Friday, February 18, 2011

Repair, trade-in or buy - comparisons and explanations

Dear coppelltvrepair,

Do you guys have any of these (
6871QYH039A 6871QYH039B or 6871QYH039C ) in stock to ship out now or would you have to wait to get mine and then repair it and then ship it back to me?? I need this fixed as soon as possible, I have a customer waiting on it. Thanks a lot :)
- fsm_derek

We often receive questions like that from customers and service technicians alike.

Naturally, everyone likes to get their TV working ASAP.(*).

In fact, I have blogged about that earlier, giving an answer to customers requesting that a board is sent to them before their board reaches us.

Now I'd like to take that a step further and explain how we see things.

When getting a new board a customer has four major options: purchase, repair service, exchange service and trade-in service.

PURCHASE is the typical and most common American operation, along with trashing. I.e. you purchase what you need, wait until you receive it and then dutifully bring to the trash whatever was in its place before that. (**).

The EXCHANGE SERVICE , as the name suggests, suggests that you send something in and get a working version of the same thing in its place. Usually the logic is that the replacement is sent as soon as the exchange is received and most customers really want to do it even only with a proof of shipping or "are used to doing it that way with George Electronics" (***).

Coppell TV Repair used to do exchanges until we realized that 80% of the boards that we were receiving had been worked on, broken, used for parts, shoved in the ground, chewed by dogs and you-dont-want-to-know-what-else.

But you get the point. The majority of the boards we were getting were only good for parts.

There's also another reason why exchange is risky and it is worth for it to be explained, because decent folks who send good boards must also understand why are we rejecting them: boards often have unique components on them.

For example every power board and every plasma sustain board have transformers on them which are uniquely made for that board.

If the transformer burns there is usually no place to get it from. It is made especially and only for that board and since the manufacturer does not want anyone but them to service those boards (****) then the only place to get that component would be another board - working or broken.

As every service center we always have a few broken boards neatly stacked under somewhere around, but problems tends to arise in the same areas of a module and soon we find that all such faulty boards miss the same transformer.

In other words, sometimes we can't restore a board even if it has not been tampered with.

The failure rate is different for the different modules, of course, but the core of the problem is the same: exchange may practically end up meaning sale since what we get back may turn out to be just useless.

Without a source of unique components / broken boards exchange is a risky business for the provider, which is probably why it is not at all popular in this business.

REPAIR SERVICE means that the customer sends in a module, the vendor receives it, repairs it and sends it back to the customer. It's usually the cheapest of all options (*****)  and that is its major benefit.

The drawbacks are that it is slow and also insecure.

It is slow because it takes time from initiation to completion. Module needs to be sent back and forth and that alone kills a good week at best. Then you have service time on top of that.

And this is where insecurity comes - the vendor may be overloaded with work, their testing environment (6) may shatter to pieces (speaking from experience here) or the problem on the board may be tricky and take longer to resolve than usual.

Worst of all, it may turn out to be practically unsolvable - see the explanation for the unique components in the exchange service section.

Without complete sourcing solution for replacement parts repair is never guaranteed.

At the time of writing this article none of the repair services that we offer is completely guaranteed!

There is more to be said about repair services in general, but the take-away from here is that it is cheap because it is not secure. Vendor can always call customer, apologize and cancel (7).

The TRADE-IN SERVICE is well known and widely used. The first that comes to mind is car dealerships: you get raped on the way in and on the way out.

That's how I used to think until I got in the repair business..

Customer orders a board and expects to receive it before the vendor receives their board back.

Customer is OK with the concept of having to pay a bit more upfront, but expect to get that recovered upon their board's arrival.

But for reasons explained above (can't argue with statistics!) it is not only easier, but I'd say a must for the vendor to assume that what they'll get in is a junk. Even if it does look OK, you can only know if it's OK when you do a full service on it - and by then it may be too late as you'd have already spent time and money on trying to restore it.

The bold conclusion is that TRADE-IN and EXCHANGE services CAN NOT cost as much as a REPAIR!

TRADE-IN and EXCHANGE offer less waiting time (no shipping back and forth) and less risks to the customer (board that's coming has been serviced and tested).
In a free market that ultimately translates to a higher price!

How much higher? Well the extreme is the price of the core - the bare defective board. Usually it is less.

This has become another lengthy article with many undefined assumptions and still doesn't say even half of what I want to say on the subject.

But I'll stop here and imagine I am trying hard to learn to express myself more simple and clear in future.

Gosh I love leaving comments under line! (8)

Thank you for reading all the way up to here...your thoughts are appreciated!

- Bobby

* Otherwise bad things may happen. Like looking out of the window, reading a book or, God forbid, dropping by unexpected by a friend just to say hi.

** Does not apply to spouses, gym subscriptions and HOA dues. Otherwise would would have been perfect.

*** To which we automatically reply "then why don't you keep on doing it?!". Poor George Electronics!

**** Service?! "We recommend you replace all three modules", says the manufacturer. "And that's a total of $350".  Which is only 80% of the cost of a brand new TV with a year warranty. It's good to be a manufacturer in a world of AOL users!

***** Unless, of course, provided by a authorized/certified/glorified dealer.

6) Sounds more complicated than "TV".

7) "Sorry,'s a bad mess...been working on it for 10 hours and it wouldn't bulge. I give up and you owe me too much, but if you give me $100 I won't press charges for more..."

8) I warned you!


George said...

The same rules apply for trading in cars and auto parts.
auto financing

Andrea Fox said...

This is the typical trade in terms of buying in and selling in any product.
forex affiliate

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