Costs even when under warranty

You are at the mercy of your warranty when it comes to small electronics

Hi Ross, I’m upset about a warranty issue and would like your thoughts on this subject though it does not pertain to any of your topics you usually handle.

Last year in December I purchased a router for about $52 and now the wireless part of the router does not work anymore. After extended testing, talking to customer service rep w/chinese accent and emails, I was asked to send it back to D-Link to be tested and eventually to receive a replacement which I’m still waiting for.

My question is: Why, since this product is still within the warranty period, must I pay shipping charges (in this case it was $14) to have it returned back to the manufacturer? What is the use of having any warranty at all for all these smaller products when it’s actually not even worth the while sending the defect product back? Is this some kind of a game they are playing?

-Regards, GM (Calgary, AB)

Hi David:  Did you first try to return it through the place you bought it? Even if you did, many stores will point you towards the manufacturer when it is outside their refund period.

What you describe unfortunately is quite common for consumer electronics. I am guessing if you saved the warranty information provided with the router at the time of purchase you will see it spells out this return process – but who reads that before they buy something (or after for that matter) and if you knew would you not have bought it?

I returned a power washer to Karcher this summer – and they put me through a complex process but at the end of the day they provided the shipping, packaging and return process and they paid for it all.

In the past, I have returned modems to Bell Canada and they too provide a box and prepaid shipping.

$14 seems high for shipping a light router – I guess you registered it too – I suppose you could have gambled on a cheaper, less secure approach.

My daughter worked in Tech at Staples till recently and she was appreciated only for her warranty sales and installation and service sales – the hard product sales they almost did not care about.

I hate to come up with a lame answer – and it is a topic under-discussed in the media. That is, warranties and extended warranties etc. in general.

If you are dogmatic and polite, you might win favor with someone on the other end of the phone to either:

  1. send you an upgraded router as compensation for your inconvenience and out of pocket expense (can’t hurt to ask)
  2. send you a check for your $14 – plead your case on the phone and if necessary in writing as a careful, financially responsible consumer, and appeal to their sense of reasonableness

Your next option is to keep calling in every day till someone does something for you – just to make you go away.

Thanks for writing (and reading!)

Best regards, Ross


GM replied!

Thank you, Ross, for your quick answer.

And yes, I first tried Staples where I bought the router but they just refused (it was past 30 days) so I had to go through D-Link. I had to email a copy of my bill as proof, fill out a form online and then received a ”shipping return number” so I could send the router back. I had no choice but to pay for the shipping (D-Link specified) which was the cheapest with Canada Post!

You are right, whether I comply or not, I still need a router…or an iron, etc. And if lucky, I may get compensated for the shipping though I don’t think for this one.

Thanks again, GM

P.S. Keep up your good work – I enjoy reading your articles, they are quite educational.

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