Caught Between Newegg And ASUS With A Defective Tablet

Sara is stuck. Almost two months ago, she ordered an ASUS tablet from Newegg. Shortly after she began using it, it had problems recognizing the dock that turns it into a notebook computer, and some minor video issues. She called up ASUS for technical help, and they instructed her to send it to them for repair. They couldn’t duplicate the issue, so they shipped it back to her after hanging on to it for three weeks. By then, it was even more broken than when she originally shipped it, and by then Newegg’s return period had ended. She should have returned it to Newegg in the first place, but didn’t know that at the time. What should she do now?

She writes:

I bought an ASUS TF300T tablet and dock from Newegg on April 29th. As I started using the tablet, I noticed that the tablet wouldn’t recognize the dock unless I had the dock plugged into the AC adapter. I also noticed some white lines that would flicker on the left side of the screen. Neither of these things were a huge problem but I spent $550 so I wanted the device to work correctly.

I called ASUS technical support on May 8th. They suggested a factory reset, which didn’t solve anything. After a few different conversations with technical support, it was decided that I should send the tablet and dock to ASUS for repair. The representative that I spoke with mentioned that the repair would take approximately 1-2 weeks.

ASUS received my dock and tablet on May 18th. Over the next few weeks, I checked the ASUS RMA website daily for a status updates. The entire time that ASUS has the device, the only status update that I was able to receive was a non-descriptive internal status code “Waiting-[WB3] Wait for internal Advise”.

On June 2nd, I unexpectedly received an email containing a FedEx tracking number and the two serial numbers from the dock and tablet. After reviewing the e-mail and noticing that this shipment was coming from California, rather than Texas where I sent my devices for repair, I expected to receive a new dock and tablet. Had that been the case, my story may have ended there. Instead, when the package arrived on June 4th, a new dock was the only item inside.

I immediately called ASUS customer service to find out what had happened to my tablet. ASUS said they couldn’t give me an update and to call back within 24 hours. I called again on June 5th and again they said they could not give me an update but they would escalate my case. A representative called on June 7th saying that they were still trying to escalate my case and that there was no update to give me.

On June 11th, I called again after not hearing back from anyone and seeing that the RMA website had not changed. The representative I spoke with was incredibly rude and would only tell me “you just have to wait”. After realizing that I was getting nowhere with this representative, I asked to speak with a manager. To my surprise, the representative refused to put me in touch with a manager and he just repeated what he had been saying, I “just have to wait”.

At this point, my frustration level began to rise. I decided to try sending an email to their escalation mailbox but all I received was a form email in reply. I read on your website that readers had luck with contacting the retailer, rather than ASUS, to resolve issues. I called Newegg and they agreed to try to contact ASUS on my behalf. I didn’t hear back from Newegg but I did get an email from ASUS on June 15th saying that my tablet was coming back so I assumed Newegg was able to help me out.

When I finally got the tablet back on June 20th, all of the documentation that came with it said that ASUS wasn’t able to replicate my issues. I did a factory reset again and tried connecting the tablet to the new, unopened dock. The tablet still did not recognize the dock. The screen was also flickering much worse than it had before I sent it for repairs.

I decided to call Newegg back on June 20th and the representative said they had not received my authorization for them to contact ASUS on my behalf so they actually had no part in the return of my tablet.

On June 21st, I called ASUS back and all they could say is that I have to send the tablet and dock back again. I am hesitant about sending the devices back since I have no faith that they willfix anything this time when they completely failed the first go-around. After contacting Newegg again, they confirmed that they had received my authorization and that they would create a customer service ticket to look into my issues with ASUS.

At this point, I’m at a loss as to what to do. I feel caught between ASUS and Newegg and I, as the consumer, am the only one who is suffering through this ordeal. I thought I followed the proper channels when I needed a repair on my items by sending them back to the manufacturer, rather than just returning them to Newegg. Newegg, however, told me that I should have sent everything back to them when I first had an issue. Unfortunately, due to the length of time that ASUS held on to my device, I no longer have the option to send everything back to Newegg since their customer service informed me I am outside of their normal return policy timeframe and they refused to make an exception to help me out.

I wrote this letter to Consumerist to tell my story as a warning for other consumers of ASUS devices and also to ask if Consumerist, or its readers, had any advice that I could use in my situation.  I now know never to buy another ASUS product, due to the possibility of having to deal with their customer service.

Depending on what method of payment Sara used, she is most likely within her time limit to initiate a chargeback against Newegg. It’s not really fair to punish Newegg when it was really ASUS dragging its metaphorical feet on the repair, but it’s also not fair to pay $550 and get a tablet that doesn’t really work.

Comments

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  1. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    A chargeback might not work (newegg did what they are supposed to do), but the credit card might have warranty coverage that can apply too.

  2. ZachPA says:

    Before contacting her card issuer to initiate the chargeback, the OP should contact Newegg with an EECB or similar to tell them that her next, and final, step in fixing this mess will be charging it back. Newegg may or may not offer any assistance whatsoever–their customer service has been leaving skid marks on the bowl, lately–but at least the OP will have then exhausted every avenue available to her before charging back.

  3. Scooter McGee says:

    I’ve only bought one Asus item and it works fine. But all the horror stories about their support is probably going to keep me from buying anything else they make.

    • TrustAvidity says:

      It’s a real bummer too because their device support (updates) is awesome. There’s too much of a trade-off out there. You get good customer service with bad device support or vice versa… or maybe you get both in a company but miss out elsewhere.

      • dangermike says:

        For almost 10 years, I swore by their mainboards and video cards. But after the complete refusal to live up to the terms they promised on the warranty for a laptop a few years ago, they will never see another red cent from me. And I tell people to avoid them whenever their name is mentioned.

  4. kierzandax says:

    Never, ever, EVER, use ASUS technical support for items that are DOA or break within the return period. You’ll just be given the run around until the return window passes, then told it can’t be fixed, so sorry.

    I’m 2 for 3 with ASUS products. One motherboard that was fabulous and two WL-330gE APs (One broke a week after the warranty ran out, the other DOA) that put ASUS squarely in the POS pile.

    The best thing to do? Stay away from ASUS.

  5. axiomatic says:

    It’s a real shame too. I own quite a few ASUS products but the OP is correct. Their RMA and support organization is abysmal. I think ASUS will remain a “modders only” company until they can get their support organization in order. If you can’t fix the product yourself you probably should buy from another company.

  6. scoutermac says:

    I like ASUS products but their support and warranty/RMA is broken. I did find that Tom’s Hardware recommended MSI. Anyone have any experience with MSI good or bad?

    • fenriswf says:

      I use MSI almost exclusively. Just remember, do not stick junk ram on it. The 2 dollar house ram that you buy from the local computer store is going to give you nothing but problems. You bought a motherboard that expects tight timings on the ram and you are asking for it giving it anything else. Also, as a side note, do not skimp on the power supply.

    • dangermike says:

      I’ve used MSI a few times. Their desktop hardware has seemed worthwhile at least, after the industry wide leaking cap fiasco. I had an interesting problem on a machine I built for a friend toward the end of the PATA days where, after a windows update, the computer would not boot until until after I manually set the master/slave jumpers. For whatever reason, cable select wouldn’t work. I don’t recall ever receiving anything from them that was DOA, and the only problem that ever caused any pause was that cable select thing.

      laptops on the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend. I currently own an E450-based laptop by MSI. I think the model number is x350. Maybe 340. If you don’t mind cases resistant to user entry (and poor/missing documentation for disassembly procedures), off-brand trackpads (no edge scrolling!?), and a keyboard with an expiration date, it’s a decent machine. I should have taken my own advice and avoided an AMD chip in a portable, though. A core i3 would have cost about the same and offered significantly better performance on everything except maybe battery uptimes.

  7. BeyondtheTech says:

    Rename the company to ASSES. It’s more fitting.

  8. TGMP095 says:

    The white line flickering was fixed in the newest update (.30), I am guessing she never tried to update the tablet.

    The dock, however, I’m not sure. I don’t have it myself.

  9. ThinkingBrian says:

    I don’t think a charge back is a good idea. In this case, NewEgg did nothing wrong here, so why screw them over and if successful, her account will be closed. I think the Consumerist should do a story on charge backs — when to use them and when not, plus the consquenses.

    Now as for Asus, the OP is going to have to send it back four times I believe for the same issue in order to have a chance at getting a replacement or refund. Of course no guarentee. The OP could also sent it back again and if it doesn’t work after round 2, as the credit card company about a warranty. And maybe file a complaint against Asus with BBB.org. Good luck OP, I had to go through a four months of hell with Sony from the end of Dec. To May to get a full refund back in 2011.

  10. JonBoy470 says:

    And all my Apple-hating friends and co-workers wonder why I’m such a fanboy…

    When my Apple iThings crap out on me, I make an appointment at the Apple Store near my house, go for a drive, and they handle the issue in store either same day or while I wait in the case of portable gadgets that are fixed by a “repair part” consisting of an entire new one of whatever device I’ve borked…

  11. tanyaandkarl says:

    I am disappointed at the number of squirrely incidents lately from Newegg.
    They have been in my experience a very reliable supplier.

    In my case, I bought a “refurbished” Seagate hard drive which failed, The vendor strongly encouraged me to go directly to the mfr to resolve all problems, which I foolishly did. Fortunately, Seagate took care of me, even though the drive TD sold wasn’t refurbished, but had been scrapped by the mfr and had no warranty.

    Here is what my credit card company (Credit Union) explained to me after a similar experience with another vendor (not Newegg). Your contract is with the folks you gave the money to (Newegg). Newegg’s contract is with the mfr; if the mfr sells Newegg defective mdse, it’s Newegg’s problem–not yours.

    If this is the case and you don’t let the chargeback window expire, you probably have nothing to worry about. The next step documents (for the cc co) that you’ve done your due diligence and may even get Newegg to resolve the issue.

    If the mfr has your merchandise, you are at their mercy because you can’t send it back to the vendor. If you’ve done your due diligence to resolve the issue, the issue is not resolved, and you still have the mdse, do NOT send it anywhere except back to the vendor.

    Write the vendor a letter and save a copy for yourself.
    Explain that the product they sent you is not fit for the purpose for which it was sold (merchantability). Demand they refund your money and offer to return the product. Offer them 10 business days to refund your money and provide you with a prepaid UPS or Fedex–something traceable and reliable!–call tag. (adjust the 10 days according to the dispute policy for your credit card). Tell them that you will retain the product for 30 days if they don’t come get it, then it will be donated to the local Goodwill.

    • tanyaandkarl says:

      Please note–the scrapped drive sold to me as “refurbished” was not sold by Newegg, but by another vendor whose initials are T and D. (this is why I buy from Newegg and not TD)

      The advice my Credit Union gave me in this situation applies as well to any vendor who sells you a product that’s not “fit for the ordinary purposes for which goods of that description are used”.

  12. Ciddire says:

    Request another RMA from ASUS. Contact ASUS rep and request advanced replacement, if this doesn’t work, have them create a case anyways and then contact escalations e-mail box. Request advanced replace to this rep.

    Your issues appears to be with the tablet itself, not it’s dock so I would start there.
    To confirm that it’s not the dock I would go up to a retail store that sells the tablet along with its dock and ask to ‘test’ their demo dock with your tablet.

    I’ve also had good luck in the past with cl-jeremy AT asus DoT com he’s with the ASUS customer loyalty department.

    If you continue to have issues let us know.