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BFG Tech Sending Out RMA Denial Letters, 'Winding Down Business'

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the at-least-that's-a-good-excuse dept.

Businesses 327

SKYMTL writes "Once one of NVIDIA's primary board partners, BFG Tech has now officially started denying RMA requests for their supposedly 'lifetime warranty' graphics cards. According to a letter from BFG, they are '...winding down business' and are 'unable to replace' any non-working product. A sad turn of events for the thousands who bought BFG's graphics cards and power supplies."

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details details (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261146)

Apparently the company itself did not have a life-time warranty.

Re:details details (4, Informative)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261158)

Sad to see, but it happens. Had the same deal with a motherboard once. Couldn't get upset about it.

Re:details details (5, Insightful)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261222)

+1 to the above... If a company goes out of business, lots of people have a worse day than me with a video card... How about all the employees out a job to start...

Re:details details (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33262130)

How about all the employees out a job to start...

Some organizations close, then reopen under a new name with the same people doing the same thing.

My guess is their target market wasn't even born when Doom came out with the BFG rifle, so its time for a new name.

Re:details details (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261424)

A company (Scovill) once said that they thought they could survive if they were no worse than second best at what they did.

--

They were paying me twice as much. I thought I was getting experience twice as fast.
Charles Percy

Bloody Fucking Gullible (0, Troll)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261562)

...is what BFG customers were.

Re:details details (2, Funny)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261568)

Apparently the company itself did not have a life-time warranty.

Sure they did - it just ran out.

Re:details details (1)

angelwolf71885 (1181671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261606)

you know another company could really step up and offer one of there cards as a replacement that company would gain alot of notoriety and maybe even a loyal fan base

Re:details details (-1, Offtopic)

emptycorp (908368) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261820)

YEAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Re:details details (0, Troll)

Eudial (590661) | more than 3 years ago | (#33262212)

The summary needed to be sent in for repairs. For example, it doesn't elaborate as to what "RMA" means. But timothy was winding down business, so all Slashdot gets is this post instead.

It means "Rubber Manufacturers Association".

Obvious joke alert (5, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261150)

That's the problem with a BFG, it's got a lot of firepower but you might end up killing yourself.

Nonsense (1)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261398)

Nonsense. The Big Friendly Giant was a gentle, good-natured creature: He did fire dreams, but you'd never be risking your own death around him.

Re:Obvious joke alert (-1, Troll)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261530)

Nah, the rocket launcher was good for that but the BFG rather less so. The BFG wasn't actually a particularly good weapon because it was so slow to fire.

Re:Obvious joke alert (0, Offtopic)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261600)

It really depended on how clumsy you were, and how quickly the enemy closed on you...the slow to fire bit actually added a bit to its propensity to kill the user...enemy far away, hit Ctrl (maybe still heading forward a bit), it comes in a bit, BAM it's too close for your 35% health to handle, and the map restarts.

Lesson learned? Hit the down arrow when thinking about firing the BFG, no matter what.

Re:Obvious joke alert (0, Offtopic)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261724)

The BFG certainly never acted like that in doom 1 or 2. I don't remember much of 3 because I was too busy playing whichever Unreal was out at that time.

Re:Obvious joke alert (1, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261988)

The grandparent is what, these days, is referred to as a 'n00b' and is has not played the games where the BFG originated. He is talking about the BFG from Quake 2 and newer games. Unlike the BFG from Doom, which basically eliminated all enemies nearby, the BFG in Quake 2 was more like a very powerful rocket launcher.

Whose lifetime? (5, Insightful)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261154)

My lifetime?

The product (estimated) lifetime?

The company lifetime?

The receipt lifetime?

Always check which lifetime they mean. Words are wonderful: there are so many definitions to choose from.

Re:Whose lifetime? (5, Insightful)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261166)

Independent of the original intention, most "lifetime warranties" are somewhat shortened by the company no longer existing, the receipt no longer existing, or the user (and in most cases, the only person who cared about the warranty) dying.

Re:Whose lifetime? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261250)

...most "lifetime warranties" are somewhat shortened by ...

I like to say "whichever comes first"...

Re:Whose lifetime? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261698)

Funnily enough, the minimum of three lifetimes is not actually the lifetime of anything (like the minimum of the widths of three boxes is not itself the width of a box in general). Thus the lifetime warranty in this case is not actually a lifetime warranty at all :)

Re:Whose lifetime? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261624)

most "lifetime warranties" are somewhat shortened by [...] the user dying.

Wasn't that obvious already ?

Re:Whose lifetime? (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261168)

I know the answer now...

lifetime = past life or not applicable to this one.

This serves as a valuable reminder to not procrastinate on warranty returns.

I just checked my dead 290 to see what the brand was...

Now, I find eVGA a pain in the ass to deal with, but at least they are still around.

Re:Whose lifetime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261426)

Now, I find eVGA a pain in the ass to deal with, but at least they are still around.

Could you elaborate on that please? I just had to replace my old eVGA 8600GTS that was flaking out and was wondering if it was worth bothering with trying to deal with eVGA and their lifetime warranty.

Re:Whose lifetime? (1)

suso (153703) | more than 3 years ago | (#33262172)

Now, I find eVGA a pain in the ass to deal with, but at least they are still around.

Only as long as their capacitors last. I've had around 4 eVGA cards in different computers and all of them eventually went dead with blown out capacitors.

Here's a picture for the curious. [suso.org]

Re:Whose lifetime? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261256)

As a matter of law, it is almost always "reasonable lifetime of the (class of) product".

Nevertheless, ALL warranties expire when the guarantor of those warranties ceases to exist. And they're invariably unsecured, which means you can't ever claim a debt against the company in administration unless there's something left after all secured debts are paid (almost never, or the company would still be in business!).

Re:Whose lifetime? (2, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261264)

Sorry what?

The reasonable lifetime of the class of product is something protected by law anyway (well, in europe). A "Lifetime Warranty" can and should be interpreted as something over and above that, a warranty or guarantee that last the lifetime of the purchaser, Much like with a zippo lighter.

Of course, yes, if the company goes tits-up then it's pretty useless.

Re:Whose lifetime? (4, Informative)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261848)

In the US, a "lifetime" technology warranty is almost invariably for the lifecycle of that particular manufacturing line. As soon as they are no longer manufacturing replacement parts and run out of comparable stock, the warranty fine print states they no longer have to honor the warranty.

Re:Whose lifetime? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261358)

Lifetime of a rat.

Re:Whose lifetime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261372)

quaresma [rq7.org] a

Re:Whose lifetime? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261536)

The receipt lifetime?

Particularly if you bought something in a store that has a policy of "original receipts only" - and uses thermal paper for receipts that tends to fade to nothing in 3-6 months

Re:Whose lifetime? (4, Interesting)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261870)

If it's in the UK, all products have a lifetime for a minimum of 6 years.

"Goods are of satisfactory quality if they reach the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking into account the price and any description."

Apple honoured a repair I had to my iMac that died when it was three and half years old when I stated the Sales of Goods Act. The machine required a new PSU and logic board. The repair would have been around £800.

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/consumers/fact-sheets/page38311.html [nationalarchives.gov.uk]

Re:Whose lifetime? (4, Interesting)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261876)

Also with the UK, in the contract at sale is with the retailer, not the manufacturer. If the retailer can't get your product fixed, for example BFG have gone out of business, then you can claim for damages or a full refund.

Re:Whose lifetime? (4, Interesting)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33262108)

I always wondered why you guys paid such high prices for electronics. Now I know. Wow.

Re:Whose lifetime? (1)

Eevee (535658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33262154)

Quite a while back, a local theater had "lifetime passes". They were quite up front about it--the lifetime was defined as until 1996, when their lease was up. If they managed to get a new lease, you needed to get new passes. (Of course, they couldn't afford the rent increase on a new lease and went out of business, so it was a moot point.)

Re:Whose lifetime? (4, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 3 years ago | (#33262182)

This is why "no one gets fired for buying IBM." Alternative vendors and small companies are generally riskier to deal with - if they collapse, all the support collapses with them. This reality is why many businesses prefer big, institutional vendors even when they cost more and, in the short term, seem to provide less.

Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261184)

Obviously by lifetime warranty, they meant the company's lifetime. Not the hardware's.

Read the fine print!

Is it really true? (1)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261186)

It could be some pump-and-dump scheme. Yes I know it's not listed but it's possible it has shares trading privately.

Or some competitor trying to undermine BFG.

I would rather like to see a note it's website, like http://openlabs.com/ [openlabs.com] has on its front page.

Re:Is it really true? (5, Informative)

Sylak (1611137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261200)

Let me speak from experience and say that they are not even responding to open support tickets, so i doubt anybody gets as far as an RMA anyway

Re:Is it really true? (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261208)

Nice post on the front page of openlabs... That is how it should be done, hopefully they have the resources to follow through. You can buy some pretty serious customer loyalty by doing a silly simple thing... take care of your customer's problems as if they were your own...

Re:Is it really true? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33262202)

from tfa it looks like their reseller status got cut back, (possibly in retaliation for their buying some of their other parts from other sources) causing them to not be able to get ahold of the latest gear, which led to a major customer of theirs dropping them, something of a domino effect.

In business, everybody plays hardball. And it's the smaller businesses, and us the customer, that end up losing.

It would be interesting to have an inside line on the early stages of the problem. Could have been a case of the supplier saying "you buy everything from us, or we're going to bury you." In which case we may see litigation. Not that it will help anyone much at this point. You can't really recover from this.

Sad to see them go (5, Insightful)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261194)

BFG made good gear.

Re:Sad to see them go (1)

Pax00 (266436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261512)

I thought that once based on other people saying such a thing. Then I bought a graphics card. Six months later the fan started making this loud annoying noise and the whole card went out. Must have just been the luck of the draw.

Re:Sad to see them go (2, Funny)

Fross (83754) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261752)

Did you replace it under the lifetime warranty?

Lifetime Warranties... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261206)

A "lifetime warranty" is for the lifetime of the product, not your lifetime.

You'd think people would have figured that out by now. If the warranty doesn't have a specific period spelled out in terms of days, years, months, etc. then it's essentially worthless. All the company has to do is "end of life" a product, and voila! no more warranty. And when a company shuts down, the warranties are gone forever regardless.

Re:Lifetime Warranties... (1)

Nabeel_co (1045054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261238)

I'm sure that there are laws protecting consumers from this kind of practice though... Not that that means much...

Re:Lifetime Warranties... (3, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261556)

Depends on the country you're in.

In the UK you have the Sale of Goods Act, which demands that goods must last a "reasonable time" from purchase ("reasonable" obviously depending on the type of product. You wouldn't expect an oil filter to last several years, for example) and the statue of limitations is six years. If the product fails within this "reasonable time", it's down to the retailer to repair or replace - though if you go direct to the manufacturer as a warranty return, then when they've replaced it you no longer have the item you bought from the retailer so they no longer have any obligation to you.

AIUI, EU law dictates that we have something like this but doesn't prescribe a 6 year statute of limitations.

So if your shiny new sofa falls to pieces after 18 months and the store says "1 year warranty! Can't touch us!" you can - at least in theory - sue them.

Thing is, most retailers can and will say "Out of warranty! Can't touch us!" and most people will say to themselves "Bugger. Suppose there's not much I can do, but I'm not buying the replacement from them." Failure to honour these rights is rife within the retail industry, and Trading Standards usually only step in with the most blatant violations (such as big signs in a physical store saying "No returns, go to the manufacturer").

Re:Lifetime Warranties... (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261686)

Something to remember- in the EU everything electronic basically has to have a minimum 1 year warrenty as far as I know.
In some countries in the EU it's 2 years.
Sometimes you'll see electronics with a big showy "FREE 1 YEAR WARRANTY!!!" as if it's something amazing that they have any choice about or all their competitors don't have.

And whoever you bought it from has the responsibility of handling it even if they try to claim "No returns, go to the manufacturer", they can suggest you do that and in some cases it will save you time but ultimately the buck rests with whoever you gave money to.

Also using thermal paper and then insisting you have the reciept 6 months later should be treated as the scam it is.

Re:Lifetime Warranties... (2, Interesting)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261690)

Actually, my experience in the UK has been that a strongly worded letter by registered post to the head office quoting the relevant law will get you a repair or at least a partial refund. Except for fly-by-night crooks, most companies know that it will cost them way more to fight in court than to just pay up.

Usually in the local stores, even the managers are totally ignorant of the law ("you have to have a receipt - it's the law!" - really, show me the Act of Parliament then...) but at head office they're totally aware that they are lying to customers every day by claiming that their responsibility ends after one year, that it's standard practice throughout the industry, and that avoiding noisy customers going to court is important otherwise everyone would know.

Re:Lifetime Warranties... (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261942)

Thing to remember with legal mandates for warranties is that all they mean is the manufacturers adds the warranty price to the product price. I would rather pay the warranty separately and have a choice.

Re:Lifetime Warranties... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261330)

Some companies take their warranties more seriously than others...

Zippo, for example, will replace any of their lighters, in any condition, for anyone who sends one in. You can run one over with a car and still get a replacement.

Re:Lifetime Warranties... (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261622)

Or a lawnmower; I've heard of that being done, but lack video/photo evidence to back it.

Re:Lifetime Warranties... (3, Interesting)

PeterKraus (1244558) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261590)

KOSS for example gives you a proper "lifetime" no-questions-asked warranty. Even if your headphones are 10 years old, have been chewed up by your dog, and end-of-line product, KOSS will replace them with a new pair (in case of EOL with an equivalent pair).

I snuck under the wire! (1)

IceDiver (321368) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261214)

I just returned my BFG card and got it replaced a few weeks ago. It was only a couple of months old when it failed. Not the quality I expected from such a big-name company.

So who is making quality graphics cards and standing by their warranty these days?

Re:I snuck under the wire! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33262174)

There could be something more to the story(financial shell-gaming, byzantine corporate re-org raiding, or whatever); but there is no particular reason to expect any of the graphics cards companies to be markedly better than the others.

They operate on the cutthroat business of basically buying chips and slapping them on reference designs, often distinguished by no more than a sticker on the cooling module, maybe a funny PCB color, and the choice of either a CGI robot or a CGI chick with big breasts to go on the box.

Nvidia and AMD, along with outfits like TSMC and GlobalFoundries, determine how good the chips will be, and how overclockable, and what they will be sold for. The card makers just get to fight over whatever margins are left in slapping them on a board and populating it with passives. Somebody has to do it; but that isn't a business that screams "family dynastic tradition of quality and service"...

Pity. (1)

VoltageX (845249) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261218)

So that leaves XFX and EVGA to duke it out.

Re:Pity. (1)

deep9x (1068252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261410)

I think you mean it leaves eVGA standing alone, since XFX actually makes graham crackers with chips stuck in it that break at the slightest provocation.

Interesting thread from HardForum (5, Interesting)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261230)

Here is an interesting thread from HardForum:
http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?s=ad39475190e27b7270fad7c8f5202588&t=1539921 [hardforum.com]

It has an image of the letter, gives a plausible reason why BFG is going down (Best Buy wouldn't carry some of their products).

Re:Interesting thread from HardForum (5, Informative)

Jeslijar (1412729) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261362)

I found this article through your interesting thread: http://www.hardocp.com/news/2010/05/18/bfgtech_exits_graphics [hardocp.com]

As Notleh on HardForum posted:

"After eight years of providing innovative, high-quality graphics cards to the market, we regret to say that this category is no longer profitable for us, although we will continue to evaluate it going forward", said John Slevin, chairman of BFG Technologies. "We will continue to provide our award-winning power supplies and gaming systems, and are working on a few new products as well. I’d like to stress that we will continue to provide RMA support for our current graphics card warranty holders, as well as for all of our other products such as power supplies, PCs and notebooks."

BFG will continue to offer RMA, telephone and email support for qualified BFG Tech graphics card warranty holders, but will no longer be bringing new graphics card products to market.

First and foremost, I have to say that HardOCP is sad to see BFGTech go. It was a company that opened up new ways of doing business with customers in the graphics card arena. The solid warranties and support you all enjoy now with high-end graphics cards companies can be traced back to BFGTech and its three founders, Scott Herkelman, Ric Lewis, and Shane Vance.

Of course our biggest concern is that our readers that have purchased BFG video cards are taken care of. Speaking this morning with then BFGTech CEO, Scott Herkelman, he assured me that BFG has taken measures to make sure full RMA and support will continue. Eight full time employees and the full group of tech support will remain in place as well as warehouse labor. That means continued 24/7 phone, email, and full RMA support for registered cards. As of today, BFG has a full reserve of cards and monies set aside to sure proper support occurs.

Re:Interesting thread from HardForum (4, Insightful)

Fross (83754) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261760)

That was 3 months ago - looks like BFG as a whole may be winding down now, hence the warranties would no longer hold.

Re:Interesting thread from HardForum (1)

Briareos (21163) | more than 3 years ago | (#33262168)

Of course that's a quote from an article that's already three months old as opposed to this current story...

worse problem (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261252)

I've had lots of BFG cards fail on me and others I know because they're the "OC" ones that come factory overclock. That combined with the inferior fans that fail usually lead to damaged cards and fried GPUs. So BFG is both more likely to break than the average brand and now going back on their lifetime warranties. Wow, after that kind of BS, nobody's going to buy whatever it is they're still selling after getting out of these markets!

Legality? (5, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261254)

Is it actually legal to sell someone a product with a warranty and then refuse to fix it because business is winding down? Don't closing companies have to keep a certain amount of money for problems like this? Can I put a lien on their property if they fail to meet their contractual obligations and I'm shorted money because of it?

Re:Legality? (4, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261286)

That depends.

If the company has just decided not to do graphics cards any more and close down that part of the business, then hell no! They should be expected to honour it and if they can't repair/replace in house then contract it out or provide another manufacturer's replacement cards.

If they are actually winding up the company, have administrators in and are genuinely (almost) bankrupt and closing up shop, that's a different matter.

Re:Legality? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261716)

If they're going bankrupt would that not make you just another creditor?

Re:Legality? (2, Informative)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261824)

Yes, technically. But you probably don't want to know how far down the priority list customers are when it comes to bankruptcy creditors.

Roughly (IIRC, IANAL etc.), it goes 1) cost of administering the bankruptcy, 2) taxes, 3) secured debt (property and what have you), 4) employee wages and such, 5) everything else.

Customer debts come under everything else,along with, well, everything else.

Re:Legality? (5, Informative)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261324)

If they're under administration (voluntary or not) then no, all you can do is add your name to the list of creditors. Although, you're free to sue them, but then they only need declare bankruptcy (if they haven't already) and again, you're talking to administrators. Neither will get you anywhere, as even if you succesfully registered as a creditor, your proportion of the liquidation would only be a few cents, if anything. It would like cost more to apply than you'd receive.

I applaud them for actually announcing this ahead of time, knowing they'll cop a few weeks of hatemail and angry phone calls, rather than doing what most companies do - which is pretend everything's fine, and simply put off RMAs, until the day they close up shop. Hell, they're even mailing the cards/PSUs back. While it's nothing more than a gesture (its fairly difficut to manually repair a power supply safely, and virtually impossible to repair a physically defective video card), its a nice gesture which companies who care less about their customers simply wouldn't do.

Re:Legality? (1)

Celarnor (835542) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261422)

Is that seriously where we've arrived at, where a hardware company gets kudos just for sending back the defective card?

I would certainly hope they'd be legally obligated to send it back if they refuse the RMA. Personally, I think that if they can't follow through on their promise, they should be obligated to refund the purchase price of the product, but I realize this kind of common courtesy is none too common these days.

Re:Legality? (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261980)

Personally, I think that if they can't follow through on their promise, they should be obligated to refund the purchase price of the product, but I realize this kind of common courtesy is none too common these days.

And how is a company that is bankrupt supposed to do that? Perhaps you don't understand what it means to declare bankruptcy?

In simple terms it means you owe people more money than you can pay back, and all the money you have is divided up amongst the people you owe money too, and this division is overseen by people whose job it is to see that certain classes creditors are paid back before the next class.

There is absolutely no chance they would even be ALLOWED to start sending refund checks to people who they don't legally owe money too, as 'courtersy'. They'd have to pay back all their registered creditors back in full, first. And if they could do that, they probably wouldn't be bankrupt.

Re:Legality? (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261498)

Which is why pretty much all "should we go bankrupt, we'll turn off the DRM" promises are worthless. What are you going to do if they don't comply? If your software just calls out for an activation server that is long gone and liquidated? Do you think you'll get that software patched even if you sued, even if you got on the list of creditors? I'd bet not. I'd love to see what would happen if Steam got competed out of the market by another steam-like service and had to "wind down their business". Maybe I'm just a huge cynic but it's so easy to make promises you never have to deal with. So everyone gets mighty pissed, but who cares? They're out of business. Gone. Closed up shop. If you swear to never spend another dime on them, they still don't care. And while despite being utter asshattery, I doubt it pierces the corporate veil so the profits they've taken out of it is theirs.

I know of another case just like this, dealing with resellers and investments. In short, resellers are often short-lived beasts that sell - and sometimes oversell - investments from companies that offer investment opportunities. It takes some time for the investments to mature and while there is a second hand market there's a solid penalty for getting out underways so mostly you're in it for the whole project, it's not liquid like stocks. What happens is that before the investments start delivering results, the resellers declare bankruptcy and start up under a new name and tax id. Then the people who made the actual investment project get to take all the shit for everything that's been said, not legally but as pretty unhappy "customers". Trying to sue a dead copmany where no one picks up the phone because there is no phone just doesn't get you anywhere.

Re:Legality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261612)

For single player games like Bioshock a simple No-CD crack will bypass Steam's DRM but any of the "Follow the Rules" types are screwed as usual.

Re:Legality? (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261746)

Which is why pretty much all "should we go bankrupt, we'll turn off the DRM" promises are worthless. What are you going to do if they don't comply?

Something else which a lot of people (who perhaps don't understand business) need to realise:

If the company goes into administration, the original directors - the ones who stood up and promised "should we go bankrupt, we'll turn off the DRM" are out of a job. Regardless of whether or not they want to instruct their engineers to disable the DRM, they no longer have authority to. New directors are appointed by the administrators and it's their job to get the best possible outcome for the shareholders - be it selling the business as a going concern or winding it up and selling the assets. "Turning off the DRM" is likely to be so low on the priorities list that it'll never happen.

Re:Legality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33262152)

What DRM are you talking about? This is a graphic card/psu manufacturer.

Re:Legality? (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261850)

Cure? Never spend money on DRM crap. They think they gotta DRM it, then they don't need MY money, and I don't need their crap. That simple.

Re:Legality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261758)

Yep, my parents had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a furniture store that was still accepting/soliciting advance payments on Friday, while the store owner knew they were going out of business on Sunday.

There was nothing they could do to get any of that money back.

Re:Legality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261778)

I bet you can as an "unsecured pre-petition creditor".

Post-petition creditors get priority for any bits of meat on the carcass, and then secured pre-petition creditors...

If they have enough money to cover all of that then they are probably solvent and don't need to liquidate.

Re:Legality? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261708)

That has a lot of "depends" clauses attached to it. If they are already under administration then yes it's WAS legal to sell a product with a warranty and then refuse the warranty. A company with no money can not replace a product, what you gonna do? Sue a company with no money? As others already mentioned the only avenue is to get on the list of creditors.

The waters get muddy when you're talking about someone buying a product AFTER they have announced their intent to go into administration. A few companies have done that in the past, taken lay-by orders or selling products after they have filed and then apparently been surprised when the customers affected went to the top of a creditors list. The former practice is just a way of business, but the latter is fraud and the administrators can get punished quite severely for it.

Still a lot better than PNY's warranty (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261258)

In the context of a company going under, the term "lifetime" is pretty meaningless. What are you going to do, sue them? BFG had solid CS in their prime, and this really wasn't a deliberate attempt to hoodwink anyone. It would be nice of them to procure new cards for RMAs from other suppliers, but they don't really have any incentive to do so.

However, some companies, like PNY, offer a "lifetime" warranty meaning "while the card is still being manufactured by us." Needless to say, after being informed of that little loophole, I stopped buying anything from those guys!

Re:Still a lot better than PNY's warranty (2, Informative)

JackAxe (689361) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261388)

With a registration, my PNY cards have all had 3 year warranties.

Re:Still a lot better than PNY's warranty (2, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261954)

As someone else mentioned, if you have one of these cards and indeed they are winding down. You should file to be put on their creditors list. Back when Fujitsu got out of the HDD business, I got a money from part of the class action lawsuit I joined, for drive failures. But I was also on their HDD creditor list for several other drives they refused to cover. In the end I got the money I was owed for them(around 18 drives).

Anyway, I've had no shortage of problems from card manufactures the last couple of years and trying to get them to honor their warranty. From MSI to PNY, there doesn't seem to be any shortage of companies trying to screw people off either, however the other obvious way you can get at least some of your money is to go to you local court, and file a suit under small claims. In most case you'll see your money, because they'd rather just get rid of you than go to court(which costs them even more). That was the only way I could get MSI to "cover" my warranty, and by cover I mean fully refund the price of the card when it was new.

My fastload cartridge isn't working... (2, Funny)

negativewashout (1879516) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261280)

....can I get it replaced under warranty? The 800 number doesn't work for Epyx - but it could be this rotary dial phone....

LOAD"TOUCHTONE GENERA",8,1
READY.
SYS49152

It sucks that BFG is going under, but in a mostly-free-market world, it's reality sometimes, huh.

Consoles spelled the doom (4, Insightful)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261296)

Sadly, I don't much care about those consumers affected by denied RMA requests. The larger picture here is that this is another example of how console gaming has brought stagnation to the gaming industry. Companies who profitted from deploying bleeding edge hardware that was demanded by a constant churn of increasing software demands are no longer able to stay afloat. Consoles lock graphics to a much longer generation than does pc gaming. It's hard for companies like BFG to stay afloat when stuff stays the same for five or more years.

Re:Consoles spelled the doom (4, Insightful)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261312)

Sadly I don't care what callous people say while they pontificate.

Re:Consoles spelled the doom (2, Insightful)

geogob (569250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261544)

Although I agree with you on the state of the gaming industry and the link with console gaming, I don't think this is what caused the downfall of BFG. It might have accelerated it, but I feel it was more a series of bad business decisions and choice of distributors that nailed the coffin for BFG.

Re:Consoles spelled the doom (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261726)

It's easy to blame console gaming, yet console gaming continues to produce better looking graphics with existing hardware well beyond the life of equivalent PC gaming hardware. This is largely because the entire hardware pipeline in consoles is focussed towards gaming, whilst the PC isn't- it's more generic hardware bus just isn't as suited to gaming, hence why lower spec consoles can still produce better graphics and better framerates than equivalent and higher specced PCs (within reason of course).

The fault isn't console gaming, the fault is of the companies pushing ever more powerful graphics cards, whilst developers on the PC just outright fail to make use of the last generation- and for good reason. The issue is that the PC is such a fragmented platform and suffers from such high piracy rates that developers on the PC are better off spending their time making sure their game works for as wide an audience as possible, which means far less focus and optimisation on high end graphics.

The fact is, the high end PC graphics card market was always going to be unsustainable, because it's simply a niche market in an era where developer focus is more and more turned away from that market due to decreased profit from that segment.

It's not really anything to do with console gaming. The fact is, it's hard for companies like BFG to stay afloat when their target market is declining on the realisation that they don't need the latest and greatest graphics card coupled with the fact the world financial situation is still shakey and if consumers don't need to spend money right now, then they wont. When you build a company for a niche market that exists based purely on testosterone fuelled competitiveness of who can get the highest FPS then it's no suprise that when money is tight things start to decline somewhat.

As an illutration of my point, my current PC has now just hit 2 years old and I can still play the latest games like Starcraft II in maximum detail at 1920x1200. This would be unheard of a decade or so ago, where even 1 year old PCs would struggle to run the latest games at high detail, or in a decent resolution. The fact is, the PC market is changing and there's not much of a place for overclocked SLI graphics cards in that nowadays- the rise of playable, rather than graphics fuelled indie games over the last few years is also another reason why people no longer need to pay for ultra-expensive high end graphics cards now. The focus has moved back somewhat towards playability and fun for the masses rather than just stunning graphics for the elite on the PC.

BIG FUCKING GRIN I'm sure !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261314)

They be grinning back form the bank. Gettin' out while the gettin' be good !! Suckaz !!

Comments on Newegg (1)

r6_jason (893331) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261316)

The comments on BFG power supplies at newegg pretty much confirm this. "Other Thoughts: RMA'd to BFG, got approved, paid for shipping, then received it back in the mail with a statement, "BFG Technologies, Inc. is winding down and liquidating its business." Dead product returned without repair/replacement." Dated 8/13/2010, little over 2 days ago. I wonder if XFX is right behind them, I have a few of their video cards that I bought for the life time warranty....

Re:Comments on Newegg (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261430)

XFX seems to be doing fine. They don't have all their eggs in one basket like BFG did.

It's a sad day. (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261346)

It's sad to see BFG go. They were one of my favorite card manufacturers, but people can't really get upset with BFG and feel like they were wronged. Nothing lasts forever. You can expect a "lifetime warranty" to last as long as either the company exists or in the worst case, as long as they're manufacturing that sort of product. If they'd been a broader company and stopped manufacturing graphics cards alone, your lifetime warranty wouldn't mean much.

Re:It's a sad day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33262120)

They were one of my favorite card manufacturers

Can I ask why? I've never actually given a shit who built my video card, and can't think why anyone would. (I always thought the freebie games etc were crap, never actually used them myself)

BFG cards blow up Mobos (1, Troll)

entertainment (749138) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261364)

We had a BFG card in my VFX shop - and what we originally thought was a faulty Mobo, became two faulty Mobos, then three. HEY! Time to stop putting that crappy card in our machines! After a very expensive testing process, we discovered that it was, in fact the BFG card that was blowing up our systems. Good luck getting them to acknowledge that... BFG YOU WILL NOT BE MISSED!

Re:BFG cards blow up Mobos (2, Informative)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261440)

This sounds like a strange scenario possibly due to some type of weird configuration. I remember back in the ole mobo jumper days when I blew a couple components because I had overlooked a jumper cpu voltage setting. Nobody's fault but mine.

Re:BFG cards blow up Mobos (1)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261572)

I've seen a killer videocard (claimed two motherboards), a killer motherboard (three power supplies) and a killer PSU (two motherboards). I don't know how that compares to other PC support techs (over a period of twenty years).

Sometimes the little monsters just wake up homicidal all on their own. :)

Re:BFG cards blow up Mobos (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261706)

I had the Killer CPU. Two PSU Motherboard Vid card along with 4 sticks of ram and two HDD. That's right it killed two complete systems. Funny thing is the system would work for about a week then the problems would start.

It was hell to diagnose. the only part not replaced was CPU.

Re:BFG cards blow up Mobos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261880)

Sadly the probably great information and great tech abilities of Sabriel will always be marred by the utter incompetent and moronic lack of common sense and ability that Merls the Sneaky has.

Re:BFG cards blow up Mobos (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261832)

About the only way to combat these sorts of incompatabilities is to order brand new computers from custom manufacturers, and let THEM blow up hardware while trying to find something that works. I had an incompatability that made it APPEAR that the mobo was hosed, but it was really an I/O card doing it. Took it to several repair shops, they never figured it out either. Cost me out the wazoo for the parts to assemble it, and I could have bought a Gateway with more memory, more disk space, and about $1500 less money. Only things I have that the Gateway didn't was Win 7 Ultimate (theirs was 1 version lower) and a Blu Ray burner. Will never build again... just buy it.

Re:BFG cards blow up Mobos (1)

entertainment (749138) | more than 3 years ago | (#33261618)

These were modern 'jumperless' ASUS Mobos...

I'm not surprized. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33261478)

When I RMA'd my graphics card, I've received not one, but two replacements. (one sent from the UK and other from the US).
Lucky me ! Unlucky BFG Tech.

Lifetime warranties are a scam... (1)

Grog6 (85859) | more than 3 years ago | (#33262074)

Like all other companies with lifetime warranties, they are shedding the responsibility of the warranties.

They will be 'Back!' in a couple of years, with the same warranties, until the next time. :(

 

They'll be back... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33262110)

Computer peripheral manufacturers have gotten to be like furniture stores.

The company runs long enough to obtain lines of credit. The owners then give themselves huge raises and pay themselves gobs-o-cash drawing on those credit lines. The owners invest some of their personal money and set up a new business with a new name. The old business, being drowned in all of this new debt, declares bankruptcy and the new business purchases the inventory and assets for pennies on the dollar. Then the new business opens up without any of the liabilities of the old business.

I worked for a furniture store in high school for 2 years and in that time, they cycled it 3 or 4 times. About every 6 months they'd have a big "going out of business" sale, then reopen 2 weeks later under a new name. The furniture that remained never left the building. I'd spend those 2 weeks of downtime replacing all the price tags and signage to reflect the new business name.

Broken For Good (5, Funny)

Skapare (16644) | more than 3 years ago | (#33262118)

The new meaning of BFG.

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