You have just illustrated why some manufacturers specify, "Use only genuine XYZ parts." I agree with your attitude towards the computer manufacturer, but if the pump company referenced in this article had done that, the suspect cable could have never been used, or at the very least the blame could be properly placed.
I do not think the computer example is an unusual situation. It boggles my mind how many different cell phone chargers my family has accumulated over the years. New phone: new wall charger and new car charger. But on the other hand, I am not sure I would not do the same thing if I had control. Which of us would not want our customers to be repeat customers? In retrospect, as professionals, I think most of us would prefer that we win with superior service and performance rather than trickery. That is one of the many things that separate us from marketing and bean counters.
No one's mentioned the 'clever' use of a pin location in an electrical connector as a vent. Forgive my ignorance with this particular field. Was this documented in the data sheet for the motor? Is this a common technique to vent a sealed motor, or is this the first & only use of this technique anyone's seen? I'd consider these important questions to ask when attempting to assign blame.
A few years ago, my in-laws asked me to repair their desktop computer, from computer manufacturer 'Big D'. The power supply was dead, so I unplugged & removed it, replacing it with a generic replacement. Upon power up, the magic smoke was released from the motherboard *and* the new power supply. A trip to the internet then revealed that 'Big D' had elected to re-arrange the pins in the industry-standard motherboard main power supply connector on their motherboards and power supplies.
You can bet that I'll never buy another computer from 'Big D'. (Maybe this should be another 'Monkeys made ______' episode.)
The author explained earlier why selling the items as a kit is not really an option. If I was sitting on the jury I would say the fault lies with whoever bought and suppied the substandard cables if they were not to a spec. If they were labeled as being the proper cable, then the producer of the cable should be held at fault. The depth of pockets should never be an issue when replacing blame. Sometimes we buy things that do not perform, but to go back up the food chain to the biggest wallet is not only wrong, it is immoral.
I was involved in a dispute with a heat treat source in which he destroyed about $7500 worth of components. The order was given verbally and without any written proof to back me up, the heat treater said he did what I ordered. Fortunately, my boss believed my side of the story and I came out with my job intact and learned a valuable lesson called, "Get it in writing." I have never used that vendor as a source in any subsequent jobs and was eager to tell anyone who wanted to listen about my experience.
I agree, Kim, that the ability for a distributor to pony up when substitution of standard parts becomes a problem. And I would imagine there has to be a lot of this going around given the counterfeit parts coming from Asia. Yet even if the distributor has shallow pockets, chances are there may be some liability insurance to help deepen the pockets.
Yes, bearings are a big problem - at least the ones you received were obviously 'equivalents' and not what you ordered. I spent some time talking with an SKF sales rep on a plane one time, and was amazed at the efforts that they have to make to prevent counterfeiters from stealing their business and reputation.
Bearings were the first target of government level counterfeiting - first country C develops a machine tool industry and begins counterfeiting the components because they find that other brands sell better than their own (regardless of whether there is actually any quality difference). Then a decade or two later they are in the electronics business....
A few of these outfits who start out making 'knockoffs' or counterfeiting eventually go on to develop leading edge technology of their own, but that is rare. There is a difference between a knockoff and a counterfeit - a knockoff is readily identifiable as a copy. With a knockoff they steal your design but not your good name.
While I personally have never had a problem with items substituted @ the distributors' discretion, this article is definite testimony that there are numerous cases in business relations & law addressing this very situation. And, not being a licensed attorney, I can only add from the "cheap seats" that I hope the company who suffered the loss of production was able to seek some sort of compensatory relief. HEY! If people can sue McDONALDS for a hot cup of coffee and win, WHY couldn't this company get relief for something far more serious??
The one complaint I've had over the years is that legitimate, national components distributors will sometimes automatically substitute a specifically ordered part for an equivalent. For example, I've had situations where I've ordered a certain manufacturer's end mill from the distributor's catalog. Yet, when the order arrived, that end mill was substituted by another manufacturer. Now, in my case, it wasn't critical, BUT the point is still the point! IF I order Brand A, then I SHOULD receive Brand A, NOT Brand D!
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