Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Tue 13th Feb, 2007

A warning to others

How stupid am I? I fell for a trick I already knew.

I picked up a Netgear DM111P on Saturday at the Computer Swap Meet, in order to accommodate my new Yawarra firewall with it's lack of USB connector for my old ADSL modem. Since this new one does ADSL2+ via an ethernet port, and theoretically Internode will get around to upgrading the Belconnen exchange to ADSL2+ any year now, it's a timely upgrade. And it's exactly what I need: one RJ11 port for the phone line, one ethernet port for the firewall, no wifi, no extra ports. And it does PPPoE passthrough too, AFAICS.

I noticed at the time that the box had been opened and resealed with sticky tape. Stupidly, I thought nothing of it: maybe someone wanted to see what it came with - there are plenty of people who like opening the boxes in order to waste the sellers' time and look like a guru ("Oh, this comes with a yellow ethernet cable, I'm not having it!). But subconsciously I recognised it as a bad sign.

The next bad sign was when I got it home and opened it, to find a previous receipt and post-it note stuck to the leaflets. This meant someone else had already bought it and returned it. You can bet it wasn't because they didn't like the colour. And, stupid and annoying as it is, it is a not uncommon practice of these low-margin swapmeet vendors to take a return and put it back on sale. Sure, they'll probably end up with another return in a week's time (assuming you can find the bloody people again), but in the meantime they've got your money and they haven't dirtied their reputation with their upstream suppliers.

Sure enough, I plugged it in and turned it on and the power light remained red permanently. After hunting down the manual, I determined that this meant that it wasn't working correctly. Pressing the 'reset' button made it go green and flash, but it never went out of this reset mode again. And I couldn't ping it at all, or find it using nmap on the 192.168.0.0/16 subnet.

So, thank you Orange Computer & Networking of 352 Rocky Point Rd, Sans Souci, phone number 02 9583 9838. Thank you for bodging up another dodgy sale; thank you for pissing another customer off in order to make a quick buck. I will be complaining to the organisers, and ringing you to arrange a replacement - and that won't involve me driving up to Sydney or waiting for you to appear at a swap meet again, either. You've printed "All goods are one year warranty." on your receipt - time for you to honour it.

And just when I thought I'd got exactly what I wanted, too.

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