Google Won’t Replace Your Broken Nexus 7 Until You Put Up $200 Collateral

Warranty claims are for… well, not for Nexus owners.

Google does many things very well, like selling ads against your e-mail and designing mobile operating systems. What they’re not all that good at is customer service. Trey was really excited to buy the Nexus 7 tablet direct from Google. Great tablet, great price. The problem was that he would have to get his tech support directly from Google. That doesn’t seem like such a bad idea… unless you’ve tried to deal with Google’s tech support.

I was excited when Google launched their Nexus 7 tablet. I generally love all things Google, and the chance at buying their custom-designed tablet for the low price-point of $200 was a very attractive proposition. I also foolishly thought that even with the low price, Google would still be able to deliver a quality tablet. I ordered the tablet the day it was on pre-order and waited eagerly until it arrived. I had the tablet for a couple of months and enjoyed it thoroughly; I even talked a few friends into buying them. So imagine my dismay when one day the USB port at the bottom of the tablet failed. That meant no charging, no connecting it to my computer.

So I did what I had to do: try to work with Google’s notoriously foul tech-support team. They immediately told me that to exchange it, they would have to put a $200 hold on my account– the price of the tablet. Being a college student with no room in my budget for $200 being locked up in my account, I told them that was a no go. They said it was fine, and that I could simply send my defective tablet in first, and once it had been confirmed as received they would immediately ship me a new tablet. Easy enough, right?

I followed their directions and sent my tablet in immediately to their office in Texas. It received notification that it had arrived within a few days. So I get my tablet now, right? I called the next day to check on the status and see if my new tablet had been shipped yet. They told me that the tablet had to be examined first (contradicting what the first Rep told me) and that it would take 3-5 business days. Okay, I thought. That’s a while, but I guess I have no other choice. I waited a full week and called again. Has my tablet been shipped yet? I was met with news that the process wouldn’t take 3-5 business days, but 7-14. I could expect them to clear my tablet sometime in the next two weeks. So, to keep a running tally, that would mean a full three weeks without a working tablet– all for a defect that was caused by their shoddy hardware.

I was upset and the customer service staff sympathized and apologized. They simply said there was nothing they could do about it. Finally talking to a supervisor, I was told that she could instead issue a refund instead of a replacement and that that would go through immediately since they had already received my tablet. No 7-14 business day waiting period. That was last Friday, October 5th. I patiently waited this week to receive the refund. A complete week passed and I was growing anxious. What’s taking so long? It doesn’t take 5 business days to process such a financial transaction.

So today I called again. I was greeted by a friendly voice who asked me how I could be helped. I filled him in on the story and told him that I’ve been in Nexus limbo for 3 weeks now. He was apologetic and sympathized, a trait that apparently takes the place of the ability to take positive action in favor of customer service. I was told that the supervisor I talked to last week was wrong, and that my refund was still subject to the 7-14 business day evaluation period. He told me that my tablet should clear evaluation by next Thursday (week 5) and that I could expect the refund to process sometime the following week (week 6). I would then be privileged with the ability to have the funds to purchase a brand new Nexus 7. Despite understanding my predicament and apologizing for bad policy, I was informed that I had no other options; all staff (even the supervisors!) at his service center were all “Level 1″ staff, apparently meaning that there is not one person working for Google Play support that has even the slightest bit of leeway to take ownership over a customer’s bad situation and make him whole. How’s that for customer service? I complained that if I had been dealing with Amazon, they would have owned up to the problem within a week and taken action to keep me as a loyal customer. In a telling retort, the customer service rep I was speaking with on the phone diplomatically reminded me that, “well, we’re not Amazon.”

So moral of the story: if you don’t have the liquidity to foot the bill for an entirely new tablet, Google’s customer service will string you out for six weeks.

No, Google. No, you’re not Amazon. Being cautious is one thing, but surely you can spare someone a $200 retail tablet for a few days.