As anyone who reads my blog knows, I get irate about stuff. At the moment my pet rant is the cost of hardware. Its not just the cost that riles me, its the comparitive price from specialist suppliers versus mainstream. Disabled users trust the specialists, trust them to understand their needs and recommend a solution that meets those needs. The problem is, that for some items the cost of that service is excessive.
Ive had a couple of examples given to me recently, indestructible keyboard - 29,99 from specialist - 7.99 from supermarket, large button mouse 34.99 from specialist, 3.99 from supermarket and a trackball 124.99 from specialist or 34.99 from the mainstream
Im not against a markup for service, but lets be honest in how many other fields would we accept 300% markup for someone giving us advice on what to buy. "No Dave" im told "its all about after sales support" but again lets be honest how much after sales support does a big mouse need. Its not as if a 6000 mile service needs to be booked in
On top of that are the reseller arrangements, these deals prevent disabled people from one part of Europe getting the best price for solutions by buying from an alternatative supplier, as t vendor explains that they cant ship across borders etc.
So we face a number of issues, is it reasonable to make these levels of markup for product ? Are we using the markup from a low support item to subsidise the costs of meeting the needs of a user with a more complex solution. As we move towards a customer driven AT market, should it be expected that elements of a solution such as support and training are priced seperately for the consumer to choose what they will buy.
Importantly here is some transparency and simplicity around the costs of inclusive technologies. As a consultant Im always telling companies that the cost of meeting needs is very small, but if some of the pricing is unrealistic that may fly in the face of their experience.
So im toying with some form of wiki where users can tell others about sources of good quality, but low cost AT or individualised solutions. Something that complements the growth of open source solutions in software - I may call it "comparethemaltron.com" or maybe not
- ▼ March (5)