Shitlist - Never buy from these companies

If a large conglomerate stuffs me around three times, I'll never buy from them again. If a single product company stuffs up, badly enough, same result after the first trial. If a company deliberately makes it difficult or impossible to use its products internationally, I won't buy any product from that company until they change. If a company uses its market muscle to bundle products and won't allow retailers a choice of unbundling (bundling like this is illegal under the Australian Trade Practices law) then I won't buy the bundle.


My Bose Lifestyle 3 skips tracks on almost all my CDs. A cheap Philips FW17, a cheap portable CD player, our car CD player, and a Voxson DVD player do not have problems on the same CDs. I'd expect an expensive CD player to be capable of playing most CDs, and Bose fails.

The radio in the Bose has pathetic sensitivity on both AM and FM bands, to the point that it is unusable where I live. It fails to pick up stations most of the time. A cheap transistor radio picked up the stations I wanted, unlike the Bose. Our car radio is far superior, as is the Philips FW17.

The Bose speakers fails to work when switched back on every time I leave the power off for a few weeks while away, and doesn't even give any indication of what is wrong. A few times it has eventually (several hours) started working again, but now appears permanently dead.

The display in the Bose unit will no longer display information matching the buttons that have been pressed. This happened via gradual degeneration (bad connectors probably).

The dealer never contacts you back when you complain (they do send stuff asking if you want to upgrade - not bloody likely).

No schematics, so I can't even make an easy attempt to discover what the problem is. I realise many companies do this, but that doesn't make me any happier, especially when a dead cheap six speaker system came with schematics in the back of the manual.


Includes a zoning system, such that DVDs from zone 1 (USA) will not play in zone 4 (Australia). I won't buy any DVD player that doesn't allow the zone system to be bypassed. I didn't buy any DVD player at all until 2002, and was prepared to ignore them forever ... but they got real cheap.

Since late 2000 some content providers like Columbia Tristar, BMG, Universal Music Group, Sony, EMI and Warner Music have used Regional Code Enhancement (RCE) to prevent playback on region-free DVD players. I suggest a total boycott on such products and the companies producing them. Conia DVDs (imported into Australia by Pebble International) are reported to be able to play RCE DVDs fine, and they can also switch off Macrovision copy protection. Ask your DVD player supplier if their one is as versatile.


In 2003, EMI started releasing copy protected music on what appears to be CDs, but is in fact deliberately damaged media with similar dimensions that does not meet CD standards. These pseudo CDs are designed not to play on computers (as copy protection). I will never buy any EMI product again.

Epson Photo Printers

Ink cartridges reported to be chipped to prevent refilling in their Photo printers. Unconfirmed, so I'd need to check. If chipped, I won't buy that style of printer.

Grandcell rechargeable alkaline batteries

Every Grandcell battery I've had has eventually (and usually before very long) leaked, even when not recharged. The alkaline recharger itself appears to work (with a reduced capacity from the battery, as expected).

Given the leakage rate, I can't trust Grandcell batteries in anything that costs more than a few dollars.


I used to like IBM hard drives, and of course they had a reputation in computers.

In January 2003 I bought an IBM ThinkPad R31 notebook computer from Brisbane Car Sound, since they were being dumped at good prices. I don't do anything that needs high power computers, so I ignored my misgivings about not having a serial port or floppy drive. I even (stupidly) ignored my misgivings about not having a copy of Windows on anything except the hard drive.

Within a few days Windows XP had become unusable (not that I ever got it to the point of connecting to the Internet or anything), and I couldn't manage to get it to restore from the hard drive. I was so mad I was ready to put an ax through the ThinkPad, and thoroughly defenestrate it.

In November 2003, mindful of warrantee considerations, I tried putting Windows 98 on it. That and the IBM restore utility managed to totally hose all copies of the operating system and the recovery utility. IBM said A$82.50 to get recovery CDs of an operating system I never wanted but I'd already paid for. Then Windows 98 format failed to be able to format the hard drive, no matter what I tried.

So I now have a totally useless IBM ThinkPad R31 that never did work worth a damn. Plus I've wasted days and days trying to make it work.

Decision. I'll never buy another IBM anything. I'll never buy anything with Windows XP on it. I'll never buy another brand name notebook computer (they are all full of custom shit that causes trouble, so unless I'm sure it contains standard components, brand names are right out).


Court case to prevent Static Control Components from using Smartek chips in making aftermarket cartridges for Lexmark printers. Lexmark printers look for a ID on their cartridges, and won't accept third party cartridges or refills. The case was another brought under the USA's totally unacceptable DMCA laws. I will not buy anything, ever, from any company that uses DMCA laws to stop interoperability.


Over twenty years promising a better product, and delivering a partial fix for problems caused by the old product. Despite some amazingly ingenious and easy to use applications, all their early operating systems were fragile to an unbelievable degree. Even when the OS became more robust (starting with NT 3.5), the number of security holes was unaccepatble.

Bullying retailers into not allowing any other operating system on PCs. I consider this practice illegal under Australian restraint of trade Third Line Forcing law.

Making their products more vulnerable than reasonable to outside attack, and not even appearing to understand that this was a problem.

I'm not sure Linux is any better (I suspect it is bloated also), but I'm not buying another computer than comes with Windows. If a retailer can't supply a PC without Windows, and refund the cost of the OS, then I won't buy at all. If this means I never buy another PC, then so be it (I can write and upload these pages with a 68000 based computer I hand built back in 1985 ... I don't need the latest Intel creation to do web pages).


TV whose power supply broke down after 53 weeks (out of warranty). On the other hand, since that repair it has worked fine for at least six years. I may discount that problem eventually.

Cell phone whose rechargeable battery failed before I was ready to toss it. Mind you, all custom rechargeable batteries are automatically on my shitlist, and I won't buy any product with non-removeable rechargeables unless it is a cheap throwaway like a flashlight.

Bar fridge whose door fell off (bolts were not all installed). The performance is also poor (high power consumption, long running times, noisy).

Next time I'll buy a Westinghouse.


Sony have tried to stop Connectix reverse engineering their bios for interoperability purposes. US court decided Connectix could do so.

Playstation made with a zone system (I've never owned one, and never will).

MemoryStick as a proprietary format, at a time when there were already two or three standard memory cards (PCMCIA and Compact Flash). I won't buy any MemoryStick product now, and by extension, I won't buy most Sony products (I had a couple of their cassette decks that I thought were pretty good, a long time ago).

Sony Pictures pay US$1.5M to movie-goers tricked by bogus reviews by a fake movie critic ands duped into seeing A Knight's Tale. Case filed in June 2001.

Sony music provide music pseudo CDs that install a root kit on Windows PCs. Then in late 2005 it gets exploited! I'll never buy any Sony Music again.

I hope you have enjoyed