Update: Woot Customer Demands Non-Existent Black iPod Headphones

Last week, Woot asked Consumerist readers what it should do about a customer who was irate that their black iPod came with white headphones, despite the fact that Apple does not make them. The post was notable for several reasons. One, I think it might have been the fist time we posted a complaint from a company. Two, with over 477 comments, I think we broke a new comment record on a single post. After carefully evaluating your responses, Woot has said they’ll offer Millard a full refund and send a box with a pre-paid shipping label to send the iPod back in. This is acceptable to me. As I’ve said in the past, it’s all about the money. Once you have your money back as a customer, there’s nothing to complain about.

PREVIOUSLY: Woot Customer Demands Non-Existent Black iPod Headphones
(Photo: bbatsell)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Sidecutter says:

    Booo. Woot should tell him to get bent. The complaint is rediculous and hinges on the need to satisfy his little diva’s all-important fashion sense. Woot does not own this person anything and should not be willing to take a hit for them.

    • azntg says:

      @Sidecutter: Agreed that the complaint is ridiculous.

      But hey, if Woot is willing to do what they did, that ain’t bad at all. Complaint well fielded Woot! Keep up the good work!

    • pine22 says:

      @Sidecutter: ^^^ agree’d, if someone can drop $100+ on an ipod she should at least be able to splurge on a nice $30 pair

    • alexawesome says:

      @Sidecutter: I think it’s a reasonable compromise. Woot isn’t paying for the replacement headphones. Instead, Woot is diplomatically and politely saying, “it’s cool, we didn’t mean to sell our awesome products to you. Send it back and don’t buy from us again. We don’t like you. Someone else will be more than happy with a radically discounted iPod.”

    • Modred189 says:

      @Sidecutter: Agreed, let him know he’s an idiot and move on…

  2. m2ky2fo says:

    Woot is being too nice

  3. cashmerewhore says:

    Somehow I don’t think this will make the customer happy. The iPod was a gift. He was an idiot (everybody knows that iPods have white headphones, which is what makes you a target to pickpockets and thieves when you’re walking around with that white cord dangling from your ears…). He wanted woot to pay for the rather spendy black earbuds he purchased to complete the look.

    Despite all that, as a girl with an iPod, those damn earbuds are too large for my ears. I have pink skullcandy ones now thanks to a deal posted last Monday.

    • GothamGal says:


      Exactly! White headphones are iPod’s trademark. If you don’t know this, you haven’t been out from under a rock in 8 years.

      • floraposte says:

        @GothamGal: I think the guy’s a jerk, but not because he’s failed to notice a trendy brand specific that he doesn’t care about. Lack of interest in branding isn’t the same as living under a rock. I’ve had an iPod for years and this was the first I knew about trademark headphones.

        I will, however, concur with any suggestion that his subsequent behavior does indicate that he’s been living under a rock.

      • bohemian says:

        @GothamGal: I am far from a fashionista or a Mac fanatic. The white headphone was a huge part of their marketing for years.

        The initial story showed up some other places online (referring back here). I have to wonder if this guy knows he was the internet joke of the week.

    • komodork says:

      @cashmerewhore: I agree with you, $30 for headphones is too much. I have on right now a sweet pair of ear buds that only cost me $10 – JVC. couldn’t he have just walked into the dollar store to pick up some cheap headphones rather than go buy expensive ones and than complain?

    • Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

      @cashmerewhore: I hear ya – those earbuds are too huge and painful for a girl’s ears, I hate them. I have some Sony buds that fit perfectly.

      This whole thing is just stupid.

      • OhYeahAlright says:

        @Ihaveasmartpuppy: I’m a 6’6″ man and those damn earbuds are too big for my ears.

        • cashmerewhore says:

          They just don’t wedge comfortably behind my tragus. I’ll take the super fast hearing loss in the ear canal wax gatherers.

          And sadly, just throw them in my purse. Yum.

          Millard should’ve just watched consumerist and gotten the same styling skullcandies, but in black. What girl doesn’t want a skull on her earbuds??

          • SJActress says:


            Am I the only one who can’t actually get an earbud of ANY kind to stay in my ear? Even if I sit perfectly still, they come out!

            And why DOESN’T Lackintosh have black headphones? I agree, Millard is still an ass and Woot is in the right, but Mac needs to get with it!

  4. jodark says:

    +1 Woot

    Millard is still an ass.

  5. R3PUBLIC0N says:

    What a jackass that guy is. I would have told him to re-read the part about buyer’s remorse.

    They say the customer is always right, but I’d prefer to not have that kind of customer.

  6. m2ky2fo says:

    Woot is being too nice.

  7. Segador says:

    What happened to the spray-painted gameboy headphones? I’m gonna call Woot and demand the money back for my wine.woot purchase- it didn’t come with titanium-red cyber corks. My wine was red – I expect the corks to be!

  8. SatyakiAhenobarbus says:

    See. Now woot is wootier than ever. Good for them.

  9. bossco says:

    Good call on Woot’s part. I wonder if he’ll send them back. He did get a good deal????

  10. gatewaytoheaven says:

    This is obviously Apple’s fault for not assuming that little princesses may demand black earphones. A can of spray paint ought to fix this.

    • Sidecutter says:

      @gatewaytoheaven: No paint needed. A pot on thre stove at 170 degrees with black RIT dye and a touch of acetone will quickly turn those headphones as black as the little diva likes. Wash thoroughly and allow to fully dry before trying to use them again, and she’s set. Cost? About $2.50.

    • MyPetFly says:


      It’s not nice to spray paint little girls…

      (Sorry, I’m sleep deprived today.)

    • edicius is an acquired taste says:

      @gatewaytoheaven: A can of spray paint in the face, nose and eyes, perhaps.

      I still can’t believe that Woot refunded this guy. They are far wootier than I.

  11. kamel5547 says:

    I think htis is a terrbile solution. One of the things that drives costs up for all consumers is overly liberal return policies. Quite frankly it drives costs for those of us who actually research what we buy higher. I guess I won’t really knock woot for it, but I absolutely don’t think they should even have given her return request a second thought. The product was as described and not DOA, that should be the end of the story.

    In addition, if I recall the original story, it probably won’t fix the complaint that they ‘had’ to buy black headphones, unless they can still return those as well. Oh well…

    • nursetim says:

      But on the other hand, Woot likely decided it was cheaper and easier in the long run to offer a refund, because Millard is the type of person you try to do what you can to make them go away. I know it is not satisfying on a personal level, but sometimes you must remove that from the situation to find the best solution.

    • FLEB says:

      @kamel5547: In addition, if I recall the original story, it probably won’t fix the complaint that they ‘had’ to buy black headphones, unless they can still return those as well. Oh well…

      That’s the beautiful part. Everybody wins. Woot made a legitimate effort and the product has a low chance of actually being returned.

  12. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    But will Millard want to return the iPod now? He’s already bought the black ear buds, so unless he can return those as well (and I hope he can’t if they’ve already been in somebody’s ears) he might as well just keep it.

    • Roclawzi says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation:

      No, of course he won’t return it. Princess has already been putting her music on it and he’s bought the new ear buds anyway. All he would be doing is returning the iPod to get the exact same thing at a higher price.

  13. sassbrown74 says:

    Woot took the high road. What Millard thinks about them really is moot. He is just one person. What those 427 people who commented on the story think — along with the countless others who read it and didn’t comment — that is much more important. Mission accomplished, I’d say.

    • sam says:

      @drgmobile: Couldn’t have said it better! All this time reading about how wildly generous woot is being and what a mistake it is to honor this return I was surprised that others seem to be missing the major publicity this is providing. I almost feel like that was the intent of the entire fiasco to begin with. After all, rarely will you ask a company to return something and, before they get back to you, will the returns department check with 400 of their coworkers on whether or not they should accept the return.

  14. Ickypoopy says:

    WTF! This is totally unfair!

    This guy complains about not receiving something that doesn’t even exist, and he gets free return shipping.

    I receive a defective product, and I have to pay more than $35 to send it back to them?

    Total bullshit.

  15. gqcarrick says:

    Absolute lunacy, this is consumerism gone TOO far. It takes about 30 seconds go to on apple.com and see that all the iPods hae white earbuds. Any reasonable person would check things more throughly before buying something, apparently this person is not such a person.

  16. BoomerFive says:

    I think this is good actually, if woot! wants a reputation of making their customers happy, then this is a good reaction.

  17. Harrison20 says:

    That’s it, I’m returning all of my shirts because the tag doesn’t match the color of the shirt. I only have to see it a few times a day, but when I do see it, my day is completely ruined.

    Woot, you shouldn’t have offered a refund for the iPod. You should have told him where he could stick it.

  18. SuruchiCatoblepas says:

    They are going above and beyond what 99.99% of other retailers would ever do. It’s almost a double standard simply because he’s ignorant.

    I’d rather lose one stupid customer than a bunch of other worthy customers.

  19. katylostherart says:

    the customer should be entitled to return the product for a refund if they really are unsatisfied with it. this should be the norm for all products within reasonable limits. it’s not what you wanted, you should be able to return it. that being said, this guy was a whiner and an idiot in the first place by not checking out the product fully before purchase which is definitely the customer’s responsibility. woot is being nice.

    • msbask says:

      @katylostherart: Yes, but should Woot be paying for him to return something that was EXACTLY as described?

    • RedwoodFlyer says:


      I take it you’ve never been to Woot? It’s a closeout market in a way, but they take returns on defects. If I’m 100% sure I want an item, why should I pay extra for a seller to handle returns from someone on the fence? Also, since Woot sells an item for 24 hours, then pulls it, it’s hard for them to do anything with all the returns…a Wootoff is an option, but not viable on a large scale.

      From their website:

      Will I receive customer support like I’m used to?
      No. Well, not really. If you buy something you don’t end up liking or you have what marketing people call “buyer’s remorse,” sell it on eBay. It’s likely you’ll make money doing this and save everyone a hassle. If the item doesn’t work, find out what you’re doing wrong. Yes, we know you think the item is bad, but it’s probably your fault. Google your problem, or come back to that product discussion in our community and ask other people if they know. Try to call the manufacturer and ask if they know. If you give up and must return it to us, then follow on to the next FAQ entry.

      • katylostherart says:

        @RedwoodFlyer: no i haven’t. and from your description of this company, to me it says basically this person shouldn’t have been purchasing from woot anyway. it also says that in general this wouldn’t be a great place to purchase from period unless you always know exactly what you want or you need something that fits an immediate purpose and you don’t care about the outcome too much. this is why i said it’s up to the customer to check out the product entirely before purchase and after if necessary. but it shouldn’t mean they get stuck with something they didn’t want when the seller can resell it if the customer has done their homework. this person shouldn’t have shopped there. and i do think the customer was a whiner on this case, as i’ve said.

        thanks also for explaining woot to me. it’ll save me from ever buying something from them. especially when shopping online and it becomes a hell of a lot more difficult to check a product out to my own satisfaction.

        • OttavioIrus says:

          @katylostherart: You shouldn’t buy from anywhere if you don’t know what you want. Store’s should NEVER take returns UNLESS a product is unopened if you aren’t sure. That’s pretty much idiotic to ever expect as much. Research before you buy. It isn’t a store’s job to make sure you are buying what you want. It is yours. Consumers like you are pretty much what stores hate.

        • DamonThyestes says:


          I’m commenting here for the first time just to note that you appear to have the wrong idea about Woot.com. Woot! is arguably one of the most irreverent and brutally honest online merchants around. They encourage blasting of items in their forums, make no illusions that some of the items they sell are crap, and in the descriptions themselves often point out flaws and other issues you may have with the products. Heck they even link to their Wikipedia page from their FAQ one http://www.woot.com/WhatIsWoot.aspx.

          Also they really do lie about their customer service sucking. I’ve had issues with several of their products and they’ve always refunded my money, or in one particularly nice occasion sent me a duplicate product via FedEx overnight (telling me to keep the first one if it ever showed up… and after 2 months Smartpost decided to drop it off so I had 2 of them :D).

          If this disgruntled customer actually read the forums there (for each product) they’d see any particular flaws of the products (Woot! doesn’t seem to censor any bad opinions and even posts them as notable posts sometimes), and have the funniest word censors around.

          Just thought I’d note that.

        • bobcatred says:

          If you would rather pay more to have the retail staff on hand to cater to whatever your needs are, then no, you shouldn’t buy from woot. If you’d rather save your money, go with woot. Think of this as the internet version of a trunk sale.

  20. Ayo says:

    The only other thing I can think of is:
    A) Re-Explain to him that the only remediation is to refund the purchase.
    B) Send him a pair for crappy black headphones (which i know woot has stored somewheres) And if he complains about his $30 dollar purchase to buy the matching head phones… explain to him you can not refund his $30 because it was an accessory, not a repair of some sort.
    C) Tell the guy nicely to take a hike and Woot will have to take a bad review (if there is a such a thing) Woot is such a solid retailer, and I have always been satisfied, it would only ding their armor.

    I think they should make a t-shirt in reference to this event and sell it on tshirt.woot.com

    • Pixelantes Anonymous says:

      @Ayo: “I think they should make a t-shirt in reference to this event and sell it on tshirt.woot.com”

      THAT is a great idea. Maybe even make a Woot design contest about it.

      I’d love to see what sort of shirts the community would come up with.

  21. homerjay says:

    I think it would be funny if Woot made fun of him in their next iPod write-up.

  22. JohnnyP says:

    I think its beyond nice what Woot is doing I have read the policy on the website and it pretty cut and dry.

  23. deadandy says:

    If you’ve never dealt with Woot, you don’t know what you’re missing. They have phenomenal customer service as illustrated here. I’ve bought many things from them, and on the rare occasion that I didn’t feel I got my money’s worth, they quickly offered a refund without question.

    A while back, they sold some batches of comic books and a bunch of people were unhappy with what they received (duplicates of certain titles). Woot could very well have said, “No, you got what we offered — 10 random comics.” but instead, they offered refunds to anyone who complained. They didn’t even have to send the comics back.

    Now days, I’ll literally wait two months to buy certain products just to see if they’ll come up on Woot and I will buy them there.

  24. Tarpo says:

    While I applaud Woot for the customer service right answer. As a user of their site and knowing some of the people that go there.. I almost wish they had told him to pack sand.

  25. zentex says:

    Based on the comments so far…I’d say Woot was gonna catch hell no matter which way they went.

    Offering a refund with shipping isn’t enough, I’d put a little paper in there that says “we’ll take the ipod back, if you wont be a customer again”.

  26. LucasPashosh says:

    “Once you have your money back as a customer, there’s nothing to complain about.”

    I don’t agree that this is true all of the time. My wife and I recently booked an trip to India with Orbitz, and one of our flights was changed such that we would have had a twelve hour layover in Helsinki (originally four hours). We found flights through another city with times acceptable to us, but Orbitz refused to help us book those. They did offer us our money back, but at that point, new tickets would have been prohibitively costly. We already had booked a tour in India, so canceling really was not an option.

    In the end, we talked directly with American Airlines, and they rerouted our flights for us, with no help from Orbitz. (American was outstanding about this whole thing.) But I just wanted to point out that in this case, we could have gotten our money back as customers and still legitimately had plenty to complain about.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:


      Hey, my GF works in management at Finnair (OneWorld partner of AA, and probably the airline operating a portion of your flight on a codeshare basis). If you’re having any additional problems, feel free to PM me and I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to make it right!

  27. taney71 says:

    Man I wish every company would act like this when there is actually a complaint to be had. Woot is just way too nice but this will help them out in the long run. You can’t much a price on a good public image and that is what Woot has done in this case.

  28. komodork says:

    This is wrong! It is the customers fault not he companies. If you do not know anything, people usually research about the item and this customer failed. Especially with an item like the ipod which many consumers have, wouldn’t you pick up something in your mind that everyone with it has white headphones? He is just lazy!

    I feel sorry for woot, they are paying double shipping to send a prepaid package to them. The customer did something wrong and he should pay for the shipping price, not the company.

    I think the guy compared this situation with buy a car. I want to buy a black car, do i get everything black? NO, the interior would be a different color and the exterior will be black. Just because you see something that is black, doesn’t mean everything will be black. This guy is just too cheap to return the product and pay the shipping label.

    He wants black headphones so it can match his daughter Gothic look!

  29. Onion_Volcano says:

    Woot should have mailed him a black sharpie and an instruction sheet.

    1. Un-cap marker
    2. Color in white areas on headphone until covered in black
    3. Your account has been disabled.

  30. DikembeMeiztombo says:

    Doesn’t everybody just buy new headphones anyway?

  31. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    This was a good call on Woot’s part.

    Not that I think the customer deserved a refund, but as Ben pointed out, their article here was A BIG DEAL.

    Both because consumers on the internet love Woot, so that drew a lot of attention, and just look at the number of comments!

    Woot is coming out of this, giving a refund, like the nicest company in the world. Anyone who had concerns about buying from them should be 100% comfortable with them now.

    While this may act as a precident for someone to feel they can pass off a shady return on Woot, it is outweighed by the huge possitive buzz they get.

  32. bigdirty says:

    Someone’s going to get an Ipod in their Blinged Out Cabbage next time around!

  33. watduck says:

    First, I would like to commend woot for such good customer service.

    Second, Woot was NEEDLESSLY and EXTRAORDINARILY nice in this situation. I would not want that customer as a repeat customer. It would just bring about more crazy situations like this.

  34. Tank says:

    this just proves if you’re an unreasonable tool, your “opponent” will eventually fold.

    i understand why they did it, i just disagree.

  35. jwm1314 says:

    as long as they don’t pay for the $30 headphones, then fine. customer didn’t like product, they return it. done and done.

  36. sweetpea12 says:

    still would’ve been better if they sent him a sharpie marker…or better yet, a pack of sharpies so he can pick what color to make his headphones.

  37. RandaPanda says:

    For me, it’s kind of a mixed bag. The dad was way out of line asking for a product that DOESN’T EXIST. I don’t have an I pod, but even I know that they only come with white earbuds. I mean, this guy is dumb as a brick for starters for demanding a product that doesn’t exist, when it probably would have been easier for him in the long run to run to wal-mart and purchase a $5 pair of black earbuds for his spoiled princess’s ipod.

    And as far as Woot is concerned. Well, yeah for them for being the bigger person in this situation, but I honestly don’t think they should have to take the fall for this one. Good for them for offering free return shipping and good for them for offering to return the product. But they didn’t do anything wrong. The dad should have paid more attention to what he was pulling his credit card out for.

  38. Parting says:

    That’s just encourages bad customers. And normal people pay for their idiocy with higher prices. I’m not going to shop at Woot. I cannot stand companies with no balls to ”fire” abusive customers.

    • mythago says:

      @Victo: Did it occur to you that from Woot’s POV, this attitude puts you in the “bad” customer category? They have gotten rid of another bad customer by their gesture – mission accomplished.

    • Coles_Law says:

      @Victo: I’d agree if they had spotted him the $29 for the headphones he “had” to have. As it stands, it’s just a, “Fine, forget you ever dealt with us.” I approve wholeheartedly.

  39. XStylus says:

    > Woot has said they’ll offer Millard a full refund and
    > send a box with a pre-paid shipping label to send the
    > iPod back in. This is acceptable to me.

    Merely “acceptable”? I’d say that’s almost above and beyond, considering that the company is eating the shipping and restock expenses for what is effectively an issue resulting from a defective customer rather than a defective product.

  40. wolfwithdances says:

    Woot’s action was appropriate. The complaining consumer was overstepping his bounds by purchasing the headphones BEFORE talking with Woot, and expecting Woot to cover it.

    If the customer is honest and mistaken, then giving the money back is a generous option, and Woot customer service shines. If the customer is just trying to get something for nothing, then they’ll keep the iPod and keep grumbling, because Woot has more than met them halfway. I think the second is more likely, and all it costs Woot is an empty box-I’d rather pay into that as a customer, than pay for someone else’s headphones.

    You just can’t please some people, and Woot has shown the world that they’re trying.

    (I’ve shopped at Woot several times before, and I’m glad they’re this responsive in tough situations. Go team.)

  41. hi says:

    Business isn’t always black & white. No pun intended… seriously. I think Woot made the right decision. Granted the guy should have researched what he was buying in the first place.

  42. coren says:

    Millard, be they boy or girl (and I’m gonna use they from here on in as pronoun of choice) isn’t exactly the brightest bulb. It’s been mentioned that iPods are known for the white headphones – I didn’t know that’s all they had, but I’ve never seen them with anything but (or if I have, they weren’t earbuds). If Millard couldn’t tell from the description and picture what color the headphones would be, they had time to clarify, especially if they didn’t buy this purchase as part of a Woot Off.

    They were dissatisfied with a product that’s advertised as no returns (at least that’s been my experience with woot, is I don’t return things to them if there’s a problem – which they’re up front about, and I am fine with). They wanted something that didn’t exist, and the company to fulfill that for them. Apparently they had no issue moving to a different style of earbud – iPod doesn’t make black ones except for special models (which means not for general sale). Or for paying 30 dollars so the headphones matched the iPod. None of this really demonstrates to me a strong amount of common sense – and for Woot to reward that, while it is their prerogative, is frustrating. It sends a great message about the company, and the wrong one at the same time. Being willing to bend over backwards isn’t always the best thing – people will, like Millard here, take advantage.

  43. the Goat says:

    “Once you have your money back as a customer, there’s nothing to complain about.” -Ben Popken

    No offense Ben but that is a very incorrect statement. Unfortuently many companies agree with you though. Certainly in this case the company did nothing wrong. But in general if a company fails to deliver on a promise just refunding the money does not make it okay.

    If I order something and once it arrives there is a problem, the time I spent waiting is now gone. Getting a refund and ordering from a competitor results in an even longer wait for the product. All because the first company failed to live up to its promise.

    Also limited availability is a factor. The company gamestop will guaranty to hold a first shipment copy of upcoming video game if you make a reservation down payment. But what does that guaranty mean if they fail to deliver? They just give you your money back. But by that time it is too late to get the game because all the stores are sold out. That is no guaranty.

  44. mzs says:

    There are lots of situations where just getting your money back is not enough. For example an airline refunds the money that you paid for tickets, but now tickets are more expensive.

  45. erratapage says:

    Am I the only person who reads a company’s return policy?

    Their site says: “Will I receive customer support like I’m used to?
    No. Well, not really. If you buy something you don’t end up liking or you have what marketing people call “buyer’s remorse,” sell it on eBay. It’s likely you’ll make money doing this and save everyone a hassle. If the item doesn’t work, find out what you’re doing wrong. Yes, we know you think the item is bad, but it’s probably your fault. Google your problem, or come back to that product discussion in our community and ask other people if they know. Try to call the manufacturer and ask if they know. If you give up and must return it to us, then follow on to the next FAQ entry.”

    Seems to me, this falls under the category of sell it on ebay. However, kudos to Woot for going the extra mile.

  46. downwithmonstercable says:

    Probably a good PR move on Woot’s part, but that sucks that a moron customer won the battle.

    I hope the return box they send has dog poop in it.

  47. BriceGadimu says:

    I’m not a fan of woot and you wouldn’t be either if you ever had to deal with getting a refund from them. I’m really surprised they did this though.

    Earlier this year I went through trying to get them to pay for return shipping for items that they knowingly selling with high defect rates. They never did that, perhas I should have wrote to the consumerist.

    A power sentry ups.
    Thats one of the threads with numerous complaints about DOA’s. They’ve sold these items several time and never addressed the incredible number of DOA units.

  48. gggtur says:

    So I guess they didn’t take my suggestion to tell them to freaking freak off? That sucks. I thought I was on to something with that one.

  49. Ein2015 says:

    The “return product for refund” bit is nice, but prepaid shipping? Most online stores require the buyer to pay the shipping.

    When will Woot offer an “I love Woot” shirt for sale on shirt.woot? :P

  50. Papa Midnight says:

    This is acceptable to me. As I’ve said in the past, it’s all about the money. Once you have your money back as a customer, there’s nothing to complain about.

    While true, I still am inclined to cite what I stated previously:

    I personally feel that absolutely nothing should be done on the part of Woot. If the person wishes, they can take their issue up with Apple, who for 7 years, has manufactured iPod’s in the exact same way: iPod with White Headphones, with the exception of the U2 Edition iPod which comes with Black headphones.

    This is one of those times when Woot was just not in the wrong. I’ve purchased items from Woot before and hold their Customer Service in high regard. This just seems to be a clear cut case of “Bad Consumer”.

    On another note, if he wants black headphones, Sony manufactures them for $49.99. Skullcandy also manufactures it’s “Ink’d” line which goes for anywhere from $10.99 to $21.99 depending on where you buy, and by the way, they come in Black, Pink, Blue, Green, Red…

  51. cordeliapotter says:

    I’ve had legitimate gripes with companies, where the issue has been their fault or a shared responsibility, and I write very short, very pleasant e-mails asking for my money back, and I never get it. Even if I’ve returned the product, they’ll still charge a re-stoking fee, shipping, and cancel whatever discount I bought it on. I guess if I’m belligerent like Millard, they’ll finally pony up?

  52. mamacat49 says:

    I wonder if the little princess already has her music on said Ipod. I bet she won’t want to give it up if she’s already loaded it with Jonas Brothers. And you KNOW she knows Ipods only come with white ear buds(should have enlightened her dad).

  53. crazedhare says:

    I agree that the customer was wholly, without exception, totally and completely asinine here. What a snotty brat, and I don’t mean the kid. Setting an example of “me-ism” like that for a child is disgusting – sounds like a baby who never grew up had his/her own baby.

    But I voted for the refund, because I wonder whether, after getting SUCH an incredible deal on the ipod, the customer will actually put his money where his mouth is. It’s one thing to complain a lot to try to get a freebie (i.e. new headpones – and by the way, I have $12 black Sony earbuds bought to replace Apple’s because I find them so uncomfortable), but at the end of the day, will he think the good deal on the ipod is worth it?

    I am glad to see Woot getting positive PR and kudos for this – it was a great way to handle a ridiculous complaint, and showed more humanity, reasonable consideration and politeness than this idiot customer deserved.

  54. steegness says:

    Woot may have not taken the road a lot of us wanted them to take (IE, the “Let me tell your where to ‘process your return’ method”), but here’s the thing: none of us are going to be LESS likely to shop at Woot because they were too nice to this loser.

  55. mike says:

    I want to praise Woot for coming to Consumerist for advice to deal with a customer who is being unrealistic or unreasonable.

    I think if the shoe was on the other foot, the customer told us that Woot was being a jerk and saying “get bent”, etc, we’d be all over Woot for treating the customer horribly.

    The fact that Woot is offering a refund and eating the cost to have the ipod returned is above and beyond.

    Congrats again to Woot! I’ll be checking out your store soon.

  56. jeblis says:

    Woot is defined by being hip with great customer service, so even though they take a bath on the shipping, this generates loyalty with their other customers. Obviously if one person abuses this they should decline to sell to them, again.

  57. BeyondtheTech says:

    I’m just wondering if the customer knows that there were at least 477 people out there who consider him at least a total douchebag.

  58. Coolmatt49 says:

    I tip my hat off to Woot for doing a nice thing for the customer, even if the customer was out of line.

    Hopefully the customer will still purchase from Woot and not just spread around nasty false statements against them.

  59. SynMonger says:

    Perhaps a link to this article included with the pre-paid shipping box?

  60. stephenjames716 says:

    this moron will probably complain that the return box isn’t the right color!

  61. theworldisasheep says:

    Woot is amazing.

    If I had money, I’d spend it with them.

  62. edro says:

    In response to will Woot reference this, they already have, everyone must have missed this past Saturday’s sellout woot, where you had the choice of white or black earphones. Straight from their blog, here is part of the write-up:

    “very headset that we sell from Icemat seems to be
    Effectively blocking background noise that people seem to bring
    Not a bowling ball they are smaller, got a mic goes near your mouth
    This is like the tenth time that we’ve had them on sellout now

    We’ve been looking for a buyer who wants to hear some mp3s
    Looking for a buyer, we’ve got black if black you need
    If you open up your ears, they’re in-ear and they’ll fit in
    If you buy them
    We will even ship them”

  63. GoBobbyGo says:

    I’m fine with what Woot did. That said, I don’t think “Once you have your money back as a customer, there’s nothing to complain about” is always true.

    Sometimes bad products cause more damage than the price of the product.

  64. BrianDaBrain says:

    Wow. Woot is awesome. I NEVER, EVER would have sent a box to that customer period. Apple does not make iPod ear buds in black. The simple fact that the product does not exists trumps the fact that the customer did not do his research before purchasing the product. Even a simple glance at the picture on Woot, clearly showing a black iPod with white headphones should be enough to clue you in that you will be receiving white headphones.

    By the way, who in their left or right minds would seriously care if the headphones are white? My iPod is black, the ear buds are white, and my life is still moving forward just fine. Blast people making a big stink over what amounts to be nothing. 10-1 his daughter A) didn’t care that the headphones were white, and B) will lose the $29.00 black ones inside a month.

  65. Swifty says:

    I think Woot is being pretty clever about calling this guy’s bluff. From the sound of it, Millard wanted a free pair of earbuds. Woot was under absolutely no obligation to provide them to him.

    My guess is that the iPod box with the prepaid shipping label will not be sent back, and Woot won’t be hearing from Millard again.

  66. nightsky says:

    Still a jackass!

  67. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    Most of you people don’t run online or retail stores or you’d understand why Woot is doing the right thing here. Telling him to “get lost” isn’t an option. Unfortunately nowadays you have to cave in to the most idiotic customer requests because if you don’t there’s no guarantee they won’t go on consumerist.com and spread lies, or go to Amazon and spread lies, or start a website that spreads lies, or do anything else to kill your brand name. It happens too often.

  68. sinfuly Delicious says:

    I love this resolution. If he wants to throw a fit over his error. I would have been willing to take the small hit on shipping it back and resale the item. And hes of course out the cost of his Headphones bought elsewhere.

    Win Win:)

  69. knacko says:

    I don’t know why some people are criticizing Woot’s decision here. The guy just saved a bunch of money on an iPod, and he starts complaining about the color of an accessory?

    Woot was awesome, their solution is to send the iPod back because he isn’t satisfied. It’s a full refund to the customer, but he loses out on a cheap iPod.

    It’s probably the only situation in which you can screw the customer and still get good press. I applaud them.

  70. joellevand says:

    I’m going to agree with the other outraged consumers on here! Thanks for rewarding stupidity with free return shipping and a full refund, Woot! Today, I am not wooting at all. :(

  71. Xero says:

    Way to go Woot. I’ve always had good customer service from them (well, great actually), so I’m not surprised that they are even being nice to this asshat (props from Kotaku).

    They should also send along some crappy headphones in the box from the dollar store with an ‘ipod’ sticked attached to them just for kicks…

  72. tinyrobot says:

    Hats off to Woot for going above and beyond, but I think Consumerist should really re-file this under the “bad consumer” tag. What a troll this fella was.

  73. The_IT_Crone says:

    I would hope that if they were going to offer a refund, it would have a liberal “open box charge” on it.

  74. puyro {who was banned for "junk comments" what? says:

    I would have taken it back if he’s within the return policy, but he would pay shipping for it… and provide his own box.

  75. Decaye says:

    They should have offered him a single bullet in the caliber of his choice with which to make what would probably be the first intelligent decision of his entire life – commit suicide.

    I love Woot, but I don’t think that’s a good call. They’re risking one very stupid customer if they tell him to get bent, and if they don’t, they’re showing that if you’re stupid enough, and irritating enough, you can get some money out of them.

  76. Petra says:

    Wow, that is incredibly generous of Woot, especially since I really do feel like the customer reacted inappropriately to the situation. Something tells me the guy won’t return the item though, I think he was hoping for a partial refund or some sort of free handout…let’s be honest, how on earth could his daughter’s birthday be ruined because her headphones weren’t black like her iPod?

  77. Meathamper says:

    I heart Woot but I think it’s a bit much. What the should have done is tell him to screw off. An iPod is an iPod. If you want a new iPod with fancy black earphones or whatever the hell it is you want, Woot isn’t for you. They have Best Buy for that.

  78. Mysterry says:

    because the item was a gift, I think this might make Woot look bad (reading comprehension, anyone?). He said that the Ipod was a gift so what Woot should of done is told him that they can either refund the money back, or nothing.

  79. HogwartsAlum says:

    “Once you have your money back as a customer, there’s nothing to complain about.”

    Watch him still complain.

  80. kthxbai says:

    3 Cheers for woot for being a consumers best friend… Millard, You dumbass, you should have bought her a zune… or you should have had a V8 (anyone?),… sigh what a dumbass

  81. Devezu says:

    Ok Woot. Is that iPod up for grabs now? I’ll take it! (seriously – let me know how much, I’ll buy it if its a Classic)

  82. Raiders757 says:

    The first mistake this guy made, was to by an iPod to begine with. They’re hardly the best player on the market.

    Still, I have three different players, and we have a total of six in the household. Only one of those came with black earbuds, and that’s a small iRiver I got for christmas years ago that I use when working in the yard.