Last week I was asked, as a favour, to look at a portable electric heater that was not turning off (a potentially unsafe condition). It was less than two years old and came with a two year warranty. The heater looked like it had hardly been used, probably because the owner spends time overseas. Unfortunately the sales receipt was not available so the retailer would not replace it. The box had a sticker of $49.95 on it but they apparently sold for as low as $6.00 so the retailer had no idea how much to refund. (Hmm, but why would they not simply replace it?)
The heater was marketed by Kent, a well known New Zealand company. When I approached them they were unsympathetic and they did not supply spare parts for the unit. So I decided to have a go at fixing it. It turned out that the rotary on/off selector switch, which I managed to dismantle, had been assembled incorrectly at the factory. One of the switch contacts was laying at 90 degrees to the position it should have been in and therefore always making a closed circuit. I doubt that it could have become dislodged during use so it looks like production and quality control both failed on this failed unit!
Speaking of faulty goods I chanced across this video clip about a shoddy Chinese made USB hub (I think the presenter may be a fellow New Zealander).
It is of shocking quality (pardon the pun) and was faulty from new. Politicians, consumers, and manufacturers are all complicit in this sad state of affairs. Consumers demand cheap products, manufacturers make cheap products, and politicians (as well as government agencies to some degree) allow it to happen.
Consumers and the environment are loosing out.