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Kit builds sold without mentioning that's what they are
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author Kit builds sold without mentioning that's what they are
mskala
I just spotted a DIY build from one of my kits being sold on another Web site as a "used" module with no mention of the fact that it's also not a factory build. Am I obligated to do anything about this, or is it just "buyer beware" in a transaction that doesn't involve me? Should I be doing something like separate panels for kits and factory builds to prevent misunderstanding of which is which? What're the ethics of people selling DIY builds without mentioning that that's what they are?
oldenjon
It's up to you. I would be upset if I thought I was buying a factory Mutable module that turned out to be a clone. Hex Inverter has 'DIY Edition' printed at the bottom of the DIY panels. I personally dislike that. I would rather they print something on the PCBs, large and bold typeface so it can't be missed, but not on the panels.
mskala
If it's not visible on the panel, it quite likely won't be visible in a seller's listing; they don't usually show close-ups of the backs of boards. I only recognized this one because due to a peculiarity of the specific module involved there actually is a difference in the panel.
dksynth
Frequency Central had mirror-image logo on DIY panels .
TheMentat
mskala wrote:
I just spotted a DIY build from one of my kits being sold on another Web site as a "used" module with no mention of the fact that it's also not a factory build. Am I obligated to do anything about this, or is it just "buyer beware" in a transaction that doesn't involve me? Should I be doing something like separate panels for kits and factory builds to prevent misunderstanding of which is which? What're the ethics of people selling DIY builds without mentioning that that's what they are?


There's no question that the seller is off side on this. I don't think you are obligated to do anything, but you may want to (at least) politely point it out to the seller, as I don't think it is fair to you. You can handle the larger issue however you'd like, but you may want to consider the implications for your brand image or business...

- a secondary market that is rife with (presumably) inferior DIY builds will hurt resale value of your products, which will eventually affect retail value

- you may start spending time fending off warranty issues from these DIY builds

- these mistaken owners of DIY builds may start complaining about quality issues on the interwebs

Just some thoughts...
oldenjon
mskala wrote:
If it's not visible on the panel, it quite likely won't be visible in a seller's listing; they don't usually show close-ups of the backs of boards. I only recognized this one because due to a peculiarity of the specific module involved there actually is a difference in the panel.


True, but the fact that it's there at all will dissuade sellers from being dishonest and give buyers a degree of protection / awareness. In addition to having 'DIY edition' printed on the front, Hex Inverter DIY panels are also made from matte black PCBs instead of anodized aluminum. That's already a great indicator that they are DIY and not factory.
Revok
Maybe use a different colors for the DIY boards. That way the panel can stay classy looking but it'll be very apparent if the module is diy'd or not.
EATyourGUITAR
If you only ever sell direct then people will know if they are getting oem new.

On my guitar pedals I put my logo but I do not provide the art with the logo for people building kits. The kits are under a kit brand and the retail is under a retail brand.
Astrolabe23
I think it's up to the buyer to preform due diligence in knowing what makes and models could be a DIY or factory OEM. Obviously having clear indicators from the manufacturer like a different color face plate would help, but the buyer still has to have the self gathered knowledge that the different color indicates a DIY build. I'm sure some beginners are not even aware of the DIY possibilitys, and some sellers may not really know exactly what they are selling. (this is not as likely in a specialized area like modular, but you never know with online sellers.). On a site like EBay, I believe the seller would be forced to accept a return based on "not as described" if the module was listed as factory but was infact DIY. Still, as a buyer, returns are not something you want to have to deal with if possible. In the end, the buyer has to arm themselves with the info to make good online purchase choices and not rely solely on what the listing says.
jim-analog
Greetings,

I'd suggest adding some differentiation on both the front panel and the PC board. As small or as large as you see fit, but something any buyer/seller/re-seller could easily be aware of. If you wanted to maintain the same front panel look 100%, it could be an additional graphic, engraving or stamping on the rear side. Something not easy to alter though. Or perhaps a code within the unit serial number. Such as "all factory built units have a "Z" as the 4th character".

Kit products could end up being sold as factory on the used market and potentially pollute your brand quality reputation. For example, if poor quality work (by the kit builder) was mentioned on a user group by a 2nd hand purchaser who had no way to tell it was initially a kit. Sort of like Dynaco vs Dynakit in the old days; I suspect there are other, more current examples as well. Good luck with sales of both products!

Regards, Jim
mskala
jim-analog wrote:
I'd suggest adding some differentiation on both the front panel and the PC board. As small or as large as you see fit, but something any buyer/seller/re-seller could easily be aware of. If you wanted to maintain the same front panel look 100%, it could be an additional graphic, engraving or stamping on the rear side. Something not easy to alter though. Or perhaps a code within the unit serial number. Such as "all factory built units have a "Z" as the 4th character".


I actually do have coded serial numbers - nothing so simple as "this digit will always be 4" because that'd be easy for someone to imitate, but there are random digits in each serial number, I have a list of all the numbers of factory builds, and anyone who's unsure about a module can contact me to check the serial number. This doesn't guard against someone simply copying the number from a factory module onto a kit build, but deliberate deception is a different problem from simple carelessness anyway. I think carelessness is more common.

I also have a paragraph in all my manuals explaining that there are kit builds out there, buyers should be aware of what they're getting, and they can contact me for information on checking whether a given module is one I built.

The problem is that pretty much anything less than big honking text right on the front panel saying "THIS IS A KIT BUILD" will be of no use to a buyer who doesn't already know about it.
tobb
Next time for all your kits use a different solder mask color then those for the pre-built one.
basicbasic
I thought Frequency Centrals old 'mirrored logo' and the corner of the circuit board being cut to an angle was a nice touch for their DIY versions but they seem to have abandoned that. I can imagine it adding a bit of cost in a smallish operation.
mskala
Different panels are a problem because they interfere with buying panels in quantity - which is already a serious problem for me. Different PCBs have that issue to some extent and also they aren't visible from the front, so they won't serve the purpose of informing buyers who may only get to see the front of the module. But I realized that I need to restock on knobs soon anyway, and it would be easy to use a different colour of knobs for DIY - so I think that's what I'll do. It still has the disadvantages that people have to know what to look for; there are already some number of kits out there with identical knobs to the factory modules; and someone who wanted to deliberately mislead a buyer could still more or less easily swap the knob colours to do so. But I think it may be the right answer for me.

Thanks for the thoughts, everyone.
home_listening
I've seen PCBs with a hole punched or drilled to permanently mark them, something like this could work:

UltraViolet
What about adding something on to the panels of kits? Like a printing a 'K' somewhere with a rubber stamp and paint or a stencil and airbrush. All the panels would be the same from your supplier for the quantity discount, but you would mark the ones going into kits.
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