Thanks, Creative Labs, For Returning My Subwoofer. May I Please Have My Other 7 Speakers Now?

Creative Labs might have fixed Bernard’s GigaWorks S750 sound system after he sent it back a second time for repairs, but Bernard won’t know anytime soon because Creative only returned his subwoofer. Missing in action are the seven other speakers Creative asked him to return, along with the system’s power cord, cables, and control pod.

Bernard cc’d us on the Executive Email Carpet Bomb he sent to Creative’s public relations team:

Mr. O’Shaughnessy,

I have resorted to emailing you out of desperation at the complete lack of effective customer service Creative Labs has provided me regarding a subwoofer that was malfunctioning. The issue began November of 2007. I set-up an RMA and sent back just the subwoofer at a cost of approximately $50 for shipping. When the subwoofer was returned to me it still did not function properly. At this point I returned to college where I needed what little function the unit actually provided.

At the conclusion of the spring semester I again initiated another RMA to resolve the as of yet unresolved subwoofer issue. When I received the email confirming the RMA, I was directed to send in ALL components of the speaker system, which I did. A few weeks later, I received only the subwoofer in the mail with none of the other components. I have absolutely no way of knowing if the subwoofer I received actually works because I did not receive the other components of the system back when I received the subwoofer.

I emailed the RMA department concerning this and was told to call customer service. I then called customer service and was told I would receive a call back. I never received that call and it has been over two business days.

It is completely unacceptable that I had to send in my unit for service twice let alone the fact that after the second time, most of the parts I sent in to be repaired were never returned to me.

To resolve this issue I would like you to provide me with a new, complete replacement unit as well as refund me the $25 I paid for the out-of-warranty repair, and the two shipping costs of approximately $50 each for a total of $125.

Thanks for taking the time to get this issue resolved.


C’mon Creative, return the rest of the $500 sound system. Preferably in working order.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Ein2015 says:

    Creative seems to be going downhill. I remember this article from Gizmodo… which stirred a HUGE outcry in the Creative forums: []

  2. oyumurtaci says:

    While the odds are the OP will get things sorted with the EECB eventually, they may deny the shipping costs, as they are usually left to the consumer when a return or RMA is issued. That being said, considering the plight upon humanity that is ‘customer service’ (or ‘cotomer service’ at times over at Jalopnik, for those in the know) it would be right to issue a full refund of all expenses to make things ‘right’. That’s just about when the OP should head over to see how things abode at Logitech, Altec Lansing, Klipsch (though their computer speakers are discontinued) or other medium-high end consumer computer speaker manufacturers. Unless, that is, they send back the remainder of the original system together with a refund of incurred shipping charges. Assuming that it’s working of course.

  3. TKOtheKDR says:

    I think that they’re too busy deactivating functionality on their cards and shitting up drivers to worry about a little RMA request.

    I remember when Creative Labs was *THE* name in computer audio. Now, I find myself wishing that Ad Lib and Turtle Beach would have been more successful in the market back in the day. Creative Labs is doing everything they can to destroy their oligopoly. (I did have a Voyetra sound card on my first 486 SX computer though!).

  4. TVarmy says:

    @TKOtheKDR: It is really sad. Plus, internal audio seems to be getting better and better, adequate for most people’s needs. Even bargain-basement motherboards have optical audio and 7.1 surround available standard. And for those who want better audio, external audio cards seem to be fitting the bill, separating the card from internal electromagnetic noise.

  5. Jthmeffy says:

    The S750 is a terribly flawed system. A close friend of mine has sent his back !3! times in one year.. it has some major cooling issues. I wanted to get it, but I opted for a slightly cheaper, 5.1 Logitech system and have been very happy with it (NO PROBLEMS) for a year now.

  6. evslin says:

    That’s a good letter. Short and sweet, say what the problem is and what you deem to be an acceptable solution, and dispense with hyperbole and other unnecessary details.

    That said, WTF is up with Creative? I second what @TKOtheKDR said.

  7. tc4b says:

    I had a similar experience recently with a company called M-Audio. I sent back a speaker for about $35 in shipping, only to get it back a month later still broken. However, M-Audio, showing they are interested in customer service, sent me out a brand-new pair 3-day fedex. They didn’t have my same set, so I was forced to accept an UPGRADE. Yes they made a mistake initially, but they took responsibility and fixed it. Needless to say, they’ll be getting more of my business (unlike Creative).

  8. octajohnny says:

    If anyone isn’t already convinced by how shabby Creative’s customer support is, just look to their “support forums”, which are filled with way too many complaints that. You’d think they at least have the brains to hire a “moderator” to delete the complaints and/or do damage control, but they’re too busy to even do that.

    Don’t bother emailing either, you’ll just get a cut-and-paste response telling you to uninstall the device & software and to reinstall everything.

  9. warf0x0r says:

    Logitech > Creative

  10. EyeHeartPie says:

    @warf0x0r: +1 fo’ sho’

  11. Batwaffel says:

    I bought a Creative Labs X-Fi card for my laptop which I assumed came with everything I would need to hook up my surround sound system as it’s marketed as a surround sound card, only to find out that the adapter to hook up my surround sound speakers is not included and costs another $35. It’s the last time I will buy a Creative Labs product.

  12. brokebackwallet says:


    Proverbial nail just got hammered. Last Creative product I used was AWE64. Next I got was a “lousy” integrared chip, SoundStorm. Ye “lousy” it was. It still wins all Creative products blindfolded, right hand tied behind back and quadruplegic. How about realtime DD5.1 conversion? Can ANY Creative product do that? Thought so.

    I’m a long time Logitech (ab)user. Three keyboards (Ultrax Flat) and five mice (one MX500, two MX1000, two MX518) of which three have failed, not counting worn out pads.* First MX500 just died, LED borked. Both MX1000s had a wonky battery which could not hold a charge even for working hours. One MX518 just died. All replaced without question, all I had to do was cut off the USB connector and mail it to switzerland. Total cost? Maybe six euros and yes I did eat it.

    Worth the service? Hell yes. Find me some other company that does the same.

    *: I really use my mice. This is even cheaper since Logitech just sends you the replacement parts, no questions asked, no money involved. Only downside is the time required, about two weeks. Worth it? Hell yes.

  13. Joedragon says:

    USB based external audio cards suck cpu power and that is not good for gameing.

  14. Average_Joe says:

    Creative lost all credibility when they started offering a software version of their cards at dell.

  15. rellog says:

    This is why you buy a new system, repackage the old in the new box and return it to the store. Store gets credit from manufacturer and you have a working system.

  16. Pro-Pain says:

    In cases like this – Go to store, buy same speaker set on credit card. Put old unit back in new box, return to store as defective for credit. Please use this only as a last resort though. That would be this case.

  17. Pro-Pain says:

    @rellog: That was classic, you beat me by a minute ;)

  18. Bush2008 says:

    @rellog: They don’t always get credit from the manufactuer. With certain items, the retailer takes a 100% hit on when the item must go back defective. Also, that’s FRAUD.

    Those types of comments are absolutely appalling to be on the consumerist.

  19. TKOtheKDR says:

    @Bush2008: Don’t tell me that seeing Best Buy or Circuit City lose some money wouldn’t bring a smile to your face. I’m against fraud and stealing as well, but I do think that there’s some room for rule bending when you’re dealing with a giant faceless corporation with terrible customer service.

    Other than Newegg, ZipZoomFly, and other various internet retailers, there isn’t a computer/technology company operating today that honestly deserves anyone’s business. (Oh, and Tiger Direct/Systemax are NOT to be included with reputable online retailers, IMO).

  20. Starfury says:

    Creative used to be the only brand I’d look at when buying computer audio equipment…but not anymore. Quality has gone WAY down and the integrated sound on many systems is enough for PC Gaming and casual movie watching.

  21. parnote says:

    @Bush2008: Actually, what’s appalling is that you don’t say anything when a company commits fraud against a consumer, but cry foul when a consumer suggests a way to get back at a company that has repeatedly defrauded consumers by poor customer service, crippling their products, and general shoddy management. Often times, the consumer is left with little other choice than to resort to extreme measures, regardless of how above-board or honest (or dishonest) they may be.

  22. bobhope2112 says:

    Starfury, I concur. I am by no means an audiophile, but I had learned to trust Creative to deliver tenable products at reasonable prices. A series of defective items put that estimation in jeopardy, and Creative’s crappy support dealt the final blow. They get two years in the penalty box. If they’re still around, and I haven’t found a suitable replacement, I might try them again.

  23. @parnote:

    @Bush2008: Often times, the consumer is left with little other choice than to resort to extreme measures, regardless of how above-board or honest (or dishonest) they may be.

    Nope. Committing fraud may be convenient for you, you may claim that you’re “sticking it to the evil corporation” but it’s still fraud. In reality, it just makes you a bad consumer.

    Often times, you’ll end up dumping your broken PS3 on a future customer. (I’m sure you sealed it up nice so it looked unopened, right?) Now an innocent soul is totally screwed because the serial number on the unit doesn’t match the box, all because you thought you’d game the system and save yourself some hassle.

    It’s like you’re saying “I’m more important than everyone else.”

  24. @Pro-Pain:

    In cases like this – Go to store, buy same speaker set on credit card. Put old unit back in new box, return to store as defective for credit. Please use this only as a last resort though. That would be this case.

    Strange that you advocate sending customers on the path of contributing to something similar to what you previously described as a problem at Best Buy:

    Pro-Pain at 09:50 AM on 03/19/08
    Best Buy frequently receives manipulated returns. This is a fact. For instance, an expensive high end video card for a computer is replaced by an inexpensive low end one that escapes the return counter person AND Geek Squad. Best Buy will figure out they got burned upon return inspection later by a smarter Geek Squad person. They WILL put that card RIGHT BACK OUT ON THE FLOOR to sell knowing full well it’s not what it’s supposed to be. THAT my friends is why BEST BUY SUCKS.

    Because other people are doing it that makes it OK for you to do it too? Never mind that a future customer may end up getting burned if Best Buy can’t send it back or the bad consumer leaves out the “defective” part?

  25. donkeyjote says:

    @Pro-Pain: You forgot: Act shocked when they compare s/n from product to box….

  26. evslin says:

    @parnote: Actually, what’s appalling is that you don’t say anything when a company commits fraud against a consumer, but cry foul when a consumer suggests a way to get back at a company that has repeatedly defrauded consumers by poor customer service, crippling their products, and general shoddy management.

    Misdirected hostility.

    The beef is with Creative, not Best Buy/Circuit City/random_retailer_021. Buying a new speaker system and returning the old one as defective isn’t doing anything to “get back” at Creative, it’s just leaving a retailer who otherwise has nothing to do with this situation holding the bag.

    And as @Michael Belisle pointed out, you’re also introducing the possibility of another consumer getting burned as a result.

  27. cerbie says:

    @Ein2015: they have been at the bottom of the hill for years—at least as far back as the Sound Blaster PCI 128. What kept them going were good marketing, and a gaming patent monopoly (see Senaura and Aureal). The internet, and more processing power in computers, has been eroding away at both of this. While not the greatest game, Doom 3 put the writing on the wall for EAX (ironically, given Id’s obligation to support it, which they had to add later). The poor drivers/software, and customer service situation has gradually been gaining attention with the advent of news blogs and community linking sites like Digg and Reddit.

    The more of these situations that come to light, the better. The OP needs resolution, and everyone else needs to know they on’t need Creative, anymore :).

  28. thrillwill says:

    @TKOtheKDR: “Turtle Beach would have been more successful in the market back in the day’ – just wanted to say that TB is still around and I personally love the Riveras I put in our systems at work.

  29. 2719 says:

    Whoa! That sucks! He should get a refurbished set back and not a penny!

    He wants a new set and $125!

  30. coren says:

    @Michael Belisle: The problem at best buy, though, isn’t that they have a defective unit – it’s that they’re trying to sell it knowing it’s defective. That’s just as fraudulent as returning an item in that manner. Moreso, perhaps, because which entity, Best Buy accepting a return or the consumer buying the item from Best Buy, can inspect it on the spot to know fraud occurred?

  31. Ninja Tree says:

    Asus Xonar is a great sound card,, speakers go logitech they’re quite nice in terms of quality,reliability and customer service.

  32. ZukeZuke says:

    I have that same sound system and it was the best system I’m ever heard… until the subwoofer/amp blew out. I’m still trying to figure out if it can be fixed by someone other than Creative. I hate to trash a $500 system after only 5 years of use.

    I bought a higher-end Logitech 5.1 system and it doesn’t compare.

  33. jimmydeweasel says:

    Why you need all those speakers? You only have two ears. No wonder third world nations hate us…………….

  34. Bush2008 says:

    @parnote: That is an extremely childish response. Because a manufacturer is treating you poorly, you take out your anger on a reseller that has nothing to do with anything? After reading some of your other posts where you promote a “whatever gets *me* the best deal no matter who gets hurt!” attitude, I sincerely hope you never set foot in my store.

  35. mariospants says:

    While the “return defective in new box” scam might work most of the time, there is still a chance the employee may check the S/N against their files (if they keep those kinds of inventory associations) in which case you’ll get caught, plus you’ve now spent double because you’ve got credit instead of an actual refund. Well, at least by telling the store it’s defective you’re being *somewhat* dishonest.

    The reason you might see an occasional defective product being resold at BB is not because someone returned it as defective but that they repackaged a defective product and returned it for a refund as an original product. I don’t think you can blame BB for that, especially if the returner has access to a shrinkwrapper.

  36. mariospants says:

    Sorry, probably made more sense to say: *somewhat* honest”

  37. trujunglist says:

    If they refuse to return your speakers or are unwilling to give you a set of new ones (which at this point you totally deserve… upgrade unit anyone?), file a police report or something. They’ve just stolen your speakers!

  38. sketchy says:

    @TKOtheKDR: You realize that all the fraudulent returns and other customer initiated jiggery-pokery results in those companies needing to cut costs elsewhere to make up the difference. Usually that means layoffs, outsourcing, and other great things for the people who work there, and provides definite improvement to customer service at the store level. (that last part is sarcasm)

    @parnote: Ah, I see the old two wrongs DO make a right philosophy is alive and well.

    Your attitudes are the reason BB and other retailers have such draconian return policies.