Let’s talk warranties . . .

genuine peace of mind or flimsy marketing headline?

Manufacturer warranties come in all shapes and sizes. How can you be sure of what it actually means, and is it worth the paper it’s written on?

A warranty is the assurance that a product will meet certain specifications.

‘Assurance’ indicates that it’s a promise made to the purchaser, but from there on it all gets a bit vague. ‘Certain specifications’ could mean as much or as little as the manufacturer chooses.

So, let’s look a little deeper to understand what true value a warranty should convey, and how this might not always be the case.



A promise of quality

A warranty should be an extension of the brand promise. It is the stamp of quality, giving the purchaser the peace of mind that he is buying a quality product. The buyer does not anticipate having to activate a claim on the warranty because the promise suggests long-life, fit-for-purpose reliability. The warranty sits in the background providing the confidence the purchaser needs to make a smart buying decision.


This is what warranty should mean. A promise of quality.

However, the offer of a warranty could be used by a manufacturer to create an impression of quality that does not necessarily reflect the reality of the situation.

Warranty becomes a marketing tool, inflated to help sell the product but with reduced-value to the purchaser. For the manufacturer, it can be a calculation that only a percentage of customers will take up the warranty, or that there are exceptions that make the actual warranty of much lower value than is suggested at face value.

This scenario can be identified simply by comparing the headline warranty that appears in the marketing material against the conditions of use that appear in the user manual. It is not uncommon to find the two statements incompatible.


The cost of poor quality

Assuming a failure is in fact covered under the warranty (beware the small print), making a claim on the warranty is costly and time consuming – it’s a real hassle you could well do without. It will certainly put paid to any carefully considered Total Cost of Ownership calculations - in some B2B cases it can cost more than the original purchase price.

Think about the time wasted through downtime for repairs; the associated costs of de-install/ re-install; the frustration of chasing up returns and replacements - the larger the estate, maybe hundreds of displays, multiply this accordingly.

By way of illustration, consider this example of the costs associated with a single video wall display failure. The customer remains responsible for readying the unit for collection, and subsequent installation of the replacement unit.

In a 24/7 public environment, public safety, night duty labour costs and hire of access equipment must all be taken into account . . .

Average manufacturer repair cost:

Parts (35%) €141
Labour (20%) €81
Freight (45%) €181
TOTAL €403

Average customer replacement cost:

Labour €280
Security/administration €250
Site preparation and tooling €320
Logistics €80
TOTAL €930

The cost (and effort) to the customer by far outweighs the cost to the manufacturer.

We choose to use metal, not plastic, for our display chassis affording excellent results in fire load testing making them safe for use in public environments.

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Rarely used for domestic purposes, NEC products are designed and built for commercial usage and as such they are a business tool, used to generate revenue whether by influencing customer behaviour or delivering information. If for any reason, the product is not functioning in its intended purpose, the business is literally losing money.

Beyond the tangible costs, consider how the ripples of poor quality can damage your brand reputation and the efficiency of your business operations.

Think of a quick service restaurant whose digital menu boards are flashing error messages, or passengers rushing to identify their flight details only to find blank screens. In high-stakes environments such as control rooms, screen failure could even impact risk to life.

An earned reputation

A better, more trustworthy indication of quality and reliability is built around earned reputation; the ability to demonstrate long-term performance and reliability of key components.

NEC goes above and beyond when it comes to component selection and testing; our displays are designed and manufactured under protocols which are typically more stringent than industry standard, placing highest priority to safety and reliability.


Components such as power supply capacitors, for instance, which can be prone to cause fire, are procured from high quality Japanese suppliers that undergo strict evaluation and certification. We choose to use metal, not plastic, for our display chassis affording excellent results in fire load testing making them safe for use in public environments.

Metal also supports effective heat dissipation to protect long-life performance. Voltage spikes can cause damage to electronic devices, but NEC’s internal design protects against voltage surge levels of up to three times higher than mandatory standard; NEC PSU failure rates are typically below 0.1%.

NEC’s outstandingly low failure rates mean that downtime is rarely a cause for concern. Where other manufacturers may shy away from publishing failure rates, NEC is proud of its <1% failure rate for its large format displays.

And what of our ‘out of warranty’ displays? We don’t just abandon our customers. We will always try to assist where possible. Depending on the age, our approved repair centre will work to identify the fault and supply a quote to repair the device. We might even be able to make a replacement from our demo or service stock.

In summary

Warranty has for some become a calculated marketing differentiator. It could lead to misplaced trust in a product which may not be fit-for-purpose. What it should be is a promise to the customer that the product is intended to perform, without fault, throughout that warranty period.


Our robust and transparent warranty offering is positioned to complement our products with a promise that they are ‘fit-for-purpose’ and specified according to the requirements of the intended application. At NEC, we fully understand the meaning of ‘fit-for-purpose’, you might like to delve deeper into this topic in another blogpost.

Beyond this, NEC has gained a reputation for first class service levels supporting both large and small organisations to manage their displays estate.

Find out more about NEC’s serviceplus programme, providing comprehensive extended warranty and added-value service options.

Our warranty is genuine peace of mind, not a vague hope that nothing goes wrong.

Need more proof?

More than 250 of the world’s airport operators choose to use the NEC brand. Why? For peace of mind. They know the value of quality and reliable long term performance. Indeed, Hamburg Airport has recently replaced its NEC videowall, not because it failed, but because after an extended 50,000 hours of service, technology has simply moved on! Passengers now benefit from the latest NEC technology whilst the old videowall continues to provide excellent service to a rental company who provide videowalls for events.

Read more case studies where our clients have chosen NEC for peace of mind.

Download for further reference:

Why is reliable display operation so fundamental to business success?

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Metal or plastic? Choose quality, safety and peace of mind

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