Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No Replacement Parts?

One of the trickiest tricks in a company’s planned obsolescence strategies is the discontinuation of manufacturing replacement parts. It’s a good strategy for companies to increase their revenue. If there is not a replacement part for one of the older products you own, then you will be forced to go out and buy another product. Sometimes this means buying the exact same product but in a different “model number.”

Anyone with a cell phone has experienced the incredibly short life cell phone batteries have. My last cell phone battery initially would stay charged for at least a week. Over the course of about six months, that diminished to a day. Now, it stays charged for about three hours. So, I went out to buy a new cell phone battery – which they don’t make anymore. Instead of buying a $40 replacement battery, I left with an $80 cell phone.

I’ve had this happen with computer printers and ink cartridges, too, and other products around my house that I use every day. In the case of my printer, the “new” model I bought didn’t perform as well as my “outdated, old” model.

Maybe it’s time, then, to lobby for replacement parts to be accessible until the last “model” just won’t function anymore. Any suggestions?

By: Abdullah Alarifi

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