Sending Broken Stuff Back Really Works

A few weeks ago we posted about how instead of throwing out broken gear, try mailing it back to the manufacturer with a nice note, and they may just very well send you a new one.

A reader is happy to report he did just that, and it worked!

Erik has had a Polaroid DVD player for three years. One day, he noticed its battery was boasting strange little bulges.

Dangling the device over the garbage disposal, about to flick the switch to ON, he recalled our post and decided to send the device back to Polaroid.

“Three weeks later, they delivered! Brand new battery, no weird bulges. Customer Service++! Thanks Consumerist!” writes Steve.

Thumbs up, Polaroid! And thumbs up, Steve, partially for getting proactive, but mainly for obeying our edicts.


Edit Your Comment

  1. I can certainly vouch for this tactic.

    Back in the mists of time a bit, I worked in Apple’s Executive Relations group. One day, we received an Apple Adjustable Keyboard (the kind that was hinged, split in the middle, and introduced in 1993) in the mail. While these keyboards were nifty in quite comfortable, with great keyswitch feel, the versions made in Malaysia failed. Again and again.

    One poor fellow was so fed up that he decided to use his Apple Adjustable Keyboard as skeet. For those of you who aren’t gun-savvy, that means he threw it in the air and shot it with 00 Buckshot. From a real shotgun and everything! To cap it off, he put the fragments in an envelope and mailed it to Micahel Spindler (Apple’s CEO at the time).

    Not only did we replace the keyboard with a new, non Malaysia-sourced one, we also gave him three years of warranty on the keyboard and the rest of his equipment.

    So see, sending the product back does work. And creativity counts.

  2. pronell says:

    Agh, my eyes! This pic is far more offensive than Dead Black Cellphone Guy!

    I call for Ben’s head on a platter, with garnish!

  3. Karl says:

    Call my cynical, but I suspect the main reason why they gave him a new battery was to avoid a potential lawsuit. Bulging batteries have a nasty tendency to explode.

  4. 24fan24 says:

    Would you send the product to the corporate office or the warranty department?

  5. 24fan24 says:

    Think this would work with an iPod? Do you think they would send it back if they didn’t replace it?

  6. skinnylittleblonde says:

    LOL, I did this with a pair of Levi’s that tore after 3 months & asked them if it was a manufacturers’ defect.
    They replied with a letter of apology & encouragement, as well as a pair of replacement jeans.
    That was a few years ago & I am still wearing those Levi’s

  7. OnoSideboard says:

    Is that fellow in the picture available for immediate adoption? Toooo cuuuuute!

  8. jamescrid says:

    Even when this doesn’t work, it can still be worthwhile doing.

    I had a Casio camera which let dust into the sensor (typically, just after the warranty period). I bought another, but sent the broken camera back to the London office – after taking out the battery, since I could use it in my replacement camera. I explained that dust had come in, and they might want to know for future when they revised the design.

    I got a nice letter from them, and was told I’d pay a charge of around $75 if I wanted it fixed. If I didn’t want it fixed, they’d send it back to me anyway.

    I didn’t care, so left them to send it back: and back it came… including a new battery they’d put in while they checked it. So now I have three batteries for my camera. Excellent!

    So even if they don’t replace or fix your broken item out of warranty, it can still be worth it…