Yugster Sends Broken Item In Opened Box, Makes Customer Pay To Ship It Back

Yugster.com is a site that follows a similar business model to Woot, but without the amazing writing staff. Josh writes that he’s made a few purchases from the site, and the last one resulted in an opened box that contained a broken product from a defunct manufacturer. The company ultimately gave him a refund, but left him on the hook for return shipping. This turned him off the site entirely.

Alright so I’m a fool for falling for one of the oldest tricks in the book and going for the “Yugster Surprise Bundle” for $17 and thinking I was going to end up with a Nissan GT-R in my driveway when I came home, but ending up with a couple of generic mp3 player cases and some other stupid sh*t. But that’s not what this is about.

I’ve ordered a few things from Yugster.com, each time it has taken them at least a day or longer than their advertised 2-5 day shipping as stated on their FAQ to actually get something in the mail.

My latest experience with them has once and for all taught me to not even bother going back to the place.

$27.97 + $6.00 shipping for an 8.4″ Smart Parts digital photo frame when the girlfriends mother had just said she’d love to get one of those and put all of the family photos on them!? It was a no brainer! I’ll take one, please. Thank you!

So the package finally comes in the mail. It’s quite obvious that the box had been opened previously. I take it out, plug it in and power it on. There’s no picture. I double-check everything. Still nada. Wait. What’s that. There is a picture but it’s so faint you can barely tell that it’s on. Not to worry, I’ll contact the manufacturer since there’s a warranty.

Hmmm. The phone number isn’t in service. Not to worry, there’s an e-mail address.

Errr….mailer daemon…undeliverable. Interesting. Google.com >> “smart parts technical support” … … …

Smart Parts is no longer in business, they’ve been bought by some other company. So I call the other company, they tell me to take it up with where I bought it from. So I go ahead and contact yugster about it.

I explain my dissatisfaction and that I can’t believe that I’m the one that’s going to end up paying for shipping twice (Totalling about $17) on something that was broken out of the box, nevermind the fact that the manufacturer of the product is no longer in business. Naturally they made sure not to make mention of that fact when they were selling the item.

While I did ultimately receive a refund for the product (again less the $17 for shipping and handling) it still seems shady as hell to me that I ended up eating the cost for a product that was broken out of the box, and it was probably known to be nonfunctional as it had apparently already been opened.

One could say that a more prudent person would’ve researched more indepth before making the purchase, and perhaps this is another case of “if it’s too good to be true”, but I’ll never be doing business with Yugster.com again.

Deal-loving Consumerist hive mind, have you shopped with Yugster? What was your experience?


Edit Your Comment

  1. milkcake says:

    That’s why it’s called Yug… Ster…. Stick with woot. It just sounds better.

    • nbs2 says:

      Agreed. Yugster could probably have been had by Bezos, Inc for a lot lett than Woot, but they chose to pay the premium. Whatever their reason for doing so, it’s good enough for me.

    • Thumbmaster says:

      I can’t say how Woot will be now that they’re owned by Amazon. But I’ve had ordered many things from them in the past. On a few occasions a defective item turns up and they have no issues replacing it (they let me keep the dud). One time an item went belly-up after I’ve had it for a couple months (with a one-year warranty) and I found out the company was out of business. I contacted Woot and they were willing to refund the money if I send it back. I paid $18 for the item but the return shipping would’ve cost over $10. So I just decided to keep it for spare parts. All in all, Woot is a reliable and customer-friendly outfit that I keep buying from. Haven’t dealt with Yugster but I don’t see a reason to with Woot around.

  2. Benzona says:

    If he had read the comments on the page they would have known that the Surprise bundles are always a piece of junk. I made the mistake once of buying the surprise bundle but never again. It is like they unload all the leftover crap and sell it at a premium with the guise of it being a “surprise”.

    • Mobius says:

      He said specifically that he’s not complaining about a surprise bundle. He bought something specifically and intentionally because his girlfriend’s mother wanted it.

    • joshtalgia says:

      And if you had read the entire post you would have understood that the issue was not with the surprise bundle.

  3. Dutchess says:

    Chargeback time….

  4. PeaInAPod says:

    Woot! > Yugster, 1SaleADay,etc.

  5. hmmhmm says:

    I know that in the past newegg had a line on their FAQ stating that Walmart doesn’t pay for your gas to return their products so we don’t pay for return shipping.

    • Bix says:

      And if it was clearly their fault?

      • NarcolepticGirl says:

        When is the last time a store reimbursed your gas mileage if you are returning an item for any reason? Including a missing button?

    • trey says:

      Gas to my local Walmart probably costs 25 cents. and while i am there i can purchase any number of other items all the while only using the aforementioned 25 cents. wheres your logic now?

      • NarcolepticGirl says:


        What about people who live 20 miles away?
        And when you’re at the post office, you can mail other things, pick up some boxes, buy stamps….

  6. OPRAH says:

    Contact bill@yugster.com, Bill Hockett.

    I think he’s someone on top, the site is registered under his name. Anyway, I had a fall out with a purchase, actually it never even made it to me. Issues were on Yugster’s suppliers failure to provide the product but even so I had no idea what was going on.

    I received an email from Bill’s personal email explaining the situation and Yugster Customer Service emails followed hours later. I really appreciated his ability to make right something wrong and admit to the mistake. I also have a discount added automatically to any purchase I make in the next few months as an award.

    Give him a ring, I’m sure he’ll help.

  7. sirwired says:

    Plenty of mail-order companies make customers responsible for return shipping, even for defective products. If this is clearly disclosed in the “returns” section of the website, then the consumer is really not justified in getting all upset here. It’s the customer’s responsibility to check the returns policy before ordering.

    As an example, even the VERY customer-oriented Land’s End makes you pay for return shipping, even if it was a defect. However, they do comp the shipping for the next order on request. (This was a bigger deal before they started handing out so many free shipping coupons.)

    Personally, I think it does no favors to customer loyalty to not cover return shipping for defective merchandise, but it is up to the customer to check this ahead of time.

    • common_sense84 says:

      “Plenty of mail-order companies make customers responsible for return shipping, even for defective products. If this is clearly disclosed in the “returns” section of the website, then the consumer is really not justified in getting all upset here.”

      Sorry, this is never acceptable for damaged goods. The company is on the hook. The customer should have just threw the broken item away and did a charge back.

  8. DeltaTee says:

    I have never considered buying anything from Woot (or the like) without first finding the product for sale online elsewhere and finding out if it is a good deal or not.

    • NashuaConsumerist says:

      99% of the time it will beat prices elsewhere. The only time I saw it not beat and internet price is when a search for the product yeilded results from Amazon.com for used products. I love woot, never been burned by them and always satisfied. And, no, I don’t work for woot but I wish i did….

      • joshua70448 says:

        I’ve actually gotten a wireless notebook mouse from Woot that looked like someone’s dog had used it as a chew toy. When I emailed them about setting up a return, they just refunded the entire amount, shipping and all! The mouse still technically works (had to bend some plastic around), but they had refunded the entire purchase before I had a chance to say anything else. They’re an awesome company, and hopefully they’ll stay that way.

  9. NarcolepticGirl says:

    Can I return an item that is defective right out of the box?

    While we all would prefer that products always work as expected out of the box, a very small percentage of the time there will be a problem. We’re very sorry when this happens but sometimes items just don’t work correctly straight from the manufacturer. Usually there’s nothing you or Yugster could have done to prevent it. If the product that you purchased is defective and there is a manufacturer’s warranty, the warranty specifics, including contact information, are typically found in the packaging. If you can’t find it or if the warranty is through Yugster and not the manufacturer, we’ll be happy to provide you with the necessary information. If your item is covered by a manufacturer warranty but you choose not to go through the manufacturer for support and return the product to us instead, a 20% restocking fee will apply. We also do not credit back any shipping charges paid on the original order and do not pay or reimburse for any return shipping back to us. Lastly, returns are only allowed if your request is received by Yugster within 21 calendar days from your order ship date and all returns must be received complete (all original packaging and contents) by Yugster within 14 calendar days after the return is approved. After that or if not complete, all bets are off and it’s yours. To request warranty information or to request a return for a defective item, click on the Contact Us link at the top of this page. We will typically respond to your request within one business day, but usually much quicker.

    • Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

      That settles it. Always read the small print.

    • joshtalgia says:

      Absolutely correct. But one would fathom that the item you’re going to get is covered under a manufacturers warranty, no?

      Just a tad shady when the manufacturer is no longer in business, if you ask me.

  10. Murph1908 says:

    The problem with covering shipping on regular returns, but not charging for defective items is, you will suddenly have a higher percentage of defective claims.

    This higher percentage will certainly include items that were damaged on purpose by the buyer. So now you are getting more damaged merchandise back as well.

    Unfortunately, we all pay for the crimes of others.

  11. joe says:

    i bought a PS3 Guitar Hero guitar (real wood!) from Woot.com about a year ago. it never worked and although they did give me a refund ($50) i had to pay return shipping ($25).

    woot is not any better than yugster, at least when it comes to shipping costs on defective items.

  12. klwillis45 says:

    I bought a 22″ Vizio HDTV from yugster. No sweat.

    I’ve had no issues with woot or midnightbox either.

  13. dg says:

    That a consumer has to pay for return shipping on an item that’s DOA out of the box is ludicrous. If I’d purchased it, decided I didn’t like it, and wanted to return it – then yeah, I’ll pay the return shipping. But if you send me something, and it’s DOA out of the box – I’m not paying to return it. You can come get the junk you sent me, or send me a pre-paid return tag. If you don’t refund 100% of my money on it – including the shipping used to send me that DOA POC, then I’ll just do a chargeback.

  14. SynMonger says:

    I had an issue like this with a keyboard I bought from Tanga.com once. They e-mailed me a UPS return label, and cross-shipped a replacement keyboard to me so I didn’t have to wait.

  15. common_sense84 says:

    It’s funny that these clones don’t get it. The only reason Woot worked is because it initially had good stuff and has always had good customer service.

    Even if you are going to sell complete shit, you have to have good customer service and not screw people out of return shipping on broken items.

  16. osiris73 says:

    From Yugster.com – “I did see the consumerist report. We are starting a return shipping campaign for broken items. Hopefully we can make things right.”

  17. RogerX says:

    Woot did this to me on $150 worth of hard drives and took 6 weeks to lie to me about sending a replacement, demand I pay to send it back, and wait 6 more weeks for a refund. I had made 37 (!) purchases with them until that point, none in the two years since.

    I sent my story in to Consumerist a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t picked up for syndication. ;)

  18. Kyol says:

    Heck, Yugster burned me by shipping me something fairly different than what they advertised. They had some iPod charger & aux input with wireless steering wheel remote for sale for $20 or so, so I placed an order. What ended up showing up on my porch was a bluetooth AVRCP remote and bluetooth to aux input dongle instead. This would be _great_ if the iPhone did AVRCP, but it doesn’t, and I already have an aux input method – I was after it for the steering wheel remote. I sent them an email about it (Hey, did you mispick my order?), and they basically fell back on the fact that what they shipped was a more expensive product than what I had ordered, but they didn’t quite understand that it wouldn’t work for the product they advertised it for!

    Ultimately they wanted me to pay to ship it back for a full refund, or I could get a $5 gift card for Yugster without shipping it back. So I could send good money after bad or get a gift card for a store that had just burned my trust. No thanks! I ended up giving it away to my Android using coworker as a holiday present, but I don’t buy stuff from Yugster any more – their whole sales and support organization needs to be redone first.

  19. clickable says:

    It’s their policy, and it’s in their FAQs, like so (I cut out all the irrelevant claptrap):

    Can I return an item that is defective right out of the box?
    …We also do not credit back any shipping charges paid on the original order and do not pay or reimburse for any return shipping back to us. …

    So there you have it. They’re anticipating that so much of their crap will arrive DOA, they even devote a whole section of their FAQ to it.

    Overall, the site gives me the creeps, like those people who proclaim about themselves that they have a fantastic sense of humor, and of course are actually less funny than bubonic plague.

  20. ajlei says:

    That’s too bad about the shipping. According to a previous commenter, though, it looks like they might be trying to make it right.

    I can’t say enough good things about woot. I bought some headphones a couple years back, received them, and realized that, for some reason or another, woot never actually charged me. I emailed them about it, and their response was basically “well, that’s our mistake, we don’t want to recharge you in case a charge does eventually go through, so in the meantime, enjoy the free headphones!” They never did charge me.

    And with that, I won’t ever use another deal-a-day site.

  21. wagnerism says:

    Many online vendors charge for return shipping in all cases. Costco is much better.

    Their online selection of LCD televisions was much better than that of the store. For the units that were both online and in the store, their prices were identical when shipping is included.

    I bought two online. You can return them to a retail location and get a full refund including shipping. They also added a year to the warranty and had some concierge setup service.

    I could have saved some money by going with another online vendor (newegg, amazon, etc) but any return or problem would end up costing me much more. I call that “cheap insurance” against shipping damage, failure on day 366 of the warranty, manufacturer going out of business or even “I don’t like it.”

  22. tomasie says:

    The company’s shady. Saw a vacuum on there for HALF of what other people sell the thing for.
    After purchasing, I noticed it was refurbished. No wonder the thing was so cheap, it was used.
    Why even mention the suggested retail price? That price is for a NEW vacuum.
    It’s mentioned ONCE in the add, off to the side. If you’re buying something used, shouldn’t it be prevalent in the title? Then they wanted to charge me a 20% “re stocking fee.” Of course they do, they don’t want to be stuck with a used vacuum in their inventory. My guess is that it’ll take a class action lawsuit for them to put “refurbished” in the title.