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Computer Warranty Proofing

 
 
(s)AINT
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      01-26-2008
Hey everyone. I am 17, and building computer systems that I see. I
wrote a warranty for them, and I want to know what you guys think:

Bright Tech Computers Better Computing For Your Dollar
One Year Unlimited Service Warranty
When signing bill of sales on a Bright Tech Computers system, you
agree to a one year service warranty, meaning any damage done to the
computer software from sources including viruses, spyware/adware, or
any other malicious software will be repaired free of charge. Also
included with the warranty is an agreement on the side of Bright Tech
Computing to do a regulatory optimization once every three months for
the first year of ownership. This service warranty does not include
any hardware damage, caused by the user or otherwise. After the first
year, a monthly charge of $45 will continue the warranty, for as long
as you own the system. The warranty continuation is completely
optional, and if you do not decide to continue it, you can still
contact Bright Tech to solve any technical problems, as normal repair
and recovery rate.
30 Day Limited Parts Warranty
Each computer component will come with a warranty, which will vary
component to component. You will be informed on each warranty, and
receive a written record of each. The warranty does not cover user
damage, as opening the case automatically void all hardware
warranties.

To contact Bright Tech for a warranty covered repair, either call
425.296.9024, and you will be contacted in a maximum of five business
days. For expedited service, email http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed), for a reply
in at least two business days.

Customer Signature:

Printed:
Sales Signature:

Brandon Grinstead
Owner/Operator
Date:
System Number:
 
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Paul
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Posts: n/a
 
      01-26-2008
(s)AINT wrote:
> Hey everyone. I am 17, and building computer systems that I see. I
> wrote a warranty for them, and I want to know what you guys think:
>


Um, consult a lawyer ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnuson-Moss_Warranty_Act

As a business, there are some basic things you want to do,
to protect yourself. A lawyer will be able to tell you
what kind of business registration, will allow consumers
to sue your company, but not sue you personally. Then, if
something awful happens, they can bankrupt your company,
but not you. So that is the first thing you want to learn
from your lawyer. There may also be tax advantages to
how you incorporate yourself, so in fact you may get to
keep more money, depending on how the business is set
up. An accountant can help with that.

You should be able to obtain information on starting a
small business, which may address some of these issues,
and at least initially, save you from wasting a lawyer
or accountants time. Once you've learned the basics,
then pay for a consultation with the right kind of
professional.

In terms of preparing a warranty, or anything else that
might result in legal action, "lawyer-talk" is what
it should be written in. Using plain English is a
mistake, because in court, your consumer may be able
to argue that more things are covered than you intended.

If you're a cheapskate, I wouldn't bother with a warranty.
But if you're serious about doing this right, a newsgroup
is not the place to get an answer. A lawyer local to you,
will be more familiar with any local laws that supersede
anything you may have written. "Best intentions" carry
no weight in court. The warranty is like a contract, so
who knows, maybe contract law applies ?

You might try examining the warranty terms offered by other
companies, for ideas as to how to frame what you want to do.
But ultimately, a lawyer should review your handywork, as
the lawyer can identify terminology you may have used, which
unintentionally leaves you legally exposed. It won't take
too many trips to small claims court, before your bank
balance would be zero.

By the way, sealing the computer case sucks. If someone
asks about you as a potential system builder, and we find
out you're one of those "case sealers", our answer would
be to look elsewhere. You can still word the warranty
in terms of abuses, such as mechanical damage not being
covered, without sealing the case. Sealing the case is
lame. It may even violate the Magnusson Moss act, but
what do I know - I'm not a lawyer.

Paul
 
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sandy58
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      01-26-2008
On Jan 26, 1:44 pm, "(s)AINT" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Hey everyone. I am 17, and building computer systems that I see. I
> wrote a warranty for them, and I want to know what you guys think:
>
> Bright Tech Computers Better Computing For Your Dollar
> One Year Unlimited Service Warranty
> When signing bill of sales on a Bright Tech Computers system, you
> agree to a one year service warranty, meaning any damage done to the
> computer software from sources including viruses, spyware/adware, or
> any other malicious software will be repaired free of charge. Also
> included with the warranty is an agreement on the side of Bright Tech
> Computing to do a regulatory optimization once every three months for
> the first year of ownership. This service warranty does not include
> any hardware damage, caused by the user or otherwise. After the first
> year, a monthly charge of $45 will continue the warranty, for as long
> as you own the system. The warranty continuation is completely
> optional, and if you do not decide to continue it, you can still
> contact Bright Tech to solve any technical problems, as normal repair
> and recovery rate.
> 30 Day Limited Parts Warranty
> Each computer component will come with a warranty, which will vary
> component to component. You will be informed on each warranty, and
> receive a written record of each. The warranty does not cover user
> damage, as opening the case automatically void all hardware
> warranties.
>
> To contact Bright Tech for a warranty covered repair, either call
> 425.296.9024, and you will be contacted in a maximum of five business
> days. For expedited service, email (E-Mail Removed), for a reply
> in at least two business days.
>
> Customer Signature:
>
> Printed:
> Sales Signature:
>
> Brandon Grinstead
> Owner/Operator
> Date:
> System Number:


Try uk.legal
 
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Jeff Strickland
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      01-27-2008

"(s)AINT" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> Hey everyone. I am 17, and building computer systems that I see. I
> wrote a warranty for them, and I want to know what you guys think:
>
> Bright Tech Computers Better Computing For Your Dollar
> One Year Unlimited Service Warranty
> When signing bill of sales on a Bright Tech Computers system, you
> agree to a one year service warranty, meaning any damage done to the
> computer software from sources including viruses, spyware/adware, or
> any other malicious software will be repaired free of charge.


In this sentence, you are offering service that does not need to be agreed
to. You should OFFER to repair malware and virus infections. The buyer does
not "agree" to anything.



Also
> included with the warranty is an agreement on the side of Bright Tech
> Computing to do a regulatory optimization once every three months for
> the first year of ownership.


Again, you are offering to do something. There is no agreement. (Where
AGREEMENT means that you will do something if other party does another. As
you have stated the "agreement", the other party need do nothing in order to
uphold his side. Get it?)




This service warranty does not include
> any hardware damage, caused by the user or otherwise.


This is a reasonable exclusion. I wonder how it can be determined when the
user created a problem, and when your stuff failed. Simply removing a user
application and/or hardware might not restore your stuff to an operational
condition, and even if it does, the app and/or hardware might _ought_ to
operate on your system -- for example, a user installed printer might not
play well with your stuff, but your stuff is the part of the system that
refuses to get along. A PCI card and supporting application should work on
your system without necessitating a service call, you need a reasonable
means to isolate your stuff from the installed stuff. A failing power supply
that gets tipped over the edge as a result of a new device should be
covered, for example.


After the first
> year, a monthly charge of $45 will continue the warranty, for as long
> as you own the system. The warranty continuation is completely
> optional, and if you do not decide to continue it, you can still
> contact Bright Tech to solve any technical problems, as normal repair
> and recovery rate.
> 30 Day Limited Parts Warranty
> Each computer component will come with a warranty, which will vary
> component to component. You will be informed on each warranty, and
> receive a written record of each. The warranty does not cover user
> damage, as opening the case automatically void all hardware
> warranties.
>


This is a bit vague and contradictory. You have a title line that states 3o
Day Limited Parts Warranty, then go on to say that each component has a
different warranty. If you are going to warrant for 30 days, then continue
to warrant different components for different lengths of time, then isn't
the 30 days unlimited?




> To contact Bright Tech for a warranty covered repair, either call
> 425.296.9024, and you will be contacted in a maximum of five business
> days. For expedited service, email (E-Mail Removed), for a reply
> in at least two business days.
>
> Customer Signature:
>
> Printed:
> Sales Signature:
>
> Brandon Grinstead
> Owner/Operator
> Date:
> System Number:




1.) You need to work on the grammar. I'm not dumping on you, but the
professionalism is lacking in what you have presented to us here.
2.) Dump the hotmail account and get your own Website and email. It is tacky
to be in the business and use free e-mail.
3.) Are you sure you can provide service for $45 per month? It seems to me
that this won't even cover the trip-charge.
4.) It is a good idea to put a seal on the case, but I see a problem when
the customer wants to add a PCI card -- a simple thing that any user should
be able to handle. Either you have to get the customer to pay you to add a
PCI card, or face not selling a box to them. I would never agree to a
warranty violation because I opened the case. There is nothing inside the
the power supply that I can fix, but there are expansion bays and empty
slots inside a case that there is no reason I can not use on my own.
5.) I think that a kid of 17 is pretty cool if he can do this and make it
work. I suggest you look at other company's warranty statements, and copy
them in whole or in part. Of course, your parents can be a valuable asset
here, expecially if they are business people. There are resources available
that can help you draft a warranty procedure that your customers will like,
and that will not screw you.

I hope you take my comments in the manner they are intended -- to help, as
opposed to shooting you down -- and move forward. It is pretty cool that you
have the wherewithall to pursue this. Your name does not roll off the tongue
like Bill Gates or Dell, but if you get into volume computer building, you
can change the name of your box ...


 
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Neil Green
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      01-27-2008

"Paul" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:fnfio5$1s8$(E-Mail Removed)...
> (s)AINT wrote:
>> Hey everyone. I am 17, and building computer
>> systems that I see. I
>> wrote a warranty for them, and I want to know what
>> you guys think:
>>

>
> Um, consult a lawyer ?
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnuson-Moss_Warranty_Act
>
> As a business, there are some basic things you want
> to do,
> to protect yourself. A lawyer will be able to tell
> you
> what kind of business registration, will allow
> consumers
> to sue your company, but not sue you personally.
> Then, if
> something awful happens, they can bankrupt your
> company,
> but not you. So that is the first thing you want to
> learn
> from your lawyer. There may also be tax advantages
> to
> how you incorporate yourself, so in fact you may get
> to
> keep more money, depending on how the business is
> set
> up. An accountant can help with that.
>
> You should be able to obtain information on starting
> a
> small business, which may address some of these
> issues,
> and at least initially, save you from wasting a
> lawyer
> or accountants time. Once you've learned the basics,
> then pay for a consultation with the right kind of
> professional.
>
> In terms of preparing a warranty, or anything else
> that
> might result in legal action, "lawyer-talk" is what
> it should be written in. Using plain English is a
> mistake, because in court, your consumer may be able
> to argue that more things are covered than you
> intended.
>
> If you're a cheapskate, I wouldn't bother with a
> warranty.
> But if you're serious about doing this right, a
> newsgroup
> is not the place to get an answer. A lawyer local to
> you,
> will be more familiar with any local laws that
> supersede
> anything you may have written. "Best intentions"
> carry
> no weight in court. The warranty is like a contract,
> so
> who knows, maybe contract law applies ?
>
> You might try examining the warranty terms offered
> by other
> companies, for ideas as to how to frame what you
> want to do.
> But ultimately, a lawyer should review your
> handywork, as
> the lawyer can identify terminology you may have
> used, which
> unintentionally leaves you legally exposed. It won't
> take
> too many trips to small claims court, before your
> bank
> balance would be zero.
>
> By the way, sealing the computer case sucks. If
> someone
> asks about you as a potential system builder, and we
> find
> out you're one of those "case sealers", our answer
> would
> be to look elsewhere. You can still word the
> warranty
> in terms of abuses, such as mechanical damage not
> being
> covered, without sealing the case. Sealing the case
> is
> lame. It may even violate the Magnusson Moss act,
> but
> what do I know - I'm not a lawyer.
>
> Paul


Generally excellent advice which the OP would do well
to follow.
A couple of points as far as the OP goes.
1. If you intend to sell "sealed" boxes that the buyer
can't access without voiding the warranty I'd suggest
you won't sell too many boxes.
2. Covering viruses/spyware damage etc.under warranty
is frought with danger.
If you sell a box to a computer illiterate family with
a couple of pre teenage girls you could burn all your
profit in the first month.
3. A 30 day hardware warranty is manifestly inadequate
when hardware is almost universally covered by at
least 12 months, some RAM has lifetime warranty and
hard disks up to three years.
4. Five business days to respond to a customer problem
is way too long.
A few years ago I had an IBM monitor die under
warranty and it was replaced the same day, if you are
attempting to establish a business from scratch in
such a competitive industry then service and support
are what you will live or die by.

A golden rule in business is that you can compete
either on the basis of price or quality, but not both.
In other words if you try to offer Rolls Royce quality
and service at a Hyundai price then you'll almost
certainly go broke.

Good luck with it.


 
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w_tom
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      01-29-2008
On Jan 26, 9:00 pm, "Jeff Strickland" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> A PCI card and supporting application should work on your system
> without necessitating a service call, you need a reasonable means
> to isolate your stuff from the installed stuff. A failingpower supply
> that gets tipped over the edge as a result of a new device should be
> covered, for example.


Nothing connected to a power supply must harm that power supply - an
industry standard that applied to computers even long before the IBM
PC existed. A power supply cannot be harmed by its load. All power
supply outputs must be shorted together when supply is powered - and
power supply must not be damaged. Furtthermore, a power supply
failure must not harm motherboard or peripherals. If these damages
occur, then hardware as provided was defective. It makes a warranty
defining these unique failures simple.

Writing a warranty requires more than a lawyer. It requires the
prime contractor - the system seller - to know basic electrical
concepts. Provided here is one example - and why other computer
assemblers permite the customer access to the machine's internals.
Where a customer should not be permitted access (ie inside the power
supply), a warning sticker with proper legal wording must be
installed.

Prime contactor (the computer builder) must be specific what the
customer can and cannot access before even considering a warranty.
 
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Jeff Strickland
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      01-29-2008

"w_tom" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> On Jan 26, 9:00 pm, "Jeff Strickland" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> A PCI card and supporting application should work on your system
>> without necessitating a service call, you need a reasonable means
>> to isolate your stuff from the installed stuff. A failingpower supply
>> that gets tipped over the edge as a result of a new device should be
>> covered, for example.

>
> Nothing connected to a power supply must harm that power supply - an
> industry standard that applied to computers even long before the IBM
> PC existed. A power supply cannot be harmed by its load. All power
> supply outputs must be shorted together when supply is powered - and
> power supply must not be damaged. Furtthermore, a power supply
> failure must not harm motherboard or peripherals. If these damages
> occur, then hardware as provided was defective. It makes a warranty
> defining these unique failures simple.
>



That's all well and good, but I know without any doubt that I once had a
failing power supply -- one who's power output in terms of amps was right
at the edge of the existing load demand -- and when I plugged in a PCI
device, the power supply could not meet the new demand. I installed a new
power supply, and all was well with the universe again ...

The only important part of this story is that the power supply is reasonably
sealed shut, while the case of hte machine should not be sealed as a
condition of warranty security. The owner of a machine will reasonably want
to open the case to install a new drive into an expansion bay, or a card
into a slot, or just to blow the dust out.




 
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w_tom
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      01-30-2008
On Jan 29, 1:12*pm, "Jeff Strickland" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> The only important part of this story is that the power supply is reasonably
> sealed shut, while the case of hte machine should not be sealed as a
> condition of warranty security.


Which is why a prime contractor (the OP) must define where a
customer can and cannot access, AND apply warning labels. All this
before discussing a warranty with the lawyer.

Power supply example must (should) not be about hardware damage. By
adding another PCI card, a power supply goes into current foldback
limiting. This protective function required by industry standards so
that hardware is not harmed. That function (standard in computers
even before PCs existed) is why the load (a new PCI card) cannot harm
any (properly constructed) power supply. Of course, if peripheral
card causes power supply damage, then the prime contractor is
completely responsible for that damage - per warranty.

If the OP buys power supplies only on price and watts, then problems
such as 'PCI card causing power supply failure' or FCC violations are
100% on the OP. Many power supply manufacturers dump into the market
inferior power supplies that are missing essential parts. Done because
so many computer assemblers do not even know how electricity works.
Cheaper power supply missing essential functions may also have a
larger profit margin. A computer assembler (not the power supply
manufacturer) is responsible for any missing functions inside that
supply. If the computer fails FCC requirements because a power supply
is defective (common with power supplies selling for less than $60
full retail), then only the OP gets stuck for fixing it and maybe for
FCC legal action.

Warranty is more than just advice from a lawyer. The OP (not the
lawyer) must bring these technical facts into a meeting with the
lawyer when creating a warranty. The OP must define up front what the
customer can and cannot do.

For example, good luck trying to get a warranty that says the
customer is responsible for EMI/RFI problems.
 
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Jeff Strickland
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      01-30-2008

"w_tom" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
On Jan 29, 1:12 pm, "Jeff Strickland" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> The only important part of this story is that the power supply is
> reasonably
> sealed shut, while the case of hte machine should not be sealed as a
> condition of warranty security.


Which is why a prime contractor (the OP) must define where a
customer can and cannot access, AND apply warning labels. All this
before discussing a warranty with the lawyer.

Power supply example must (should) not be about hardware damage. By
adding another PCI card, a power supply goes into current foldback
limiting. This protective function required by industry standards so
that hardware is not harmed. That function (standard in computers
even before PCs existed) is why the load (a new PCI card) cannot harm
any (properly constructed) power supply. Of course, if peripheral
card causes power supply damage, then the prime contractor is
completely responsible for that damage - per warranty.


Sorry, I did not mean to imply there was damage to anything.

My problem was some bus somewhere was being fed current that was not
sufficient to supply all of the devices connected to it. Nothing physically
failed, just the machine stopped working, and a new power supply with
greater capacity corrected the problem. This should be a warrantable issue,
but is not. I don't recall, exactly, but I *think* I could remove the
offending device (whatever I had added) and also regain use of the system,
but I wanted the device and all of the others, so a stronger power supply
was the only solution. If I was selling computers and my customer had done
what I did, then I would have to install a new power supply under the terms
of the warranty because the customer had done nothing wrong and the stuff I
sold him failed to perform.

If the power supply offers (for example) 5v @ 500mA, but the available
connections allow a draw of 600mA, then the 5v is going to go below the
threshold needed for the stuff connected to it to work anymore. Nothing
breaks or burns out, just voltage drops to a point where the loads will not
run. When this happens, the power supply needs to be upgraded so that the 5v
needed is provided at 750mA, and everything will be okay again. (there are
many voltages that come out of the power supply, I only picked one to keep
the discussion simple.)

A smart builder will understand this (unlike the company that built my
machine) and put in a power supply that can meet the demands of all of the
devices that are designed to be used -- if there are 3 empty PCI slots, the
power supply should be rated as if they are all filled (not just the one or
two they fill before I buy the machine), because there is a good chance that
they will be.







 
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w_tom
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      01-30-2008
On Jan 30, 12:43*pm, "Jeff Strickland" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> My problem was some bus somewhere was being fed current that was not
> sufficient to supply all of the devices connected to it. Nothing physically
> failed, just the machine stopped working, and a new power supply with
> greater capacity corrected the problem. This should be a warrantable issue,
> but is not. I don't recall, exactly, but I *think* I could remove the
> offending device (whatever I had added) and also regain use of the system,
> but I wanted the device and all of the others, so a stronger power supply
> was the only solution. ...
> A smart builder will understand this (unlike the company that built my
> machine) and put in a power supply that can meet the demands of all of the
> devices that are designed to be used -- if there are 3 empty PCI slots, the
> power supply should be rated as if they are all filled ...


More conditions that a computer assembler must grasp before taking
his technicals to a lawyer. Unfortunately, many who assemble
computers don't know what existing power consumption is, would not
know how to calculate it, let alone know power consumption of PCI
peripherals. A specific reference to the many site that claim to
report power consumption but are only accurate to maybe one digit.
Even worse, many estimate the load in watts rather than doing what is
required - current consumption for each power supply voltage. A
design flaw that could result in massive costs replacing power
supplies under warranty. Jeff provided another example of what the
computer assembler must do before writing a warranty. I suspect the
OP was completely unaware of how much is involved in 'just a
warranty'.

Some incorporate and leave no funds in the company, to protect the
computer assembler and so that he need not address these problems.
 
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