Ethical and legal aspects of public online product reviews

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TDA121
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Ethical and legal aspects of public online product reviews

A forum to discuss the pro's and con's of making problems public.

A few provocative questions to get things going:

- if fixing stuff yourself voids the warranty, why ask for help by the online community?

- where is the thin line that separates legitimate reporting of problems from slander/libel?

- if a company suffered as a result of poor reviews, based on poor product performance, would the competition then make good use of the lessons learned and advance the overall industry, or would the industry as a whole suffer a setback, delaying environmental benefits that could otherwise have been achieved?

- under which circumstances is a consumer entitled to break parts of warranty conditions without voiding the warranty?

Add any question you like - it's a tempting minefield....

TDA

reikiman
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Re: Ethical and legal aspects of public online product reviews

I would like to think the truth is the truth and the truth can speak for itself. Well, that is, so long as we speak the truth that will be clear enough for anybody.

But... that does mean it's important to stay in truth and it's easy for many to stray into various things which aren't truth.

LinkOfHyrule
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Re: Ethical and legal aspects of public online product reviews

Holy crap, that's a long post.

Anyway.

- if fixing stuff yourself voids the warranty, why ask for help by the online community?

Because tech support sucks. Especially if you got the thing from Hong Kong.

- where is the thin line that separates legitimate reporting of problems from slander/libel?

What Tracy/Reikiman said. It's not slander/libel if it's the truth.

- if a company suffered as a result of poor reviews, based on poor product performance, would the competition then make good use of the lessons learned and advance the overall industry, or would the industry as a whole suffer a setback, delaying environmental benefits that could otherwise have been achieved?

I'm neither an economist nor a politician. I don't have the slightest clue.

- under which circumstances is a consumer entitled to break parts of warranty conditions without voiding the warranty?

I don't really know. I'm very mechanically/electronically inclined, so I never worry about warranty. If I can take it apart, I can fix it myself ^_^.

Well, short of maybe reprodicing a uchip or something.

The author of this post isn't responsible for any injury, disability or dismemberment, death, financial loss, illness, addiction, hereditary disease, or any other undesirable consequence or general misfortune resulting from use of the "information" contai

PJD
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Re: Ethical and legal aspects of public online product reviews

Well, usatracey, Esq., we now know what you do or did for a living!

Maybe you mentioned this already, but the legal bar for libel is a lot lower in other countries. Recall the the McDonald's libel case against the British activists who published a pamphlet on the health hazards of their food.

PJD, P.E.

TDA121
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Re: Ethical and legal aspects of public online product reviews

WOW!

What a fantastic response from everyone!

If only the manufacturers came back with information in such a fast and comprehensive fashion, the whole forum would be unnecessary.

Thanks!

But now I think it's going off topic a bit, just a little....

In order to maybe rekindle the topic, lets just take an international company as an example, and lets assume that their shares are doing this:

Share_price.png

And lets assume that their own report spells out that they might be in some trouble, like this one: http://www.hemscott.com/news/rna/detached.do?id=57266947158846

Now, unless someone rich, like Richard Branson, decides he likes the whole thing a lot, and helps them out with a few millions (hint, hint, Richard!!), there might be a chance that the Vehicle owners soon need not worry about breaking warranty conditions ....

And if the "flagship" of the industry was to go down in flames, what would that mean for the rest of the industry, and the environment? Opportunity or setback?

Would it be smart for Vehicle owners (in any country - tortured, brainwashed, skinny, fat, whatever) to make more problems public when this might be what tips the balance, potentially taking the option for later warranty claims with it?

I wonder where the discussion is going to go this time? WW III ???

Take it easy - there is enough trouble already!

TDA121
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Re: Ethical and legal aspects of public online product reviews

2008-01-25b.png

reikiman
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Re: Ethical and legal aspects of public online product reviews

Hurm, pretty precipitous. By itself falling stock prices aren't absolutely indicating anything other than scared investors. But as they say, where there's smoke there might be fire...

Alias
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Re: Ethical and legal aspects of public online product reviews

if a company suffered as a result of poor reviews, based on poor product performance, would the competition then make good use of the lessons learned and advance the overall industry, or would the industry as a whole suffer a setback, delaying environmental benefits that could otherwise have been achieved?

"If a company suffered as a result of poor reviews, based on poor product performances"
It is highly likely that this is a result in how a business is run. Thus, the business owner and how they treat
their customers. For example; there are a lot of business owners who will purposely cheat customers to tell you if something is wrong with their vehicle just to gain income. (I have seen this done)
It can take quite awhile for new business owners to replace the poor reviews into positive reviews by making customer apologies and contacting old customers to regain interest back of new management.
Poor reviews can also mean lack of new business coming into a company.
Poor reviews (be it online or on paper) doesn't dissappear either.

drivin98
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Re: Ethical and legal aspects of public online product reviews

If Vectrix is in a little trouble it's far more likely their product and/or business plan that's the problem. I'm glad they've found people willing to pay out 12 grand for a maxi scooter but it's obviously too high a price for them to sell nearly as many as they'd like.
Hopefully they get it together and reduce the price. It'd be nice if their products became capable of the performance claims made as well.

davew
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Re: Ethical and legal aspects of public online product reviews

I would buy a Vectrix tomorrow if it met the published specs and was reliable. I would even be an early adopter if there was a dealer near by to help me work through the problems. Sadly none of the above is true so others get to be the guinea pigs.

Maybe selling a scooter like this is not a business model that will work or maybe it's just too soon. Once you add up the cost for some decent engineering, good components, and a honkin' huge battery pack $10k to $12k is entirely reasonable. As gasoline climbs towards $20 a gallon hopefully more people will start to think so.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

reikiman
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Re: Ethical and legal aspects of public online product reviews

Once you add up the cost for some decent engineering, good components, and a honkin' huge battery pack $10k to $12k is entirely reasonable.

I like this point a lot. If we think about the range of vehicles that V members have tried out - XM-2000 had lots of problems, apparently the Z-20 has it's share of problems, both are sold at a low price. Maybe to get a good quality bike you have to be prepared to spend for good engineering.

Unfortunately there is a mass market who are accustomed to low prices from major bike makers (Honda, Yamaha, etc) who can amortize their R&D costs over mega-sales. E-bike makers don't have the same level of sales and can't amortize their R&D budget and so each buyer has to pay a larger chunk of the R&D cost.

Mik
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Re: Ethical and legal aspects of public online product reviews

Dave wrote:

I would buy a Vectrix tomorrow if it met the published specs and was reliable. I would even be an early adopter if there was a dealer near by to help me work through the problems. Sadly none of the above is true so others get to be the guinea pigs.

I sent this on Jan 18th, 2008 to the Australian Vectrix salesman regarding guinea pigs ;-)

Hi Zzzzz,

Thank you for your phone call yesterday in which you confirmed that there is much activity going on within Vectrix to sort out the problems with my broken down bike.

Let me assure you that I do not mean to harm yours or Vectrix’ reputation in any way, far from it.
You seemed to be a bit concerned about that.

I do accept that there can be drawbacks associated with “trail-blazing”, and I am quite happy to be involved with it.
There is however a fine line between being a trailblazer and being a guinea-pig, and I do not intend to cross this line blindly.

You mentioned yesterday that the bike might have failed because I might have driven it too hard.
You also said that it might possibly be replaced (after inspection of the old one) with a modified Vectrix that is less susceptible to failure due to hard use.
While this might be a real improvement, it could also mean that the modified bike becomes even less able to do what I need it to do.

As my Vectrix was incapable of getting me to one of my workplaces and back right from the start, I do of course fear that further problems might get introduced by modifying any potential replacement bike.
That trip should have been “very doable” according to your assessment after reading my (detailed and accurate) description of the round trip, and falls certainly within the advertised Vectrix Maxi specs.

I would prefer if you and/or the development team could give me a technical description of the proposed modifications.
I would like this description to include an estimate of the likely impact on range, acceleration, ability to drive it in hot weather and whatever other impact on performance might be expected.

I might end up feeling like I’ve crossed over to the guinea-pigs if I just accept a Vectrix that has been made “harder to break”, without some appropriate technical explanation.

You also said you would let me know for when the service / repair or replacement of my Vectrix is likely to be arranged – any news on that yet?

The warranty papers have unfortunately still not arrived.

Kind regards,

Mr. Mik

End of quoting myself......

So far, none of my questions were answered. I guess there is no law that says they have to...

But the plan is to get a new Vectrix delivered on Feb 5th or 6th, 2008.

I'll find out if it works any better than the old one then!

Check out the http://visforvoltage.org/forum/2789-trailblazers-early-adopters-or-guineapigs#new forum for more...

Mr. Mik

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

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