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Repairing versus buying new-
The million dollar question...

I have been repairing all types of electronic equipment for about 34 years of my life, and have been asked this particular question many times. What's unique about the answer today, more now than ever before, is money made to be disposable? Of course not. Do people have more disposable money today versus 10 years ago. Of course not.

It's always better to fix your older electronics than buying new because the older the unit, the higher the quality and the longer it will last.

Let's say you bought a VCR in 1990. The cost for a new Panasonic VCR in 1990 ran between $379 and $499 depending on model. A customer will bring one of these VCR's in for repair and when I tell him the average repair costs runs between $80 to $120 to fix all problems, clean and recalibrate all adjustments, his next question is, "is it worth fixing?" The same new VCR only costs $89---that's what the ads says. But is it really the same? Then I explain to him the real truth.

The Panasonic VCR that you paid $379 in 1990 is worth fixing because it will last much longer than any unit you can buy today, regardless of how much you spend. And it has gone up in value. What do you mean? I go on to tell him if the manufacturer had to remake his same unit today it would cost around $900 because quality costs money. The $89 dollar VCR he saw in the ad is not in any way close to the quality of his current unit. It will only last about 6 months to 1 year before it breaks down. It only has a 90 day labor warranty. You get what you pay for in home electronics.

Fixing his older VCR will have more benefits because it will last another 5 to 10 years, versus buying a new unit every year.

Another benefit of fixing his older VCR is that the money he originally spent ($379) when he purchased this VCR is not wasted. If money is not meant to be disposable, then why would you buy disposable electronics? He now understands what I'm explaining to him and he tells me to fix his VCR at any cost. This is also true for all electronics, whether it is a TV, Stereo, or any other type of unit.

Older is better because of the quality.

This same scenario works for just about everything you buy today. If you bought a new Chevy Camaro in 1967, the first year that car came out, it would cost you about $2800 dollars. If the manufacturer remade that same car today, it would cost you $100,000 dollars. Manufacturers are always trying to find a way to cheapen up the costs. At the same time the quality goes right out the window. A good rule of thumb when you're buying any home electronics is to ask the sales person "how long is the manufacturer's labor warranty." That's the key.

The longer the labor warranty, the higher the quality.

The shorter the labor warranty, the cheaper the unit and the faster the unit will break. No manufacturer wants to pay for an in-warranty repair. So instead of making units last longer, which makes for good for business, they cut the warranty down to only 90 days for just about everything on the market. Receivers used to have a 5 year warranty, now only 1 or maybe 2 years. It wasn't that long ago that when a manufacturer produced a product they all worked no matter what lot they were pulled from. If a unit right off the assembly line didn't work 100%, then it never left the factory. Today that's much different, most manufacturers have a very high failure rate. Somewhere around 20% to 45%. If a unit right off the assembly line doesn't work 100%, the manufacturer will try to remanufacture them and grade these units as B stock or C stock. Sometimes D stock. You can imagine what the letters mean, remind you of school? Then they sell these units to any dealers willing to buy them. What do you think happens next? By the way, have you noticed all those super good deals online at those auction sites? Well, buyers beware. How is it possible to sell any unit that retails for $900 dollars for only $99 dollars or less? These units don't work.

These remanufactured rejects are sold at ridiculously low prices on the web to unsuspecting customers who think they're getting a good deal. Remanufactured units have no warranty or only have a 30 day warranty from the manufacturer. Do you think any of the online sites tell their customers that? Not at all. They tell customers time and time again, full manufacturer warranty. What they're really getting is ripped off and because most people don't have the time to ship back these rejects, they show up at my door step in droves asking me if I can help. They know they're just out the money and they stress the point that they will never buy that brand ever again. Is this a good business practice? I don't think so. In the past I had communicated this story to a few manufacturers that have this huge recurring problem and their response is this, "we don't care."

That customer needs to go back to the dealer where they bought it from. My question is, where did that dealer buy these unit from. Wasn't it the manufacture? Oh well, it seems that manufacture is spending to much time counting their pennies and not enough time watching their dollars. If you see a deal that's to good to be true, there's something wrong with the unit.

Rule of thumb:

The only online sites to buy any new electronic gear from is the manufacturer direct. If you like JVC, then go to the JVC web site. If you like SONY, then go to the SONY web site. And so on and so on. It's always better to buy electronic gear from your local HIFI dealer. It may cost just a little more, but that little more translates into way less hassles and a working A stock unit.

Just Service is not just a repair center, but a consultant center on all brands of electronics. Everyday we are asked what brands to buy. Customers know that we know what works and what doesn't. You can't rely on those review magazines any more. People are very smart today. A customer told me this, and it makes perfect sense. If a manufacturer spends 50 or 60 thousand dollars on a advertising campaign in a review magazine, is that magazine going to say anything bad about the products there reviewing? Not if they excepted the money. Their paid to say it's good whether its good or not. That day on my way home I picked up a copy of a popular review magazine and sure enough there it was. Big pictures and big ads on one page, and highly rating a product on another page, the same manufacture. My opinion is they should spend more money on the product and less on the advertising.

Today some manufactures spend 500 to 1000% more on advertising compared to what they spend on the product.

Many of my customers have shared with me their stories about the HIFI they own. Some good, some bad. I have started to keep them all in a data base that I will make public later. If you would like to ad to this data base, then please send in your story, including make, model , where you purchased the product from and any problem or praising you have. Whether you are happy with your product or dissatisfied your comments are very important. To do so now Click Here.