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Like it says – Zach Johnson

I’d like to relate a story to you, if you don’t mind.

A few months ago, I was sitting in morning assembly, half-listening to the slew of sports-related announcements, when somebody came up and said this:


Now, to understand why this is significant, I’ll take you back a little more. Recently there had been more than a handful of people caught cheating. People erased other people’s names on scantron tests and wrote on their own – they plagiarized, lied, copied tests, copied homework, what have you.

Everyone knew it was happening, but nobody thought to tell everyone that there was a simple solution; be honest, don’t cheat, and then you don’t get in trouble for it.

Now you might be thinking, “What does this have to do with anything?” Well, the answer is this:


It is not your God-given right to RMA something. It is a privilege. If you look at any vendor’s site, you’ll read all kinds of stuff on the return policy. I like the bit that says:

“Physical damage to any product will void the product’s warranty. Modifying a product in a permanent way is considered physically damaged. cannot honor warranty for CPU’s that have bent pins, cracked or chipped cores, burnt or otherwise sustained any other type of physical damage. Physical damage voids any warranty previously implied for any product.”

When you so much as paint the bridges on a CPU or use defogger on your Radeon 9500 NP in the hopes of getting a successful “hard-mod”, you’ve clearly damaged it physically if you try to return in. Yet it’s easily wiped off or covered up.

What about overclocking in BIOS? You can volt-mod the thing to death, destroy RAM, hard drives, processors, etc. Is that physically damaged? Why, yes . . . But they can’t see it. So everyone thinks to themselves “Oh, it’s not ‘damaged’, it just doesn’t work”. TIME TO RMA!!!!!

The first thing wrong with this:

It is damaged, whether internally or externally. Just because you can wipe off the evidence or never generated evidence doesn’t mean you didn’t do it. Lying may get you thrown in jail in court, but you don’t even get a slap on the wrist for doing it here.

Second thing:

There’s not a soul on this site that can tell me if they owned a company and people were bringing back merchandise that they broke and YOU had to pay for it, not them, that you wouldn’t be furious. Why? It’s not fair, of course. Everyone loves to jump on the “bitch and moan” train when something bad happens or they’ve been “wronged”.

Well, I’ll be the first to point it out, but in RMAing something you broke, you’re wronging the company to whom you’re returning the “defective’ merchandise. RMAing a perfectly working CPU because it’s the wrong stepping is just as wrong. Places like Newegg don’t specify steppings and make no guarantees about steppings.

You get what you pay for, that’s what they say. If you want a guarantee, you have to pay a premium on a different site.

Third and worst thing:

Not only do some of you do this, but you ADVERTISE your actions and PROMOTE them to others! MY GOD! What is wrong with this?

Did it ever occur to those guilty of this action that SOMEBODY has to pay for it? Just because you avoid the cost doesn’t mean somebody else won’t. In the end of the RMA loop, somebody pays.

Let’s consider the wrongs here:

1. It’s not fair. While you may say that’s stupid, if you bitch and moan about things when they aren’t fair to you, shut up, because you’re a hypocrite.

2. The cost of RMAing something falls on places like Newegg or AMD. You send them your broken merchandise, they send you a free new processor or video card. Just because you didn’t pay for it doesn’t make it free. AMD or ATI still made the thing and sold it to Newegg. So Newegg gets screwed.

Let’s say AMD takes the hit, just in case I’m wrong. Newegg sends them back to AMD and AMD says, “We’ll reimburse you” or something like that. So now AMD took a hit. But guess what? They know that. So what do they do?

They raise to prices on CPUs, on retail products, and then vendors hike up their prices, not only to cover the increased cost of obtaining the processor or video card, but because they’re losing money too, so they increase their mark up. Who pays for that? We do . . .

3. I’d venture to say that this is somehow illegal. It could be mail fraud, breach of contract, or some other random thing that applies. Hell, it might be a federal offense, since you’re probably sending it inter-state, although it’s a federal offense just to commit mail fraud, I think.

4. It makes you look really stupid. What happens when you see a car chase on TV or a bank robber bragging, in real life OR in a movie? You laugh and say “what a dumb***”. Why? Because they’re advertising their offense and making it worse by running. Here you are telling the entire Internet that you just committed a crime, either legally or morally, like it’s no big deal.

If you’ve somehow taken offense to my little article here, then either it’s because you commit this wrong and don’t agree with me, or you think it’s too strongly worded. Well, this stuff makes me mad, so that’s why it’s worded the way it is.

It’s like a hit-and-run. You commit a crime, you act like you didn’t do it or that it doesn’t “count”, and then you run away because you got away with it. That doesn’t mean you didn’t do it.

Own up to what you’ve done. You buy it, you break it, you keep it; simple as that.

Zach Johnson


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  1. I think its wrong to RMA stuff YOU break. People have got to take resonsibility for the things THEY break. Its thier own stupidity if they break break something they just bought and they should accept the penelty.
    Coz in the end someone has always got to foot the bill.
    I have read that article and fully agree.
    i too have read the the article and agree.I had to return a mobo to a b/m strore last month that was doa you would not believe the amount of questions i had to endure just to get it swapped.I do NOT blame the store I blame the people RMAing the things they break.what I'd like to know is how are you breaking this stuff?Do you not know what your doing?what are we going to do when the companies get sick of it and the warranty periods start getting shorter and shorter?
    I totally agree...I think it comes down to basic ethics/morals....I never swap things I break...either as a result of overclocking, modifying, etc... It just makes everything cost more in the long run...The biggest RMA scandal I can think of is the Sapphire 9500P-->9700P softmod....Newegg must have had hundereds if not thousands returned on that one...Why?? Just because the board you got didnt take the softmod....
    I guess that is why we are all different....If everyone RMA'ed or everyone was would either be a boring place to live or an expensive one...
    I got a lot of emails about that, and still get them, even . . .
    Most people agree, some really don't. I'll be surprised if people come forward and point the finger of blame at themselves, but it's still reasonable to ask.
    I'll tell you, the only email I got that said I was wrong that came even remotely close to having a legitimate point was regarding the issue of MP3s. All the other emails I got were basically "shut the he** up and stop complaining about it" or "you're wrong". The point they made is that everyone has MP3s and one wrong is as wrong as another, so it doesn't really matter. He also suggested that a lot of people use pirated software or cracks and whatnot. I responded that back in the day (Napster), nobody even thought to consider that MP3s were illegal. I mean, yea, it's obvious, but not if you don't think about it. Speeding is illegal, but you don't really think about it being illegal when you do it. After it was pointed out, then it was a choice to keep doing it. The point of my article was to point it out, just in case somebody didn't know. I don't think I stopped anyone from doing it, but until I started getting hate mail, I felt better having gotten it off my mind.
    And yes, the Sapphire Radeon 9500np was probably the biggest RMA crapfest Newegg and a lot of other vendors ever got, besides XP1700+s. . .
    I really do want to see some people say they think it's okay. When people emailed me saying I was wrong, I wrote each one back (it was more than 50). None that said I was wrong responded, as I recall. Maybe one or two did, but they didn't prove their point, they just told me I hadn't swayed them. If people actually tried to prove their point (with facts, of course, and without name calling), this could get interesting.
    I agree with dont return something that YOU/I broke. I just have a distaste for those who argue with me about what was broke by me and what shouldnt be expected.
    Honestly I feel if a motherboard box says 200MHz fsb it damn well better hit 200fsb. AND they should tell me what combo was used to test that FSB. Even if I cannot buy the parts I want to know so someone who can can test it indepently. I had an issue with my KK266r. This board was not an overclocker. So I returned it. Once I got the MSI kt266 and verified what my components could do I RAMed it. The fact that the audio did not work on the kk266 had nothing to do with my decision to return it but if it makes you happy it helped to validate it.
    I have issues with memory speed claims.
    Alot of guys will jump on the manufacturers side but what about the consumers? Lets say I bought 400MHz RAM and could not do that. I start to read and others with same and different combos have the same issues. Some people also have used their combos with different RAM to reach those speeds. BUT the motherboard or CPU was overclocked to reach those speeds. Can someone return their KNOWN underperforming RAM ethically if they are overclocking only their CPU and/or MB? If you think not please tell me. I would liek to give you an example.
    I am sorry people are IMing me from left and right and my train of thought got sidelined a few times but these are my jumbled thoughts if you disagrre do not fear telling me if you wish to listen to my retort because I will listen to what you say.
    I totally agree about parts that won't work as advertised, but that's not the same thing. I purchased CrucialPC2700 which didn't do more than 145MHz. I RMAed it because it was by definition broken. I read a lot of reports online that said that my particular stick was known to cause problems and not work right. I aksed Crucial before I did it just to make sure it was okay, and they said "go for it". But that's not the same as breakING something. If it's BROKEN when you get it, RMA it. If it breaks after you get it due to something you did, it's your own fault. I don't know that I agree about "overclocking motherboards". If they don't run as SPECIFICALLY advertised and you know your other components will and have run at that speed, then I guess it's okay. But I've never seen a mobo that says exactly how high it will go or how high it was tested stabily. So you have to take the manufacturer's very broad "overclocking" term with a grain of salt. If they test it at 5% overclock, and it won't do 15%, is that their fault? I agree that if they advertise it as "overclocking-friendly", they need to post just how friendly it is, as well as what parts were used during the tests.
    I didnt say claims for overclocking I said writing on the box for 200fsb... I am basing my arguement on my kk266r. My replacement was better but still couldnt max out fsb. Iwill should tell me what RAM, CPU and HD were used so I duplicate what their box says.
    I agree with you on the Crucial bit. You would return a CPU if it could run at its advertised speed on an approved motherboard with proper RAM right? Your example is not even close to being a questionable RMA. If anyone argues with you or Crucial denied you claim I personally would look at the person or Crucial with less respect.
    I don't think its wrong to RMA something you break IF it was broken while you were using the product for what it was supposed to be used for, and you set it up by the book.
    For example, I had an NF7-S and I installed it and I had it running over night and when I woke up in the morning, it stopped working. I did everything the manual said to do when I was setting up the board and I didn't overclock or anything. Even though it didn't arrive broken, I feel that it was okay for me to RMA it even though it could possibly have been my fault (I still can't figure out what happened).
    So I disagree that if your product works when you get, you shouldn't RMA it.
    I also agree that if what you buy doesn't perform as advertised, you can RMA it.
    With that particular example, I don't think your method of setting it up was appropriate. The first time you set up a new board, you should run it at stock speeds for a few days, not only to "burn it in" (to whatever extent it can be burned it), but also to reveal flaws (like it's broken, or doing a certain thing does something strange). If you immediately overclocked it after having set it up and then left it all night, then I think that it's likely that it was your fault. I guess it might not be, but we'll never know. If you didn't overclock it, and it was running at stock speeds overnight and then just didn't work the next morning, then you got a bum piece of equipment. Just because it works immediately after initial power-up doesn't mean it's going to work for the next few years.
    If the box clearly advertises 200MHz FSB and your components are known to work at that frequency, but the board won't go, then the manufacturer is responsible. I know that happened with some of the NForce2 boards . . . It's completely within your rights to RMA it, although it's not exactly "broken" just because it doesn't overclock well. But the manufacturer needs to back up its claims.
    I've read the article and agree and disagree with the argument.
    # 1. people that return stuff to newegg like 1700's and 9500np's just because it doesn't softmod or isn't the right stepping have to pay a restocking fee. Newegg is not being hurt by this. believe me they make money one way or the other. I don't do this because its a waste of my time and time is money. I don't think there is anything unethical about returning this stuff, I equate it to buying a pair of pants and deciding you don't like them so you take them back. does anyone think thats unethical? the rma rate is obviously higher with computer parts vs clothing which is why newegg charges a restocking fee on anything not defective while filenes doesn't.
    #2 any item that has been modded ie blown bridges trace painting or voltmods that breaks. unethical if you try to return it. end of story. if you can't afford to fry it don't try it. thats it.
    #3 any item that says it will do something aka 200 fsb on nforce 2 boards that doesn't is fair game. the product does not function as advertised. this would hold up in court reguardless of proof that other components are up to the task.
    #4 any item specifically video cards that includes overclocking software with its packaging is fair game if it breaks while using that specific utility within its designed limits. I know this one is questionable but if my 9800 pro fried while I was using the included overclocking utility I would send it back in a heartbeat. If the manufacturer doesn't want you to overclock that item don't include ocing utilities in the packaging.
    Just my .02
    I think everyone's going to agree that you shouldnt agree that RMAing stuff you broke is bad. Theres no debate there. None.
    The only thing to debate about is this: If you got a $200 piece of hardware and you accidentally fry it. You do something stupid by COMPLETE accident. Although it IS your fault, its one of those situations that you would introduce as, "Well.. it wasnt MY fault.. it was 's fault."
    Anyway, you look at the manufacturers website and you see that they would RMA the product without a problem since it got fried - nothing broke off. You wont be "caught". Would you really just sit there and say, "Nope. I aint doing it."
    I guess i'll break out of the extreme ethicality of this forum and say i would definately RMA it.
    From my point of view, im not burdening the people of if i send in my item for them to fix. Its the peoples duty to fix items. Its not like they have loads of free time and im just KILLING them for doing their job. They dont have ANY free time. They fix one item, they go on to the other. No extra workload. Im not forcing them into overtime. Cant fix it today? Theyre going to fix it tomorrow. The reason for this paragraph is so people wont use this ridiculous argument.
    Also, dont even try to say that prices on items are so high because people RMA. Thats even more ridiculous than the previous paragraph.
    Anyway, i completely understand that its unethical. I know its wrong, but im going to do it anyway. Im actually surprised at how many people here nod their heads in agreement with this. Its like every "do-gooder" in the world gathered up in oc-forums. Maybe many are just "posing" and dont want to ruin a good reputation theyve established. Or the "rotten" people just arent posting. I dunno.
    Anyway, the reason why i would RMA something I fried is because its relatively harmless. Im not ripping anyone off (i hope no one goes politically correct on my ass (pardon my french) and says "Well, actually, youre ripping " Ok buddy..). So.. i'll repeat the reason: its not harming anyone.
    Have fun arguing with me.
    If something breaks because of something i did, i will buy a new one. However, if it barfs because of other causes, i will have to make the call if it did it on it's own before i will try and return it.
    Originally posted by metra

    Anyway, the reason why i would RMA something I fried is because its relatively harmless. Im not ripping anyone off (i hope no one goes politically correct on my ass (pardon my french) and says "Well, actually, youre ripping " Ok buddy..). So.. i'll repeat the reason: its not harming anyone.
    Have fun arguing with me.

    You make it very easy to argue with you - if the RMA is something which cant be fixed and it is caused by your own incompetence - accident or otherwise then consider the following.
    If a company has a 5% net profit margin after taxes - how many products do you think they need to sell to make up for the 1 RMA that cant be fixed in order to maintain the 5% margin? Simple economics really - they need to sell another 20. Oh and the other option is put the price up.....
    Of course it is not harming anyone - just their pockets.
    Too bad you dont have any statistics on this. How do you know the company doesnt make a 50% profit margin? Thus they only have to sell 2 more. And whats the ratio of RMA'ed products to total sold? And what percentage of those that are "unjust" RMA's (we're talking unjust RMA's - its the company's fault if they made a faulty product). Anyone can make up numbers to favor their argument. Thats not hard. But what we need are some real numbers. Im actually considering calling up a company and asking some of these questions.
    Returning a product that's not broken doesn't really hurt anybody because it's just re-sold. But that doesn't make it right. Newegg specifically says, as do a lot of other companies, that they can't guarantee a specific stepping. They don't say that their 9500np will softmod. If they don't advertise it, you can't logically expect it. You can argue all you want, it's not your right to RMA it just because it doesn't do what was never advertised. It's not the same as a pair of jeans. If you return a pair of jeans, you don't buy anothe pair of the exact same jeans, you buy a different pair. While it's not harming the company in this case, you still have no right to do it. I know the restock fee is set up for this purpose.
    I totally disagree on the subject of overclocking software. If you buy a video card clocked at 275/270 and use the included software to try it at 350/350 and it breaks, that's completely rediculous. You're at fault. Just because they include the software doesn't mean it's supposed to let you overclock to infinite levels. A modest five, ten, maybe even 15MHz is what that's for, not 75 . . .
    Just because you're giving somebody a job doesn't justify the fact that you're returning something you broke. They might not be losing money if they can fix it, but why should you be allowed to do that? If somebody bought a chair you made, sat in it and broke it because they weighed 450, is that your fault? Would you fix it? I don't think so, I sure wouldn't.
    Profit margins don't matter. It doesn't matter how much money they're losing to this activity. It's their money, they've earned it, and it's not your place to keep them from it. I'd wager that profit margins are over 5%, at least before they pay employees and stuff. These things cost a lot more than they're worth. But buying a product doesn't give you the right to rip them off while screaming "up yours, greedy company" just because it costs too much. Everything costs too much. Houses, cars, planes. All of them cost no less than twice what they're worth. How many billion dollar companies are out there? They didn't get there by charging only 10 bucks over the price they paid to make it. . . It's called business. "The business of America is business". They have a right to do it. If you don't like it, don't buy their product.
    It's really impossible to argue that something is right when you know it's wrong, but maybe I'm missing something.
    We need to seperate returning user broken good and unsatisfactory goods.
    User broken:
    Big no-no. However, I do agree if the included software has potential to damage itself then is covered under warranty. Any setting in the BIOS should be supported by the hardware itself and its warranty.
    If you buy a CPU and never use it its your right to return it and depending on policy you may incure a restocking fee. If you buy a CPU and it doesnt overlcock the way you like it again depending on the return policy you may incure a restocking fee. If the vendor wanted they could easily rewrite their policies to omit any return of a used or opened (to check stepping) item. This is 100% up to the Vendor. If they do not include anything about returning an item which you are unhappy with you are able to return it. Again you may incure a restocking fee.
    Alot of people are thinking that the vendors/manufacturers/buyers are the victim here, they/we are not. Ever hear of that saying ' fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me'? It applies to businesses as well.
    Also to think that returning good/abused products does not affect prices is niave. To think that you are paying 50% more than you should because people return products they have broken or are unhappy with is also niave.
    I mentioned overclocking software included with an item simply becaue the manufacturer is bundling it wiht their product. If the product allows 20 mhz or 50 mhz of overclocking and it breaks i'll return it. If you think thats unethical well thenb our ethics are different. good companies stand behind there product and if a included utility may be detrimental to the product then they should eliminate or limit its uses.
    buisnesses should be allowed to make money. as i own a buisness i would guess thast the average company makes about a 20% gross profit. thats before taxes which equates to roughly 12.5-15% net profit depending on tax country and state. I'd hardly see it fit to make such a stink about this as noone will convince those who are doing wrong to change their ways. It's just like p2p's "sharing music".
    Originally posted by zachj
    It's really impossible to argue that something is right when you know it's wrong, but maybe I'm missing something.

    Yes, thats exactly what I said. Whats the argument here. Everyone here has the same set of morals. Maybe a tad different, but, essentially, theyre the same. There arent any arguments. We've all been pounded on the head with whats right and wrong.
    I think everyone who posted was on the same side regarding morals. I completely agree that RMAing something you broke/doesnt perform well under conditions it wasnt supposed to is wrong. However, i would still RMA something to a manufactuer that i accidentally fried or return a 9500np if it doesnt softmod even though i know its not fair. Whats the argument here then? Was there ever an argument in this thread?