This is a conversation between me and my lead installer, just this morning.

"Hey Dave, the projector at XYZ church wasn't working right.  I put another bulb in, and it's fine now." 

"Well, it's been about four years since they bought it.  That's about the right time for needing another lamp.  He'll be glad for the new one."  

"The pastor says that the new lamp is only about 8 months old.  Did he buy that from us?"

"I don't think so.  Let me check." 

As it turns out, the pastor thought that a new projector lamp was "too expensive" at $429, so he went out online and bought a lamp from someone he didn't know for a price that he liked.  Compatible projector lamps are typically $60-249.  Compared to brand name lamps, they're a great deal on the surface.  They often have longer initial warranties (6 months versus 90 days) and are promised to be just as good.  The problem is that they aren't. 

The Sanyo branded lamp lasted that church 40 months.  The unbrand compatible lasted 8 months.  Instead of spending $429 for another 40 months of service (and as a Sanyo dealer for almost 10 years, I can attest to average lamp life of being about that long), he spent $249 for 8 months.   I have lots of stories just like this one. 

This is crude math analysis and the test sample isn't nearly large enough, but the lamp-only cost of operation for the original lamp was a little less than $11 a month.  The compatible cost just over $31 per month, and the kicker is that they have to spend another $429 to get their projector up and running once again. 

I hate to say, "I told you so, but..."

I'm all for helping our clients save money where it's appropriate.  After almost 20 years of sitting in this chair, I've seen a lot.  Don't let me have to say it to you.

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