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Oct 26 2009

Following our post regarding the software Update which caused some Goodmans, Grundig and Bush Freesat boxes to fail, Harvard International have released the following statement:

As a result of a recent over-the-air download to Goodmans, Grundig and Bush Freesat HD digital boxes, some boxes have experienced problems. Whilst the number affected is limited, the cause of this problem is nevertheless under urgent and active investigation by Harvard International in conjunction with its suppliers.

Meanwhile, Freesat viewers who have reported this problem are each being contacted and arrangements are being made to ensure they can continue to enjoy the full Freesat service. This process is ongoing and will be completed by Sunday 25th October.

This issue concerns Goodmans, Grundig and Bush Freesat HD Digital Boxes only. Freesat viewers and owners of these boxes who are experiencing this problem, and who have not already provided their details, should contact the Harvard Helpline T: 0871 230 1777. We can assure all affected customers that they will receive a satisfactory resolution based on their specific requirements.

Harvard International wishes to apologise sincerely to the Freesat viewers and users of its Bush, Goodmans and Grundig Digital Boxes who have experienced this problem, and who have been inconvenienced by not being able to access the Freesat service.

60 Responses to “Official Harvard Statement On Box Failures”

  1. Paul Says:

    And how much are they making using an 0871 telephone number.

    So glad I brought a TechniSat box 6 weeks ago!


  2. carl Says:

    im so glad i took my goodmans hd back to argos , and replaced it with a humax hd. which is better quality in every way .i will never touch anything that this company owns again.and thats a sworn oath !


  3. MJ Says:

    Do a search here for an alternative to the 0871 number:


  4. Jock Says:

    Unless Harvard give us a better understanding of what went wrong, how can we have confidence that the same thing won’t happen next time?

    The present debacle only affects HD boxes; perhaps the next SD update will do the same thing to Harvard SD boxes, allowing them to make a nice little earner out of 0871 calls!

    If Harvard feel really contrite, the very least they can do is to set up a well-manned (or womanned) freephone number for affected and disgruntled customers to report their problems. They must now be aware that other manufacturers are beckoning.


  5. Harry Says:

    For those of you that have had problems with your freesat boxes don’t throw them away. They are not fit for purpose you didn’t break them the manufacturer did. Take them back and ask for a humax replacement or your money back, even if they are out of warranty or you don’t have a receipt, But first read the following to put you in the right direction.


  6. admin Says:

    As per the original post with statement, any failed boxes will be covered by the manufacturer for this particular fault, so returning to the supplier for a replacement mind just result in being asked to contact Harvard International who are conducting the resolution to this.


  7. Dan M Says:

    Jock, there are plenty of local rate numbers that you can use instead of the 0871 numbers. Just check the post above.

    Harvard wont be getting any money out of this mate, they have had to pay for the couriers to collect the broken boxes, they are also replacing the boxes with new ones. I spent 2 minutes on the phone to them, thats 20p vs about £50-£100 quid they are losing!


  8. Dan M Says:

    Had my box picked up today from my work address, so far so good! Hopefully i’ll get my box by weds!


  9. Steve Says:

    ” I spent 2 minutes on the phone to them, thats 20p ”

    …that’s 20p more than you should have paid. 0871 numbers are wrong – period.


  10. Dan M Says:

    Hi steve,

    Actually i was wrong, i forgot i get these numbers free through my landline, so it actually cost me nothing….yay! Still, there are alternatives to the 08 numbers if you just look for them.


  11. Al Catraz Says:

    6 sorry admin, i don’t think that’s strictly true.
    under the sale of goods act, your contract is with the supplier not the manufacturer, so if the product is faulty you can take it back and insist on a refund.


  12. Kevin Says:

    “This process is ongoing and will be completed by Sunday 25th October.”

    Which year!!!!!!!


  13. pmb Says:

    Got to admit I was confused by a statement first seen on the 26th saying it would be completed on the 25th. Is this on their website as I can’t find it?


  14. Bugsy Says:

    Too little too late in my opinion.
    Fortunately my box was unplugged while that download was live so i’m unaffected, but it’s a bit late to issue that statement now for those people that have suffered for so long with no kind of information given to them.


  15. Kevin Says:

    I checked the Bush website and zilch on the statement. I am surprised that management would allow such an elementary error in a press statement, but it appears that checking is not their forte.


  16. stevec7747 Says:

    completed by 24th, who are they trying to kid! I have called them at least 4 times and left them my details and still await the call back. This service is absolute rubbish. I will be calling them yet again tomorrow.


  17. Gareth Says:


    0871 numbers are not free on anyones landline. You are thinking of 0870 numbers.


  18. emma Says:

    My box was supposed to be picked up yesterday. Waited in all day nothing. Rang up to try and find out why it had not been picked up was told would get call from customer support still waiting for that.They say thier offices are open from 8.45am so why do i keep getting answerphone. My patients is running low.


  19. Paul Says:

    @Gareth – “0871 numbers are not free on anyones landline. You are thinking of 0870 numbers”.

    Correct and 0845 numbers are also free, dependant on your tariff, whereas the 0844 and 0871 numbers are not!


  20. Keith Says:

    @6 and 11.

    Under the SOG Act your contract is with the supplier but if you only paid £29.97 on a final clearance at DSG/Currys for the box the best the supplier will do is give your £29.97 back as they wont have any replacements!

    In this, and in other product fault cases, it’s often better to deal with the manufacturer direct who “should” honour warranties event though the contract is with the supplier.


  21. Lee Says:

    Total farce. Bought a new Goodmans GFSAT200HD box from Curry’s last weekend for £95, got stuck on software download (with 90% signal strength). Two calls to FreeSat, no useful advice or help flowing from that. Returned box to Curry’s, they advised to exchange for another which did exactly the same thing. Returned the second box, Curry’s gave an instant refund as that store (The Strand, London) had received 5 returns that morning – don’t think it will be long for their shelves. This morning, had call from FreeSat offering to collect the faulty hardware. Metronic sounds like the thing to do. Sorry “Harvard International” but I won’t be buying your brand(s) again.


  22. Brian Says:

    I cant send my Bush freesat hd box back to Harvard but i fixed the not turning on fault by this method………..I left the box plugged in for a couple of hours……the box was then warm underneath……..while still connected to the tv i removed and then re-plugged the power plug in…..the tv gave a response to this………..then i toggled the power plug while pressing the on button on the front of the freesat box about 6 or 7 times and the box now works perfectly……….it worked for me….i had nothing to lose……..and if it does not work for you then back to plan A …..return the box…………


  23. James Says:

    I had a Goodmans HD box that had all the current problems (i.e. box switching itself off, no sound, no signal) ever since I bought it in June 2008. It finally gave up in March this year and wouldn’t switch on no matter what I tried.

    I returned the faulty box to Currys who replaced it with a Humax Foxsat HD. No problems since then. It is a far superior box in every way. If you can get the retailer to exchange faulty boxes for a Humax one, go for it.


  24. Luke Says:

    I’d had enough and all this was enough to make me buy a new box and dipose of my old Bush HD. Always had had issues with the Bush HD box but I could just about live with them. After the update, my box was rebooting all the time so now, I have a Humax Foxsat HD box and although I’m out of pocket, I’m much happier – the box is so much better!

    This was the first time I had bought anything made by Harvard International and it’s the last. I was concerned that it may have been poor quality when I purchased it and I was correct. Never buying anything from them ever again!


  25. tony morrod Says:

    my grundig freesat box continually reboots then the picture freezes,the box will not switch off with the power button and has to be disconnected at the mains.could you please tell me when a solution willbe found.Thank You.


  26. A Train Driver Says:

    Take it to the top with your complaints…

    The Chief Executive Officer of Harvard International PLC is Mike Ashley and you can reach him at:-

    Harvard House,
    The Waterfront,
    Elstree Road, Herts,
    England WD6 3BS.
    T: +44 (0)20 8238 7650
    F: +44 (0)20 8953 7117

    I’m sure he’s waiting for your call…not!

    Hope this helps.


  27. admin Says:

    @tony morrod

    Doesn’t the statement make that clear enough?!?!?!


  28. Dan M Says:

    I had my new box delivered today, its a Goodmans, it works well. Its just a stand by box for me now as i bought a Technisat.


  29. Paul Says:


  30. Steve Says:

    DPD picked up the faulty Goodmans box on Monday and a new Goodmans was delivered on Wednesday. Costly replacement process…


  31. Jock Says:

    admin Says:
    October 28th, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    @tony morrod

    Doesn’t the statement make that clear enough?!?!?!

    How many correspondents read what has gone before when they make a new post?


  32. Denis Says:

    Jock – agree with you. A lot just post the first thing they think of without reading what has gone before. Thats just the way some people are.


  33. footy Says:

    Have a read about Harvard International, they are owned by ARGOS! So thereby lies a tale. Most of their many brands are CRAP.


  34. admin Says:

    Harvard International are not owed by Argos, it is just that Argos own some of the brand names, including ALBA and BUSH.


  35. geoffski Says:

    Just returned my Bush HD box to Argos ,Same problem as all the others,trouble is ,as the item was a present and bought with a credit card, Argos would only give a Gift Voucher as a refund. The person who paid by credit card lives abroad and I could not give his details for a refund.G.


  36. C Ellison Says:

    I keep being disconnected after getting through to both the 0871 number and it’s ordinary rate equivalent. Anyone else having this problem?


  37. M Massey Says:

    I’ve dumped my Goodmans box and bought Sagem instead. An expensive mistake on my part, but I won’t be buying anything else made by this group in future. The picture on the Sagem is so much better anyway. Don’t waste your time ringing the phone number. They want to know everything about you but don’t do anything.


  38. Annie Says:

    Do you think they will send a courier to Spain to collect my faulty Bush HD box?????


  39. Penn Says:

    Has anybody else visited Support on the Harvard website and noticed the the two pictures of help line staff are certainly not Indian. Do you you think this is false pretences.


  40. Frank Dale Says:

    Following Freesat helpline’s response that a download would fix the problem, I gave up waiting and contacted them again and the Harvard helpline to demand a replacement box.

    Several days later Freesat contacted me to arrange a pickup of my two Grundig boxes, followed next day by Harvard asking to do the same thing.

    That sorted, the boxes were exchanged within three working days, but as I had been expecting, was sent two Goodman HD boxes as replacements.

    The Goodman box is slower to set up than the Grundig, but apart from that the picture, certainly in HD, is as good as the originals.

    I have left them on “soak tests” to see if any overheating problems come back.

    I have attached my main box to the Internet, but no signs of life yet regarding test Iplayer signals. This will probably need another transmitted upgrade, but do I have the nerve to go through this agro again, if it all goes wrong?


  41. ron johnson Says:

    im’e sick as i bought my bush hd on ebay when i opened the box there was a argos flyer inside so i don’t think i have a cat in hells chance of getting a replacement though i can get most of the channels it’s the hd bbc and itv freezing intermitently still waing to see if any update comes out.but think argos has a cheek selling returned boxes to ebay sellers


  42. admin Says:

    @ron johnson

    Buying off ebay does have it risks and certainly aren’t usually covered under warranty, however, if you contact Harvard directly claiming it went wrong when the new software was updated, then they’ll no doubt arrange for a replacement; they don’t require a receipt.


  43. MickeyL Says:

    Are they still planning to send out an update over the air to fix it? My box seems to be OK when left on standby so it should be able to download a fixed version of the software.

    Having them collect and return the box is not feasible for me and anyway I’ve got a good old Sky Digibox as a backpup for the moment so I’m in no rush – apart from missing the footy in HD…


  44. Andrew Says:

    Called Harvard on Monday morning. Took 10minn to get through at 2nd time of asking. Indian Call centre where they ask the problem and then take your details and then say someone from the technical team will call you to discuss your problem further.

    Anyway today (2 days later) I had a call from a guy from Freesat to arrange collection of my box. They said they have an update for it, but it can only be done back at the factory (no other update possible he said i.e. at home). They said if this doesn’t work, they will be replacing the box. They will collect on Thursday, receive Friday and have it back to me by next Monday.

    So I will wait and see what happens.


  45. Wayne Slater Says:

    Rang call centre last Wed, got a call back from Technical centre on Friday , boxes (x2) collected Monday, got brand new Goodmans boxes at 9.00am today. Both seem to be working fine. I think Harvard have done their best to sort out the problem . it must be costing them a fortune.


  46. ron johnson Says:

    thanks for your help after calling harvard they have just called me to say the box will be picked up tommorow and if they cant fix it will replace on monday.

    ron johnson


  47. ron johnson Says:

    they collected my sat box on friday and today they sent me a new goodmans box well happy thanks for your suggestion it worked a treat.


  48. admin Says:

    Not wanting you guys to suffer alone, we have accepted a unit from a reader which also failed; it is a Bush HD, so we thought we’d go through the process of replacement and see how it goes.

    1) We have contacted Harvard International on the telephone number provided in the statement (we appreciate there are better numbers!); we went through the options and a small delay with hold music and got through within a couple of minutes to someone in Indian. They asked a few questions regarding the unit and what has happened, then asked where it was purchased from and how long ago; they then took our name and telephone number and said they will contact us back. Time of call, <5mins.

    We shall now wait... 😉


  49. james Says:

    I commented below (number 23), mentioning that I had a faulty HD Bush box too. I contacted Freesat, they told me that it was a problem, they got someone round to pick it up for free, they took it away and 3 weeks later they sent me back (for free) a Goodmans FreesatHD box (which looks practically identical), fully working AND a free gold plated HDMI cable. I am more than chuffed. I’d say a pretty good service considering I don’t pay any monthly subscription. Will continue to enjoy FreesatHD agan :)

    For those still having problems:
    – DONT take it back to the shop you bought it from.
    – Keep ringing the number on the bush website. It puts you through to an Indian call center.Let them know that you are aware of the problem and that you are experiencing it too, so could somebody pick it up.
    – A day or so later you will get a call from Harvard who will set up a pick up date for you.
    – Wait up to about 3 weeks. They WILL send it back eventually. It is just taking time because they messed up big style and have thousands of boxes to deal with.


  50. admin Says:

    Following on from our previous post (comment 48)

    2) Received a call from Harvard International today, advised us that they won’t collect the unit as a software update will take place at noon next Tuesday and that we should update and all will be fine again. We decided to accept this rather than argue the point to see whether the update can resolve a problem that hasn’t been possible so far. We shall keep you all updated.


  51. james Says:

    admin – which box are you having problems with? I had the Bush one. Originally it was a bit of a pain in the arse, I was told to “wait for a week and a software update will take place”. After a week I rang back and they told me to do the same again. After the second week I argued that nothing has happened, so they took my number and I got a call from Harvard. From what I can gather the update doesn’t work on some boxes, Bush being one of them.


  52. admin Says:


    Yes, this particular unit is a Bush HD box. We shall see what the update does next week.


  53. MickeyL Says:

    Well this morning there was a software upgrade scheduled from Harvard to run from 16-18 November (1.8.something, I seem to recall) but it seems to have been pulled. It’s no longer there now!


  54. Harvard Release Software Update Cure | Join Freesat Says:
  55. Simon Says:

    Yes…and now that has broken my box…… again…morons.


  56. ALAN Says:

    I was really pleased to see on this blog that I was not alone with my Grundig Freesat box problem. Harvard responded quickly and within 36 hours had my box collected by courier and replaced by a Goodmans box which worked OK for two weeks. Here endeth the good news. Yesterday the Goodmans box could not download the version 1.8 software and went into a “loop”! Called Harvard again today ( dont use the Indian call centre but dial 02392 248210) and a courier is collecting the box tomorrow so their engineers could “fix” the problem. Hopefully they return a working box early next week. If it happens again I shall go back to Currys and demand an alternative non-Harvard box.


  57. Alan Anderson Says:

    I have the Bush HD box problem caused by the software “upgrade” on 13th October. My current software version is 1.7.48. Reading all of the above it seems I need version 1.8.1 but that this was only available for download for a short period. Will Harvard make it availbale again do you think or do they enjoy making people like me suffer?


  58. Dr. Skids Says:

    I bought a Grundig freesat hd (sat02hd) before I had seen any of these problems. After 2mins watching the BBC HD channel it ignores the remote control. The light on the front flashes blue to acknowledge a command has been sent but it does nothing. No info no change of channel. It requires a hard reset (power cycle) to


  59. geoff Says:

    Harvards have picked up twice from me. The first time they replaced my original Grundig after a week with a Goodmans which worked fine for about a month. They picked that up and ‘fixed’ it for me, again taking a week to do this. All ok until Christmas eve when most stations became unavailable – only getting BBC1 and ITV2. I share a dish with a neighbour whcih has worked fine for years with Sky. We have both switched to Freesat now and he’s having no problems so it’s obviously my Goodmans again. The story continues!!!


  60. dave Says:

    Hi i have a goodmans freesat hd box and the problem i am having is the box is stuck with a blue power light and nothing else. No signal on the screen and nothing responds. Is this the problem caused by the update?


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