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Users Give New Gear Just 20 Minutes

Americans consumers give up after spending an average of just 20 minutes trying to figure out how to work a new device, a Dutch scientist said Monday. After that, the product goes back.

According to Reuters, Elke den Ouden, a PhD candidate at the Technical University of Eindhoven, found in her research that complaints and returns of hardware such as MP3 music players and wireless audio systems were largely due to defective design.

In fact, half of all products returned to stores by consumers are failures because the buyer couldn't figure out how to operate the device, den Ouden said.

Den Ouden also used product managers at Philips, the Netherlands-based electronics giant, as guinea pigs, giving them new products to test over a weekend. Even the managers returned with complaints about not being able to puzzle out the hardware.

She will defend her thesis, "Developments of a Design Analysis Model for Consumer Complaints: Revealing a New Class Of Quality Failures," on March 16.