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July 2004 Vol. 19, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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When Your Computer Is Discontinued

from the July, 2004 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

When Your Computer Is DiscontinuedLast winter, Undercurrent subscriber Bill Suster of Prospect Heights, IL, dropped his Zeagle Status I dive computer off at Scuba Systems in Skokie to be returned to Zeagle for repair. The one-year warranty period had passed, but the computer had no more than 50 dives on it. Suster liked the way it tolerated repetitive deco dives, while still allowing reasonable bottom times at sport depths. So he was willing to pay for a repair.

But, after a long delay, Suster was perturbed to find out that Zeagle was only offering warranty replacements on the Status I, not repairs. Suster contacted Undercurrent and we contacted Zeagle Director of Sales and Marketing, Jim Wittstruck, who told us that Zeagle had contracted with the original equipment manufacturer, the Finnish company Benemec, to distribute the Status I in the U.S. Later Benemec got into financial difficulties and was taken over by another Finnish operation. Zeagle began experiencing problems with the new owner, involving product deliveries and a protracted debate over honoring warranties. Eventually Zeagle discontinued selling the Status I.

Suster told us that he understands why Zeagle severed the relationship: "An honorable company will continue to support its products from inventory for a number of years after severing such a relationship, and I expect Zeagle to do so."

Undercurrent called Wittstruck on Suster's behalf and Wittstruck said, "I greatly appreciate Mr. Suster's tolerance and will shop our dealer network for a replacement." Some time later, Wittstruck eventually offered Suster a new Status I for half price. "It had been sitting around somewhere for a while because the battery needed rejuvenation," Suster said. "Jim got it functioning and eventually sent me a new battery, so I am happy with their response."

P.S.: I couldn't help but contrast this with my own experience when my out-of-warranty Oceanic Data 100 crapped out on a Channel Islands trip last summer. It had failed to activate on one dive but started up again later (fortunately, I had a Data Plus as a backup). Like Suster, I was willing to pay to have it repaired. But my dealer informed me that the Data 100 had been discontinued and was no longer being serviced by Oceanic. I asked about the company's upgrade program, touted on their website as "enabling Oceanic customers to trade up to new technology and features at a great price." My dealer called the home office, but their best offer was a $15 trade-in allowance on a new model. Thanks, but no thanks.

I chose instead to purchase a Suunto Mosquito, which has performed quite satisfactorily.

- Ben

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