10 ways companies rip us off by creating products that are designed to fail + how we can try and solve it

10 ways companies rip us off by creating products that are designed to fail + how we can try and solve it

First of all we love some of our Apple devices however we soon noticed that this article was becoming quite the Apple bashing.

Ink Cartridges

They’re designed to be crap. Constantly needing to be cleaned (which uses up ink), telling us they’re empty before they actually are, not allowing the rest of the colours to be used once another is empty.

Solution: Use 3rd party ink cartridges, ideally that you can refill yourself. Ensure when printing documents you’re not printing out backgrounds, logos, adverts etc that you don’t need. If it’s just for your own use print in grayscale or draft.


Game Console Games

They create a new console and say, oh yeah all those games you did have for that old console now won’t work on this one.

Solution: Get a gaming PC and the games move with you once you upgrade. Failing that trade games for cash asap.
Note: Unfortunately this does sometimes happen on PC as well for certain software packages, so if possible help support open source projects.



I’m surprised they didn’t die long ago, oh wait it’s because they can sell them for hundreds! Every new edition makes the last obsolete and going digital opens them up to piracy.

Solution: Buying secondhand (from Facebook groups or AmazonAbeBooks etc) but obviously remember these may give you out of date info. See if you can rent/borrow books from library etc. Go halves/split the cost with mates.
When selling compare prices with AmazonAbeBooksMusic Magpie etc. We used to know someone that would buy a book and then just photocopy the whole thing and return it / sell it on, however you need to check if this is legal with the books you use.



Car Manufacturers stopping production of certain parts or even whole cars within years of them originally coming out = lack of parts, expensive to repair and all of a sudden not worth repairing. You also see a massive deprecation when buying a new car, you lose 20% as soon as you walk out of the door with the keys (the VAT) and then the % just keeps dropping and dropping until it’s worth effectively nothing.

Solution: Buy used, even if you pick a car up that is 6 months old. Keep on top of your car maintenance, checking tyre pressure for instance can save you 3-6% in fuel economy + help with tyre wear etc.
Then start saving for an electric car, with massive savings + better deprecation and when done correctly you will wonder why petrol/diesel cars still exist… wait for the Tesla Model 3 in 2017


The Tesla Model S – The car everyone wants, just wait until 2017 for the Model 3

What is your biggest fear about electric cars?
Correct! Wrong!

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Just tell us who you are to view your results !

What is your biggest fear about electric cars? You got out of 1 right!


Phone Batteries

To be fair to phone batteries they do get a hammering however companies know this and still insist on batteries that aren’t easily replaceable. Why? Because by the time you notice a drop in battery life they have a new phone ready to be launched / purchased by you. Apple as an example will replace your battery but they charge extortionate fees (£59) for it. The batteries themselves you can buy for £10 (Apple pay considerably less) and the procedure should take 5-30minutes depending on your ability. Problem is Apple don’t allow any stores to officially do this and technically doing so voids your warranty.

Solution: Buy the tools to fix, then learn how to replace yourself using guides from iFixit etc or buy a third party external battery like this beast from Anker


Light bulbs

A Thomas Edison lightbulb is still lit, some 114 years (as of 2015) after it was first turned on. Don’t you find it strange that the lightbulbs you buy from the supermarket you’re lucky if they last for 6 months!

Solution: Swap to LED bulbs, they cost 3-4x the price as their incandescent predecessor but they last dramatically more years, with some rated/warrantied for up to 20+ years
http://amzn.to/1FK7WIH (warm yellow glow, like a normal 60 watt bulb)
http://amzn.to/1G6ip4F (brighter but also a blue white glow, good for office area)
http://amzn.to/1G6kRbB (warm yellow bayonet)
http://amzn.to/1FKapCO (not used but decent reviews)


Mobile phone glass

All that would need to be done is put a small lip around the screen so it’s not the first thing to come in contact with the floor but no they prefer design over function.

Solution: Use a decent case and don’t drop the thing. We’ve all got that friend that constantly has a smashed screen, yet some of us are still yet to smash one….
If you do end up dropping it, get a quote locally for a repair before the shock of going to the manufacturer.
Should I get mobile phone insurance?



You used to be able to open up a Apple Macbook Pro and upgrade the hard drive / SSD etc. Now it’s impossible as they solder these to the motherboard.
The same is true for various other brands as the devices become smaller & thinner they also give you less options for expandability & reduce the chances of a third party fix to a problem.

Solution: Buy a PC that you can upgrade in the future


Apple Watch

You know those watch repair places you see on the highstreet well if Apple has their way those places will be shut down soon. According to iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens, the new Apple watch is basically impossible to repair. “The S1 SiP [internal system in package] is encased in resin, and is further held in place by a mess of glue and soldered ribbon connectors. In short, basic component replacements look nearly impossible.” So for £479 to £9,500 you have a device that if something does go wrong can’t be repaired by anyone other than Apple & when the newer version comes out you certainly won’t be able to upgrade the internals.

Solution: Don’t buy an Apple Watch…

Thanks to iFixit for their awesome tear downs.

Thanks to iFixit for their awesome tear downs.


We’re slowly becoming a nation that uses something and then chucks it due to the latest fad, fashion change etc. The problem is companies that produce clothing know this and will actively source the cheapest materials, cheapest labour.

Solution: Learn how to use a needle and thread, do as your great grandmother/father would do and fix it or adapt it
Buy from the secondhand market like on sites like Asos Marketplace, eBay, Preloved etc


Learn more

If anyone finds this topic interesting look in to ‘planned obsolescence’
a policy of producing consumer goods that rapidly become obsolete and so require replacing, achieved by frequent changes in design, termination of the supply of spare parts, and the use of non-durable materials.


This article is part of ‘Improve yourself‘ a category designed to show ways people may scam you, how companies trick you and most importantly how you can improve your life by doing something you love doing.


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