Author Topic: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc  (Read 2323 times)

pocock

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European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« on: May 11, 2020, 09:19:52 am »
There are a few comments about this topic in other threads (search for Europe to find them) but I thought it is worth having its own thread.

To summarize the problems:

- delivery from the US means longer delay, higher shipping costs and uncertain administrative charges at customs clearance

- if a product has to be returned under warranty, there are extra taxes in each direction, on top of the extra shipping cost and delay

- if a product being returned is completely dead on arrival or subsequently failed beyond repair, it is a horrendous waste of money to pay more taxes for a round-trip through customs

- overall, the type of person who buys this product is probably an experienced user who is aware of all these risks and may be deterred from purchasing

There are other products with similar challenges, for example, the LimeSDR.  In their case, it is even worse, because they are based in the UK, they asked Europeans to support them in crowdfunding but they decided to outsource all shipping to a US company:
https://discourse.myriadrf.org/t/shipping-from-europe/310

Here is why the issue is really important for OpenPOWER:

- most EU countries have a single market and there is a possibility the UK will participate in the single market after Brexit.

- Switzerland is not in the single market but some logistics companies have been very effective at setting up customs-bonded warehouses near the border and they can deliver into either the EU or Swiss markets without extra burden.  Example: Basel (CH) airport is actually on French territory, in the EU.

- a lot of the developers on related projects are in the European countries.  Looking at the Raptor wiki, the Firefox and Tor issues are on the front page, both of these groups have a lot of people in Europe.

What can be done about this, for the OpenPOWER products but also for other products like LimeSDR?

Please feel free to share any ideas
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MPC7500

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Re: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2020, 11:21:02 am »
If you live within the EU you can also order Raptor products through Vikings. You just have to send them an email.

pocock

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Re: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2020, 11:48:09 am »
I didn't see anything about this when interacting with sales or when looking at the order page

When I do a search for Vikings on all raptorcs.com it only returns one link:
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Araptorcs.com+vikings
=> https://wiki.raptorcs.com/wiki/Events

If choices like this are not obvious to purchasers then some people won't look for them, they will simply leave the site without any purchase.

It would also be helpful if you can clarify:
- is Vikings responsible for support, warranty, etc?
- does this also serve Switzerland and potentially the post-Brexit UK?

A web search for Vikings doesn't always return anything useful as it is a very generic word.  Vikings web site:
https://vikings.net/

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vikings.thum

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Re: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2020, 09:51:14 am »
Wanted to let everybody know that we've placed our first order with RaptorCS today. Once the products arrive here we'll take the listings in our store live.  :)

ClassicHasClass

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Re: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2020, 10:56:58 pm »
Excellent! Will that extend to RMAs as well?

pocock

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Re: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2020, 06:45:14 am »
This is definitely interesting news.  Will you provide servers or only workstations?

Can people order the coolers now?

Will you provide any installation media to help people get around the 64k page size problem?  I built my own Debian installer image with a 4k kernel but not everybody will be able to do that.  I can share my ISO image if that is helpful.  I didn't build one for Fedora 33 yet.

There are some other outstanding issues that will be irritating for workstation users, I've recently seen glitches in Gimp, Blender, Thunderbird and gstreamer.  The complete absence of Qt WebEngine is a hassle because many things need it but on a positive front, I suspect most or all of those things will immediately start working after Qt WebEngine is fixed.

My overall impression is that none of these issues require months of work, most of them only require a few hours or days of developer time but apart from a few IBM bounties on BountySource (e.g. ffmpeg), nobody has stepped forward and offered funding for this work.

I don't write all this to complain, I write this because I know you put a lot of effort into the European distribution and it is really important that the people who buy in have a good first impression.  Even if there is a roadmap with tentative dates for fixing the issues in this list it will be very reassuring to people.

I'm personally quite busy until the end of the year but I may have a couple of weeks in January or February that I could dedicate to full time development on this platform if there is any funding available.
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mparnaudeau

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Re: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2020, 06:42:26 am »
I still don't own a Power9 machine but I would like too ... That's great if it becomes easier to order for european people (I live in France).

@vikings.thum My first choice would be a BlackBird but ... will they be available in a near future?

@pocock Your feedback on user applications is very valuable. I was also looking for opportunities to work with Linux On POWER (as a freelancer) but I've always flet uncomfortable with BountySource, as we never know which bounty is really still open or not (with people saying "I'm working on that", with often weak descriptions of what has to be done, ...).

pocock

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Re: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2020, 06:53:19 am »
I'm in Suisse Romande, so we might be neighbours.

Please see my blog about choosing between the Blackbird and the Talos II Lite.  For many people, the Talos II Lite is a much better choice and only a little bit more expensive.  You get to use a wider GPU, there is better cooling, 4 memory channels (instead of just 2 in Blackbird) and use of any POWER9 CPU (Blackbird limited to 8 cores).  The cost difference is less than €150 + the bigger case.
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mparnaudeau

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Re: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2020, 07:05:29 am »
I'm in Suisse Romande, so we might be neighbours.

I confirm ... as I lived in the French Alps ;-)
And we share another thing: I am a Debian user.

Quote from: pocock
Please see my blog about choosing between the Blackbird and the Talos II Lite.  For many people, the Talos II Lite is a much better choice and only a little bit more expensive.  You get to use a wider GPU, there is better cooling, 4 memory channels (instead of just 2 in Blackbird) and use of any POWER9 CPU (Blackbird limited to 8 cores).  The cost difference is less than €150 + the bigger case.

Thanks for information, I will look (again?) at it. That makes me reconsider by potential choice.

Note that I just want to avoid a huge case :-)

odalman

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Re: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2020, 12:42:05 pm »
Please see my blog about choosing between the Blackbird and the Talos II Lite.  For many people, the Talos II Lite is a much better choice and only a little bit more expensive.  You get to use a wider GPU, there is better cooling, 4 memory channels (instead of just 2 in Blackbird) and use of any POWER9 CPU (Blackbird limited to 8 cores).  The cost difference is less than €150 + the bigger case.
I found noting about sound in your blog post.

pocock

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Re: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2020, 12:56:20 pm »
I found noting about sound in your blog post.

I'm using a USB sound device, Creative X-Fi HD.  It is working fine using the optical connection to an amplifier and using a Rode microphone for input.
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ClassicHasClass

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Re: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2020, 02:01:21 pm »
Yes, I'm just using a regular USB sound dongle. The WX7100 Raptor sells can be coerced into providing audio but there was too much system bus noise bleeding through for me.

Borley

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Re: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2020, 04:50:23 pm »
@vikings.thum My first choice would be a BlackBird but ... will they be available in a near future?

You can place orders without having to pay immediately. I don't know if there is any kind of time limit, but I'd imagine one can order now and then pay once they have become available again.

vikings.thum

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Re: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2020, 11:54:48 am »
Excellent! Will that extend to RMAs as well?
Yep, this is the E.U. where consumers have substantial rights. It's the law that we have to offer the legal two year warranty for consumers and it's impossible to exclude it. AFAIK this is very different compared to e.g. the U.S. where implied warranties don't exist B2C or are on a voluntary basis (c.f. RCS). Furthermore we have an agreement with RCS that their two year manufacturer warranty is valid for items bought at the Vikings Store (just in case we can't help etc.).

@vikings.thum My first choice would be a BlackBird but ... will they be available in a near future?
As soon as RCS has them in stock again we'll add Blackbirds, too. I don't know when this will be. Our new shop is taking shape though and will soon be online with RCS items (TALOS II and TALOS II Lite) in it. We underestimated the complexity of the new shop software... :/

You can place orders without having to pay immediately. I don't know if there is any kind of time limit, but I'd imagine one can order now and then pay once they have become available again.
It's generally correct that you can order backordered items at Vikings, though an order should be paid within a couple of days or it's cancelled automatically (B2C), no matter whether that item is available or backordered. This way we're able to guarantee delivery as soon as such an item would become available. We could handle pre-orders differently in order to gauge interest, but we already know that there is high demand for RCS's products. :)

There are a few comments about this topic in other threads (search for Europe to find them) but I thought it is worth having its own thread.

To summarize the problems:

- delivery from the US means longer delay, higher shipping costs and uncertain administrative charges at customs clearance
- if a product has to be returned under warranty, there are extra taxes in each direction, on top of the extra shipping cost and delay
- if a product being returned is completely dead on arrival or subsequently failed beyond repair, it is a horrendous waste of money to pay more taxes for a round-trip through customs
- overall, the type of person who buys this product is probably an experienced user who is aware of all these risks and may be deterred from purchasing
- most EU countries have a single market and there is a possibility the UK will participate in the single market after Brexit.
- Switzerland is not in the single market but some logistics companies have been very effective at setting up customs-bonded warehouses near the border and they can deliver into either the EU or Swiss markets without extra burden.  Example: Basel (CH) airport is actually on French territory, in the EU.
- a lot of the developers on related projects are in the European countries.  Looking at the Raptor wiki, the Firefox and Tor issues are on the front page, both of these groups have a lot of people in Europe.
This pretty much nails it regarding why a local seller (and a single market for that matter) is important. I'd also add that having a person you can speak to in your local language, who doesn't live in a time zone 10h away from you and who has a similar cultural background will be appreciated by some. E.g. in Germany and even more so in Switzerland: if you don't do work in a precise and quick manner, most people would just fire you and look elsewhere.
I believe having a more local source for RCS products will improve the overall situation and trust in their products. That's what I'm aiming for at least.

pocock

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Re: European logistics / delivery, warranty returns, etc
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2020, 12:52:36 pm »
E.g. in Germany and even more so in Switzerland: if you don't do work in a precise and quick manner, most people would just fire you and look elsewhere.

Sadly, this often means IT consultants offering Microsoft or Google based solutions that they can deliver quickly.  I heard reports that at least one financial institution in the German speaking side of Switzerland is now using Google Translate API to convert customer inquiries from other languages.

NVIDIA and Apple have both had recent product launch delays.  Unfortunately there is no sign they will be fired any time soon.  Will be watching closely to see if AMD Radeon RX 6800 (XT) is on time this week.  Which GPU did you decide to offer?  I posted some updates about my preparations for Big Navi on Linux.  If the drivers work and if they are reliable then I feel this card is a good match for the Talos II (& Lite) capabilities.
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