Viewsonic Warranty Woes: Don’t Trust What Vendors Give You In Writing

OK, it comes down to this, my Viewsonic monitor today that literally billowed smoke out of the back like a cake burnt in an oven, won't be replaced because I'm stupid.

Well, I don't really think I'm stupid but that is what seems to be the case.

I purchased this batch of monitors on 6/30/2006. I wrote down that everything in my lab had a 3 year warranty. I paid for the warranty on the computers, but obviously some fine print eluded me.

As I unpack things I purchase, I always keep a few copies of the user manual, one in the warranty folder, and one in my folder that I use to service computers. So, I went back to my warranty. I don't know if you can see the picture but this is my warranty.

My warranty says:

“Viewsonic LCD displays are warranted for three (3) years for all parts including the light source and three (3) years for all labor from the date of the first consumer purchase.”

I was given a fax number to send my information and complaint to and it is a bad number. I had to call another number to get a valid fax number to send this to. They told me at best it would be four days before I even get a RESPONSE. On my fax, I just said,

“I will tell everyone I know not to buy Viewsonic.”

Meanwhile, I have a computer lab with 19 students and 18 working computers. Sitting pretty!

OK, I guess I'm stupid and that is what I will have to tell my Headmaster. When I have a manual that says “three years,” and no attached documents, I record in our asset tracking log that I have a device warrantied for three years. I don't budget for replacement until warranties expire — so nothing in the budget for this year.

So, I talk to my CDW-G rep and inquire as to the part number 965494 – a number that I can no longer look up in the system because it is discontinued. He says that it is currently in his system as a one year warranty. (Note that part numbers could be modified from his end as well – the question is, what was it on the date that I bought it – precisely where some sort of wiki for this sort of thing would be beneficial.)

So, it comes down to this — I took notes, I cataloged the warranty that shipped with the product, I did all that I think a responsible tech administrator would do, but I have to go on the fact that I missed some fine print on a part number that I can no longer see myself and could have been changed by a vendor.

I am obviously stupid.

Here is what I will now do in order to cure myself of this in the future:

1) Seriously reconsider purchasing any Viewsonic's in the future. If I cannot trust a vendor to stand by the express written contract that they send with their product, I don't want to do business with them. A company that does business that way is not trustworthy. I am a woman of my word, I expect companies to be the same. Viewsonic is not.

I told our librarian to purchase a Viewsonic this summer even though her son had a similar warranty problem with them, I was wrong.

2) Before purchasing anything, I'm going to have to PRINT the original part number AND spec sheet to keep with the original invoice and warranty.

Because, obviously, vendors can change their contractual obligations in this way without any writing in the box that comes with the hardware. I suggest you do the same. Don't trust the written warranty from any vendor! Period.

3) Documentation ON the device – I will continue a practice I began this summer of noting with MARKER or Labeler:

  • The purchase date,
  • Original invoice number,
  • Vendor,
  • Date of warranty expiration,
  • Customer service number, and
  • Location of files relating to every device.

I will ask teachers to watch the warranty date and to make sure that all problems with a piece of equipment are reported to me at least 3 months prior to expiration.

4) Continue to advocate for every vendor that will listen the importance of honesty. Doing right by the customer always pays in the LONG RUN. Short term profitability at the expense of customer loyalty ALWAYS hurts your long term gain. Sure, most don't care, but there are many that do.

I will teach the teachers to check this information and MAKE SURE they report all issues before the warranty date expires.

There will be a thousand reasons that I am wrong. Some of you will also say I'm dumb.

My point is this – if the documentation that comes with a product has a warranty and there is no express change in this warranty through documentation from that company then they should keep their word.

How many people can a
dissatisfied customer tell?

Hard times are everywhere and clamping down on warranty returns is an easy way to “make money.” However, dissatisifed customers usually tell an average of 7 people. Unfortunately for Viewsonic, this unsatisfied customer just told over 5,000 people.

And such it should be for companies who do not keep their word. I budgeted for the warranty to expire in a little bit longer and have no cushion built in to buy another monitor for my classroom.

My question(s) to you:

  1. What do you do to track warranties?
  2. Have you had this problem?
  3. Who is your favorite LCD monitor vendor?
  4. Suggestions?

I'm at a loss. I've just not ever had this happen before, but it seems to be a recurring theme lately from many companies.

On a note from my last Vendor Tirade in May: I will say that Lenovo made good on their warranty and sent me a new install set of CD's (after some kicking and screaming from me) and Mom's laptop with a freshly installed Vista SP1 an AVG antivirus instead of Symantec is a blazing fast, incredible machine. It only took me 150 hours! Fortunately I only get this upset about twice a year!

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