If You Bought Your Nexus 7 Elsewhere, Don’t Expect Support From Google

There’s no GoogleCare.

Unlike many of our readers, Mike has managed to secure one of the Nexus devices currently for sale from Google. He really likes it, and even prefers using it instead of his iPad. The problem is that his is a bit defective: one of the sides isn’t glued properly and is bulging out.

The problem for Mike is that support for his Nexus 7 is at the, um, nexus of three different companies. There’s Walmart, the retailer where he purchased it. Asus, the actual manufacturer of the tablet. Finally, Google, the operating system maker, designer, and marketer. For an iPad, the question of who takes care of a physical defect is easy. (Especially if you bought it at an Apple Store.) But there’s no Google Store. It’s too late to return the tablet to Walmart. Mike has to send it in to Asus for a few weeks.

I bought a Google Nexus 7, and I liked it so much it’s now my main tablet (I also own two iPads). The only problem is that Google doesn’t have customer service on the same level as Apple or Amazon, so I’m now living with a defective tablet because I don’t want to be without it for up to 2 weeks while they repair it.

I put the Nexus 7 in a case immediately after buying it, so I didn’t notice that the left side of the case wasn’t glued properly until more than 15 days after buying it from Walmart (hey, they were the only ones that had it in stock). When I read about the problem online, I checked my tablet and sure enough, the middle of the left side was bulging out.

I called ASUS, waited 45 minutes on hold, and was told that I had to pay to ship it to Texas (they only have one repair facility), and that I would be without the tablet for up to 2 weeks. I then called Google, and they told me that since I didn’t buy it from Google I had to go to ASUS or Walmart. I asked the Google & ASUS techs if I could give them a credit card and they could ship me a tablet and then ship back the defective unit, but both said it wasn’t an option. Walmart wouldn’t take it back because it was past 15 days, so my only option is to be without the tablet for up to 2 weeks (no expedited shipping was available).

When I have a problem with an Apple product I walk into the store and walk out with a working device or immediate replacement. I’ve bought two Kindles that had problems, and Amazon shipped replacements overnight, at no charge for shipping in either direction.

I’m seriously disappointed in Google not standing behind a defective Nexus 7, just because I didn’t purchase it from them. Apple and Amazon stand behind their products no matter where you purchased them.

It’s not like the support experience is of that caliber when you deal directly with Google, either. Yes, Mike’s going to be fine: he’ll resign himself to using one of his iPads and manage somehow.

The problem is that you can’t expect the same kind of support that an iPad owner would get when the Nexus 7 costs a lot less. They’re not exactly the same, but an iPad Mini costs $329 for 16 gigabytes of memory and wi-fi only, and the roughly equivalent Nexus 7 costs $200.

That said, only providing tech support for products that Google sells directly to consumers is kind of stupid.