Friday, February 15, 2013

Just say no to LaCie

With 25 years of imaging and I've had my fair share of various electronics and high tech equipment. Some have been absolute winners while others have been disappointments. But one company that I have to share my displeasure with is LaCie.

Simply put, they make their products just good enough to last either at the end of warranty or just after.

No, my big beef isn't so much about the fact that it fails after warranty, it's more the fact that they have no after warranty program that is reasonable.

Certainly feel that if your product is being sold in Costco (that's not where I bought mine though), there's a little bit of an expectation that it's mass produced and may not be the best product out there. However, regardless of that, I've had more than my fair share of LaCie products fail on me within the end of their warranty or just after.

How they deal with it is that they don't offer an after warranty repair option other than a discounted purchase for a new upgraded product. What is offered is downright offensive which is barely 15% off retail of a new item.

For me, the past 3 years I've been using a LaCie 324 monitor for my workflow. What gave me a 92% AdobeRGB accuracy in a 30bit monitor was definitely a plus for calibrating my photography and fine art prints. With the SpyderPro4, I was able to calibrate it against my other large monitor and compare it to my printed examples which were very good.

Unfortunately the monitor at about 1 or 2 months out of 3 year warranty stopped working one day.

I checked online (click here to see how many people who have had issues) for a few tips and found no real solutions but a bunch of other 324 owners with the exact same problem. Sadly, all of them also indicated that it was almost at the same time they failed. Everyone also indicated that they tried to get LaCie to acknowledge an issue with the model to no avail. They were all out of luck with their reasonably expensive door stops.


I spent a better part of 3 months trying to get answers and acknowledgement from them. Ironically they keep sending me reminder messages to close my trouble ticket on their system. I've left it open as a constant reminder of this poorly handled situation.

Being that I've been marketing multi-million dollar companies with customer service departments for many years, it troubles me that they have products that fail as much as they do (I've had three myself and up until recently kept buying them) with no decent after warranty policy. If I was to consult for that company, they clearly need to outline a service map that deals with customer issues, complaints and out of warranty issues.

Let alone the fact that their products seem to fail within such a short time frame, I'm warning my readers that if you do buy their products, to be aware that you may be faced with similar issues like mine. Get any issues dealt with immediately within your warranty period. However I do have technology that lasts double/triple the warranty period and LaCie's products don't ever seem to go further than that time period (very troubling in my experience). With that in mind, I advise to look elsewhere but if you do have a LaCie product, here's my advice to you. Contact them with your concern that the product is going to fail at the end of the warranty as there are many owners that have indicated failure of their products just after that warranty period. Get them to do an evaluation of your product and insist on any repairs to ensure that it does not fail soon. Many repair services even warranty the repairs.

Insist for a change in their policy if they don't or at least a guarantee that if your equipment fails after the warranty, that there is a repair policy that is reasonable. Had it been even 40% off retail to me that might have been more reasonable to me, but frankly they just don't seem to care that they don't make products that last even longer than the warranty period.

Every company has their service issue challenges. I'm no stranger to that and certainly appreciate some of the efforts made by individuals at LaCie for trying. However clearly not only is their products broken, but a system on how to work with situations like mine in a reasonable and respectful manner. Unfortunately I will no longer be a customer of theirs.

5 comments:

  1. I've never owned a LaCie product, but I'm no stranger to brand-name items failing right after warranty... My last two Nikon Coolpix cameras quit within days of the warranty's expiration.

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    1. Thanks Wil. Considering that all Nikon Coolpix cameras are made by Casio, I am not completely surprised.

      Many of the issues of big brand name items failing is often related back to how things are manufactured and what QC systems are in place to ensure the standards of the brand are met. However with Coolpix, there are likely minimal standards in place to ensure that it meets Nikon's requirements which is rather disappointing.

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  2. Terrence,

    You aren't the only one. I run a small team of designers and while our main data is stored on servers I did buy a LaCie drive for each staff as a simple time machine to back up their settings and user folders. Out of the 4 people that had a LaCie drive, all of them had to be either reformatted due to disc write errors or they just stopped working and had to be dumped.

    It's lucky that the systems we backed up are not crucial and we were just able to swap them out with better (and to be honest, cheaper) drives.

    Please don't back important info up on LaCie drives, they are photo sadness waiting to happen!

    Chris

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    1. Thank you for your response Chris and I certainly have seen a fair share of others with the same sentiment. I've already gotten rid of two LaCie drives at my own work, and working on getting rid of a few more.

      As for monitors, I'm looking at Eizo, or maybe even the newly announced Dell (however I've heard a fair share of horror stories with them as well).

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    2. haha actually I have Eizo monitors here too. 4 Flexscans - I have no problem with them at all! One of them flew across the room in the 2011 eathquake too and is perfectly fine.

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