How Would You Write A Computer Lemon Law?

from the not-so-easy dept

Ed Foster has written up a short blurb for Gripeline discussing how complicated it would be to write a "lemon law" for computers, but suggesting that one is still needed. As he notes, it's not as easy as just replacing the word "automobile" with "computer" in existing car lemon laws. After all, there are many different reasons why a computer would stop working -- and not all of it has to do with the hardware. However, putting a software exception in place would then just make computer manufacturers more likely to quickly blame software problems for any issues. Of course, a few years back some were suggesting that we needed lemon laws for software as well, so maybe the answer is to write an inclusive lemon law. To be honest, however, it's not entirely clear that such laws really are necessary. While my own personal experience suggests that many computer makers are quite resistant to admitting they sold you a lemon (my laptop with 6 failed hard drives in 18 months was a fun one to deal with), there are enough services and outlets for people to now make their problems very, very public -- and that's made some computer makers much more responsive. So, perhaps it's as problem that works itself out, as computer makers recognize that there is a huge cost in public relations damage to not responding to complaints.

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  1. identicon
    ehrichweiss, 25 May 2007 @ 8:45am

    software is to blame many times..

    I'm currently in possession of a laptop that a lady claimed was powering down from time to time after she dropped it. I've been testing it for about 5 months now(she hasn't called to ask for it back) and the only problem seems to have been a bad driver or the like because I'm now using my hard drive with it(correct drivers installed) and it's not given me the least bit of problem. She also was incredibly rough with the thing so I imagine that if it has a shock sensor, she triggered it.

    Or there's MY laptop where upon installing SP2 it would randomly shut down. This happened less than 2 hours after I installed a 1Gb SODIMM module so for about 4 days I blamed the module until I tested it and then switched back to the old one to get the same effects. A simple search turned up that a simple registry entry was at fault over the ACPI settings; I added it and it's worked fine ever since.

    Or my friend who sold a laptop to a lady who then tried to blame him because the drivers for her wifi card weren't compatible with that version of Windows and that particular model laptop. The lesson she apparently learned was "the wifi card is much cheaper and easier to replace".

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