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The Way We See It: Silent Recall or TSB? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Christopher Price   
Friday, 05 May 2006
We're going to hash this out a bit further. Let's say for a moment that you're a project manager at a major car company. You have dozens and dozens of reports on your desk that the automatic window control sometimes sticks in rolling down the window (when it shouldn't). You know that this is happening on a large scale, but you don't know how much.

So, do you go and tell the masses of users out there on your support web site "hey, check your window roller to see if it's broken?" No. You fire off a cryptic service bulletin to reps inside service centers.

However, in the world of blogs, user groups, message boards, yadda, yadda... doing that just doesn't cut it anymore. That 1% of enthusiast users out there that know more than you (yes, you the project manager) about the product you manage get outraged when you do that. Do they have the right to do so? I'm not going to judge that. Here, we reported what we knew, what AppleCare told us, confirmed it, and let folks decide what the scope expanded to be.

Just like I'm not going to judge Apple for refusing to say that there's a problem with MacBook Pro batteries. It's not as significant a problem, as say, Xbox 360 overheats. Nobody is disputing that. In Apple's book, it's not a recall. So, I today am going to provide a new definition, one that from here on out we will point to in order to end this revolving debacle.

Silent Recall: A process of collecting units for repair/replacement that are suffering from a known issue that a company does not notify its users about.

The problem is the word "recall"... far too many have lashed out at the media... and us... for spreading this story. They carry the connotative association that recall means that there is a probable chance that a unit is suffering from a problem. However, rarely do recalls meet that standard. That is actually a stigma created by the media in order to profit from soft news. And, when the recall gets too soft, the media shrugs its shoulders and moves on. Hopefully, this will start to put an end to that mess.
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