Globalization - The Race to The Bottom
A properly maintained RV should provide
safe and reliable service for 15-20 years.
Will imported equipment, systems and
components do that?
Globalization - The Race to the Bottom
The RV is one of the very few products left that is designed, manufactured, and serviced in the U.S., notwithstanding the
increasing popularity and use of highly regarded and successful diesel power plants and transmissions provided by
Daimler-Chrysler.

The RV industry continues to deliver value for our money and is always looking for better and more cost-effective ways to
build RVs, and it’s important for RVers to ensure that well-designed, safe, and reliable products and systems are installed
in their RVs.

RVers and everyone else are seeing a lot articles about products imported from China. While cost is always a factor, most
people consider products for purchase in terms of value primarily, based on a combination of price, quality, reliability, and
safety.

RVs are high-end items and that should provide 15-20 years (or more) of safe and enjoyable service with proper
maintenance. The RV industry should be very wary of looking to China for any equipment, parts or components installed in
an RV as a result of the many recent and widely reported problems with products manufactured in China.

Background: Products imported from China are often significantly cheaper. Unfortunately, the lower prices associated
with Chinese manufacturing are too often accompanied by a significant loss of quality, safety, reliability, and value that
Americans expect to get for their money.

Several different parties play an active role in the importation of unsafe, shoddy, or defective automotive, consumer,
electronic, and food products from foreign countries.

Consumers looking for the lowest price (and assuming sometimes erroneously that all goods sold in the United States
are safe and reliable).
Corporations looking for the highest profit, but unwilling to provide the inspection, testing, and monitoring of imported
products and ingredients to ensure a safe, reliable, and properly manufactured product.
Chinese corporations who have bare-bones to non-existent manufacturing and quality standards, along with financial
risk or exposure that varies from none to very limited for manufacturing and exporting unsafe, defective, or unreliable
products.

Well-known United States and foreign corporations scour the globe for less expensive products, components, and raw
materials to sell or incorporate into their products, but they consider cost to be the driving factor, while buyers want real
value.

The track record of Chinese products, including mechanical, electrical, electronic, automotive and related products, tires,
food, fish, and food ingredients and additives does not bode well for consumers. Examples of totally unacceptable and
unconscionable problems reported in the press in the last two years include:

Pet food – with industrial byproducts that may have killed or injured thousands of pets in the U.S.
Seafood, fish, shrimp, apple juice, honey, and miscellaneous food ingredients and by-products - with toxic or
adulterated ingredients, mislabeling, excessive levels of contaminants, and banned levels of pharmaceuticals.
Toothpaste and cough syrup – with industrial solvents that caused more than 100 deaths in Central America. More
500,000 cases of toothpaste containing contaminated ingredients were distributed in the United States.
Toys – with lead-based paint or parts that can be swallowed by small children. Millions of toys from well-known toy
manufacturers and distributors have been subjected to product recalls.
Consumer Electronics – with counterfeit or defective rechargeable lithium batteries (computers, cameras, cell phones,
etc.) subject to electrical short-circuits and catching on fire.
Electronics Components – Forbes reported in September 2005 that 15% of the diodes, resistors, and circuit boards
manufactured in China for an audio equipment manufacturer (for equipment selling from $350 - $9500). After switching
to electronics components from Malaysia, the return rate from customers dropped from 5% to 1%.
Computers – Three major computer hard drive manufacturers (Seagate Technology, Maxtor, and Hitachi) started
recalling defective drives in Taiwan in July 2007. The disk drives, manufactured in mainland China, had an estimated
defect rate of 10%.
Mechanical products – defective electrical circular saws, defective swimming pool ladders and baby carriers, and
exploding electric air pumps.
Kazuma Merkat ATVs – marketed for children ages 6 – 11, and deemed unsafe by the Consumer Product Safety
Commission because they lack front brakes and parking brake, can be started in gear, and more. The manufacturer
responded that the product was a toy and not subject to rules and regulations applicable to ATVs with larger engines.
Tires – 450,000 defective light truck tires used on automobiles, SUVs, and trucks, imported by Foreign Tire Sales under
the Westlake, Telluride, Compass, and YKS tire labels subject to tread separation and premature tire failure. The same
importer had been directed in by NHTS in 2005 and 2006 to stop selling 19,000 truck tires (that could also be used on
RVs) that failed to comply with labeling regulations regarding load rating and inflation instructions.

Note: The
Star Ledger of Newark, NJ reported that “China is the leading exporter of tires to the United States, with 30
million shipped each year.”

The items above were found by with a keyword search on the Yahoo News and Google News websites. Many of the articles
concerning defective or unsafe imported products from China are first reported in foreign press reports.

What Does it Mean to Us? RVers and everyone else have several important concerns concerning the use of
imported components, equipment, and tires in their RVs, homes, or places of business.

Safety: If the tread separation problems faced by owners of 3500-6000 lb. SUVs with the defective Firestone tires several
years back were a problem, the prospect of a like  total tire failure in an RV that weights 9,000 – 26,000 lbs or an 18-wheeler
tractor-trailer combination weighing 80,000 lbs. rolling down the Interstate at 70 mph is even worse.

Warranty Coverage: An increasing number of manufacturers of consumer electronics products are reducing the warranty
coverage for a new product from one-year to three months. In addition, because of the rapid introduction of new products,
availability of repair parts or service is becoming more difficult. These products are falling into the “throw-away” category if
they do not work.

Consumers used to purchasing consumer household products and electronics from the big box stores are finding that the
box stores may defer all warranty claims to the manufacturer unless the buyer purchases an extended warranty from the
store or return it within a stipulated time period. Warranty coverage generally does not include in-home (or RV) service and
requires removal of the product from the RV to be available for return/ or repair.

Most manufacturers will not provide any product warranty support past the stated warranty coverage date, regardless of
whether the product was mis-represented, poorly designed or improperly manufactured.

RV Service Costs: Many of the consumer and electronics products installed in RVs are the same as those used in the
home. While you have easy access to equipment used at home, most equipment used in an RV, such as TV's, convection
M/W, washer/dryer, entertainment systems equipment, plumbing and plumbing fixtures, is installed and  attached with
limited and difficult access to the equipment, fittings, and connections. Trouble-shooting and service , requiring a trained
technician for service or trouble-shooting.

It is very frustrating to pay $300-$600 in labor costs to remove and replace a product that only costs $300, and should not
have failed at all.

Legal Liability: American consumers will generally encounter difficulty if they choose to pursue legal or civil complaints for
injury, death, or illness associated with imported products. Many are imported by import/export corporations that exist in a
maze of corporate entities across multiple borders. Unfortunately for buyers, the Chinese government and manufacturers
generally deny any liability and state that the complaints or charges are unfounded.

Where to Go Now? The various agencies of the U.S. Government have shown limited interest in ensuring that
Americans are importing quality goods from China.

If you are concerned about defective imported children's toys, or any defective products, the New York Times reported on
September 1,2007 that the total staff of the
Consumer Product Service Commission (CSPC) totalled approximately 420
employees, with
one person assigned to test toys for paint with excessive levels of paint. Apparently, the CSPC relies on
the toy manufacturers to guarantee the safety of the toys, the toy manufacturers rely on the Chinese manufacturing plants to
guarantee compliance with U.S. Safety regulations, and the Chinese manufacturers don't see any problem.

The same approach has been adapted by U.S. and foreign corporations who design the products, specify the
manufacturing processes, standards and criteria, manufacture it in China, and then deliberately fail to monitor, test, or verify
that the products comply with the technical specifications and pertinent U.S. (or any other) import and safety regulations.

In addition, many U.S. manufacturers do not want to indicate the country of origin for miscellaneous byproducts, ingredients,
or components used in their products. Congress has been stalling implementing regulations requiring the identification of
the country of origin for imported products for more than four years.

The
Transportation Safety Administration checks every bag carried onto a domestic airline flight and makes air travelers
pay for the cost of the program with a ticket surcharge. In comparison, The
Washington Post reported that the FDA inspects
less than 1% of seafood, fruits, and vegetables being imported from foreign countries and allows approximately 30
seconds/shipment for inspection. This program is also paid for by American taxpayers.

Accordingly, consumers and RVers must pay close attention to the country of manufacture of everything they purchase for
use in their home or RV, as well as all food, agricultural and pharmaceutical products. We suggest that all consumers,
including RVers, consider the following:

Purchase all equipment or products requiring physical attachment or installation, or that will be located in tight,
inaccessible, or confined locations, from a reputable manufacturer and distributor with a known record of product
quality and reliability, along with a viable customer service and warranty policy.
Buy products from recognized distributors and sellers who clearly label the country of origin and will return your
money with no stocking fees for returned products. This includes food and pharmaceutical stores, retailers and big
box stores, and Internet sites.
Consider purchasing an extended warranty for difficult-to-get-at, heavy, or bulky equipment that includes service in
the home or RV.
Avoid purchasing tires that are manufactured in China.
Limit the purchase of food, agricultural and pharmaceutical products to those manufactured in the U.S. or countries
with a recent and long-term history of health, safety and reliability.
Do not purchase any imported product if you would be upset at throwing it away because it was defective or
unsafe.

For RVers, we consider using the currently available levels of reliability, quality, and safety of equipment and components
manufactured in China in the manufacture and assembly of RVs to be the equivalent of bringing back the Yugo.

We recommend that consumers promptly return defective, shoddy, or unsafe products (imported or otherwise) to the point
of purchase and demand a full refund.

While the U.S. Government and U.S. corporations keep telling us that Globalization is the way of the future and the way to
better products, we suggest you consider the following:

The
New York Times reported that since 2003, “the imports of food alone have almost doubled while the number of (FDA)
inspectors has decreased”.

If mobile wireless products manufactured in China with list prices of $300 - $600 are so good, why do mobile wireless
service providers only warranty them for 30 days?

After returning four defective
Sprint Motorola phones that did not work, I was advised by a Sprint PCS mobile wireless
provider executive that “…our products are no worse than our competitors”. Whoopee! Apparently, the mobile wireless
industry considers the epitome of leading-edge success to be “no worse than their competitors” (and they wonder why
people keep changing carriers).

Verizon provided us with three Verizon Westell wireless DSL routers (designed in the UK for Verizon and manufactured in
China) over eight weeks before we had a working wireless DSL Internet connection.   

Conclusions: We evaluate the current objectives of Globalization and global manufacturing appear to be as follows:

Move the product planned obsolescence date back to the point of purchase,
Replace the term "World-Class Manufacturing" with "No Worse than Our Competitors," and
Have all working, worked-out, and elderly people around the world live in tin shacks filled floor to ceiling with
shoddy consumer and electronics products, questionable food and pharmaceutical products, and no health
care, vacation, or retirement benefits for their lifetime work activity.

Forty years ago, we were told that technology would take us to the moon. It did. We were also told technology would provide
a 20-hour work week, a cleaner environment, a better lifestyle, and a safer world. It didn’t, it isn’t, and it shows limited signs
of doing so.

The manufacturing, governmental, and financial institutions around the world are suffering from severe moral turpitude in
deliberately turning the clock back to adversely affect the quality of life, and providing a first-ever thwarting of decades of
American ingenuity, efforts and innovation to provide safer, healthier, and improved lifestyles for Americans and everyone
around the globe.

The closing question is “are we using technology to raise us up to the moon and provide a better world, or push us down to
a tin hut?”

We suggest that all RVers, consumers, and businesses demand value for their money – from the government, the
employers, the corporations, the manufacturers and the retailers and the service providers.

UNTIL WE CARE, THEY DON’T AND WON’T!

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All original content Copyright © 2008 by Alan and Barbara Lidstone. All Rights Reserved.
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