Computer Warranty Proofing

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by (s)AINT, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. (s)AINT

    (s)AINT Guest

    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 , for a reply
    in at least two business days.

    Customer Signature:

    Printed:
    Sales Signature:

    Brandon Grinstead
    Owner/Operator
    Date:
    System Number:
     
    (s)AINT, Jan 26, 2008
    #1
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  2. (s)AINT

    Paul Guest

    (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
     
    Paul, Jan 26, 2008
    #2
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  3. (s)AINT

    sandy58 Guest

    On Jan 26, 1:44 pm, "(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:
    >
    > 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 , for a reply
    > in at least two business days.
    >
    > Customer Signature:
    >
    > Printed:
    > Sales Signature:
    >
    > Brandon Grinstead
    > Owner/Operator
    > Date:
    > System Number:


    Try uk.legal
     
    sandy58, Jan 26, 2008
    #3
  4. "(s)AINT" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > 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 , 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 ...
     
    Jeff Strickland, Jan 27, 2008
    #4
  5. (s)AINT

    Neil Green Guest

    "Paul" <> wrote in message
    news:fnfio5$1s8$...
    > (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.
     
    Neil Green, Jan 27, 2008
    #5
  6. (s)AINT

    w_tom Guest

    On Jan 26, 9:00 pm, "Jeff Strickland" <> 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.
     
    w_tom, Jan 29, 2008
    #6
  7. "w_tom" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Jan 26, 9:00 pm, "Jeff Strickland" <> 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.
     
    Jeff Strickland, Jan 29, 2008
    #7
  8. (s)AINT

    w_tom Guest

    On Jan 29, 1:12 pm, "Jeff Strickland" <> 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.
     
    w_tom, Jan 30, 2008
    #8
  9. "w_tom" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    On Jan 29, 1:12 pm, "Jeff Strickland" <> 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.
     
    Jeff Strickland, Jan 30, 2008
    #9
  10. (s)AINT

    w_tom Guest

    On Jan 30, 12:43 pm, "Jeff Strickland" <> 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.
     
    w_tom, Jan 30, 2008
    #10
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