[poll] ethical dilemma: ...best buy DVD player (closure!)

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deal with best buy DVD player (see text for full desc)

A *really* break it
1
3%
B buy new and return old
5
16%
B buy new and return old
5
16%
C let’s make a deal
2
6%
C let’s make a deal
2
6%
D prove it’s broke
8
26%
D prove it’s broke
8
26%
F other (list below)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 31

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jeff mc
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[poll] ethical dilemma: ...best buy DVD player (closure!)

Post by jeff mc » Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:56 am

i bought a $180 combo dvd-recorder / vcr about 8 months ago. a few months ago, the dvd player started failing, such that by the time i tried returning it this weekend, it only worked about 50% of the time (older, scratched DVDs do not work on it, although those same DVDs work in other players/computers)

best buy does not just swap it out for a new one, they send it to 'diagnostics' and try to fix it. of course, i never buy those extended warranties... terrible idea on most things (except maybe laptops). however, at best buy service desk, it worked perfectly (of course) for the 20 seconds they tried it. they said if it goes to diagnostics, and they don’t find anything wrong either, i’ll be charged $35 to get back my broken DVD/VCR player that they've certified as 'perfect'... grrrrrr. the guy explaining this to me was a jerk at the counter, talking over me, just being a major league a-hole, almost insinuating that i was scamming or something.

so, what is the ethical thing for me to do here?

scenario 1) they find it faulty, i get a new machine. end of story. (not likely)

scenario 2) i get a call in two weeks “mista chuck D: it’s fine. you owe us $35. come get your old, working machine"... options:
  • A) i pay the money, take it home, somehow *really* break it such that it will not work, but so that they cannot determine it was sabotage, and i get a new machine

    B) buy a new identical machine, put in the old one that they certified to be ‘working perfectly’ and bring it back as a return. i get a new machine that works, plus no add’l $. they get their ‘perfect machine’ back.

    C) work out some kind of deal w/ store manager, where best buy and myself each pay partial for a new machine and/or refund on / store credit on the broken one

    D) bring in some older slightly scratched DVDs that work everywhere else and make them keep watching it until it fails. have them waive the $35 (of course) and i get a new machine. “but sir, our warranty doesn’t cover not playing damaged DVDs. it plays new DVDs just fine”. then, maybe back to option C.

    E) don’t pay to get back a broken machine. cut losses, move on, get a replacement, if they won’t budge on refund or negotiate.

    F) other?
i have my 'preferred option', but won’t reveal it for now, to avoid bias. but what would you do?

EDIT: changed title for "closure"
Last edited by jeff mc on Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

Gekko
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Post by Gekko » Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:07 pm

IMO -

cut your losses and your aggravation and reduce your anxiety level and immediately throw it in the trash and buy a new one on sale. preferably a Sony or other reputable brand.

you got 8 months of use out of it. chalk it up to the "cost of doing business" and move on with your life.

good luck.

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gatorking
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prove it

Post by gatorking » Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:12 pm

make a home movie using a camcorder showing that it does not work and then make them watch that.

p.s. next time buy from costco or some place that has a no questions asked return policy.

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goosecat
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Post by goosecat » Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:18 pm

DVD players cost as low as $30 these days and are on their way to becoming obsolete.

I would look at this as a good time to upgrade to a bluray player (ps3) :D

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Post by SteveB3005 » Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:19 pm

Buy a new one just like it, put the old one in the box and give it to your mother in law for Christmas. She will take it back and they can deal with her.

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Post by jeff mc » Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:21 pm

goosecat wrote:DVD players cost as low as $30 these days and are on their way to becoming obsolete.

I would look at this as a good time to upgrade to a bluray player (ps3) :D
ya, i'm aware of the costs of new cheapo DVD player. but this has a VCR player built in, as well as a recording DVD function. but even new combo/recording cheapos are now ~$100. i've been holding out on a new bluray or HD-DVD until there's a clear winner between the 2 competing formats. (any beta players in anyone's metaphorical closet?)

i like the idea of giving to mother in law... :lol:

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Post by bob90245 » Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:40 pm

SteveB3005 wrote:Buy a new one just like it, put the old one in the box and give it to your mother in law for Christmas. She will take it back and they can deal with her.
I like this option, except for one thing. You might wind up with the same or similar problem going with the same model and brand. Curious, you didn't mention which one. I suppose it was to protect the guilty. :lol:

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Post by jeff mc » Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:45 pm

bob90245 wrote:I like this option, except for one thing. You might wind up with the same or similar problem going with the same model and brand. Curious, you didn't mention which one. I suppose it was to protect the guilty. :lol:
an "insignia"... granted, somewhat a junk brand... i see it's now new from $126 on amazon. Insignia Progressive-Scan Multiformat DVD-R/-RW/+R/+RW Recorder/VCR Combo - NS-DRVCR
Image

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Post by Gekko » Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:04 pm

serves you right for buying an "Insignia" brand. you wanted cheap and you got cheap.

next time buy a Sony.

"The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory." - Aldo Gucci

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Kenkat
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Speak to store manager

Post by Kenkat » Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:24 pm

Ask to speak to the store manager; if he is not available have a card ready and ask to have him call you. Be sure to get his name. If he calls you, tell him your story, tell him you buy a lot of stuf at Best Buy and you are not satisfied with your purchase nor the terms of the warranty service nor the associate at the desk. I bet they work something out for you.

If he doesn't call, call the store and ask for him until you get him.

Such a hassle, I know. Try to think of it as sport!

Ken

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Post by Nitsuj » Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:38 pm

Gekko wrote:serves you right for buying an "Insignia" brand. you wanted cheap and you got cheap.

next time buy a Sony.
Sony is just as bad as most cheap brands these days.

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CyberBob
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Post by CyberBob » Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:47 pm

Interestingly, the Insignia brand is an in-house-sourced Best Buy private-label product.

Their products don't fare too well at Epinions, though.

Bob

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Post by Gekko » Mon Sep 03, 2007 3:43 pm

i've bought Sony electronics for years and the only problem with them is that they never die! since they don't die i find it hard to justify upgrading to the "latest and greatest". i have an old, huge Sony 35" trinitron tube TV and the thing just won't die! i want to go buy a 46" Sony LCD Bravia for $2K but I'm having a hard time justifying it since my current TV still works perfectly! i'm ready to pull an Elvis and put a bullet through it to see if i can kill it.

sames goes with my old Sony DVD player, old Sony Walkman, and old Sony AM/FM Alarm clock.

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magellan
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re: Sony soapbox

Post by magellan » Mon Sep 03, 2007 4:05 pm

Nitsuj wrote:
Gekko wrote:serves you right for buying an "Insignia" brand. you wanted cheap and you got cheap.

next time buy a Sony.
Sony is just as bad as most cheap brands these days.
No, Sony is much worse than the others. In fact, they're now my least trusted electronics vendor. IMHO, their management is just too darn stupid for me to trust that they could build anything right.

They have now been caught on two separate occasions shipping discs or thumb drives that include "root kits" that secretly install software on your computer that behaves like a virus and opens up huge security holes.

Quote from the Forbes article:

Consumers soon protested Sony's aggressive restrictions on copying music and disregard for security. Sony's executives were initially unresponsive; the company's global digital business president Thomas Hesse infamously told NPR's Morning Edition in November 2005 that "most customers don't even know what a rootkit is. So why should they worry about it?"

But as viruses and malicious software exploiting the rootkit began to surface, Sony issued a recall of all affected CDs later that month.


Jim

(off soapbox now, sorry - nothing to see here, move along...)

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Post by gkaplan » Mon Sep 03, 2007 6:08 pm

What's a DVD?
Gordon

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Post by Nitsuj » Mon Sep 03, 2007 6:33 pm

gkaplan wrote:What's a DVD?
Dreaded Venereal Disease

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Post by jeff mc » Mon Sep 03, 2007 6:45 pm

Nitsuj wrote:
gkaplan wrote:What's a DVD?
Dreaded Venereal Disease
not as funny, but i'm a sucker for answering rhetorical questions... take your pick...
DVD Digital Versatile Disc (formerly Digital Video Disc)
DVD Divide (street type)
DVD Direct Vendor Delivery
DVD Dick Van Dyke (actor)
DVD Death Valley Days (TV show)
DVD D-Von Dudley (wrestler)
DVD Digital Video Disc (now Digital Versatile Disc)
DVD Deutsche Vereinigung für Datenschutz
DVD Divers Droite (France, politics)
DVD Death Valley Driver (pro wrestling)
DVD Dissociated Vertical Deviation (ophthalmology)
DVD Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia
DvD Depp Vom Dienst (German: Idiot of Service)
DVD Digital Video Drive
DVD Digital Virtual Disk

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I like option B

Post by moneyhoney » Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:12 pm

B) buy a new identical machine, put in the old one that they certified to be ‘working perfectly’ and bring it back as a return. i get a new machine that works, plus no add’l $. they get their ‘perfect machine’ back.

I've done this with Coleman air mattresses that have repeatedly developed leaks just after the return policy has expired. Why should I have to pay $10 shipping & handling for a $20 mattress? IMO, it's a cost of doing business for the store in question. I may be mistaken, but I think that the store can in some cases return the item to the supplier for credit.

I've had a very good eperience with my Phillips DVD player, not sure if they make a model with VCR/recorder combo.

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Re: I like option B

Post by blood_donor » Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:42 pm

moneyhoney wrote:B) buy a new identical machine, put in the old one that they certified to be ‘working perfectly’ and bring it back as a return. i get a new machine that works, plus no add’l $. they get their ‘perfect machine’ back.

I've done this with Coleman air mattresses that have repeatedly developed leaks just after the return policy has expired. Why should I have to pay $10 shipping & handling for a $20 mattress? IMO, it's a cost of doing business for the store in question. I may be mistaken, but I think that the store can in some cases return the item to the supplier for credit.

I've had a very good eperience with my Phillips DVD player, not sure if they make a model with VCR/recorder combo.
I once bought a Coleman air mattress in a box that had been neatly re-taped... wouldn't stay inflated.

Seriously, this is a disgusting tactic, because you may be sticking it to another customer. Also, if it broke after the return policy, then your proper recourse is to send it back to Coleman, not cheat the store. It's all written down in black and white.

The only thing worse than this is when people buy something they need only for a week (like a nice TV for a party, or whatever) the return it after they have used it. They are in fact stealing, because they have diminisehd the value of the goods.

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Post by zhiwiller » Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:01 am

Gekko wrote:i've bought Sony electronics for years and the only problem with them is that they never die! since they don't die i find it hard to justify upgrading to the "latest and greatest". i have an old, huge Sony 35" trinitron tube TV and the thing just won't die! i want to go buy a 46" Sony LCD Bravia for $2K but I'm having a hard time justifying it since my current TV still works perfectly! i'm ready to pull an Elvis and put a bullet through it to see if i can kill it.

sames goes with my old Sony DVD player, old Sony Walkman, and old Sony AM/FM Alarm clock.
You are definitely in the minority. Everything I've ever owned that was Sony with the exception of my PS2 has been low-quality or downright faulty. Just last week, my Sony headphones literally fell apart. I bought a nice new pair of Sennheisers.

You should see their development kits for the PSP! I swear they are held together with chewing gum and tree sap.

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Post by Ted Valentine » Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:42 pm

SteveB3005 wrote:Buy a new one just like it, put the old one in the box and give it to your mother in law for Christmas. She will take it back and they can deal with her.
Oh snap! Coffee on the computer screen! :lol:

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Post by Dude2 » Tue Sep 04, 2007 2:04 pm

Hi Chuck,

The clearly right answer is to risk paying the $35. You know the unit is broken. I suggest having confidence that the unit when analyzed will indicate it is broken.

Yes, you can move on, but I wouldn't. This is still under manufacturer 1 year warranty. That should mean something. It is necessary for you to jump through the hoops.

None of those scam ideas are worthwhile. They just make the system even more broken.

All other advice is valid. Laser devices are fragile. Very disposable. Firmware updates happen all the time as do techniques for putting the data on the disks. The test cases that passed when your unit shipped have probably now been updated. Technology moves forward.

In all likelihood, a $30 bottom of the line unit will probably play everything you can buy in the stores now, but there is reasonable probability IMO that an older unit will not be able to play certain newer disks.

Not being able to play older, scratched, dirty disks sounds to me like your unit has lost some sensitivity. Probably your laser got bumped and doesn't reflect back at the right angle anymore.

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Post by ElJay » Tue Sep 04, 2007 3:29 pm

Gekko wrote:cut your losses and your aggravation and reduce your anxiety level and immediately throw it in the trash and buy a new one on sale. preferably a Sony or other reputable brand.
I would say the same exact thing, but avoid Sony at all costs. I bought a home theater subwoofer of theirs a few years ago and it died after 15 months of light usage. It was three months out of warranty and they wouldn't help me out.

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Interesting comments about Sony

Post by jiclemens » Tue Sep 04, 2007 3:39 pm

I've always been a believer and happy customer in both Sony and Bose. Guess what. The last two Bose systems I had were faulty to the core. They make good speakers but their electronics have gotten so bad I won't risk the expense any more. It is too hard to correct the problem. Seems a common trait among any company who has built a solid reputation only to let customer down in favor of shareholders.

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Re: Interesting comments about Sony

Post by Nitsuj » Tue Sep 04, 2007 5:37 pm

jiclemens wrote:I've always been a believer and happy customer in both Sony and Bose.
Bose has always been overpriced crap though.

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Re: Interesting comments about Sony

Post by Sunny Sarkar » Tue Sep 04, 2007 5:57 pm

jiclemens wrote:Guess what. The last two Bose systems I had were faulty to the core. They make good speakers but their electronics have gotten so bad I won't risk the expense any more.
No audiophile will ever agree that Bose makes good speakers/sound systems, at least not remotely for the money they charge. In fact, Bose gets trashed around in audiophile forums with surprising regularity and ferocity for anyone who's taken in by Bose marketing. I have bought Bose, twice unfortunately, and will never ever make the mistake again (even after the emotional appeal of the fact that AG Bose and myself have our roots in the same city in India).

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Post by jeff mc » Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:17 am

Dude2 wrote:The clearly right answer is to risk paying the $35. You know the unit is broken. I suggest having confidence that the unit when analyzed will indicate it is broken.

Yes, you can move on, but I wouldn't. This is still under manufacturer 1 year warranty. That should mean something. It is necessary for you to jump through the hoops.
surprising results... i guess that's why we do polls... half the bogleheads say 'move on' from an under-warranty $180 machine. but yet we'll fight like crazy to avoid $10 account fees, shrink away from $20 trades, and generally squeeze money out of everything else possible.

i'm a data driven guy... my 'favorite option' is to prove the defect by generating more data (option D). bring some older DVDs into best buy and have them try to play those, if (when) it comes back as 'perfect'. pretty sure a video of the defect from home use wouldn't 'prove it' to them (but a good idea, nonetheless).

so, more than the actual token dollars at this point is the principle. if you sell store-branded junk that won't last a year w/ normal use, i'm going to ask you to stand behind it (for at least 12 months). i'll give an update in 2 weeks to bring 'closure' to this story (i know you're all on pins and needles)

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Post by Ted Valentine » Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:46 am

I really think this is a symptom of a larger problem. It is telling that pretty much every brand has been labeled junk in this thread.

Anyone remember TV repair shops? Some of you younger than 30 probably laugh at this idea. There was a time when electronics weren't disposable products. Of course they cost more, but they could also be counted on to last 10 or 20 years instead of 1 or less.

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Post by Nitsuj » Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:10 am

Ted Valentine wrote:Anyone remember TV repair shops? Some of you younger than 30 probably laugh at this idea. There was a time when electronics weren't disposable products. Of course they cost more, but they could also be counted on to last 10 or 20 years instead of 1 or less.
The last time I had a piece of electronics repaired it was a $267 25" GE TV. The repair cost $150 and all they did was replace a transformer. Then about 3 years later the same thing happened, and we got a new one.

Nowadays you can buy a DVD player or a VCR for under $50. A diag fee is more than that.

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Post by Nitsuj » Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:11 am

chuck D wrote: surprising results... i guess that's why we do polls... half the bogleheads say 'move on' from an under-warranty $180 machine. i'm going to ask you to stand behind it (for at least 12 months). i'll give an update in 2 weeks to bring 'closure' to this story (i know you're all on pins and needles)
I'd be doing the warranty check thing, and making them see the problems.

If it's under warranty there should be no fee, but that's not how business is run anymore. One of the problems with big box stores, it takes a lot of the customer service away from retail.

johndcraig

Post by johndcraig » Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:31 am

A couple of thoughts FWIW

First, I am also one who would never walk away as a matter of principle.

Second, to me this is not about data it is about negotiating. You can’t negotiate with a jerk, so you were probably wasting your time with the first guy. You need to speak to someone who is reasonable and intelligent, and the discussions should proceed in a friendly yet firm way. Total honesty is essential because that is the only way you will be convincing. It seems to me that you have a reasonable position, so it is likely that a reasonable person at Best Buy will see it the same way and TOGETHER you should reach a satisfactory solution.

John

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Post by ElJay » Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:43 am

chuck D wrote:surprising results... i guess that's why we do polls... half the bogleheads say 'move on' from an under-warranty $180 machine. but yet we'll fight like crazy to avoid $10 account fees, shrink away from $20 trades, and generally squeeze money out of everything else possible.
Most consumer electronics these days are throw away items. If an in-warranty repair was going to cost me an undetermined number of $35 bench fees, I would cut my losses and replace it. "Best" Buy is full of fools and I wouldn't trust them to diagnose anything, let alone fix the problem.

When I was dealing with Sony about trying to get my POS 3-months-out-of-warranty (12mo.) speaker repaired, there was one guy that I was exchanging correspondence with. I was getting nowhere with him after a couple of letters and calls. In the final phone conversation I had with him, I asked for his supervisor and he said he reported to the CEO. I called BS on that, ended the conversation, and then decided Sony electronics would not get any more of my business. If they can't stand by their Chinese landfill material (presented as Chinese electronics at the time of sale) for more than 12 months then I need to give my business to other brands. I never did end up mailing a letter to Sir Howard Stringer, but it was to the point where I was just spinning my wheels. The time and increases in blood pressure were starting to outweigh the cost of just replacing the speaker.

By the way, have you tried a few puffs of compressed air into the DVD drive to see if that helps mitigate the issue? I have a 15 year old Teac CD deck that needs to be blasted with air from time to time or else it slowly gets caked up with dust and has difficulty tracking.

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Post by gunn_show » Thu Sep 06, 2007 3:48 pm

Gekko wrote:serves you right for buying an "Insignia" brand. you wanted cheap and you got cheap.

next time buy a Sony.
agreed. the old adage "you get what you pay for"

FWIW I go with option C. Talk to someone who can produce results.
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

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How did you purchase it?

Post by zackola » Thu Sep 06, 2007 4:27 pm

a) what is the warranty on the dvd player?
b) did you purchase it with a credit card, if so, which one?
c) if you happened to purchase it with an Amex and best buy OR insignia tries to screw you, see what they can do. They are famously awesome for getting you your money back from crappy vendors.

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Post by jeff mc » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:16 am

closure:

surprise, surprise. their diagnostics folks swapped out the laser component. knowing how this stuff works, they probably just read the complaint, did a quick swap of the cheap component, tested it quick, and moved on... after 5 weeks, i just picked it up and it works. no charge.

so, any takeaways here? 1) don't let surly / annoying front desk folks frustrate. 2) trust the 'system' until the system actually breaks down. 3) wait a few years and buy a high quality blu-ray or HD-DVD player... whatever is the dominant 'winner' of high def dvd wars. (but not sony?!).

thanks for all the advice. i know the diehard community was really on edge and probably couldn't sleep not knowing how this cheap dvd saga would end. glad to give closure to this mildly unpleasant topic... w/ a good outcome.

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Post by Nitsuj » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:21 am

chuck D wrote:wait a few years and buy a high quality blu-ray or HD-DVD player... whatever is the dominant 'winner' of high def dvd wars. (but not sony?!).
I know I was worried!

Good that the system worked, even in this day of less and less customer service being applied to customer service departments.

As for the next generation, I don't see many people caring. Some think maybe downloaded stuff will fly, but I don't see that happening until we have foolproof backup ability for the tech simpletons.

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