(Topic ID: 195339)

Should you buy a NEW Stern Pinball Machine?


By RGR

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 271 posts
  • 85 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by RGR
  • Topic is favorited by 12 Pinsiders

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    There are 271 posts in this topic. You are on page 6 of 6.
    10
    #251 1 year ago
    Quoted from Chambahz:

    What I love about Pinside is that nearly all (or maybe all) of these posts, concerned about quality are from fortune tellers.
    They're not current owners with problems.

    Oh, that's enough with the white knight act. The most problematic pinball machine I've ever owned was my Ghostbusters LE. Fantastic game, but absolute crap build quality and non-existent quality control. It wasn't inspected before shipping, and neither was the replacement playfield. They couldn't have been, because neither were playable as they arrived.

    You feel it's some sacred duty to jump in and defend Stern blindly at every turn. But guess what? This narrative exists because so many people HAVE HAD problems. From ghosting to peeling decals and from cabinet splitting to node board failures, there have been a lot more issues with Stern machines in the last 2-3 years than we've ever seen from them. If you don't find that concerning, then you're just being ridiculous.

    Knock it off with the accusations of manufactured drama. There are TONS of documented issues. The only way you can't see it is if you have your head in the sand or you're lying to yourself and others.

    #252 1 year ago
    Quoted from Chambahz:

    What I love about Pinside is that nearly all (or maybe all) of these posts, concerned about quality are from fortune tellers.
    They're not current owners with problems.
    So fine for a couple people to say "is anyone else concerned about...", but the number of people yelling "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" seems to support the "mountain out of a molehill" comment made earlier.
    Get some comments from people on here with real issues about non-working games. That's when ill take notice to the so called build quality issues.

    Well I guess I am just not that trusting. I think Stern cost cutting can be taken as a given and we have all seen multiple stories of build problems. The problems are real just not sure how common, only Stern knows that. I'm not willing to gamble with them though. Great that you are so trusting that they will make things right for you but not everyone feels that way.

    If Stern are so confident about their product and support why don't they put it in writing instead of adding written language watering down their already vague and very limited warranty.

    #253 1 year ago

    And to reiterate what I said earlier, I wouldn't talk someone out of buying a new Stern, but I would help them understand what sort of issues they could run into. If they're fine tweaking and fixing out of the box, then they shouldn't be too worried. Major issues will get addressed by Stern, but lots of small and annoying things will be on the owner. People should definitely be aware of what problems they can run into and then make a decision whether or not they feel comfortable buying.

    #254 1 year ago
    Quoted from RGR:

    Its not an issue with the head bolts not being secure but its a pita when transporting the games.... Another clear piece of evidence that Stern do not care about the operator. They know that HUO owners do not play their games as much so why keep all the other things like previous head box mechanisms, lock down bars without latches etc when the games are just not being used as much. From a business pov it makes sense, along with Spike etc and all the other cost cutting practices... Plus people are still happy to buy them including $20k nibs!

    So will "Thunderbirds" solve for all of these shortcomings?

    #255 1 year ago
    Quoted from clg:

    If Stern are so confident about their product and support why don't they put it in writing instead of adding written language watering down their already vague and very limited warranty.

    Fair comment. I expect part of that is that they have recently found out how difficult it can be to meet the level of expectations of home collectors, vs operators. I don't know this, so just guessing really.
    When you have a pin owner who calls whatever government agency it was, just because your replacement playfield is taking longer to replace than promised, I would expect you want to put extra paragraphs in the owners manual so that the next time that happens, you can read the paragraph out loud, and hang up the phone.

    That being said, I continue to observe that Stern is standing by their products. And that is my deciding factor on whether to continue buying from them or not.

    #256 1 year ago
    Quoted from jar155:

    Oh, that's enough with the white knight act. The most problematic pinball machine I've ever owned was my Ghostbusters LE. Fantastic game, but absolute crap build quality and non-existent quality control. It wasn't inspected before shipping, and neither was the replacement playfield. They couldn't have been, because neither were playable as they arrived.
    You feel it's some sacred duty to jump in and defend Stern blindly at every turn. But guess what? This narrative exists because so many people HAVE HAD problems. From ghosting to peeling decals and from cabinet splitting to node board failures, there have been a lot more issues with Stern machines in the last 2-3 years than we've ever seen from them. If you don't find that concerning, then you're just being ridiculous.
    Knock it off with the accusations of manufactured drama. There are TONS of documented issues. The only way you can't see it is if you have your head in the sand or you're lying to yourself and others.

    Jeff, ALL pinball manufacturers have issues. Even Spooky. The Stern drama isn't manufactured, but it is certainly sensationalized on Pinside, even you should be able to realize that. Your personal experience is not acceptable, and probably not typical for Stern even today. I judge the company by how they take care of their customers. In my experience, Stern has outstanding support. Any they make the BEST games IMO by a large margin. From Metallica to TWD, to GB and yes, even Star Wars, they are making some of the best pinball ever.

    #257 1 year ago
    Quoted from kermit24:

    Jeff, ALL pinball manufacturers have issues. Even Spooky. The Stern drama isn't manufactured, but it is certainly sensationalized on Pinside, even you should be able to realize that. I judge the company by how they take care of their customers. In my experience, Stern has outstanding support. Any they make the BEST games IMO by a large margin. From Metallica to TWD, to GB and yes, even Star Wars, they are making some of the best pinball ever.

    There's no excuse for shipping a non-working game though. Shipping damage happens, but shipping a game with multiple things installed incorrectly doesn't just happen. It's a lack of caring, a result of cost cutting and poor management. Mistakes are forgivable, incompetence is frustrating and should be called out. Stern is far more guilty of the latter than anybody else in the game right now.

    A customer buys an LE edition of a game and they can't even catch that it's not flippable before boxing it up? I mean, seriously...

    -2
    #258 1 year ago
    Quoted from jar155:

    There's no excuse for shipping a non-working game though. Shipping damage happens, but shipping a game with multiple things installed incorrectly doesn't just happen. It's a lack of caring, a result of cost cutting and poor management. Mistakes are forgivable, incompetence is frustrating and should be called out. Stern is far more guilty of the latter than anybody else in the game right now.
    A customer buys an LE edition of a game and they can't even catch that it's not flippable before boxing it up? I mean, seriously...

    Like I said above, that's not acceptable. Of the 500 LE models, I bet yours was the worst one off the line.

    #259 1 year ago
    Quoted from jar155:

    Oh, that's enough with the white knight act. The most problematic pinball machine I've ever owned was my Ghostbusters LE. Fantastic game, but absolute crap build quality and non-existent quality control. It wasn't inspected before shipping, and neither was the replacement playfield. They couldn't have been, because neither were playable as they arrived.
    You feel it's some sacred duty to jump in and defend Stern blindly at every turn. But guess what? This narrative exists because so many people HAVE HAD problems. From ghosting to peeling decals and from cabinet splitting to node board failures, there have been a lot more issues with Stern machines in the last 2-3 years than we've ever seen from them. If you don't find that concerning, then you're just being ridiculous.
    Knock it off with the accusations of manufactured drama. There are TONS of documented issues. The only way you can't see it is if you have your head in the sand or you're lying to yourself and others.

    Posts like this are so far the other way, I can't believe you don't recognize how big a hypocrite you're being.
    If you have a legit issue, post away! Get help. Tell the Pinside world exactly how f'n long you've had to wait for a reply from your distributor. Equally, if you get a replacement, or great service, tell us!
    But there are WAY too many pitchforks on here as of late. The growing negativity towards the only real manufacturer of multiple pinball titles per year, is out of hand. When a Pinsider is allowed to create a post slamming Stern the way he did (I love my new AFM!), it erodes the positivity of this site.
    When someone cries about Stern issues and they haven't experienced them firsthand, the issues are blown out of proportion.
    When you even see my comments and say that I'm being a white knight, you're BLIND or BIASED to what I'm saying.
    I never said that issues haven't occurred. Not once. What I've said is that if only the owners experiencing these problems report them, it will provide a much more accurate understanding for us all, of whether a real problem exists, and or whether there are risks to buying a new pin from Stern.

    In another thread, "PW77" (or something like that) posted about issues that he has been having, and the replacement cabinet that he received. Monsterbash also just received a replacement playfield. This is how this stuff should take place.
    Post your problems. Share the experience. But don't cry that the sky is falling on other peoples behalf.

    Your opinion may vary, and I respect it if it does, but to me so long as Stern replaces any defective parts/pieces, I'm ok with that. (Assuming it's not a nightmare to replace, that is). So far, this is what I've seen happening.

    The day I hear of multiple broken Stern pins that no longer function, I'll change my tune.

    With respect to your other comment about the tweaking involved buying a NIB? That's pinball, baby!
    If you think it's not happening with other manufacturers, think again.

    #260 1 year ago
    Quoted from clg:

    If Stern are so confident about their product and support why don't they put it in writing instead of adding written language watering down their already vague and very limited warranty.

    It was hamfisted of Stern to change their warranty language as they did, when they did. Their intention was seemingly to address in writing that subset of playfields they've already been refusing to replace (moderate ghosting on only a few inserts), but the words could readily be interpreted as excluding all insert ghosting, which caused an understantable uproar in light of the persistence of ghosting issues. There's no obvious way to do a TV-type disclaimer (i.e. "5+ dead pixels for a replacement") so I'm not sure how they could better have worded it, but its surprising that they didn't anticipate blowback.

    It's funny they bothered adding that language at all, really, since their warranty very clearly excludes the playfield (and everything else other than the boards). Of course in practice Stern covers much more than this, but since it's all essentially goodwill repairs offered for free outside the warranty period, I'm not sure how they benefit by adding that "disclaimer" language.

    STERN PINBALL INC LIMITED WARRANTY
    Stern Pinball Inc (‘SELLER’) warrants only to the initial purchaser of its products that the items listed below are free from defects in material and workmanship under normal use and service for the warranty period specified:

    • Printed circuit boards (game logic): 2 months
    • Dot Matrix Display boards: 9 months

    No other parts of seller’s product are warranted.

    Warranty periods are effective from the initial date of shipment from seller to its authorized distributors.

    Seller’s sole liability shall be, at its option, to repair or replace products which are returned to seller during the warranty periods specified, provided:

    1. Seller is notified promptly upon discovery by purchaser that stated products are defective.
    2. Such products are properly packaged and then returned freight prepaid, to seller’s plant.

    This warranty does not apply to any parts damaged during shipment and/or due to improper handling, or due to improper installation or
    usage, or alteration. In no event shall the seller be liable for any anticipated profits, loss of profits, loss of use, accidental or consequential damages, or any other losses incurred by the customer in connection with the purchase of a Stern Pinball Inc Product.

    WARRANTY DISCLAIMER
    Except as specifically provided in a written contract between seller and purchaser, there are no other warranties, express or implied, including any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

    #261 1 year ago
    Quoted from Chambahz:

    If you think it's not happening with other manufacturers, think again.

    You always fall back on this. This isn't a thread about all manufacturers, it's about Stern Pinball. Of course everybody has issues, but are they honest mistakes or the result of cheapening down product and process? It's obvious that Stern's issues are a result of doing so.

    I've already said that I'm done buying NIB games from anybody anymore. Too much headache and hassle. Luckily Dialed In came flawless, but I was nervous the entire time I was waiting for it. I've bought NIB Stern games going back to the original run Iron Man up through Ghostbusters LE. It's disheartening watching as they've become more and more relaxed with quality and quality control. To say that this isn't happening is dishonest.

    Again, mistakes in building, packing, or shipping are forgivable. What Stern is doing these days is hard to swallow. People get extra mad and throw bigger fits over Stern's issues because it's obvious that they're the result of trying to squeeze both ends of the margin game. They cheapen the product and remove features, but they also raise the price. It hurts on both ends.

    #262 1 year ago
    Quoted from jar155:

    And to reiterate what I said earlier, I wouldn't talk someone out of buying a new Stern, but I would help them understand what sort of issues they could run into. If they're fine tweaking and fixing out of the box, then they shouldn't be too worried. Major issues will get addressed by Stern, but lots of small and annoying things will be on the owner. People should definitely be aware of what problems they can run into and then make a decision whether or not they feel comfortable buying.

    YOU said that if someone were considering a STERN pin, you would help them understand that issues might come up.
    That's why I replied saying that it's all NIB machines.

    #263 1 year ago

    If I were in the USA and had a range of more customer focused distributors to deal with along with cheaper shipping of parts and better resale value of used games I would have no problem buying NIB Sterns and would probably buy most TBH. Unfortunately the calculations work out a bit different for me and Stern's distributor centric operating model doesn't work so well for people with distributors focused on adding as much margin as they can and not much else. JJP really has a big edge for me there as I can deal direct with them and their warranty is pretty clear.

    If Stern would do a one year warranty on boards I would be MUCH happier. I operate games and the numbers just get horrible for me if I have to replace a node board or two between the game being down and what it costs to land a board here. It is just not worth the risk to me.

    #264 1 year ago
    Quoted from clg:

    If I were in the USA and had a range of more customer focused distributors to deal with along with cheaper shipping of parts and better resale value of used games I would have no problem buying NIB Sterns and would probably buy most TBH. Unfortunately the calculations work out a bit different for me and Stern's distributor centric operating model doesn't work so well for people with distributors focused on adding as much margin as they can and not much else. JJP really has a big edge for me there as I can deal direct with them and their warranty is pretty clear.
    If Stern would do a one year warranty on boards I would be MUCH happier. I operate games and the numbers just get horrible for me if I have to replace a node board or two between the game being down and what it costs to land a board here. It is just not worth the risk to me.

    That's a really fair point. I've also noticed that some of the buyers in the U.K. Seem to have to wait much longer to get replacement parts and that has to be even more frustrating than it is for anyone "over here".

    #265 1 year ago

    Stern quietly fixes a lot of problems beyond the warranty, even to the second or third owner. They just don't want to be held to it. I get that. But they did kind of go heavy handed with the new language. I still expect that they'll take care of issues that aren't due to the customer's poor maintenance though.

    #266 1 year ago
    Quoted from jar155:

    You always fall back on this. This isn't a thread about all manufacturers, it's about Stern Pinball.

    Well that's fitting, because every other thread about everything else ends up being about Stern Pinball too (or even starts that way, like that AFMr "review.")

    Stern changed their warranty language because pinside forced them to. Nice work folks.

    #267 1 year ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Stern changed their warranty language because pinside forced them to. Nice work folks.

    Pinside is still small in relation to the entirety of the pinball community. I really doubt it was just Pinside that put pressure on them. Pinside is just the most visible element of the pinball community online.

    #268 1 year ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Well that's fitting, because every other thread about everything else ends up being about Stern Pinball too (or even starts that way, like that AFMr "review.") Stern changed their warranty language because pinside forced them to. Nice work folks.

    Stern didn't change their warranty language. The written warranty covers only boards, and then only for a few months (same as it ever did, right?). They just added some "descriptive text" to the front of the manual, which I don't think could be interpreted to modify the warranty.

    Before, if you had "severe" ghosting you'd get a playfield swap, more minor ghosting they'd say no. There is no evidence yet that that policy has changed. Just like before, it all seems to be at Stern's discretion, since any claims on playfields, cabinets, mechs, etc. clearly fall outside of the written warranty.

    Of course Stern has a history of providing significant service above and beyond the written warranty. If that changes (i.e. if extreme cases of ghosting are no longer being addressed) there will be cause for alarm.

    #269 1 year ago
    Quoted from kermit24:

    So will "Thunderbirds" solve for all of these shortcomings?

    Guess you havent been following Homepins thread?

    #270 1 year ago
    Quoted from RGR:

    Guess you havent been following Homepins thread?

    Not following the thread. I actually don't have any knowledge of this theme. Seems like many in the USA are in the same boat.

    #271 1 year ago

    lol so you are following it then

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