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Monday, January 7, 2013

Nexus 10 Replacement - An underdog story

In case you don't want to read all of this, I'll start with the bottom line: honesty is NOT always the best policy.

As most of you know from my previous post(s), I purchased a Nexus 10 from Walmart on Christmas eve. It was the normal $499.99, same as the Play Store would charge. I was having fun with it, playing Grand Theft Auto Vice City, looking at what ROMs are available, etc.

A few days after buying it, I walked in the door to my apartment with the tablet in hand, bent over to take my shoes off, and the tablet slipped out of my hand. The screen basically shattered. The tablet fell maybe 2 feet, but the problem is that it landed on its side then crashed face down onto a hard floor.

I didn't do anything immediately, figured I'd take care of it in a few days.... fast forward "a few days". This past Friday, I wasn't feeling well. Called into work, called the doctor, made an appointment, and figured "while I'm out, might as well take my tablet back to Walmart and get a replacement." I was sadly mistaken with that assumption.

Went to the doc, did some tests, found nothing. she said I probably had a virus that starts with a sore throat and ends with a cold, since that's what's been going around. OK cool, not totally sick, just not feeling well. Went to Walmart.

Walked into Walmart, told them what happened, it wasn't the store I had originally purchased it from and I didn't have the receipt, they claimed it was out of the 15 day return period, so they told me to go through the manufacturer.

When I get home, I go onto the play store to call Google. They say they don't fix N10s, Samsung does. They gave me a number to call Samsung. Their tech support says, we don't do replacements. Let me transfer you. He transfers me.
"This department only handles phones. Let me transfer you to tablets."
"Oh, this is carrier tablets, let me transfer you to wifi tablets."
"We don't support the Nexus, Google does, let me transfer you."
"That's a Samsung device, they handle that."
...I think you see about how this went.

I did this for 2 hours until I got "OK, let me make a repair ticket for you. You will be charged for this repair, because it's a non-warranty repair."
I said "That's fine, I just want it fixed. I'll pay if I need to."
"OK, the ticket is created, here's the ticket number, let me transfer you. Give them your ticket number when they answer and they'll go from there. *transfer*
*give ticket number* "Oh, this is a wifi tablet, this is the carrier tablet department".... guess what comes next.... "Let me transfer you."
*robotic voice* "Please wait." *15 second pause* "Please wait" *few more seconds* *click*

Now I'm beyond upset. Walmart won't help, Google won't help, Samsung won't help.
Back to Walmart. They say go to the store I got it from, they may be able to do something. On the way to the other store, I realized the receipt is in the bag... which happens to be in my back seat.

I then go into Walmart #2, tell them what happened, show them the receipt, we realize it's only been 11 days, not 15... they're about to exchange it! Until they realize the charger is not in the box. I say "We can just pull the charger out of the other box and you can send me home without a charger"
"I have to check with my manager before I do that"
A bunch of arguing between me and managers... turns out they won't replace it because it's "neglect" and their return policy won't cover that. I offer to buy the replacement plan that they offer. (That nobody offered me with my original purchase, but had been mentioned at this point)
"I'll even buy it on THIS tablet, do the exchange, and buy it again on THE NEW tablet. That's $90 in your pocket to do an exchange." ($45 per plan)
Come to find out, the replacement policy doesn't cover neglect for items over $150. It's only an extension of the manufacturer's warranty, and doesn't even take effect until AFTER the end of the manufacturer's warranty. So basically, it's useless to me.

Went home, bothered Samsung and their support team on Twitter, they asked me for a ticket number, I gave it to them.

ADDENDUM: another customer at Walmart told me to take it to another Walmart and claim that I received it broken, so I went home, flashed a factory image and relocked the bootloader. So if I do make that claim, it appears as if I had never even turned on the tablet.

Saturday - I reached out to Samsung Support via Twitter again, they say "That ticket was closed. Your warranty does not cover physical damage but you can call 1-888-987-4357 to discuss repair options." Awesome. Did some more back and forth with them and got nowhere.

Called the number, told the guy I want to speak with a supervisor. Told him I am willing to pay for a repair, I just want this issue taken care of. Of course, there is no supervisor available, so I'm stuck. Eventually the guy tells me about their repair place, gives me their number, tells me how to get Google to work with me (he tried contacting Google multiple times, but their phone number continually hangs up after the "Please wait") and he was actually more helpful than anyone else up to this point.

Call it quits for the day.

Sunday morning - (This is where the honesty part comes in)
Went up to Walmart #3. Took the tablet to Customer Service, told them "I opened the box, and it was cracked like this." roughly 5 minutes later, walk out with a gift card (WOO HOO! About time!)

Went back to Walmart #2 (original place of purchase) use gift card to get the last N10 in stock.

(I'm sure there's a few small and semi-important details that I left out, but that's the majority of the story.)

Lessons learned:
  1. Buying a Nexus device from anywhere other than the play store seems to be a bad idea. Nobody wants to support it. (If I had a Google Play order number I could have done the replacement on-line from the Play Store.)
  2. Samsung support does not know what they are talking about, and enjoys tossing people around their phone support like a hot potato
  3. If you're going to buy a Nexus 10, buy a case. (I have one on the way from Amazon.)
  4. Walmart's "replacement plan" is useless on items over $150
  5. And most importantly - honesty is NOT always the best policy. A return policy is the best policy. (I tried being honest and it got me nowhere.)
ADDENDUM: For the record, I will refuse to buy another Samsung product in the future, and will no longer be pushing for others to purchase ANY Samsung device. The lack of customer service that they provided was staggering, and I would not wish that experience upon anyone.

Prior to this experience, I was the main reason that friends and family purchased items such as the SGS3 (my brother, his girlfriend AND a college friend all bought this on my recommendation) and the Nexus 10 (my mom bought one because of my recommendation) and I'm sure there are other examples. Samsung has lost a powerful ally in this battle, and have turned me into a powerful enemy.