The Case Of The Newegg Investigation, The Missing Refund, And The Vanishing Unlocked Phone

Brian was really excited to open up and play with his new toy, an unlocked phone that he ordered on sale from Newegg. But the box arrived on his doorstep and…. no phone. The bluetooth headset that he had ordered was there, but not the phone. He grew impatient with Newegg’s investigation when the missing phone wasn’t his fault, and managed to get their customer service to do the right thing and get the phone into his hand, at the sale price. Only neither of their promised refunds–of the original purchase price, and of the difference between the original price and what Brian paid for the replacement phone–have come through.

A few weeks ago I ordered a new unlocked cell phone and blue-tooth headset from Newegg. I saw it had been delivered online and came home from work eager to play with my new toy.

I ripped open the box to find… the headset. I check online and there is only one tracking number. Somewhat disappointed, I check with their customer service via chat. They tell me there is only one number, and it should be in the box. The box sure didn’t look like it had been opened, and the amount of packing material makes something as large as a cell phone box being missing doubtful. I think they misspacked the box, but they quiz me on the condition of the box anyway.

Newegg offers that after a investigation that they can send out a replacement unit, but between the investigation and quoted shipping I’m looking at two weeks of waiting. I ask them to send another immediately and they can deal with the investigation. Newegg tells me they can only do this by refunding me that order and having me place a new order. However the phone is no longer on sale.

After quite of bit of arguing with them, they eventually agree to honor the original price by crediting me the difference once I email them that it has been received. The new phone arrives uneventfully, the email is sent, and I get a promise of a refund.
As of today, the deadline for both refunds has passed. I’m out $550. I feel like I’ve given Newegg a chance to make this right and they are dragging their heels. I’d like to avoid a charge back as I would really like to maintain a positive relationship with them.


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  1. anime_runs_my_life says:

    I’ve heard that a nicely placed complaint on their Facebook page does wonders. I don’t think they like getting the negative posts for all to see.

  2. PunditGuy says:

    And they’d have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for you meddling blogs.

    Seriously, though, Newegg hasn’t steered me wrong in about a decade of ordering from them.

    • tbax929 says:

      I tried to order a television from there, and it was an absolute nightmare. They kept pushing back the delivery date and then finally told me it was out of stock.

      I turned around and ordered the same set from Amazon (it was a little more expensive) but go white-glove delivery and had the tv two days later.

      I hear great things about Newegg, so I’m sure my experience is not typical. But I’m so spoiled by Amazon that I find it hard to purchase from any other e-tailers.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        They still have the white-glove delivery? I’m dying to try that. Next time I need something like a TV I might get it from them.

      • Not Given says:

        I ordered a TV from Amazon and got the free delivery. It was here in 3 or 4 days.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      If you order stuff they actually have, sure, Newegg is great. I’ve had the same experience. I’ve had no issues with Newegg, or B&H, or Amazon, or Provantage, or Cost Central. But maybe I’m in the lucky 90%. Or is that 91%.

      People (like order pickers) don’t screw up that often. Maybe their accuracy rate is 99.9%. But when something does go wrong, they think you are ripping them off. And the problem is, they do have people trying to rip them off.

      What it takes to sort that out is people that know how to think. Can’t get that at the CSR level.

      • zippy says:

        I would suggest the weight of the box as delivered compared to the weight that they measured for shipping should reveal what happened.

        • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

          The shipping company won’t say a thing if you declare your package weighing more than it actually is. They make money with such mistakes, after all.

  3. RandomMutterings says:

    NewEgg is a good egg. I have purchased many things from them over the years (must run into the tens of thousands now) for business and personally and never a problem that wasn’t quickly addressed and made right.

    • mypcrepairguy says:

      Good for you! I on the other hand have moved on to Amazon + Prime. I find their customer service to be simply out of this world. Their selection is great however their search engine leaves something to be desired. NE is where I go for product description and reviews. Amazon on the other hand gets most of my money.

  4. thomwithanh says:


  5. MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

    Hmmm…based on the photo accompanying this article, I’d advise the OP to check the litterbox. Way down at the bottom.

  6. Hi_Hello says:

    they sold unlock iphone?!

    how long was the deadline for the refund?

    something similar happen to me.

    Order a hd and a few other things. It was delivered but I couldn’t find where the package was.(sent to work). Told them, they said the same thing, need to investigate, if I dont want to wait, they can cancel the order, refund me and I can order a new one.

    Forgot how long it took… maybe a week for the refund to kick in. A year later, the original ordered appeared…opened and boxed look a little damaged… told them about it and sent it back to them with a free rma.

  7. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I am confused. NewEgg would ship a replacement phone within 2 weeks but the OP didn’t want to wait that long and ordered a new phone but didn’t get refunded for the old?

    There are no dates in the post so I have no idea if the OP has given NewEgg enough time to process the refund.

    • Geekybiker says:

      Yes, in order to get a replacement sent before their “investigation” finished, I had to order another phone. The number of working days they said it would take to complete the investigation and issue a refund have passed. Its been several weeks now.

  8. Carrie317 says:

    I have to disagree with Newegg being a good egg. The sent us a broken computer part and we were stuck with it and out $50.00 because that particular part was labeled not returnable since you could use it to build a computer and theoretically mess it up if you put it in the wrong place. It was total crap and we will never buy from them again. I went round and round with customer service stating they sent me the part with broken pins but again.. no refund for me = no more business from me.

  9. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    Ha, and no one believed me when I said that NewEgg has the worst customer service ever. After spending over $30,000 doing a complete haul-over of technology in our offices, they refused to help us with a $300 refurbished computer that never worked at arrival.

  10. etbrown4 says:

    New egg is a BAD EGG, in my experience.

    In my case they fought me tooth and nail trying to deny me a product price discount offered on their side as a promo code.

    Only after EECB (executive email carpet bombing as widely practiced by Consumerist users) did they finally decide to honor the promo code and an extra credit for all the hassle.

    In my opinion their first instinct was to do the wrong thing. Only after I wasted time on about 20 emails, and two weeks, was this finally made right.

    Left to their own vices, I do not think they would have ever done the right thing.

    In this case, the OP having to fight to get his product and his refund, directly mirrors my experience, and speaks volumes about Newegg’s corporate culture, or lack thereof,

  11. Free Legal Advice! says:

    In related news, I was recently infomed of a Fed Ex employee stealing phones from our local distribution center. He was handing them out to friends a family. The cops found a few more phones at his house, but they had not been reported stolen yet.

    My advice to the OP, see if you can dig up a serial number for the missing phone and report a theft to the police. I believe phones can now be registered in the national database, like stolen cars.

  12. Newegg_Support says:

    Hello Brian,

    We apologize for the inconvenience this experience has caused you. We would like to look into this further and determine what is causing this delay. Please send us an email directly to with your order information. We will be more than glad to assist you directly. Meanwhile, we hope you have a great day. Thank you.

    • Geekybiker says:

      This email address bounced back as undeliverable.

      • Newegg_Support says:

        We do apologize there was a technical difficulty on our end and we have updated the email. Please submit your information to at your earliest convenience. Thank you again.

    • ldillon says:

      Yea, they will come to the rescue of the consumer that makes it to the front page of the Consumerist, but it is unlikely that they are going to change the polices that cause customers problems in the first place.

  13. coffee100 says:

    Don’t ask questions. Don’t talk any more. Don’t do anything else.

    Sue. Name everyone. Subpoena every scrap of paper and every single person involved in the transaction (up to at least four layers of management and be absolutely sure to serve the Chairman of the company at dinner) and start scheduling all-day depositions. Every time you lose a ruling, appeal and request expedited consideration. If you lose the appeal, request consideration en banc. Every time you file a motion, they have to pay to contest it and send someone to litigate.

    By about day three you’ll get your refund.

    Then sue for attorney’s fees. Same procedure. They’ll never lose another order.

    There are only two things that American companies care about: money and subpoenas. Make sure every time some company fucks up you file the latter and cost them the former.

  14. shea6408 says:

    From the original article: “I’d like to avoid a charge back as I would really like to maintain a positive relationship with them.”

    THEY should be the ones looking to maintain a positive relationship with YOU, the customer!

  15. microcars says:

    what was the weight of the box shipped and how does that compare to the weight of the box received? that would answer a few things.

  16. DerangedKitsune says:

    They shipped and unlocked phone that didn’t arrive? Sounds like someone at the warehouse had it accidently fall into their pocket. Few things easier or more desireable to hock than unlocked cellphones.

  17. oldthor says:

    I was a long long time loyal Newegg shopper until last year. I don’t know whether they were sold or just had a policy change but they went from the only place I shopped to the place I avoid at all costs!! There customer service seems to have gone completely in the toilet. After my last experience I had with them I just shop elsewhere and encourage others to at least read the least read the reviews before shopping there. For me I buy from Amazon now

  18. Bionic Data Drop says:

    Newegg used to be the gold standard for customer service for an online retailer. Lately, they must be going downhill as I’ve seen a huge increase in complaints against Newegg in the last year. It seems that a company can get too big to maintain excellent customer service.

    That makes me wonder if Best Buy had really good customer service long ago when they first started.

  19. MurderGirl says:

    Thankfully I live close enough that I can pick up at the Newegg warehouse.

  20. golddog says:

    Just gonna pile on here in hopes it sparks some positive change at Newegg. I’ve ordered tons of work and personal stuff from them over 12 years. And while ninety-something percent of that time has been problem free, when they mess something up they’re a PITA to deal with. The CSRs are nice enough but refunds or credits NEVER get followed through on and posted. I too have started hitting up Amazon more and more.

    And while we’re at it, when you buy things at different times and pay for them on the Newegg Preferred account and get 12 months SAC, why the F do I have to call every month and tell them to apply the payment to the oldest item?? You don’t need Eduardo Saverin to write an algorithm on your window that applies payments to the next-to-expire invoice.

  21. ldillon says:

    I’ve been a Newegg customer for quite a while, order things for both work and home. Generally I’ve been happy but they have some minor problems, like non-tech products junking up search results.

    My main complaint is with returns. They claim to provide zero tech support, which is their business decision, but it can make it difficult to tell if the product is defective, if the products design is defective (doesn’t work as advertised), or if it just doesn’t play nice in a given system. They refer you to the manufacturer which is sometimes totally useless. Rather then troubleshoot the problem, they have you return it and you end up eating the shipping costs. All of this takes a lot of time and eliminates any cost advantage that buying online might have had. This is especially troublesome with DOA products. I don’t think the customer should have to pick up the return shipping on DOA products.

    The bottom line is that if I think there’s a high probability of return, or I’m buying a product for a fringe feature (versus core functionality which is likely to work) I usually buy locally or shop somewhere with a better return policy.