What Should I Do When An Amazon Marketplace Vendor Disappears?

Darren tells Consumerist that the vendor that sold him a failing MacBook Pro battery through the Amazon Marketplace has disappeared. Since the replacement battery wasn’t made by Apple, he’d like to find out what kind of warranty the battery might have and seek a replacement. Amazon is no help, and the company’s domain name is no longer registered, so e-mails bounce back. What should he do?

TL;DR Replacement laptop battery died within a year. Amazon Marketplace vendor has disappeared with necessary warranty information. Amazon and my credit card “can’t” do anything to help. What should I do now?

The longer version:

I bought a Macbook Pro laptop battery through Amazon Marketplace in late September of 2009. Because the battery was so reasonably priced and the vendor claimed it was OEM, I saved a copy of the listing just in case. When the battery arrived, I could tell it was not OEM, but it seemed to work well at first, so I let it go. After about two months of regular use, though, the performance of the battery started to slip.

Here we are not quite a year later, and the battery has completely malfunctioned. It still holds a charge and works while my computer is in sleep mode, but if I try to run the computer on the battery alone, it dies within two or three seconds. I tried to get in touch with the vendor, who seems to have disappeared from Amazon soon after my purchase, via both direct email and the Amazon contact option. The direct email got bounced back and I did not hear anything from the Amazon submission. After waiting a week, I tried to get in touch with Amazon to see if they could provide more information about the vendor, so I could figure out the warranty.

After a bit of back and forth (which I’m happy to send you if you’d like) it appears Amazon is ignoring my requests for more information. I tried getting in touch with my credit card provider to see if they could help, but disputed charges only go back 90 days and warranty extensions only work after expiration of the original manufacturer’s warranty (and we have no idea who is responsible for covering this warranty). My credit card suggested contacting the BBB in my area, but I don’t know how that would help.

What does a person do in this situation?

If the company has gone out of business entirely, your local Better Business Bureau won’t be much help. Neither will the one where the company is located. Your best options at this point were a credit card chargeback or seeking a refund under Amazon’s A-Z Guarantee–and it’s too late for both of those now.

Your best bet at this point is to try to track down the manufacturer of the battery. If there really aren’t any clues as to the manufacturer’s identity on the battery, one possible next step is to track down someone from the company to see whether they can at least tell you who their supplier was.

Any other ideas for Darren from the Hive Mind?