A List of Bad Products

(2008 Jan blog post --- and on-going)

I plan to add items to this list in the future --- and I may make some
changes to previously posted verbiage, to clarify some points.
In addition, I may add web links for further information on
products or incidents that appear in this list.

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Introduction

In this blog posting, I collect a list of products with which I have had a bad experience --- or whose design I think is flawed (and, from that design, I expect bad experiences to ensue).

This is intended to be an "on-going" list. That is, I plan to add to it in coming months and years.

I will probably simply add new postings to the top of the list --- but I may categorize them eventually.

You may use the Find-text option of your web browser to find products by keywords in their descriptive paragraphs. You could use keywords such as 'electronic' or 'electric' or simply 'elec' --- or 'power' or 'supply' or 'battery' --- or 'cd' or 'dvd' or 'media' or 'usb' or 'storage' or 'stor' --- or 'drug' or 'side' or 'effect' --- or 'sick' or 'food' or 'poison' or 'spoil'.

To avoid bad experiences with bad products, it helps to look for product reviews on the internet. Several good places to check for product reviews, are amazon.com, epinions.com, nextag.com.

Kirkland brand ICE CREAM (at Costco) (circa 2007)

I bought a package of Kirkland brand ice cream at Costco and when I got it home and tried some, I found that it was gooier than wallpaper paste. Apparently they use more guar gum in making it than dairy products. I filled out a customer complaint at their service desk, but, judging from non-response to a couple of other complaints (TDK CD-R disks and ridiculously small napkins in the food court), I do not expect to see any changes in Costco's Kirkland brand ice cream.

Unfortunately, the package consisted of two containers of ice cream. So, I was stuck with TWO containers of carpet-glue-like ice cream rather than just one. I should have taken cartons of melted ice cream back to them for a refund --- if it could melt. (It's too gooey to melt.) In fact, now I wish I had taken them back. I could have showed them, at the Customer Service desk, how non-liquidy it was at room temperature.

The Kirkland brand is used on many other products at Costco --- food and non-food. I tend to avoid Kirkland brand products now. Any company/outfit that would make ice cream like that is not to be trusted.

I find a lot of good products at Costco, but I have found that the buyer must beware --- even at a store that they like.

APC Power Supplies with Battery Backup (made in Phillipines) (circa 2007)

I bought two APC UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) units in 2007 --- one at CompUSA in April 2007 and one at BestBuy in Sept 2007.

Here is a description of my experience with these APC power supplies, as I posted on 2007oct05 at

    http://www.epinions.com/content/write.html/tnode_~927937172353
after seeing current reviews at
    http://www.epinions.com/ APC_BE350R_Back_UPS_and_Surge_Protection_for_Home_Computer_UPS_System/ display_~reviews


SUBJECT: APC BE350R UPS (Phillipines-made) is a frustrating mess

REVIEW BODY: (20 word minimum)
I bought the APC BE350R [350 watt] battery backup power supply at CompUSA on sale. I have to wonder if CompUSA knew that the sockets on the surge-protected-only side of the supply have poor wiring resulting in intermittent supply of electricity to those sockets --- AND the power supply simply shuts down randomly leaving even the battery-backedup sockets dead. I have to believe that CompUSA is knowingly trying to dump these defective devices on an unsuspecting public --- especially since I found that an APC BE750BB [750 watt] power supply, that I recently bought from BestBuy, has the same problem. (Both were made in the Phillipines.) In my case, CompUSA says they will not refund the purchase price because it has been too long since the purchase. (I only discovered the severity of the problem and that there is no workaround for it about 5 months after the purchase.) That was because 1) first, I was out of town/state for two months right after the purchase 2) I connected it to my wife's computer and for a while she did not report problems to me because she thought she was not doing something right --- like using the on/off switch properly.

   3) When I finally was aware of how serious the situation
      was (my wife had several cases of her computer session
      shutting down suddenly when the power supply
      mysteriously decided to shut down), I found that the
      surge-protected-only side of the supply would not
      consistently supply electricity. When I wiggled the
      plugs in the sockets a power light would blink on,
      briefly --- and then off.

I am disgusted --- with APC and with CompUSA. My wife has
suffered enough from this.  And I am having to waste a lot
of time on this problem.  I am going today to return the
BE750BB power supply to BestBuy.  Hopefully they will be
more responsive than CompUSA [they were; gave me a refund]
--- and will stop selling APC power supplies made in the
Phillipines until APC's quality control problems are solved.

PROS: (15 words maximum)
none --- see Cons.

CONS: (15 words maximum)
Entire power supply shuts down suddenly while a computer session
is on going.  Work lost. 

[In addition, sockets on the surge-protected-only side
 of the device seem to have poor wiring.
 The sockets are dead, and wiggling plugs in them causes
 a power light to go on briefly, and then off.]

THE BOTTOM LINE:
DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT! TRY ANOTHER MANUFACTURER!

OVERALL PRODUCT RATING:
one star (avoid it)

RECOMMEND TO A FRIEND:
No


Here are the model and serial numbers of the two APC power supplies:
APC BE350R Serial No: 3B0646X12660
APC BE750BB Serial No: 3B0715X65094

Postscript : I have been using Cyberpower UPS units, instead of APC, and have had no problems with the Cyberpower brand. In fact, one time the power went off in our house for several minutes while I was working on a computer. The Cyberpower unit beeped every few seconds, apparently to indicate that it was working in battery backup mode --- and to warn the user that they may want to shut down their computer if the outage lasts more than about 10 minutes. The power came back on and the beeping stopped. I was able to work on the computer without interruption. Thank you, Cyberpower. Good riddance, APC.

TDK CD-R disks (made in India) (circa 2006)

I bought a tower of TDK brand CD-R disks from Costco around 2006. As I tried using them in the CD-writer of my PC to backup some files, I found that at least every other CD in the stack was unusable. This was puzzling to me, since I had used up a stack of CD-R disks (Fuji brand) before buying this stack, and I had been able to record to all the CDs in the previous batch just fine.

So I bought a stack of Philips CD-R disks to see if it was a brand problem. Sure enough, I could record successfully to every one of the Philips CDs. So I went back and looked at the details on the stack of TDK CDs. I noticed that they were made in India.

I used to hear that video and audio tapes made by Maxell and by TDK (Japanese companies, I believe) were high quality. So I was surprised that the TDK CD-R disks were of such poor quality. Maybe this is a result of farming out production to India, without following up to make sure good quality control practices are followed. In any case, I will be careful to avoid tech products made in India in the future --- unless I can find glowing reviews of the product.

I reported this bad product to the local Costco store, at the customer service desk, but unfortunately, it seems that Costco is continuing to sell TDK CD-R disks. So, I say, let the buyer beware --- especially if the disks are made in India.


In addition to reporting the problem to my local Costo, I sent an email to TDK, on 20 Jul 2006, via http://www.tdk.com/consumer/support/supportmail.cgi

Here is the text of my message.

Product: CD-R Media

I will never buy TDK CD's again.  Only Fuji or Phillips. 

I bought a TDK CD-R pack at Costco several months ago and found that
over half of the discs were defective. (Made in India, by the way.)
The CDs were rejected when using Easy CD Creator to create data or
audio CDs.  I know it was the disks and not the software used or files
being recorded because I could record successfully right away
(same files, same Creator session) onto Fuji and Phillips disks.

This really blows my confidence in quality control of ANY TDK products.


I also sent an email to Costco on this problem, on 20 Jul 2006, via the web page
https://www.costco.com/CustomerService/EmailUs.aspx?secure=1

Here is the text of my message.

TO Costco Quality-Control:

I am writing costco.com about: Warehouse Questions or Suggestions

I have been burned AGAIN by product quality at Costco.
I will never buy TDK CD's again.  Only Fuji or Phillips. 

I bought a TDK CD-R pack at Costco (Newport News, VA)
several months ago and in the ensuing months I have found that
over half of the disks were defective. (Made in India, by the way.)

The CDs were rejected when using Easy CD Creator to create data or
audio CDs.  I know it was the disks and not the software used or files
being recorded because I could record successfully right away
(same files, same Creator session) onto Fuji and Phillips disks.

This really blows my confidence in quality control of ANY TDK products
--- and it blows my confidence in quality control of Costco in the
electronics area. [In the past, I encountered quality problems
with shoes from Costco.]

Shoes at Costco (circa 1990-1995)

I bought a pair of Nike athletic shoes at Costco around 1990. I tried them on at the store and the length seemed fine. However, after getting them home and wearing them a few times, I found that the part of the shoe around the ankles was too high and that the ankle-part of the shoe would bang into the bony protrusion of my ankle --- while running or even while walking. I ended up cutting a semicircle out of the top of the shoe to accomodate my ankle bone --- and I used the shoes for work-in-the-yard shoes.

A couple of years later, I saw some athletic shoes (tennis type) at Costco, and this time I tried them on being careful to note all aspects of the fit. I found that the tops of the shoes, as they came to the tip of the shoe, narrowed down too quickly --- not allowing enough room for the top of the foot and the toes. In other words, the front of may foot felt pinched --- not by the sides of the shoe, but by the top (and bottom) of the shoe.

After these experiences, I realized that I should be careful about buying certain things at Costco --- especially shoes. It appears that some clothing makers may be dumping flawed merchandise on Costco, just to be able to avoid junking the product.

I find a lot of good products at Costco, but I found that the buyer must beware --- even at a store that they like.

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Page was created 2008 Jan 22.
Added page breaks for better printing 2009 Aug 18.
Minor format changes 2013 Apr 18.