Buying a refurbished computer can be a way to save a significant amount of money off the retail price. But as one Consumerist reader found out when he bought a refurbed ASUS gaming laptop from Newegg, a small problem can earn you a seat on the customer service terror-go-round, with no one really wanting to take responsibility.
Sean bought four identical hard drives from Newegg. These adorable quadruplets went into a new RAID enclosure, but the fourth one wouldn’t fit. It had some impact damage. He returned it to Newegg for a replacement, and learned that (according to them) he had never purchased any such hard drive from them, and he was clearly trying to scam a free hard drive. Which is weird, what with him just ordering this drive from them a few days before.
Sara is stuck. Almost two months ago, she ordered an ASUS tablet from Newegg. Shortly after she began using it, it had problems recognizing the dock that turns it into a notebook computer, and some minor video issues. She called up ASUS for technical help, and they instructed her to send it to them for repair. They couldn’t duplicate the issue, so they shipped it back to her after hanging on to it for three weeks. By then, it was even more broken than when she originally shipped it, and by then Newegg’s return period had ended. She should have returned it to Newegg in the first place, but didn’t know that at the time. What should she do now?
A very long time ago (Monday), a Newegg customer wrote to the Consumerist tipline, complaining that her laptop exchange was denied because she had installed Linux on the machine. After we published her story, Newegg rushed to issue her a refund and told us that changing or upgrading the OS of a computer doesn’t mean that you can’t exchange it if it’s defective. Which would be a nice happy ending and all, except for how customer service reps are still telling customers the exact opposite of that.
Gary’s friend’s laptop didn’t have a catastrophic flaw or anything. But its wireless Internet connection was slower than it should have been, indicating a possible problem with the wireless card. So he packed it up and sent it back to Newegg to exchange for a new one. Newegg’s RMA department decided there was nothing wrong with the machine and sent it right back. Gary advised his friend to initiate a chargeback on the transaction on his American Express card and refused to accept the laptop’s shipment back to him. Newegg responded by blocking his account, evidently not wanting his business anymore.
Yesterday, we shared the story of Norma, whose new Thinkpad notebook computer from Newegg had a serious display glitch after only a few days of use. She sent the defective computer back, only to be told that they wouldn’t exchange it because she had installed Linux. “This voids Newegg warranty,” the RMA department told her in an e-mail. “Unit cannot be accepted or resold as received.” We reached out to Newegg for clarification, and they told us that this is not their policy, and they do accept computers back after the operating system has been upgraded or changed. Yay?
One would think that Newegg, beloved electronics supplier to the world’s geeks wouldn’t have a problem with customers installing different operating systems on their systems after delivery. Heck, they should expect it. Which is why Norma was surprised when she returned her new Thinkpad that had a glitchy display after only three days, and Newegg refused the RMA. Why? Well, she had installed Linux Mint on it, which voids the Newegg return policy for computers. Update: Newegg tells us that, oops, this was all a terrible mistake.
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.
When Jessica placed her NewEgg order, she provided them with a shipping address. This turned out to be a waste of her time, since NewEgg just went ahead and picked an address to send the package to out of her PayPal account. Not the one associated with her credit card, or her primary address on the account. Certainly not the address where she actually lives. Their customer service representative’s solution? Wish really, really hard that the person who ultimately received the package would return it so she can get a refund. She hung up and called back until she got someone competent.
Two months ago, Nathan took advantage of a Newegg promotion for $10 off his pre-order of the collector’s edition of the game Dark Souls, which was released on Tuesday. Ordering ahead and getting a discount: points for planning and for shopping prowess. The day before the game was to be released, Newegg (and other retailers, Nathan later learned) had to cancel their pre-orders because they just didn’t have enough product. This left him without a collector’s edition on release day…unless he could find one in his city, in person. Was such a feat possible? Yes, as it turns out, with some luck and the help of a heroic Gamestop employee.
Last week, we told you about Best Buy sending a cease and desist letter to Newegg.com over its use of the word “geek” on shirts and other marketing materials and Newegg’s ad featuring someone that looks like a Best Buy employee. Well, over the weekend, Newegg posted its response to big blue’s allegations.
The folks at Best Buy are none too happy with electronics e-tailer Newegg.com. The boys in blue believe that their online competitor stepped over a trademarked line by using the word “geek” and by making fun of inept Best Buy staffers in a TV ad.
This Valentine’s Day gift suggestion list from Newegg has a “Cutie and the Geek” theme, featuring gifts ostensibly for a Newegg shopper, his wife or girlfriend, and gifts that the entire couple can use. Sample items from the “cutie” section: red freshwater pearls, Ralph Lauren sunglasses, and a pink netbook. Sample items from the “geek” section: an electric razor, a 120 GB solid state drive, and a home server. Cary finds the selection a bit sexist, writing: “Great piece of marketing work. I guess women aren’t allowed to enjoy geeky toys and instead need ‘pink netbooks’ or jewelery as gifts.”
It’s time for another installment of the Adventures of the Stupid Shipping Gang! We’ve packaged three reader stories in one post to make sure they stay extra-secure. In this edition: Amazon overestimates the fragility of Pyrex, Newegg underestimates the fragility of computer parts, and Overstock sends someone an awful lot of crumpled-up paper.
Newegg suggests you buy, among other things,a Hitachi Magic Wand for your Mom for Mother’s Day. Um.
My advice on mail-in-rebates is to ignore them when you’re trying to decide on a purchase. They take too long to receive, during which time you’ve paid a higher amount on the product. Even worse, it’s easy for a company to deny a claim and refuse to cooperate with you, and it’s hard for consumers to get misbehaving companies to play fairly.
Imagine it: you’re trying to patch things up with an estranged parent, and send a thoughtful gift for their birthday. You pay more than $50 for overnight shipping, and wait for the gift to arrive. Only 48 hours later, the item hasn’t even shipped yet, while an identical item headed for another recipient, sent using standard shipping, has already shipped. What? That’s what reader Janet writes happened to her when she ordered a coffee machine from Newegg for her mother’s birthday.