Hunting the elusive spare part

Repair instead of replacement has become a rarely used option in our society, so usually not for items over lets say a day’s salary in price. I once had a Shimadzu rep tell me that my $100,000 instrument was an “intermediate” model, produced only for half a year, and after the 5 years guaranteed replacement part period they weren’t stocking any more parts. Leaving me to fix my 6 year old doorstop via ebay.

But, at least, the rep tried to find me the part. Yesterday, my four year old Sonicwall firewall router died of a failed power supply board. Luckily, that’s only four screws, a pulled plug and an overnight shipment of a replacement part from resurrection. Or so I thought. But no, you’re not buying a piece of hardware from Sonicwall (so with a $1,000 price tag it might seem so), you’re just buying the right to buy their services. After several failed attempts to get a hold of anyone I finally to the answer: No, we won’t sell you a spare part. We will sell you a service contract with all the fixings you don’t need (most of my filtering etc is done server side, all the unit did was serve as an auditable intrusion log), and then you get to talk to someone about replacing your part.
I felt reminded of the $3 extended warranty at Walmart for the $10 calculator your kid is going to lose in six months.
Fortunately someone at Sonicwall forgot to erase the parts number on the power board, so after some googling the new part is in the mail, $28 plus overnight fee. May it live happily ever after.


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