1 is a red flag. I find that stuff with 5 year warranties almost never dies during that period. Most of the RMAs I do are caused by problems that are immediately noticeable, but I did send my 3 year old enermax PSU in for service when it developed a squeaky fan. I feel a bit guilty since they sent me a new PSU of the same model to replace one that only had a minor issue.

    • johnpeat says:

      You’re using warranty length as a measure of likely quality tho – working on the theory that a 5-year-warranty suggests it will work for longer than an item with a 2-year-warranty – which may, or may not be true.

      My experience of most PC hardware is that items will either fail relatively early in their life (due to a design or manuf. fault) or they’ll last forever (certainly well past the point they’ve repaid the initial cost).

    • MattM says:

      That is a good point. I also read reviews before I buy. I wouldn’t buy something from a label with a bad quality reputation but I do think that 1 year warranties are a bad sign even from good companies. I have held off on buying a Logitech gaming keyboard because they only warranty them for a year as opposed to most of their other keyboards which have warranties of 3 years.
      Solid state electronics may have a low failure rate after the initial hump, but most of my computer components have moving parts (like fans) and thermal pastes that fail over time. Quality parts last 5+ years, bad ones fail at 2-3 years. See the X360 RROD for an example of electronics with a long thick tail on the graph of their failures.
      5 year manufacture warranties might not be necessary, but they make me feel more secure and they don’t seem to add much to cost unlike aftermarket warranties

  28. djbriandamage says:

    Living in Canada makes it difficult and\or expensive to redeem warranties from American companies. I’ve had video cards die on me within a year of purchase and had to pay between $25-$50 to pay for customs on the RMA. I’ve successfully petitioned companies (like BFG) to relent and pay that fee but it takes a lot of effort and heartache to get there.

    • johnpeat says:

      Surely replacement goods (which effectively have no value) are exempt from customs fees??

      UK (and most EU) countries duty is based on ‘what you paid for the item’ and not ‘what it costs’ – if you see where I’m coming from??

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      Same here. Corsair asked me FIFTY DOLLARS to replace my dead RAM (which was my second dead stick from them, both with supposedly lifetime warranty but apparently not including shipping costs). At that point it was just cheaper to stick with the RAM I had left until I changed computers and bought new RAM.

      I went for Kingston.

    • djbriandamage says:

      @johnpeat
      What you describe makes all the sense in the world to me, but alas our customs agreement just doesn’t work that way. When shipping something across the Canada\USA border we have to specify the value of the item, not the price paid, and the duty and tariffs are calculated based on that number. It’s inconsistent too – sometimes it’s a seemingly arbitrary COD fee. I’ve paid $2 to receive an RMA’d video card, and I’ve paid $15 for a small software box.

  29. Ronlaen says:

    There are certainly some brands I stick with just cause they work or have excellent warranty support. Western Digital and Corsair are incredibly easy to warranty items without even having to talk to a tech support directly from their site. Sure you could save a few bucks going with other brands and such but the extra cost has always been worth it to me.

  30. Vizari says:

    Got me a Logitech pro900 webcam quite some years back. Sadly, it had a dead pixel in the middle of the screen. I first went back to the store, and they were making a big fuzz. Then I contacted Logitech, and they immediately sent me a replacement.

    Logitech has always given me great quality products. And when it doesn’t live up to its expectations, their service will make up for it.

  31. TooNu says:

    I buy PC parts, then they have extreme endurance trials until they die or hit the 3 year mark when I replace them anyway. If something breaks inbetween that period, I figure out if I am likely to get a replacement part.

    What I’m saying is I flip a coin.

  32. skyturnedred says:

    I smash it with my fist and it stops being dead and starts being awesome instead.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      This actually works with harddrives sometimes. I watched a tech friend spend hours trying to get data off an old hard drive. Finally he chucked it on the floor in frustration… and it worked!
      Apparently the arm that reads data can get jammed sometimes, and a hard knock can unstick it temporarily.

    • skyturnedred says:

      My old computer had a habit of starting to make loud noises from all over the case, noises that no computer should be making. One or two punches into strategic locations and it would cease. For a while.

      And hard drive punching totally works too, done it myself once or twice.

  33. kikito says:

    When my tech fails, I open it up and fix it myself. Are we men, or rats?

  34. Archonsod says:

    Rarely have tech die on me, regular maintenance works wonders. If it does I’ll generally just fix it, although admittedly I am old enough to remember when “buying a mouse” meant you had a printed circuit board and a wiring diagram.

  35. magnus says:

    My 9800GX2 (£360) died on me last years after two years, hope my GX560 (£200) lasts longer, at least it’s got a fan of its own!

  36. Scroll says:

    My hardware usually dies at the point when I want to replace it.

    I just figure its easier to buy a new and improved item than deal with customer service to replace an old piece of kit.

  37. MondSemmel says:

    I hope none of the people in the comments who commit insurance fraud or successfully apply for warranty under false pretenses (i.e. where hardware failure was the end user’s, and not the manufacturer’s, fault) get all hung-up about the evils of piracy/pirates. It’s bad enough not to feel any shame about doing this sort of thing, but the double-standards are mind-boggling…
    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m an angel and never do morally questionable things, but I wouldn’t tell them as neat little anecdotes, oblivious of the fact that I’d done something wrong Oo.

  38. Dr I am a Doctor says:

    It’s seriously easier to buy new stuff than bother with warranties and tech support

  39. Snargelfargen says:

    I guess I’ve been lucky so far. My only real failure is an Acer laptop that broke after 2 years. Although from what I’ve seen so far, almost all laptops are utter pieces of crap. I may need to get one soon, and this time I plan to get a warranty and milk the manufacturer for every cent possible.

  40. Muzman says:

    All our suburbs have those bulk waste collections once or twice a year for the past ten years or there abouts. You can watch the progress of technology acquisition via these things. Only recently have the CRTs actually dried up a bit. The last five years there were thousands upon thousand of the things many of them worked. Before that; ball mice, small ATX form factor stuff (i forget what that’s called. Everyone back to bigger PCs now I guess), laser printers.
    This last time: PS/2 keyboards

    Probably most of this stuff worked though, so it’s not really germane.

  41. Zinic says:

    Depends on price. If it’s cheap, I’ll replace it myself so that I don’t have to wait for the warranty process.

    My gear rarely breaks though, I take good care of it. Except for keyboards, tend to replace those about once every year and a half.

    Both my monitors are running on 5 years currently, with my mobo and CPU running at about 6-7 years. Graphics card is fairly new.

    In general, no, I won’t deal with warranty. Often it’s more trouble than it’s worth, and electronics aren’t as expensive as they have been.

  42. noproblem says:

    Erm.. I would assume you referring to the MX518? There is no MX18…

    Yes the MX500 was an excellent mouse but so is the MX518 of which mine is still working wonderfully to this day. I would assume that Logitech have replaced it with a G400 (which is the closest to the MX518 from the current range)? If you got a G500, then you should be singing Logitech’s praises man. Even so, I would say 3 years is very decent for a mouse given the amount of abuse they receive day in, day out and 5 years is excellent. I have always been a avid Logitech user and the G9x does look likely to be the replacement for the G5 I am using at the moment, however I might be persuaded to invest in the SteelSeries Sensei.

    If you want to complain about mice not lasting any great length of time then you should consider the poor customers who have been persuaded to purchase any one of a number of Razer’s mice, who have amusing been accused numerous times of failing just after the limited warranty period of 1 year. Now that must be infuriating…

  43. mandrill says:

    Speaking of Amazon,my kindle died while I was at my parents over xmas and It was just out of warranty too. I was told on the phone that a replacement would cost £50 and my mum graciously said she’d pay for it. The order went through and we got an email with the bill and it was all covered. They didn’t even take the 50 quid and I got a new kindle. So a thumbs up for Amazon if anyone was thinking of getting a Fire.

    Thankfully the last year or so has been tech hassle free (before the kindle, that is). Had a load of stuff fail while I lived abroad and had to replace it whilst there at extortionate prices. I still need to replace my Diamondback which died about a year ago and I’ve been using a crappy 2 button microsoft mouse that is cheap as hell but I’v e had it for years. If anyone can suggest a decent, budget gaming mouse with at least 5 buttons I’d be most grateful :)

    Edit: My Diamondback lasted an age, btw

  44. mickygor says:

    When my MX518 stopped scrolling, I took it apart and fixed it myself. With more complex hardware, I usually just replace it. I find stuff breaking is a convenient excuse to upgrade.

    That said, I’ve got warranty I fully intend on using if my RevoDrive breaks.

  45. gentoo install says:

    ER4P recently died, I’m in Denmark so manufacturer warranty is pretty inconvenient. Still kinda usable but probably not for much longer, not sure what I’m gonna do yet. Great timing on the article.

  46. 0WaxMan0 says:

    To be honest I have gone right of manufacturer warranties, had a nice dark power pro PSU die on me after about a year and a half. The hassle of getting contact with the manufacturer and the cost of shipping the original back (1/4 of the price) and then having the replacement DOA and the third replacement die a year later I gave up then and bought a new one (from corsair this time) the money I saved on shipping went into a nice upgrade over the dead one.

    If any thing is worth worrying about warranties on I now make sure that the manufacturer is local or has a good regional support. In fact the warranty and easily available repair were what helped me spend 2x what I would normally have on my last washing machine (Miele with a10 year manu. warranty).

  47. phenom_x8 says:

    Just been through this recently in november. My 3.5 years old Athlon64 x2 4800+ processor suddenly died without warning (except for its more than 80 C temp before ).
    What am I doing during that time ?

    First, seeing through its warranties that said its already expired 6 months ago.

    Secondly, start thinking the new replacement within my 100 bucks budget limit that could fit inside my old motherboard (I’m not that rich as a PC gamer only you know!). In the meantime I’m borrowing my cousin Athlon64 x2 4000+ spare processor as temporary replacement (man, its sucks at gaming, far much worse than my already sucked 4800+ ).

    Thirdly, found phenom II 955 or 945 as a great replacement and then start researching the price offered across my trusty old internet media. Sadly, most of them are more than a hundred bucks at my local retail or even online. Lowering my expectation, and looking for a used parts. But the price are not as low as I would think off before.

    Fourthly,I change my buying decision. I’m looking for phenom II 840 as my replacement. Found it as low as 80 bucks online, I’m totally happy!

    And all of that things happened in two weeks. At 1680×1050 my phenom II 840 and Radeon 6850 run every game at 45-60 FPS, doubled than my old one. I hope its still last until my next major upgrade~

  48. Wulf says:

    I always try to keep external enclosures around, so the first thing is to get the hard drive out of there and see how healthy it is. If it’s fine, then not only is all data saved, but I have another place to store data, as if I didn’t already. (I have a crapload of enclosures around, dating back to ancient computers from the ’90s, and al of the hard drives still work. No bad clusters! I know how to look after my HDDs.)

    Windows is also fairly okay with doing crazy shit like merging Users folders, Windows 7 is really smart about this, and it lets you move these wherever you like. So if I want the Documents folder on the E partition of the superhuge drive I have in whatever new computer, I can do that. Win 7 is great. But yeah, it means that it’s even easier to just move crap around. All it is is a matter of taking ownership of the old drive, then dumping all of the ‘libraries’ (documents, downloads, pictures, videos) onto the new drive.

    Also awesome? If copied, Steam will ‘just run.’ No shit, not kidding here. This also goes for pretty much most Steam games, unless they have a hard requirement for redundant registry entries, but that’s rare. Generally you can just copy Steam to a new drive, run it, and it’ll be just fine. It’ll run like it did on your old computer. So by getting your drive in an enclosure and doing some copying to the new computer, you can get your new computer feeling like home toot sweet.

    (And I do that quickly. A computer just doesn’t feel like home unless I have a rotating series of werewolf images on it.)

    It’s also good to keep a backup computer around, like a netbook or something. That way, if you have a computer failure, you can just get the HDD into an enclosure and test it on the netbook, that way you know that the problem isn’t with the HDD itself and you can relax, it means that all your crap is safe and can be accessed. (You can still lose stuff even if you backup frequently, so this is a good thing to do.)

    If a computer is older than three years, I pretty much just resign myself to getting a new computer, yeah. Especially since I tend to work with laptops. (I value my freedom of movement.)

  49. Nihilexistentialist says:

    If it’s not under warranty I find the nearest e-cycling center and dump it there. Over the years I’ve definitely gotten better about purchasing longer warranties and caring about customer service. As your example shows, Logitech is great for that.

  50. pipman3000 says:

    i usually just buy a new one because hardware advances so fast these days i can usually get one 3x as good for the same price as the last one so i’m always using middle of the line hardware no matter what year it is while contributing to the massive undecomposing piles of plastic and electronics that will soon dominate the earth.