It's likely how I feel about Plextor is at least partially known. It's just the fact that if someone pays top $ for something, one expects top performance, especially when it's hyped or has a certain reputation. Just imagine if someone bought BMWs because of their quality reputation, yet suddenly every BMW were as much of a lemon as the Buick Royale (rampant problems with cooling systems, electrical systems, engine--even engines going up in flames AND they had been properly maintained... every category was either next to lowest or the lowest in quality ratings). How long could BMW convince people to keep buying it because of their past reputation, when the present is obviously lousy? Imagine if the problem were compounded by awful customer service and the customer getting the runaround constantly. If they didn't improve in a hurry, it wouldn't take long to wreck years of a "good reputation" and put them out of business.
Considering the Plextor price tag, any consumer that has a defective drive should be sent a postage paid label to ship either Fed-Ex or UPS back to Plextor, and ideally need only one RMA to get a great unit. The corollary to that is when any informed user sends Plextor burn scans and observations on write strats that are obviously lacking, those users should see the fruits of their labor in the next fw update. A user should also see the highest frequency of firmware updates on Plextor's part, and they should even be 'cutting edge' in comparison to other burners. The price one paid should be reflected in the quality of the product and great customer service. When this is not there, and the burns are more or less 'on par' with other burners (and clearly not the best)--not to mention long gaps between fw updates--this will turn many off in a hurry.
I'm forced to agree with FTP. The fact I could have gotten two burners for $90 USD (my second one now would have likely been a Liteon1693S) and
still had $32 to spare really disgusts me, especially since I don't have the money to burn. Add to that, from the area I'm in, I won't be able to sell my 716 for a fair price, so I would stand to come out farther behind, so it's a triple whammy. And the fact that I have to live with it and know I can't count on Plextor to deliver on how superb the burner should be is really the straw that breaks the camel's back. The fact that my BenQ1640 burns are as good and even better with some mids when compared against my 716... well, if the 716's as good as it's supposed to be no one would be able to get close...