I would like to pass on my congratulations re your editorial "Bitching about the bitching" (ARN, April 7, page 2). For 10 years now, our firm has tried to pride itself on the level of service and customer focus we have achieved. Your comment: "There is no other business where the product is so complex and the customer so ignorant," sums up the staff meeting we had recently.
We have decided that the average computer consumer these days has been given an unrealistic expectation of implied warranty, and that products are being promoted as "user-friendly" (I hate that phrase) that generally are not! Take, for example, the average user who has purchased or acquired a "free Internet time" diskette from the marketing section of an ISP. Without mentioning system requirements, or even a correct installation procedure, we see the end result of two, three . . . six attempts to install such software. And an annoyed customer who doesn't understand why we would possibly need to charge them to undo what they've just done (on their 486 system with Windows installed).
I cannot think of any other consumer product line that users feel carries such an enormous warranty as computer hardware! And, unfortunately, with much product return handled within the retail industry (Harvey Norman et al), with little or no guidelines by manufacturers, no wonder consumers are bitching!
Thanks again for your comment. We were consoling each other the other day - now it seems we have the sympathy of others!
Jennifer Berger, Quality manager,
P2 Computing, firstname.lastname@example.org