Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Palm and E-Waste

Recently, I ran into an issue with my Palm TX. I'd been having issues syncing it with my Daylite software for weeks, and finally it just stopped. No reason, just stopped. When I tried to reset it, it stopped again. When I did a hard reset, it stopped again. Just froze. With this little bar flashing across the top.

After trying a number of things to get it to work, I called Palm to see about repairing it, and the lovely customer service representative informed me that if I wanted a repair, since I hadn't bought the extended warranty when I purchased the Palm two years ago, would cost me $150.

$150. About $100 less than just buying a new one.

Now here's my issue: what kind of message is this sending? You create a product that's going to fail around two years after you buy it, and then charge almost as much to repair it as it would cost to just buy a new one? In my mind, you're basically telling the consumer "we really don't care about the e-waste that's filling up the landfills; we just want you to keep buying our products." It's creating a situation where the average consumer is just going to say "forget it, I'll just buy a new one." Good for the company's profit margin, maybe - but bad for the environment.

In my mind, we need to find more incentives to repair instead of replace. We need things that last longer, not things that break down and have to be replaced after a couple of years.

For the record, I had to replace my Palm with a Blackberry Pearl - mostly in the interest of combining my phone with my organizer, and also in the interest of moving away from Palm products that weren't working with my computer. But I am using earth911 to find a place to recycle my Palm.

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