Call it bad luck, or a gift, but I am one of
those people that can walk into a store with one million of the
same item. One in a million will have a defect, and I pick the
reject, consistently, even with said item packaged and not
viewable. Either that or quality of some companies really, really
I purchased an RCA 31 inch TV at Best Buy. There were a lot of
different brands and a lot of different models. But I selected the
one I did, (see above). I also purchased the extended warranty.
Why, I hate to say it but because it was American made. One year
almost to the month that the extended warranty was due to go out,
the tube started going bad. I
called service, and the guy came out.
He told me that they were having problems with that model of set
and he proceeded to re-solder some of the connections. He then
ordered a new picture tube. When he came back with the new picture
tube and installed it, he saw some glue on the glass. He tried to
wipe it away, but of course that did not work. Because of the
coating on the screen, it could not be removed without leaving a
spot on the screen. Why he installed it and/or did not order a new
one is beyond me.
So I spent $600.00 for a TV that if I had not gotten the extended
warranty, for an additional $150.00, I would have had to probably
pay $300.00 for a new tube plus $100.00 for a service call on a defective
product, and it is still far from being acceptable.
Not only is there a spot on the screen after removing the glue,
but, apparently the solder connection from the antenna to the
circuit also has bad solder. I have some terrible reception that
clears up when I push down on the antenna connection. Now, if RCA
thinks I will ever purchase anything that has their name on it,
they are crazy. Actually I will never purchase anything that is
manufactured by the Thomson Electronics Co.
According to the Associated Press.
' The maker of RCA,
GE and Proscan televisions will set aside as much as $100
million to compensate consumers for potential defects that can
render the products virtually unwatchable.' .
.. 'The defects affect certain RCA, GE and Proscan models
produced from November 1992 to January 1996
The defect resulted from mounting the sets' tuners on their
circuit boards, said David Arland, a spokesman at Thomson's U.S.
headquarters in Carmel. Because the tuners and circuit boards
were made from different materials, they expanded and contracted
differently when heated or cooled, leaving solder connections
vulnerable to damage, he said ' .
I really hope GE is not allowing Thomson to
make their TV's or anything as far as that goes. I will be so
disappointed in GE if they are. There use to be a number and a web
site to get in on t he class action, but it has become a site that
I wish to not to link to.
TV (CTC175-187+) Solder Connection and EEPROM Problems
(this site, as of Jan. 2005, customers still having problems
with picture tubes. remember though, it is Thompson Electronics
making the sets)
In 1974 I turned 16. My parents gave me a brand new '74 FORD
Mustang II MACH I. This car was grossly underpowered. It had a
four cylinder V4. In '75 FORD put in a 305 small block V8 in I
believe. The '74 was far from being a 'muscle car'. I raced a
Mazda XR7 and he gave me 1/8 of a mile head start on a laid out
1/4 mile course. I still lost. This car had the same performance
as a Pinto, but, I never heard any stories about the Mustang II
blowing-up or catching fire in rear-end collisions.
Two weeks after I drove it off the showroom floor, it developed a
squeaky front bushing. I took it to the dealer, and they said they
could not get a replacement part. I was mad, even at 16, so, every
week, I took it to the dealership, and they filled the bushing
with grease to stop the squeak until they could get a replacement
part. It also had a spring fall off the carburetor. Since then, I
have never even considered purchasing a FORD product again. Note
that the '74 Mustang II was a first year production model for the
We all remember the Edsel and I have a feeling the some of the
FORD trucks in the future will be purchased less frequently than
in the past. Just a 'Warm-Fuzzy-Feeling'.
While writing this, FORD has recalled a bunch of Explorers saying
the new wider design was too wide for the assembly line and it cut
some tires and Firestone is trying to get the US government to
investigate rollovers on some 2x4's Explorers. Brazil, I believe,
has started an investigation into Explorer rollover problems. Some
really smart entrepreneur should develop an add-on training wheel
system for all these sport utility vehicles. Like the ones they
use to test for rollovers. Make it spring out from underneath as
the center of gravity goes off or something like that.
In 1989 I purchased a Chevy Cavalier. The 89
Cavalier was also a first year production model. They changed the
way it looked. After I got it home, and the first time I filled
the gas tank, I saw a place on the fuel cover that had paint
missing. I could see metal. So this fuel cover must have had some
kind of contaminate on it for not even the primer stuck to it. So
I had to take it back to get that fixed. Now the dealer filled the
tank for me, why did they not see that and fix it?
In less than two months, the speakers in the dashboard started
rattling. Looking closely, you could see that the dashboard was
warping. I took it back, and they had to replace the dashboard
with a replacement. But, the replacement did not come from the
factory. They were all bad. It came from a third party supplier.
It was in a generic color, and the dealer had to paint it, but,
after painting it, the dealer forgot to put a sealant on it, so,
the windshield kept getting cloudy from some kind of vapor that
the paint was releasing when heated by the Florida sun. After
several weeks of putting up with that, I took it back. The dealer
said it was because I smoked. I informed them that if I cleaned
the windshield and the car sets for 48 hours without being driven,
it also happened. Well, I had to threaten to turn them into the
government before they put a sealant on it, and the problem went
away. Now why did I have to jump through these hoops to get them
to do the right thing and finish the job they started?
About four months later, I was in Tampa Florida. I went over some
rough railroad tracks. Now while these tracks were rough, they
were not rough enough to cause damage to the car. I hit them at
about 20-Miles Per Hour, and the ashtray broke off and fell on the
floor. Well the car was out of the 90-day warranty, so I would
have to pay to have it fixed. When I was asking how much to fix
it, a lady behind me also with a Cavalier said that her ashtray
also broke off. I knew then, I was going to be less than enchanted
with this auto.
After about nine months, I noticed that the paint was starting to
fade. In particular, around the back of the car. A month later, I
saw where the paint was fading, some dried drops of paint.
Apparently, when they fixed the fuel cover, they painted the back
of the car to match the paint and got drips on the existing paint.
So they buffed the paint till you could not see the drips any
longer. Unfortunately for me, the also buffed half the paint off
the car. When I took it back to the dealer, they said that it was
because I never waxed the car. Of course I waxed it, and I also
paid extra for paint sealant. I doubt they ever put the paint
sealant on, for the entire car faded within 5 years. But, because
it was out of warranty, they refused to fix it. The dealer said
that as long as the factory did not issue a recall to paint the
car, they were not going to.
In less than 26 months, two more things happened. The right turn
signal bulb burnt out, and continued to burn out about every 8 to
12 months. Only the right side. The left bulb I never replaced,
nor the break lights. And in less than 24 months, the visor on the
passenger side fell off. The visor did not fall off the driver's
side where it is used at least twice as often. I told at least 10
people that were also considering buying a Cavalier. Needless to
say, they did not.
In between the Mustang II and the Cavalier,
I owned a Corolla and a Honda Civic. I never had a problem with
In 1999, I purchased my next new car. Silly me, once again I
choose an American company. I purchased a Dodge Neon. Now the 2000
models were on the lot, but there had been change from 1999 to
2000. It was a different look. Having my past experience with
first year production models, I choose the 99. I decided to lose
money in a different manner. Did it pay off? Of course it did not.
The first problem is the passenger door is misaligned. You have to
shut it pretty hard to get it closed, and the window does not get
seated sometimes. So you have to power the window down and back up
to get it seated. The next thing that happened was the RAM emblem
on the hood fell off. And now, after only opening the sunroof
about 50 times, it will not open and is stuck with the front part
slightly raised. I'm just waiting for it to start to leak. And
once again, in about 18 months, the left turn signal bulb burnt
out. (There may be a trend here with turn signal bulbs)
But I guess I am lucky. Dodge is recalling thousands of the 2000
Neons for a faulty break line hoses. And now they are also
recalling their mini vans because the sliding door locks come open
in crashes ejecting the occupants. Have they recalled the 1999
Neons for a faulty Electric Sunroof? Of course not, don't be
silly. On top of that, apparently Neons, since at least from 1997
to 1999 had squeaky rear breaks. At least my mother's Neon had
them, (1997) and mine does, (1999). I figured out how to fix them.
The rear breaks are self-adjusting. So, just reverse a little
faster than normal and apply the breaks fairly hard.
My intent here is not to single out the US automakers, I am just
reporting the facts. In the US, most if not all states have what
is called a 'Lemon Law'. For our overseas readers, this law states
that if you have to take a car or truck back to be repaired more
than 3 or 5 times, etc., that you get a replacement for free. This
is the legacy that they, the car companies have left themselves.
And for the new generation of Engineers and Managers, it is a
large deficit to overcome. As the population of the US gets older,
there are fewer first time buyers. If they have screwed their
customers in the past, their sales will plummet. And indeed, some
of the automakers are saying that they have to offer all kinds of
incentives to get the customers back in the showroom. If the
customer is not happy one year after the purchase, they may not
EVER come back. With an auto, or anything that one pays more than
$500 for, it is not only the fact that you have to get it
repaired, (even if the repair is free under warranty), the
inconvenience to the customer of being without the item they
purchased, for more than 1 day is NOT 'Total Customer
For the car companies and all companies that have showrooms or
service centers, that are trying to implement Six
Sigma, (which IS 'Total Customer Satisfaction'), you
MUST also train the people in these places. After all, this is the
customers' FIRST POINT OF CONTACT. It does not matter if you have
parts per billion defective, if the service is less than 'Total
Customer Satisfaction', it will not work. And we in the states
know how terrible it is to have to deal with an auto dealer.
Because the service manager at Maroone
Chevrolet in Ft. Lauderdale whom had been there for 30 years
refused to do the right thing and repaint what they messed up, I
will never purchase a Chevrolet and perhaps GM product again, and
this is not even GM's fault. Of course some of these things
happened a very long time ago. Long enough that there may have
been big changes at some of the places mentioned, but the damage
has already been done. But in a lot of cases, especially with high
priced ticket items, it is buyer beware.
It would be my perception that the auto companies, and perhaps all
companies in the US only recall their products if there is a
potential for harm to the end user. This is because the law suites
for personal injuries are so high and they have no choice. It is
cheaper to recall than have thousands of people get judgments for
a couple of million dollars. But there is a deeper longer lasting
problem with NOT fixing product, and that is customer loyalty. As
the population ages, you MUST have customer loyalty to endure.
Just getting the sale is not going to keep you in business in the
It is possible that some dealers take the autos off the truck and
put them on the lot. When they are sold, then they fix what is
wrong with them. So, if a dealer sells an auto on a holiday, when
most of the special promotions are, the customer takes the car off
the lot in less then perfect condition. They should go over every
auto before putting it on the lot to be looked at. The customer
should not have to do an inspection and then bring the auto back
to have items fixed and be without transportation for several
days. This is what happened with the NEON I purchased.
What on Earth could have caused these
problems? It was a combination of a lot of different things.
- Poor designs and not using
- Not realizing what the customer
- Not performing Accelerated
Life Tests, (ALT).
- No Statistical
Process Control, (SPC), at the point of
- Lack of SPC on the supplier
- When SPC was implemented,
skewing the actual results by manipulating the way in which
the tests were performed. (More later on this)
equipment out of calibration or not able to produce even a 3 sigma
process any longer.
- Poor workmanship.
- Lack of ethics.
- Lack of common sense.
Lets take the turn signal bulb for example.
This bulb is the same bulb that was used with the brake lights on
both cars. The brake lights get used a lot more than the turn
signal. Did I make more right turns in Ft. Lauderdale with the
Cavalier than times I used the brakes? Have I made more left turns
in Springfield with the NEON than times I hit the brakes? Of
course not. My best guess is that a supplier of a part that is a
standard part and used in most or all turn signal designs, is
producing junk, and because their price is lower, they are used by
the automakers and I have to keep paying for it. For 12 years now
and even with a new car, I am still paying for it. It is an
absolute necessity to have even just basic SPC, (statistical
process control), on or at most every manufacturing point.
It is just a question of how often you must take samples.
It may be only twice a day, 3 pieces each. This is what our
software pricing is setup for. To allow even very small companies
to have SPC everywhere and get a return on that investment in less
than a year.
Now it is possible that I just picked the rejects
off the lots as stated in the opening of this story. My ex-wife
actually picked the non-American autos without me being there. But
I really feel that there is a reason why most if not all states
have enacted lemon laws.
To view some WEB sites where people are tired of being done wrong
my manufactures, see the links below.