(Topic ID: 249870)

Continued playfield issues with JJP and Stern

By f3honda4me

5 months ago

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#547 4 months ago

Warranties are the wording and laws the *company* makes -- following the general laws of warranties but ultimately these exist in *their* terms. Warranties exist to cover general, common-sensical failure of the item that couldn't have been forseen by the consumer.

This situation goes beyond the generally-accepted principles of warranty. As a consumer of an item that ranges in price from $6,000-$12,500, in this instance a customer has reasonable cause to expect that the manufacturing process of the playfield was done correctly. Over time, these blisters will peel and potentially ruin the artwork and resale value of this expensive item. At this point in time, there is evidence that blistering leads to noticeable peeling and - in some cases - chips actually coming off of the playfield. Any consumer who has a playfield showing *any* blistering of any sort has cause to suspect the manufacturing process on the entire playfield is flawed. Who knows? Over time, perhaps entire larger chunks may come off due to the fact that the basic process of manufacturing the playfield was flawed.

IMO, the onus shouldn't be on the consumer to take a "wait and see" approach. Since the initial process is proven to be flawed. And since the flawed process *will* result in future damage that goes beyond reasonable historic norms/expectations for the condition of a playfield...any playfield showing any blistering should be subject to recall -- at the manufacturer's expense. Providing a fully populated playfield would be an acceptable outcome for the damaged party.

This reasonable expectation the consumer has that the playfield won't be immediately flawed supersedes a company's own warranty for what they will - or won't - cover. The consumer is entitled to have a general, common-sense expectation that the playfields were manufactured correctly to avoid immediate wear and tear that will potentially adversely impact enjoyment or resale value.

Many here would argue that the playfield is the most important aesthetic aspect of this expensive product and would site collectability and resale concerns. Conversely, in a class action suit, the company named might argue that these are machines meant for routing and they would cite decades of evidence that these are machines of violent impact where the end user can expect wear and tear.

If anything would move forward, it would be a class action suit. To take companies on individually would be absurd and very expensive.

#552 4 months ago
Quoted from WackyBrakke:


I hear you, brother...at least until this is sorted 100%. I purchased a used BM 66 (2017). Beautiful shape, no bubbling.

I recommend purchasing used for now. There is plenty out there that is newish and you can check for blistering in advance. This will kill sales in a market that is already oversaturated/crappy margins and will force out those manufacturers who might be teetering anyway. And to those who are flush/successful, it will hit them in the pocketbook.

Then they will freaking learn and make a solid product for us hard-working folks!

#557 4 months ago
Quoted from pindude80:

Horrible answer and customer service. He didn't give a damn and didn't want to put in any effort to check with Stern. Please let us know who the distributor was so others know to steer clear of them. When my Ghostbuster cabinet and playfield fell apart I had good luck contacting Stern direct and talking with Chaz.

Agreed. That distro is blowing smoke out of his ass because he doesn't want to deal with the issue/doesn't know what to say.

#748 4 months ago
Quoted from ausretrogamer:

Have had our AFMR LE for two years now - still looks brand new. No playfield issues.

I've also had an AFMr LE too for 1.5 years and zero problems.

#750 4 months ago
Quoted from MK6PIN:

The only plan is populated replacement play fields, period.
Question will be if they have business insurance to cover this massive cost.
People buy games from manufacturers, not parts vendors, so they are on the hook.
This is big. Only way to move forward imho is to insure future offerings don't have this issue, and existing owners be made whole w a suitable offer ( partial refund, populated of, or exchange for new, corrected game.
I don't see any of that happening from JJP, and would even test Stern, depending on how many of their games are affected.

You are correct, this is the manufacturers' liability. No insurance company will cover the expense. IMO, populated PF's sent - at the manufacturer's expense - is the only fair way to deal with this.

I have a PoTC LE. It got the donuts under the slings, indicating soft clear coat. I fixed it with rubber washers and star posts. To be honest, the rest of the PF looks fine (from what I can see), a blister around the post by the Tortuga hole which will burst if I don't put a cliffy on there soon but mainly good? (I haven't gone over it with a magnifying glass, who knows?)...but I'm only hundreds of plays in. Because the donuts appeared, I think bad stuff is going to happen to the rest of the PF over time that will disfigure (not normal wear and tear, which I expect). I would like a new populated PF so I don't have to even waste a minute wondering about this.

The game is great and I'm keeping it but I expect to be covered for this. $9500 is a lot of money to me, I'm not rich.

#763 4 months ago
Quoted from luckymoey:

I have some experience with business insurance and it typically includes a very large deductible and is mainly intended to protect against secondary damages, e.g. a part supplied to Boeing is defective and causes the plane to crash. The more likely scenario is that the playfield vendor is liable to JJP/Stern for the direct (cost of playfield) and secondary (cost to swap playfield and loss of sales) damages. This assumes that JJP/Stern were able to negotiate good warranty terns with the supplier. If the vendor has insurance AND is liable for secondary damages, the insurance company may be motivated to quickly settle to minimize secondary damages. I doubt insurance would cover “minor” cosmetic issues like rippling that haven’t caused de-lamination - this is likely why JJP/Stern published letters excluding clearcoat “variations” but stopped short of claiming de-lamination is normal.

Knowing you and knowing your background, I am pretty sure you are correct about the business insurance observation chain of liability. I'm no lawyer, but this sounds like the path through what is established by the manufacturers and insurance companies. May we not choose our own path of settlement and not rely upon the manufacturers to dole out to us what they think we deserve, on their own terms?

I doubt that these pinball companies have a proper legal arrangement with whomever manufactured the defective playfields (some mention Mirco, but this has not been proven beyond a doubt - we do not really know the origin or true cause 100% of the defective playfields or even if it is an ink or a clearcoat issue. I will not implicate Mirco at this point, we need more proof. But I DO expect that it is the manufacturing level (Stern, JJP, etc.) that owns the liability for selling faulty products).

The problem may be far-reaching enough that a class-action lawsuit might be a possibility. If these problems are due to a systematic, wide-reaching failure by companies to properly test and apply clearcoat or have ink adhere to the PF, that is a fundamental manufacturing problem. If they do not settle with we, the customers, aren't we are free to launch collective legal action?

I imagine a court of law would dictate to the *manufacturers* what *we* deserve and the court wouldn't care what terms the companies have dictated to the customer.

For each case among us, if each customer could establish that there is *any* problem with the clearcoat (or ink) that is showing immediate or premature blistering etc...they would be entitled to xx settlement amount or the company could agree to send a fully-populated PF etc to solve the problem. I contend that *any* blistering is unacceptable because this indicates a fundamental problem with the playfield manufacture that will - over time - result in playfield deterioration that is well beyond historically-acceptable norms of the past 25 years of playfield manufacture (a norm that the customer has reasonable cause to expect in their brand new purchase).

In general consumer terms, a customer has reasonable cause to expect that their $6000 or $9500 or $12500 machine does not contain fundamental manufacturing flaws...unless they have explicitly signed a legal document absolving the manufacturer of that basic liability. A playfield is widely considered to be the main focal point of a pinball machine in terms of aesthetic enjoyment or resale value, so this is a significant issue.

It is a potentially huge liability on part of the manufacturers. I think it is so potentially large in financial terms (and I believe profits in the pinball industry are extremely low) that they may feel the best course of action is to deny liability and do nothing unless their hands are forced.

One thing for sure: I think current sales for NIB (Wonka, Jurassic Park 2) will tank for HUO until they explicitly indicate ("this game with this serial number is made with clearcoat that we - the manufacturer - guarantee will not blister" to the distributor - who will pass along this information to we the customers in their solicit for sale).

I would also guess the manufacturers are working like fiends on fixing the problem and we can *probably* assume that machines from October and onward won't have this problem(?).

#767 4 months ago
Quoted from Rondogg:

I think the court of Public Opinion has more relevance right here, right now. I should hope it never comes to some kind of legal action.

Me too: 1000%

As many here I'm sure, I've been through the courts before and to say it is a pain in the ass is a gross understatement.

#1025 4 months ago
Quoted from Lounge:

Refreshing for the consumer - understandably frightening for the distributor.

yep, as a retailer (who works in a different field than pinball), having 0% of the responsibility for manufacturing the defect and 100% of the legal liability...happy I don't conduct business in the UK. Sounds fucked up to me.

#1041 4 months ago
Quoted from DerGoetz:

That's not how that is going to work. The manufacturer will be liable towards the distributor/dealer, of course, "even" in the UK.

I agree, I misread this. Consumer is always protected, of course and the retailer or distributor is the first line of defence/refund. And ultimate liability resides with the manufacturer.

#1049 4 months ago
Quoted from NeilMcRae:

any sensible trader backs that liability off when they contract to be retailer for their product... Its not rocket science! This law is across all of Europe.

Not over here. Manufacturer has the ultimate liability, as the party who manufactured the good being sold.

A retailer or distributor has reasonable cause to expect that the product they are selling is devoid of defect. The onus is not on a retailer to vet every product they sell to determine if it is defective or dangerous.

Customer who paid retailer obtains money back from retailer, first line of defence. But the retailer is entitled to make a claim against the manufacturer. Unless it is a high volume product recall, the legal costs would not justify any legal action against the manufacturer if the manufacturer didn't refund the retailer via "good will".

In a worst case scenario and there is a product recall, the manufacturer is liable 100%. Retailers in North America are the front line and must refund customers but they do not assume legal responsibility for the quality or safety of products they are selling.

#1145 4 months ago
Quoted from PtownPin:

I think JJP's move on current games with issues is to provide a new unpopulated play field. Its not much, but at least its something. Apparently Stern has done nothing, which is pretty disappointing. Zero chance I'll be buying any NIB Stern or JJP games in the future until they both adequately address this issue. Apparently pooling is the new normal....I'd be ok with the pooling issue if the area in question didn't chip...The problem is we don't know what will happen

I spent $9500 on my Pirates and it has pooling in multiple areas but no chips yet. I've installed in star posts under the slings and rubber washers to cover the problem.

JJP has done a few high profile phone calls to some with the worst chipping and offered a free PF. Great PR move but is it an offer to everybody with issues?

My PF will chip at some point and I paid primo amounts of cash IMO. I am going to make a claim with JJP and see if I get a free PF which I would think would be the minimum they could offer. If this happens, at least when I sell in the future, my machine will have the issue but I can offer the free PF as compensation.

However, the current condition is that the PF must be chipped to get a free PF.

I'll see what happens, if there are any legs to this offer from JJP or if it was just a few high profile settlements to help calm the pitchfork riots.

#1148 4 months ago
Quoted from Toads:

Aren't you guys worried that the new playfields being offered will have the same pooling issue?


#1402 4 months ago
Quoted from Who-Dey:

There are tons of people wanting to buy Jurassic Park right now if they had the confidence to do it and i am one of them. I think Stern would be wise to let it be known that the problem is resolved once they get it figured out. Of course the other problem is you got a bunch of bad games sitting in boxes at distributors right now and people will not want anything that is old stock so they wont buy because of that.

I agree 100%. Not only that, for machines with known high rates of defective clearcoat (Wonka and JP2 come to mind), I think both JJP and Stern will have to be clear that machine with serial number xx does not have the defective clearcoat -- and it should be clearly stated by the distributor that machine serial number xx does not have defective clearcoat. This will be a pain for distros, JJP and Stern but will HELP sales for those models -- which have been blackballed by this whole stupid mess.

#1515 4 months ago
Quoted from meSz:

From what I read JJP originally offered new pf for 550$ and then changed it to free pf. People that had already paid the 550$ were contacted and given refunds.

He phoned a few. A few people mention this and everybody assumes he's called everybody and is taken care of. A few have even mentioned they haven't received their refund for the PoTC playfield they had to *pay for* because JJP wouldn't initially back their product.

There is evidence in the PoTC thread (and others) that many haven't been called and cases are still open/no reply/etc.

#1516 4 months ago
Quoted from MK6PIN:

Unpopulated (crazy to expect a customer to attempt this), and haven't seen any posts showing the replacements were any better.
How have the pin(s) that really brought the issues in our faces w almost a total fail rate and low, low plays been forgotten?....JJP POTC...good grief

It really seems hit or miss/luck of the draw - for many of these games.

On my PoTC LE, I have some minor pooling but I've addressed it and overall it looks very nice. My BM 66 prem has zero pooling/blistering/etc after thousands of plays. But it dates from early 2017.

#1735 4 months ago
Quoted from Halfwasted:

I am in the same boat, Stern is losing customers.

...I'm focusing on older titles/used for sure. Absolutely NO NIB for the forseeable future.

#1740 4 months ago

It's kind of darkly humorous and karmic for Stern...all in one.

There is way more competition out there in 2019 for manufacturing but Stern is still the lion's share of the market by far. They got greedy and IMO they wanted to pursue a strategy of massive amounts of new releases to squash the competition before these competitors could get established.

A cruel but effective strategy. What have we had so far this year? Beatles; Munsters; Primus; Black Knight Sword of Rage; JP2; Elvira; then another cornerstone release yet this year and something planned for early 2020? Way more releases than in the past...all this while the smaller competitors struggle to get out 1 or 2 new titles a year.

And Stern has really pumped these out! *Lots* produced of each title...and continued production of recent titles like Deadpool; Batman 66; etc...which were still selling.

Just when they unloaded massive amounts of product to kill their competitors before they really got established, many of the playfields on these titles are showing failure.

Karma's a bitch, indeed!

#1747 4 months ago
Quoted from swampfire:

If you think there’s some dark sinister motive behind releasing a bunch great games in a year, I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe free market capitalism is not for you.

My friend, I think you misunderstand me I completely understand Stern's behaviour and I would do the same thing if I was them. Isn't it almost funny though (in a dark way), that they are trying so hard to succeed and THIS happens? Oh, Lordy!!

I live free market capitalism every day of my life. I've been an online retailer for 20 years and currently do 1 million in sales annually -- not that much, but it keeps me hopping for sure. Our little company, too, exists in a cutthroat business that is currently oversaturated. My job is pure, unadulterated, battle...every single day. But if I said I didn't enjoy the pure carnage of it...I would be lying!

#1951 3 months ago
Quoted from Jackalwere:

I work in quality in a manufacturing plant. The ability to stop the line to contain a defect and fix it is not suicide, it's incredibly important. You only have to look at the success of Toyota over the past 40 years to understand the significance. Sending out crap product, pissing off your customer base and losing their trust - now *that* is suicide in the manufacturing business.

Amen, brother.

This isn't rocket science. You pay $8k or $10k or more for a product where you're 80% sure to be selling it within 5 years and want to keep it nice and resale value at a premium...it shouldn't start coming apart within a week. That would be like purchasing a car and the clear coat bubbles and starts to rip the paint off in a week.

It's just a failure to have basic QC - they didn't test the playfields. Manufacturers knew the PF's were faulty for a year now and they continued to crank out product. They know we flip these things, they know we're a bit mental about condition and resale.

Let's just call it a failure and a shitty product and move on...they will probably figure this out soon. For me, I'm not purchasing anything new-ish for a year or more. I'm not even going to complain to JJP about my $9500 PoTC, I can live with the small defects and deal with them/prevent further trouble with cliffys and washers. It's a fantastic game, period and I am happy to have it. But that doesn't mean I'm not pissed off they failed with basic QC when they knew there was a problem.

But to say this isn't a problem or isn't resulting in thousands of PF's out there that look 20 or more years aged when they're brand new...well...

#2003 3 months ago
Quoted from Chambahz:

What I’ve said all along is that it’s on the buyer to understand the terms of agreement before buying a game.
If Stern was playing by their own rules, they’d tell all the owners with pooling and chipping to pound sand.
(We know that would cost them customers, but that’s not the point right now)
They are working on issues “on a case by case basis” apparently. I hope that means that EVERYONE (pooling or chipping) gets a new play field -but if Stern determines that pooling doesn’t affect gameplay, and if they believe that it won’t always lead to chipping, it’s their right to refuse returns. As a buyer, you should know that before putting your money down.
I’m not telling anyone that they should like this state that we’re in. I’m just pointing out the other side to this.
When Stern has so carefully pointed out that playfields are not all covered by warranty and you get one that’s minorly imperfect, and you start screaming bloody murder... it’s a little naive.
It Would be great to better understand what Stern will and won’t replace before buying.
Maybe that’s something that could be asked at Expo, or the next show.

It won't happen, but if there is a class action suit this logic doesn't hold.

A consumer paying minimum $6000 for a new item has reasonable cause that the item will be free of basic defects. It would be argued to a judge that the PF is the focal point of the user, they are staring at it the whole time. Therefore, it IS of significant importance aesthetically to a purchaser. An argument could be made to the judge that it would be comparable to the clear/paint on a new car.

A manufacturer can write up whatever warranty they want; unless the purchaser is explicitly warned of a "no liability" clause and signs it...there are laws that supercede any manufacturer's self-styled bullshit warranty.

If this was an electric toothbrush, that's one thing. But these are expensive luxury items and basic integrity of the PF on an aesthetic basis could be considered by a judge to be relevant.

The judge might very well award the class action and penalize Stern, JJP or other for failing to provide an expensive product that was basically non-defective...because the consumer has reasonable cause to expect that the item is not defective.

Not going to happen and if it did the lawyers end up with most of the settlement anyway so I don't care...but to say that Stern or JJP or other can hide behind their self-written "warranties" that we aren't signing...is not technically correct. There are laws that protect consumers that go beyond warranty.

1 month later
#2776 82 days ago
Quoted from dudah:

Prospective NIB virgin here and I'm steering way clear until these negligent quality issues are resolved.

Wait a year, brother.

1 month later
#3578 24 days ago

Bill of materials, or - essentially - the list of stuff inside:


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