This episode is about product support. We explore the question of who is ultimately responsible for the warranty and support of your two way radios. We’ll explain how and why some retailers are expected to provide product support while others are not, discuss the challenges faced by dealers who do support the products they sell, and share some of our experiences with the support of our own customers.
TWRS-141 - Do Retailers Suck at Two Way Radio Support?
You can find the show notes here. As always, comments and feedback are welcome,and if we read yours on a future episode, we may send you a TWRS t-shirt or some swag!
Very difficult question. I think initial (first 15-30 days) should fall on the dealer somewhat. Then again, I’m used to dealing with Motorola on a level where a failure in the first 30 days meant return the product for an exchange. After that, it was handled by the dealer who submitted the radio for depot service if it was under warranty.
What floors me is the disparity when it comes to the expectations from customers depending on the retailer/dealer, not so much with warranty support, but with the operation of the radios. As I explained in the podcast, some retailers are considered completely exempt from this, while others are expected to train the user how to operate the device.
When you buy a car, the dealer doesn’t give driving lessons, because you are expected to already know how to drive. When someone buys a radio, especially a ham, the expectation is that they should have a basic knowledge of how radios work. After all, the ham has to have some training, pass a test, and receive a license before that individual can get on the air. If it’s DMR, I get it, it’s a different animal and the learning curve is steeper. But when it’s analog? Sorry, but when I got my ham ticket and bought my first radio, the manufacturer or dealer didn’t show me how to drive it. I had to figure this stuff out on my own. That’s the spirit of the hobby.
So when some hams buy an analog radio, expects the retailer who sold it to them to teach them how to do everything with it, and gets bent out of shape if they can’t or don’t, I really don’t get it. Yet the same ham can buy the same radio from a dealer on Amazon or eBay and they have no such expectations. It’s kind of perplexing to me.
I get it. Especially coming from a company where the customers were typically expected to know how to use a two-way radio and then having to come back around and explain operation at a later date as it wasn’t initially as simple as described.
I suppose I’ve always been so into forums that I learned how to program my amateur radios through trial and error. DMR was a pain to learn through trial and error but I also did it back before there was really any good resources (my amateur radio DMR activity predates Brandmiester back when it was just DMR-MARC).
From what I’ve seen, a lot of new hams don’t have a decent resource presented to them about how FM radios function. Of course, my generation is partially to blame as the “I want it now and don’t want to take the time to work towards it.” generation (I really hate being classified as a millennial if you can’t tell).
There are some decent resources out there on YouTube but they aren’t all perfect. So it ends up with you getting phone calls. In y’all’s case, I’d almost say take support calls on products you’ve sold but others help point them in the right direction via online resources (or quickies). Then again, if I’m stuck, I find being pointed in the correct direction is more helpful than being walked through something. Just my personality though.
Here in the UK, legally the buck stops with the supplier, and we have trading laws to try to make sure they comply with the requirements. However, now people buy from China direct, or from Ebay, they effectively have no warranty whatsoever. Here, this hasn’t caused major grief. Most people buy from dealers if they require service and warranty in return for a higher price. Those who rely on the cheapest mail order purchase seem to accept they are on luck.