A tale of two customer support experiences

I’ve been putting together a mac mini-based home theater PC. I was going to post on it when I got it finished, but instead I have a different story.

Putting it together, I bought a few components and two different ones failed within two weeks (two weeks of each other and two weeks of opening their boxes). One was the Elgato EyeTV Hybrid. A USB-based TV tuner to record over-the-air digital TV. The other failed component was a Logitech DiNovo Edge (Mac Edition) bluetooth keyboard. Both of these are fairly pricey components, and are each somewhat critical for an HTPC.

The EyeTV just stopped being recognized by the computer. It worked fine for a few days and then poof. Dead. It happened right around the same time I did my first over-the-wire software update from them. I can’t say that it definitely was the software update, but very little else changed between when it was working and when it wasn’t. Rolling back to the previous software helped not-at-all. The computer doesn’t even see the EyeTv when it is plugged into the computer. For a device that is basically a few days old, this is a pretty crappy user experience. I contacted Elgato and they responded pretty quickly. After asking me the “dumb user” questions, they promised to send me a replacement quickly with a return label for me to return the dead unit. That was almost a week ago and I still haven’t received the new unit. Tomorrow it will be a week. That is unacceptable, I think, but I do like that they basically send you the replacement first and ask that you return the dead one.

The DiNovo keyboard was a different story. I removed it from the box, charged it successfully once and haven’t been able to charge it successfully again. I get an error light when I try. I looked on the Logitech forum and saw many other users having this same problem TWO YEARS AGO. This is has been a problem for a long time and Logitech haven’t fixed it yet. This is also unacceptable. I own a lot of logitech gear, but this keyboard is the most expensive thing I’ve gotten from them and it kind of sucks that it was nearly DOA. Logitech also had a bit of a less-friendly customer support experience. Where Elgato was basically “fix the problem and work it out later”, Logitech was all about “prove to us that you deserve a fix.” They also demand that you ship them back the defective unit before they ship you a replacement. This means that if I didn’t have another keyboard, my computer would be useless for A FEW WEEKS while I wait for them to receive my very expensive keyboard and then send me a new one. That is lame.

We’ll see how long it takes between reporting the issue to the companies to receiving replacements and we’ll also see how long the replacements last. So far, I’m not overly impressed with either company. If I was really dependent on this PC for my entertainment, I would be spending quite a lot of time waiting for these companies to replace gear that should have been caught by their own quality control.

[Update 3/31/10]
Got my Elgato replacement unit today! Along with the box to send the defective unit back in and some simple instructions on what to do to switch them. Definite kudos to Elgato customer support on this.

[Update 4/14/10]
Still waiting on my replacement keyboard from Logitech. One thing I forgot to mention earlier was that they required me to send them a copy of my receipt of purchase of they keyboard. It was a gift, but luckily I had the Amazon receipt because it was from my wishlist. Don’t know what they would have said if I didn’t have a receipt. I sent the keyboard back to Logitech on April 6th using their shipping sticker. I still had to buy a box to ship it in, so the UPS place charged me $8 for that (plus them putting it in the box). Supposedly, Logitech shipped out the replacement on the 12th, but they shipped it via UPS ground, so that means that I won’t receive it until at least April 19th (according to UPS). Really lame. Luckily, I had an extra keyboard (this was for a MacMini which doesn’t come with a keyboard, remember). Waiting two weeks for a replacement keyboard isn’t cool, especially when that keyboard was defective and also $200+ dollars. Next time, I won’t bother with Logitech. If I get something broken from them, I’ll just return it.

[Update 4/19/2010]
Received my replacement keyboard from Logitech today. One problem, THEY SENT ME THE WRONG KEYBOARD. I have the Mac edition and they send me the PC one. ARE YOU FREAKING SERIOUS? THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I have let them know, we’ll see how long it takes for them to send me a new one. If they demand I send the old one back first, I will take this all the way up their phone tree!

[Update 4/20/2010]
Phone call was the way to go. After reporting that they sent me the wrong keyboard, they informed me (via e-mail) that they no longer make the DiNovo Edge keyboard for Mac and asked if I wanted some other wireless keyboard/mouse combo (I didn’t). They then sent me the UPS to return the windows keyboard to them.

That is really lame. If they’d told me originally that they couldn’t replace the DiNovo mac keyboard, I could have returned it straight to Amazon instead of sending it back to them (it was brand new remember). Also, looking at their site and on Amazon, I saw no indication that they weren’t making this keyboard anymore in the first place.

Instead of responding over e-mail, I called this afternoon and spoke to a 1st-line support person who was really understanding and nice about it, admitting that they screwed up. Then they offered to refund me the amount for the keyboard (luckily, even though it was a gift, it didn’t have the gift receipt, otherwise I’m not sure what would happen). I’ll send them the photo of the receipt tonight and if they get it to me reasonably fast I’ll be a lot better disposed towards them. Although, I still think they way they handled this was pretty crappy. Next time, I’ll call first and e-mail after, their phone support seems way better than their e-mail support.

[Update 4/27/2010]
Spoke way too soon on the phone call solving everything. Since that first phone call, I have e-mailed Logitech several times, entered data on their website and called them again. Each time they have claimed that they have not received my proof-of-purchase (the same one that they needed for me to return the defective keyboard in the first place), and each time I have sent it (or posted it on a website) again. Now they have stopped responding. I still haven’t sent the windows replacement keyboard back, because I have a feeling that I’m going to end up with nothing. I have now spent almost a month trying to get some sort of reasonable outcome from Logitech. They’ve told me that when they finally do start the process of refunding me, that it will take 4-6 weeks to get a refund. So that will make it at least two months from getting a NEW keyboard that was busted to getting some sort of restitution for it (they still haven’t promised that I will get a full refund yet). Not happy.

[Update 5/1/10]
I called Logitech again. They had not contacted me after I sent them both photos and a link to an image of the receipt (again, luckily I had the actual receipt even though this was a gift!). The support person hadn’t seen the image I attached (he asked if I was using Apple mail to attach it, must be that their servers somehow don’t like Apple mail? Maybe they could have mentioned that at some point in our many communications over the last month). Again, the support person on the phone was very nice. I’ll say this for Logitech, they train their phone support folks very well. This time he stayed on the line with me, looked up the link to the photo I sent them, asked me for a clearer photo, waited while I took it and posted it to a web site so that he could read it. Confirmed it and then promised to get his manager to make sure it was sufficient as soon as his manager got out of a meeting. He also promised to contact me to let me know either way what his manager said. I never received that confirmation of course. However, I finally decided that it was probably going to be ok, so I finally returned the windows keyboard that they sent me as a replacement for the mac one that I sent. If I don’t hear from them after they receive it (I can track it on UPS.com), I will have to call again. They don’t re-imburse for the original shipping, so this whole ordeal will end up costing me $16 ($8 in original shipping for the gift, and $8 to return the defective mac keyboard to them – the box and packing, not the shipping) plus hours of my time (which is worth a lot more than $16). Again, I’m realizing that it isn’t worth dealing with the automated support with Logitech, it is too slow and unreliable. Call them always. Assuming that the rest of this experience goes ok, I’m still a bit soured on them as a company. The amount of effort it has taken me to deal with their defective product does not make me want to go out and buy more of their stuff, especially compared to the extremely favorable El Gato experience I had.

[Update 5/6/2010]
Today, I received an e-mail from Logitech notifying me that they had received my defective keyboard and had authorized a replacement to be sent to me. The keyboard they must have received was the windows keyboard that they sent me to replace a defective macintosh keyboard. This is incredibly lame. I also received an e-mail on the first ticket that they sent (they closed this ticket after sending me the windows keyboard), telling me that they hadn’t heard from me on this in 120 hours. I have no idea what they hell is going on there, but my first contact with them was on 3/28 to let them know I got a defective keyboard. That was over 5 weeks ago, with me contacting them 2-3 times a week and they still haven’t got the most basic things figured out. I swear that if I get another windows replacement keyboard shipped to me, I am going to go to their headquarters with it and a baseball bat and smash the thing on their front steps. Morons.

[Update 5/18/2010]
Called Logitech AGAIN because I hadn’t heard anything from them since my phone call on 5/1/2010 where they promised me that they would let me know what was going on (even if everything was ok). Turns out that it was a good thing I did. The message I got from them on 5/6 was no mistake. They actually sent me out ANOTHER keyboard on 5/7/2010 (a desktop Wave for some reason). This was signed for somebody at my work on 5/14/2010, although I’d never received it. Even though my case was clearly marked FOR REFUND, they instead sent me a 2nd replacement that I didn’t ask for and didn’t want. So it was a good thing that I called them today because basically they thought my case was closed. So now, theoretically, they are going to issue a check IN ANOTHER 4-6 WEEKS. We’ll see. They have managed to screw this whole thing up every possible way.

[Update 6/4/2010]
Called Logitech YET AGAIN because the promised e-mail confirmation of my refund being processed was never sent. Spent 30 minutes on hold LONG DISTANCE to find out that yes it is being processed and that the original date for confirmation of my proof-of-purchase was 4/27, WTF? I was told on 5/1 that they didn’t have this. So now, I’ll need to wait until August 1st (8 weeks from the receipt of proof-of-purchase) to contact them again if I haven’t received the refund. I’m probably approaching the original cost of the keyboard in long distance fees and minutes on my plan. I’m now 2+ months into this process with Logitech. Meanwhile I was only without the use of my elgato device for like a week or something. I’d really spend a long time looking into other options before I ever bought a logitech product again for more than impulse purchase money.

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