Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Projectoritis Season Is Back Again

Many years ago, a friend brought a big blue jug to Butterknife Estates with a paper attached to the side. It had a sad picture of me and a call for donations to cure my malady: projectoritis. The donations helped and for months my disease had been in remission. Until now.
In April, the lamp in my projector went sour. So I bought a new one. I found a compatible model online and installed it. Little did I know, this lamp was generic. And should a generic lamp ever so much as breathe the same air as my projector, the warranty would be void.

One expects some cataclysmic sign from a warranty sucked into the void, but I received none until much later.

The first intimation came when my symptoms began to return: slow power-on, or none at all, unless I unplugged and restarted. I knew I needed to send it in to EIKI before my (now imaginary) warranty expired. I put it off, because I could get it to work, it just didn't work as it was designed. Weeks went by. Finally, I bit my lip and shipped it in under the assumption that I wouldn't need to pay anything more than shipping. After all, even if my warranty was expired I could just refuse service and have them ship it back, right? RIGHT!?

Well, when I told the technician it was a generic lamp, that was it. He revoked my warranty retroactively on the spot. In a subsequent email I was informed that a "$75.00 non-refundable fee applies to all non-warranty lamp replacement estimates that are declined. Ex: If a unit is sent in as a "warranty repair" but is determined to be "non-warranty" upon inspection, the $75.00 fee will apply if the estimate is declined." So, now they were going to charge me $75 if I asked them to do nothing! Plus a mandatory $30 for return shipping. A new lamp would cost $380 on top of this.

I felt bilked.

Since $105 was already a sunk cost, I opted to throw in the extra money for a new lamp, but not without making a little noise. Here is the letter I included with my credit card payment:

Cheryl,

I faxed in my order form for a new lamp a couple of days ago. I hope that my projector is on its way back soon. Please keep me advised on status updates.

I have a few complaints to register:
  1. My original projector lamp expired after only 50% of its life expectancy. If a product's reliability is much lower than advertised, it makes me question the trustworthiness of the company.
  2. I tried to locate a new lamp for sale on EIKI.com only to learn that the company website does not sell parts for its warranty products. I was directed by customer service to look elsewhere for it.
  3. I located a lamp for a reasonable price from another supplier. It was advertised as a "compatible model", but I didn't bat an eye at that, because I was unaware that installing a generic brand lamp would void my warranty. This could have been pointed out when I sent you an email requesting an estimate for a new lamp.
  4. I sent it to EIKI for further investigation under the express understanding that my warranty was intact. When it was discovered that a generic lamp had been installed, my projector lost its warranty and a mandatory fee of $75 plus $30 for shipping was demanded. That's a $105 extortion fee. Had I known my warranty was void, I would not have sent it in at all. Clearer communication on this legal loophole beforehand would have preserved my respect for your company.
  5. I have placed an order for a new lamp through your company's sales department, even though I now have deep-seated resentment and suspicion of EIKI's policies. This will likely be my last transaction with you, and the beginning of word-of-mouth warnings for my friends, family, and employers, unless I have reason to believe something has changed.
Yours,
Thad Gillespie


In conclusion, don't bother with the EIKI brand. The products fail, the customer service agents withhold information, and the policies are used to cheat customers.

2 comments:

Jancisco said...

That is so frustrating. I'm sorry! Projectoritis this time might be terminal?

Hopefully your letter will give them some kindness/fear and you won't have to pay all the extortion fees.

Bus Gillespie said...

I will boycott any EIKI product for at least the next 10 years, unless your demands are met. You should send your complaint to the Logan Better Business Bureau as well, they keep a file on any company that gets complaints.