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Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:45 PM

Is this legal? Our router was programed to turn off when warranty expired @ 2 years

Yesterday our router stopped working on our PC. When Mr MBZ contacted the company they said that if he bought another warranty they would fix it. Well, we are really tight fisted with our money here so Mr set about to find out how to fix it on his own searching the internet for answers. Finally he found that all he needs to do is--if you still have the original cd/disk--is re-install the program. He was told that someone paid the fee for the source code and found that it is programed to stop working when the warranty is up for renewal. We found our cd and fixed the problem.

How can this be legal? The company doesn't tell you this when you buy their product, and they hid this fact when we called them for assistance. They did though push us to buy another warranty. Legal?

On edit, it is Linksys by cisco, model# wrt54g2v1.We bought the router seperate from our pc and installed it ourselves.

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Reply Is this legal? Our router was programed to turn off when warranty expired @ 2 years (Original post)
me b zola Dec 2012 OP
slackmaster Dec 2012 #1
me b zola Dec 2012 #4
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #7
me b zola Dec 2012 #8
slackmaster Dec 2012 #18
me b zola Dec 2012 #31
tech3149 Dec 2012 #13
msongs Dec 2012 #2
Jackpine Radical Dec 2012 #30
Kelvin Mace Dec 2012 #37
MadrasT Dec 2012 #46
Matariki Dec 2012 #35
Rabid_Rabbit Dec 2012 #3
me b zola Dec 2012 #11
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #5
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #14
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #27
LiberalEsto Dec 2012 #33
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #36
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #39
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #41
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #45
AverageJoe90 Dec 2012 #6
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #10
AverageJoe90 Dec 2012 #28
snooper2 Dec 2012 #9
me b zola Dec 2012 #16
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #12
OldDem2012 Dec 2012 #15
me b zola Dec 2012 #20
gollygee Dec 2012 #17
BlueStreak Dec 2012 #19
OldDem2012 Dec 2012 #21
FreeBC Dec 2012 #22
me b zola Dec 2012 #25
BlueStreak Dec 2012 #32
AlexSatan Dec 2012 #40
BlueStreak Dec 2012 #42
X_Digger Dec 2012 #43
X_Digger Dec 2012 #26
GoneOffShore Dec 2012 #23
JohnnyRingo Dec 2012 #24
TrogL Dec 2012 #29
RKP5637 Dec 2012 #34
CBGLuthier Dec 2012 #38
LongHairedCountryBoy Dec 2012 #44

Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:47 PM

1. I believe it would be perfectly OK for you to name names here

 

What make and model?

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:49 PM

4. Linksys by cisco

model# wrt54g2v1

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Response to me b zola (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:50 PM

7. Thank you. Did you buy it yourself, or was it provided by your ISP? n/t

 

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:51 PM

8. We bought it seperate from our pc

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Response to me b zola (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:57 PM

18. That model is supposedly now supported by some excellent after-market open source firmware

 

http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=40142

Installation is not difficult, and you could tell Cisco to pound sand.

If it was my box, I'd do that in a heartbeat.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #18)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:05 PM

31. Thank you

and my tight fisted husband has already told them to pound sand

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:55 PM

13. Agreed

Having had to deal with this planned obsolescence BS my entire working life, I'd honor anyone who exposes such reprehensible policies. It's bad enough that equipment is designed on the razors edge to survive nothing but the most modest threat. Manufacturers that will not disclose technical information or sell parts that would make repair possible have been the norm for decades. Using software to disable a totally functional product is a new low.

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Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:48 PM

2. evidently you have never owned a Canon printer nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:05 PM

30. Details on Canon printers, please?

Other than their annoying tradition of embedding chips in the inkjet cartridges to impede functionality after refilling, I'm not particularly aware of any problems. I have a Canon AIO laser that has functioned well for years, but my wife has had some troubles with one or 2 of her Canon inkjets.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #30)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:24 PM

37. Inkjets are just a bad deal

They are cheaply made since all of the profit is in the carts. On a per page cost, they are 3-5 times more expensive than a color LASER.

That said, printers today are junk.

I had a client call me a few years back to tell me that the HP4+ I sold him in 1988 had finally died and he wanted to know what model he should buy in the current generation. I found a used 4+ for him online for $125 and told him to call me again in 20 years when that one broke.

I used to be an HP certified service guy, and I wouldn't take an HP product for free these days (sadly, they destroyed the Compaq brand as well).

And don't get me started on keyboards. Still using my IBM Model M and my Northgate 102.

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #37)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 01:16 PM

46. My HP6 is still going strong, since 1995.

I love that thing.

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Response to msongs (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:20 PM

35. Yeah, I'd like to hear about your experience w/ Canon printers too.

I have one. Overall it's not bad but the ink situation sucks. I've found a cheap source at least. I'm not happy about the wastefulness of those plastic cartridges though. Would love a recommendation for a better printer (w/ scanner & copier) that uses refillable ink cartridges.

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Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:48 PM

3. Can you provide some more info?

 

Was this some router software you where running on your pc?

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Response to Rabid_Rabbit (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:53 PM

11. Yes, running on our pc, but we bought it separate

and installed it ourselves.

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Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:49 PM

5. Yes, please tell us which company is doing this.

 

And yes, it is perfectly legal here in the U.S.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #5)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:56 PM

14. I don't know about that ...

unless the what the consumer is actually buying is a license, rather than a warranty.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #14)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:03 PM

27. Well, two things lead me to say that it is legal.

 

Everything you buy has a tiny piece of paper with an encyclopedic volume of microprinted text that nobody ever bothers to read.

And planned obsolescence has been a manufacturing tradition for generations.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #27)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:13 PM

33. If not for planned obsolescence, panty hose would not get runs

Manufacturer are perfectly capable of making pantyhose that don't run. But they don't want to, because it would lower their profits.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #27)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:21 PM

36. But ...

this isn't planned obsolence, where goods are designed to fail ... This is a manufacturer, actively, coding something to stop functioning, without disclosing it. Big difference.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #36)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 04:00 PM

39. Tiny piece of paper. Until someone brings a class action suit there is no down side to doing it.

 

There is another thread recently about somebody's wife having a non-compete clause that she isn't even sure exists or that she signed. Now, anybody that has bothered to learn a little about these things knows that almost all of them are unenforceable and/or unlawful, but hardly any of us have bothered to learn these things, so almost everybody just accepts that this is the way things are. She's afraid to quit her miserable job because she doesn't think she will be able to get another.

There is a big difference conceptually, but in practice everything is fair game, and in a field as controlled as networking hardware it's more likely that the other players will go along than to contest it. Collusion is always more profitable than competition.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #39)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 05:02 PM

41. I completely agree n/t

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #41)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 08:10 PM

45. Infuriating, isn't it? n/t

 

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Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:50 PM

6. If it isn't against regulation, it should be, I think.

Why would they do that? It doesn't make any sense to me, personally.

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:52 PM

10. It makes perfect sense if you're interested in forcing your customers into

 

the role perpetual cash cow.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #10)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:03 PM

28. Can't disagree with that, IMHO. n/t

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Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:51 PM

9. As noted above please provide make and model..

I have never heard of anything like this in routers ever...

Now in some switches and IP PBX if you have say a renewable license file for DSP resources I've seen those be disabled, but this sounds like a story.

Make / model and company you bought from if not original manufacturer

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:57 PM

16. Linksys by cisco

model# wrt54g2v1

and it was bought separately from our pc and we installed it.

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Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:54 PM

12. I would suspect ...

that without a prominent disclosure, this could constitute a violation of various comsumer protection laws, if not out-right fraud.

My suggestion would be to contact your state's Attorney General.

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Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:56 PM

15. I bought a Linksys wireless router several years ago and have never experienced this problem....

...did your husband talk directly to Linksys or did he talk to the guy who sold you the PC and router?

This is REALLY a bizarre story!

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Response to OldDem2012 (Reply #15)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:59 PM

20. When he spoke to Linksys directly, they directed him to buy a warranty

and they would fix it for us over the net...or we could buy a new one. They never informed us that it could just be rebooted if we had the cd to re-install.

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Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:57 PM

17. Wow

That seems totally 100% wrong to me. I'm not surprised someone did it though.

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Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:58 PM

19. I don't believe this

1) Cisco would not sell their source code to anybody.

2) Cisco would not put a time bomb in the router.

I think what happened is that you had a problem that had nothing to do with warranty expiration. You called the help desk. because the product was out of warranty, they declined to help you. They offered to sell you an extended warranty which would compensate them for the support call. You reflashed the unit and this resolved the problem. That happens all the time and has nothing to do with a time bomb.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #19)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:00 PM

21. That makes a huge amount of sense. Bet that's exactly what happened. nt.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #19)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:00 PM

22. your explanation seems much more plausible

 

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #19)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:00 PM

25. According to cisco's own website

You can buy the open source code for the router for $9.95.

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Response to me b zola (Reply #25)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:12 PM

32. Please provide a link

To my knowledge, CISCO may use open source for some management pieces but not for any of the basic router functions. To my knowledge, none of the Linksys models ever were offered on an open source basis.

And I do not believe there would be any open source product (offered by Cisco or anybody else) that has a date bomb in it -- at least not one coded intentionally to match the warranty period.

Indeed, there isn't even any warranty implied for open source.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #32)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 04:37 PM

40. Surprisingly

 

It is true. Much to LinkSys' chagrin.

"But ultimately, under outside pressure to deliver on their legal obligation under the GPL, Linksys open sourced the WRT54G firmware in July 2003."

http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/tutorials/article.php/3562391

As for the time bomb thing, I don't believe that and could not find anything about it or even claims of it.

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Response to AlexSatan (Reply #40)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 05:02 PM

42. Translation -- Linksys screwed up the packaging

They built their firmware on an open source base (which is not uncommon), but failed to compartmentalize their own added value code, and ultimately had to dedicate the entire thing to open source.

The normal development model is to be very careful in the packaging such that your own proprietary developments are layered onto the base in a way that is clearly separable. Doing it that way, you can retain all rights to your added value layer.

Given you critical performance is in the router space, it might have become very difficult to keep the proprietary code at a higher layer.

I agree with you that a time bomb is a crock. That didn't happen. For one thing, the warranty is normally stated as a period relative to the purchase date, and the software would have no idea when the retail sale happened.

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Response to AlexSatan (Reply #40)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 05:03 PM

43. There are alternate firmware versions based on this..

Open source firmware that expand the capabilities of the WRT54g. Neat stuff, too.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #19)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:01 PM

26. This ^^^ n/t

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Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:00 PM

23. I've burned through a Linksys router but never had the problem you describe.

This is a bizarre tale.

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Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:00 PM

24. It appears they actually rented it to you.

Obviously, you thought you were buying it, probably because it was expensive, but they seem to think you own it like you "own" your cable box.

Unless you signed a contract, this can't possibly be legal, and I smell a class action lawsuit coming. if they get away with this, it'll change the electronic retail market forever.

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Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:03 PM

29. I find this hard to believe

I'm the business and I would have heard something. I did my market research and ended up buying a Linksys.

If you buy a cheap router, you generally need to replace it after two years because the capacitors are starting to fry.

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Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 03:33 PM

38. "He Was Told"

By whom and why does he assume this person knows what they are talking about? Someone paid the fee for the source code? Really? I just find all of this highly unlikely.

Now, Cisco support trying to screw you out of money for a problem they know is easy to fix, that I believe. But not the built-in obsolescence concept.

I have used their routers for years and never bought any extended warranty or anything else and never had any problems. I think you have run into an internet legend, which is to say, bullshit.

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Response to me b zola (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 05:14 PM

44. Has your internet provider updated their routers or other equipment,services,etc....

I've talked to some people before that have had problems with their 3rd party router after a change made by the cable company

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