After Replacing My Broken Nook Four Times, Barnes & Noble Has Given Up

Lisa’s luck with the Nook e-reader is bad enough to make Xbox 360 owners weep. Since buying her first Nook in February, she’s had to warranty it out five times. On the first four occasions the customer service department was quick to replace the busted device, but the fifth go-round has been anything but charming.

Lisa says BN has refused her fifth exchange, deciding that the latest failure isn’t covered by the base warranty. She writes:

At first I said to myself “Huh this is new. The past three Nooks that I’ve had were always covered by my base warranty (or so I assume since I never received such an email before). The second thought I had was “Well, thank goodness I purchased that Accidental Damage Handling coverage”. But in the back of my mind, I said to myself “Wait, I don’t remember having that.” I didn’t order the nook personally (my friend bought mine for me) so I wasn’t sure if I had this coverage, but I assumed that since B&N sent me an email SAYING that I had it, then it must be true.

So I called that number, and I waited for half an hour before I finally heard a human voice. He was very polite but had no idea how to “process the claim”. Initially it sounded like everything was fine, and that there were no problems. He put me on hold so that he could speak to his manager about how to “process the claim”. When he came back, he told me some great news: that I had to return the new nook I received and they would send back the faulty Nook. I was flabbergasted. The email that I received did not indicate anything of this sort happening. He told me that you are only allowed to claim Accidental Damage Handling once, and after that it is no longer void. I then told him that if he would just take the time the look it up (which he resisted for 10 minutes) he would see that I have NEVER had a claim on my Accidental Damage Handling claim because I had never received such an email before in my last exchanges. He then proceeded to take another 10 minutes going through my last exchanges and finally exclaimed “Well it looks like all of your other past exchanges were on base warranty, and never on the Accidental Damage claim”. I then told him that yes, I already knew that, and figured this was the end of it.

But my luck ran out, because he then said “Oh, well it looks like you don’t have Accidental Damage Handling coverage on your initial nook.” I went silent. What did he mean I didn’t have it? I told him that the email said that I had it and all I had to do was process my claim on it. He then said and I quote “Oh well the email is ambiguously stated”. I said “No no sir.(Yes I was so angry that I said two nos) The email is not ambiguous. It clearly states that I have Accidental Damage Handling and that all I was suppose to do was call to process my claim. It said nothing about me NOT having it and going through an exchange where I would receive my damaged nook back.” He sputtered, and told me that no matter what the email said, I still had to send my working nook back in exchange for my broken, defective one (which they are now saying was damaged by yours truly). By this time, I had spent an hour on the phone, and was just so sick of hearing his voice I asked him if they would at least send me a shipping label so that I wouldn’t have to spend money to send them the nook. For once, it went well for me and he agreed (probably because at this point I was crying). I still haven’t gotten the shipping label, and I plan on calling back today to get this straightened out (I don’t want them telling me they never received my shipment and promptly charging me for another one). But this is my sad story, and one that tells people not to believe any email companies send because they could just be flat out lying to you.

I want to make this clear. If I had dropped or mishandled the Nook, and if they had sent me an email saying that the Nook’s damage was not covered by the base warranty, I would not be writing this email. If it was my fault, then I have no one to blame or be upset with. But the fact of the matter is, I did nothing to that Nook AND they then sent me an email that turned out to be TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY misleading; in essence, it was a total lie. This is the part the really upsets me. You can’t tell me that it was just easier to send me something that had half truths in it because you were too lazy to write up one that spelled out what is the actual problem.

Do you have any advice for Lisa that will keep her from having to switch over to the Kindle or — perish the thought — physical books?

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.