I Won’t Get Trapped In Kindle Replacement Purgatory Again

When you own a gadget with a design flaw that’s covered under a warranty, warranty replacements don’t give you the comfort or peace of mind that they should. They’re just a sign that you remain trapped in Gadget Replacement Purgatory, doomed to experience the same failures over and over.

We first coined this term for smartphones, having seen cases where customers receive phone after phone that fails. Sometimes they get their warranty extended. Sometimes they give up. Sometimes they convince the company to give them a replacement of a different model. Reader Joy is experiencing that right now. Every few months, she had to swap her Kindle Fire for a new one when her charger failed. She’s not the only one.

In December 2011, I received a Kindle Fire as a gift. I was thrilled with it until March 2012, when, after a little over 3 months of normal use, it stopped charging. There was a problem with the charging port and it didn’t seem to make the connection anymore. I called Kindle customer service and since the unit came with a 1 year warranty, I received a new Kindle within 2 days of calling, no questions asked.

In late July of 2012, the same exact thing happened – it stopped charging, I called, another unit – my 3rd Kindle Fire – was sent and received on July 20th.

Fast forward to now, July 2013, and the exact same problem – charging port isn’t making the connection anymore. Only now, it’s out of warranty from the original purchase date, so this time, Amazon isn’t so helpful. The best they will do is give me $30 off a Kindle Fire HD.

If I thought this issue was occurring due to misuse of the unit, I’d chalk it up to my own recklessness, but a quick internet search using the term “Kindle Fire won’t charge” shows numerous other people have had the same exact problem, and this video from another person shows the exact problem I’ve had.

Apparently, as shown in this video when he takes apart the Kindle, Amazon designers didn’t solder the charging port in, so after some use, it gets pushed back and will no longer make the connection to charge. This seems like a very ignorant error on someone’s part, and has led to many, many people having the same problem I’ve had.

I understand how warranties work. I know sometimes products end up with defects that are outside of the control of the manufacturer. But that isn’t the case here. Amazon has created a product and has known about the issue, yet instead of a recall or some other program to satisfy affected customers, they just replace he product with another product with the identical design flaw until the warranty runs out and then leave the customer with a defective product and wasted money, and hope they’ll just invest in a new unit from them.

I’ve called and spoken with several people at Amazon, all the way up to Manager, and get the same answer every time – that they aren’t interested in helping me since the warranty has expired. I will not buy another unit from them and will encourage others against it, as well.