We Help Reader Get iPod Back After 7 Months In The Shop

Lisa’s story of iPod repair frustration has more tangles than that pair of 1st gen earbuds you’ve abandoned in the bottom of your “big” purse.

On June 6th, Lisa sent her 30gb White Video iPodiPod nano in to iPod Mechanic. After a series of comic misadventures, she received an iPod on August 1st. It was a non-functioning iPod nano large iPod…

After more emails, iPod Mechanic found her iPod on August 22nd. However, they demand she send in the non-working iPod first. After all the madness, there was no way Lisa would do that.

On Nov 18th, Lisa, emailed The Consumerist. We forwarded her complaint onto iPod Mechanic on Nov 21. Company owner Nick Woodhams told us he would look into it.

On Nov 28, we checked in with Lisa and Nick. We got no response from Nick and on Nov 29, Lisa said she hadn’t heard from either.

We then sent Nick a note letting him know we were going to run Lisa’s story by Friday, and perhaps by then they’ll have some good news we can include?

Within an hour, iPod Mechanic shipped Lisa a new 30gb White Video iPod. They included a shipping label so she could return the nano she mistakenly received.

Lisa’s case was a hangover from customer service and turnaround issues iPod Mechanic suffered earlier this summer. We applaud iPod Mechanic for fixing Lisa up right, even if took some prodding.

Lisa’s original, heinous, letter, below.

Lisa wrote:

    “My saga and my quest begins on June 10, 2006. At the time I had no idea I was embarking on a “quest” for what is rightfully mine. Little did I know that the iPod I own would be sneakily stolen. With my son’s broken iPod in hand, I hit the Internet to get it fixed. Am I afraid? – No. I have had very positive experiences doing business online.

    iPod Mechanic’s promised 24 hour service was just what I needed. I would have my son’s iPod back before our vacation – a vacation that would begin with a 16 hour flight. Perfect! Our vacation was two weeks away so I was not worried.

    6-10-06 – Sent iPod to iPod Mechanic
    6-16-06 – I receive a canned response to my emails explaining that they are overwhelmed due to a magazine article and they are swamped.
    6-19-06 – Nine days after sending my iPod they finally receive it in their system. This is hardly 24 hour service!
    6-30-06 – 11 days after receiving it in their system I finally receive a quote to install a 30gb hard drive for $159.97.

    We are now on vacation sans iPod! I am so frustrated, but will deal with it when I get home.

    I return home to an email from iPod Mechanic that says that they are not taking any more orders until they clear their backlog. “All customers will receive their iPod or the proper refund amount. We will address concerns in the order of receipt. Thank you for bearing with us as we grow.” Fine. I’ll be patient. I happen to know it is not easy to grow a new business. 13 years ago my husband and I started our own business and periods of growth, while exciting, are also frightening and stressful. However, we never treated our customers poorly and never made excuses. When problems arose we took responsibility and fixed them at our cost and without delay. Today we have an excellent reputation and have never spent a dime on advertising because word of mouth from our happy customers is more than enough. So, I decided to put myself in their shoes, be understanding, and be patient. They will figure it out and will have my iPod back soon. Oh, how wrong I was!

    More emails and more emails.

    7-24-06 – Update received from iPod Mechanic – Status – Repairing. Are they serious? It is still “being repaired!” It has been 3 weeks since they gave a quote.
    7-24-06 – Today I send another email stating – Fix my iPod and return it or refund the charges. Every email I have included my phone number and asked someone to call me. I want to talk to a human! I will never do business online again unless they provide a phone #!
    7-24-06 – Wow! I get a response, a human’s name and a phone number!

    7-26-06 – iPod shipped. Wooohooo!

    8-1-06 – NOT MY IPOD!!!!! Received the iPod they sent me and it is not my iPod. I sent them an iPod nano with a skull sticker on the back and they sent me a regular large iPod! Called the phone number they gave me and leave message after message. I never speak with a human – it is just an answering machine. The delays are one thing, but to not be able to keep track of a customer’s iPod and send them another one is stunning. At this point I know they have no clue where my iPod is and probably never did. So I receive a quote, give the ok and receive sombody else’s iPod. What is the deal with mine? I have never dealt with such incompetence. CAN IT GET WORSE? You think, “How could it get worse than them losing your iPod and sending you the wrong one? At least you have an iPod in your possession.” BUT, this iPod doesn’t work! It is totally blank. I plug it in to charge it – still blank! Unbelievable. They send me somebody else’s unrepaired iPod and charge me $159.97. I try to stop the charge to my credit card. Too late. Charging the credit card quickly and correctly seems to be the only thing iPod Mechanic has mastered because they obviously haven’t mastered customer service or iPod repair. I email them again and demand a refund plus a check to cover the cost of purchasing a new iPod nano. They finally respond with – Is there another address on the package the iPod came in? NO.

    That is it. No response to my frustration or to my demands for a refund. Just nothing.

    8-4-06 – More emails expressing frustration. iPod Mechanic responds with, “We are working on it and I have sent your message to Advanced Support so that it will be taken care of immediately.” Oh, now I have hope. I’ve been sent to Advanced Support. I am sure they will help me! I think NOT!
    8-4-06 – “We have found your iPod and we will send you a shipping label so that you can send the other back to us. And once we get the iPod we will send you yours.” NO. NO. NO. I email back and tell them – No,way. I tell them they need to go first. They need to send me my iPod and then I will send the other iPod back.

    8-11-06 – I email again. Until I have my working iPod in hand I will hold on to this non-working one. I have had to trust them and now it is time that they trust me.
    8-22-06 – New person at iPod Mechanic now involved. Now she emails me and tells me they had found my iPod, but now they can’t locate it. “If I still cannot find it today we will send you out a replacement. But we will solve this today.”

    It never happened. They never found my iPod and never replaced it.

    Bottom line – could not devote anymore of my time and energy to this insane quest for what is rightfully mine. I gave up. Every time I see an iPod or hear iPod I think of this horribly experience and I get mad all over again. Why couldn’t I fix this? Why have I been taken advantage of? “

Phew, glad we got that one sorted out. — BEN POPKEN

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