A Tale of 3 Returns

I purchased 3 items from Amazon UK, all requiring exchanges or returns during their warranty period. This is not a reflection on Amazon, but rather of the manufacturers of the products. Two of the items were earphones, and the third was a Brita water filter that needed it’s meter replaced.

The first earphone, purchased for Reva was made by a Chinese company called SoundMagic. About 7 months in, one channel stopped working. We didn’t think of doing anything with it, until my Phillips buds stopped working about 2 months later. At this point, I checked the warranty information on the SoundMagic website which said to contact the seller directly with proof of purchase. Very convenient, I thought, because who keeps receipts for a £24.99 pair of earphones. But thanks to Amazon and GMail, I had the receipt. I checked the Phillips website, which said to contact their own support, which was of course a 0845 number.

First stop: The Amazon website to try and get replacement SoundMagic buds. On the customer service page was an option to have Amazon call you. I put in my number and a few second later my phone rang. The representative, who sounded like she may have been in Asia, listened patiently to my complaint and offered to send a replacement earphone using one-day shipping for no charge. The only caveat? I had the send back the earphones that ware no longer working. They would even send me a pre-paid label for this. No problem, process the exchange I told the representative. 24 hours later, I had a brand new pair of earphones, but Reva had to go a little out of her way to find a place to drop of the return.

I called Phillips customer service next, and the representative sincerely apologised for the trouble I was facing. After taking the model number for my earphones (for which I originally paid £17.99) and putting me on hold for a few minutes, he came back and offered to replace my broken buds with a plastic model that cost £8.99. Now way, I said, I want something of at least equal value and had in-ear buds. A few more minutes later, he came back and offered a pair that was very similar to mine, but also had iPhone controls. Great, an upgrade…I’ll take it. All I had to do was upload a copy of my receipt. No problem, Amazon had a copy. A few days later, the replacement had been mailed to me. And no need to send back the original, now broken pair.

2 for 2, pretty successful, no? I figured I must try and get the Brita water filter’s meter replaced as well. I checked the Brita website, and was very surprised to find that simply signing up for an account and by putting in the serial number of my existing meter, I could request a replacement. I did so, and got an email saying I’d have a replacement within 10 working days. Nearly 3 weeks later, I still hadn’t received it. I replied to the Brita email asking where my meter was. About 48 hours later, customer service responded saying they’d sent me another one, and that it could take up to 10 working days to arrive. *sigh*. But a few days later the meter had arrived. 3 for 3! Fresh, pure water to go with my upgraded earbuds. And lo, 3 days later the original meter arrived as well. It had taken almost a month, but now I had 2 meters.

My conclusion: it is totally worth the effort to save receipts and be aware of warranties/guarantees offered even for less expensive products. It may take some effort and there may be a few days (or even weeks) where you don’t have use of your product, but eventually you’ll get a replacement for free. I saved over £65 by knowing where I purchased my products, what the warranties were, and doing a little research on how to take advantage of it.