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Extended Warranty - Good Value ?

Consumer Rights - Extended WarrantyExpensive extended warranties sold with electrical goods look set to fall under fresh scrutiny by consumer rights activists and the Office of Fair Trading - The Observer

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations - which came into force because of an EU directive at the end of May 2008 - prohibit the 'selling' of rights that people already have in law. But some consumer rights groups argue that extended warranties often do just this, playing on consumers' ignorance. Marc Gander, a founder member of the Consumer Action Group, believes many extended warranties trick consumers into buying insurance that offers them little or no better protection than they already have by law. 'Extended warranties are often an expensive rip-off,' he says. 'These goods are supposed to work for a certain length of time, so what a great trick it is to get consumers to buy an extended warranty in case a product goes wrong too early.'

Many electrical goods have a 12 month manufacturers guarantee anyway, and sometimes repairs are covered by other insurances. LCD TV and touch screen manufacturers claim a 60,000 hour to 100,000 hour product life which at 16 hours use per day is equivalent to a 10 - 17 year lifetime similar to the older style CRT TVs - a 3 year extended warranty may cost you £250 (US$375) or more, when failure, if any, is more likely to happen in the first 12 months which is already covered by the manufacturers guarantee.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: "Our research highlights that many of the warranties on offer today are worse value than ever before and ignore the fact that appliance reliability has improved significantly. We want to see better products at reasonable prices and for people to feel clear about what they are buying”.

Under current rules, retailers have to make it clear that buying an extended warranty is optional and not compulsory.

In the United Kingdom the extended warranty market has been subject to several investigations. In 2002 the Office of Fair Trading decided that self-regulation of the industry had failed and passed the case onto the Competition Commission. This concluded that the market was not acting in the interests of consumers. The Citizens Advice Bureau have expressed concerns about extended warranties being mis-sold.

Extended warranties are an extra cost, sometimes for a percentage of the item's retail price. Occasionally, some extended warranties that are purchased for multiple years state in writing that during the first year, the consumer must still deal with the manufacturer in the occurrence of malfunction. So, what is often promoted as a three-year extended warranty is actually only a two-year warranty and since usually a claim is only likely to be made during the first few months, if at all, this would be covered by the manufacturers original guarantee.

What makes warranties 'extended'

When you buy a product, it's usually guaranteed by the manufacturer for a period, usually a year. An extended warranty will normally cover goods for longer, perhaps three or five years. An extended warranty is coverage for electrical or mechanical breakdown. It may or may not cover peripheral items, wear and tear, damage by computer viruses, normal maintenance, accidental damage, or any consequential loss

Limited cover

No guarantee or warranty will cover everything. Check your warranty documents, but it is likely there is a clause that explains this exclusion. If you can't find it, insist on the company showing it to you.

However, under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) the retailer itself might be liable to repair or replace the machine, if it is considered unreasonable for the fault to have developed so soon after purchase.\

Advice from Which? Extended warranties: know your rights

Do you need an extended warranty?

Not all extended warranties offer the same sort of cover or protection and we believe they're often not worth the money. Which? tests show that most modern appliances are unlikely to break down in the first few years.

How to cancel an extended warranty

Can I cancel a warranty and get a full refund? Yes – if you change your mind after buying an extended warranty that lasts more than a year for a domestic electrical appliance, you have 45 days from when you take out the warranty to cancel it and get your money back. You don't need to give a reason.

Extended warranties for electrical appliances

The most common extended warranties are for domestic electrical appliances, but not exclusively and some audio visual distributors are also offering extended warranties. With these, there are laws to protect you from being pressured into buying an extended warranty without having the chance to consider it properly, or shop around for the best deal.

A manufacturer's warranty and Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, for products like LCD touch screens, provides you with the best deal and lowest cost – don't be misled by extended warranties that add to the cost and most likely provide little in real term benefits.

IR Touchscreen's versatility and proven durability

Edis Touch Screen MultiThe IR touch screen is a very well established, well proven, and reliable technology. Invented in 1971, the first "touch sensor" was developed by Dr Sam Hurst (founder of Elographics) in 1983 Hewlett-Packard's HP-150 was one of the first commercially available IR touchscreen PCs with a grid of infrared beams across the front of a monitor which detected finger movements.

Other touch technologies have been developed since including resistive and capacitive used in many hand held devices and the much later optical imaging technology.

Dr. Andrew Hsu, an expert on touch screen technologies, states in his research paper that “IR (infrared) screens are among the most durable surfaces and can handle hostile environments, making them well suited for military applications ... we can see that infrared touch screen technologies, while being the most durable surfaces, are also quite possibly the most versatile”. Touch screens are used in aircraft, military equipment, machine controls, automobiles, appliances, cellphones, gaming consoles and in large format screens in school classrooms

IR touch technology has also been established for a long time in the classroom in another form where it is used for some makes of interactive whiteboard where it easily withstands the daily wear and tear of eager pupils.

At EdisAV we chose IR technology for our Touchscreen Multi for the classroom to take advantage of the versatile, well proven technology and established durability to hostile environments coupled with the indomitable LCD display featured in millions of TVs around the world

Speech Intelligibility in the Classroom

Speech Intelligibility in the ClassroomThere are some serious misunderstandings that reach me about the quality of sound systems in the classroom.

Unlike Hi-Fi systems where listeners are used to, and some obviously enjoy, booming bass sounds and higher pitched screaming guitars or the full range of an orchestra, the need to make the voice of a teacher intelligible to a classroom of young pupils requires very different sound qualities.

The human voice generates most of it's power between 100 Hz and 2 kHz, this is a tiny proportion of the full Hi-Fi range but unless consonants can be heard in this frequency range, speech becomes almost unintelligible. In Sound System Engineering by Davis and Patronis they state that “It can be seen why the telephone with it's limited response works so well as do small radios with well-designed 4”- 8” loudspeakers covering the range of 125Hz-5000Hz”

Comparing music on a Hi-Fi set-up with that played into a properly engineered classroom audio system, the classroom system will sound flat and the big mistake is to assume that the quality of the system is not good. This could not be further from the truth.

Speech intelligibility calculations and tests show that the articulation loss of consonants in speech  (%ALCONS ) which is normally measured at 2kHz should not exceed 10% to 15%. The most important factor of the audio system for classrooms, is to have the correct frequency spectrum shape at 2 kHz. Many available sound systems ignore this in their design and would need some equalisation to correct these defects at 2 kHz.

So the simple answer is that a normal music amplifier system is unlikely to perform well for intelligibility in the classroom despite an untrained listener thinking that the boomy sounding base relates to a higher quality system

Our classroom audio systems are designed specifically for maximum speech intelligibility at 2 kHz in terms of frequency response, articulation loss and sound pressure levels and perform exceptional well at improving listening and as a result improved learning outcomes. Don't be fooled by those who offer to sell you under powered and poorly designed systems with booming bass !

David Edis-Bates C.Eng MIET

Chinese exports remain strong despite rising costs

China’s vast export sector has been battered on several fronts recently according to the Los Angeles Times. Demand from foreign customers has slowed. The Renminbi is strengthening, making Chinese goods more expensive. Hourly wages are rising with additional pressure resulting from headlines about poor working conditions at Foxconn, the massive assembler of Apple tablets and phones.

Despite this, China has strengthened its position in the global supply chain. Already the world’s largest exporter, China’s share of global exports expanded during the recent global downturn, increasing to 10.7 per cent last year from about 9 per cent in 2008. When times are hard lower cost goods have a greater edge.

Economists say the slowdown may continue depending on how the European debt crisis develops, and the results of the central government’s two-year campaign to deflate the nation’s property bubble.

“China is offsetting the head winds because it keeps capturing more market share,” said Louis Kuijs, an economist at the Fung Global Institute in Hong Kong. “Yes, labour is becoming more expensive over time, but it’s still much cheaper than the U.S. or Europe. The ratio of price to quality is still far more favourable for production in China.”

Prices for Chinese exports have risen 21 per cent since 2005, but less than the 32 per cent increase on goods from India and 33 per cent rise on exports from Mexico in the same period.

China’s growing rate of imports, has been rising faster than exports since the 2008 financial crisis because of the country’s explosive construction demand.

UK Banks to offer NLGS backed loans to SMEs from 20th March

Some good news for cash strapped SMEs

The Chancellor will tomorrow confirm that Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander UK, and Royal Bank of Scotland have signed up to the government's National Loan Guarantee Scheme (NLGS), which will provide cheaper lending to businesses with a turnover of up to £50m.

Small and medium-sized businesses will from tomorrow morning be offered loans at 1 percentage point below these banks' standard lending rates, with about £5bn of government-guaranteed borrowing being made available in the first tranche.

Barclays and RBS are expected to be the biggest users of the scheme to issue £1.5bn each of government-backed bonds to provide the cheap loans to small businesses. Lloyds is likely to provide about £1bn of loans and Santander less than £500m.

Edis offers Virtual Learning Cloud

Edis now provides an outsourcing service for school websites and virtual learning environments. We provide Moodle VLE with web hosting which is integrated into school websites. See more details of Moodle VLE here

Targeted Enquiries from Edis Supplier Wall

Don't forget that you can get targeted enquiries by joining our supplier wall. This offer is open to sellers of our products and also Audio Visual Installers who may or not be selling our products right now . Contact us here to have your Logo and weblink added.

Edis Touch Screen Demonstration Kit in the UK now

Demonstation kit of our Touch Screens, lifts and stands including a flight case with lift are now in the UK. Get in touch with Tony Mercer on +44 77956 35882 to arrange viewings etc The demonstration unit is in a flight case with a lift that only takes a few seconds to raise the screen and plug in a laptop - then it's Plug and Go  - very easy to setup. Ideal kit to take to demonstrate to schools and other customers. Please contact Tony Mercer here for more information or to arrange a demonstration etc