I purchased an inexpensive yogurt maker from Amazon last August. It’s worked perfectly for months. A few days ago I tried to make my usual weekly batch.
The power light came on and I assumed it was working. A whlie later I notice that there was no condensation inside the clear lid. (The jars sit in a water bath.)
I removed the lid and felt the water. It was room temperature. I even confirmed this with a food thermometer.
I waited a day, in case there’s an internal circuit breaker that would reset, and then tried to heat water in it with no success.
So I chatted online with an Amazon support rep. He took me through the usual idiot list This included trying a different outlet even though I had told him that the power light comes on. He also suggested that I try to make yogurt and I explained, again, that I had already done that and failed.
Finally convinced that it truly had stopped working he assured me that I had a warranty and that they would make sure that it was honored.
He then gave me a link to a form and told me what to enter into it.
In response to that form I received an email which included the following.
I responded and asked how a video could show that it doesn’t work. I’m waiting on a response.
This is fucking ridiculous! How can I make a fucking video of a fucking yogurt maker not making fucking yogurt?
One suspects that they make you jump through hoops hoping that you’ll just give up on pursuing the claim.
Reputable companies don’t act like this, but disreputable or marginaly-reputable have a common procedure to minimize their cost. If they throw up enough (seemingly reasonable) questions, they hope you will give up and not bother them anymore.
And maybe it is in your best interest to drop it, too – depending on how much hassle it is to you, and how much it will cost in dollars and your time to pursue it. I have often had to make such a decision, as unfair as it is. Just use the experience wisely and don’t buy this company’s products ever again. You did say it was an “inexpensive” gadget, right?
OTOH, I might be inclined to make a very long video, maybe 2 hours of the yogurt maker not working (in slow motion?), and insist that they watch the entire thing. Ask them how they feel about 1:23:48, where absolutely nothing happens.
Several weeke ago I purchased a sous vide stick, for other uses, but I can also use it to make yogurt.
But there’s a principle here. Their product failed within the warranty period and they should replace it! Plus without it I’d have to tie up the sous vide stick for 8 to 12 hours a couple of times a week.
Let me guess, from China? I had a problem with something I ordered on Amazon. Shoes. Bad idea all around I guess, because first of all it took them forever to send them, and then they sent a totally different shoe. When I contacted Amazon they sent me to the manufacturer, who said something like, “Oh well, sell them to someone or give them to someone and we will give you a discount on your next pair of shoes.” But it started out with a cheery greeting and their stated intent to resolve the problem.
That was not resolving the problem.
Luckily, I had paid through Amazon with a Visa card so I did a Visa dispute and sent the relevent emails when requested, and I did get my money back. From Visa, not from the company.
I also sent copies of this correspondence to Amazon and, months later, I got a response that they were doing everything they could. After Visa had repaid me.
Stand a clock next to the yogurt maker, record video for a few seconds showing the power light is on. Pause video. Return at the point the water is usually hot, unpause video, record the elapsed time on the clock and a close up of the temperature of the water with a thermometer showing its not heating.
I bought some LED bulbs on Amazon that light up automatically from dusk to dawn. One of them began blinking rapidly on and off, so I e-mailed the company’s customer service to ask for a replacement. They responded by asking me to take a video of the bulb malfunctioning.
Nope, I’m not going to get back up on a ladder outdoors in winter, unscrew the fixture from the bracket and replace the currently working bulb with the malfunctioning one, just so I can send you a goddamn video of it malfunctioning.
The OP is right - this type of request is sent to discourage customers from pursuing refund/replacement of products.
I bought some doodad that didn’t work on ebay, it had only cost a couple of dollars so I just binned it. The Chinese based seller sent out a request I leave feedback the next day and I sent a reply in very colourful language that I was just trying to find the perfect words for what a piece of shit it was, they offered me an immediate refund with no proof required.
Here’s a “take a video” warranty story that worked out well. This happened to a friend of mine who works with sensitive data (PPI, HIPAA, etc). He had an SSD die within warranty. The manufacturer was happy to replace it if he sent it to them. He couldn’t do that though, because the drive had contained sensitive information, but now did not work enough to perform a secure erase. The company then said he should just take a video of himself destroying it, send that, and they’d send him a new drive. A phone, vice, drill, safety glasses, and a 1/4 inch bit later and the drive was destroyed to the satisfaction of both organizations.
I like the clock advice, but no need to pause. Setup a video with the yogurt maker, clock, and cooking thermometer. Let it run for an hour or so, and send them that video. Let them watch it.
My guess is that the product was not sold directly by Amazon, but by one of their third-party resellers. The resellers can be sleazy both in terms of product quality and support, and in pricing. Amazon’s support for their own products, in my experience, has been very good. I once had a weird problem with my Kindle due to some screwup with a new software download. The first-line rep couldn’t help me but promised that a supervisor would call within an hour or so, which is exactly what happened, and on a Sunday, yet! She not only walked me through solving the problem, but asked me how the battery life was doing, since some Kindles of that vintage had substandard batteries that started failing early. Mine was fine, but had I said otherwise, I suspect they would have sent me a new Kindle for free.
The other thing I’ve noticed is that some Amazon resellers set ridiculously inflated prices apparently on the assumption that buyers are either too stupid to notice or the item is cheap enough or so hard to get that they don’t care. But I have seen perfectly ordinary items (like USB adapters) readily available in local stores being flogged by Amazon resellers for literally ten times the normal market price!
Here’s one example, though I don’t know the real value or typical market price of this thing. But I have a couple of wireless bridges based on the venerable Linksys WRT-54G line of routers of the vintage and generation capable of running third-party Tomato firmware. They cost around $50 at the time and are probably available at steep discounts now because they don’t support newer standards like wireless-N or the 5 GHz band. I was looking at maybe getting a newer version that supports those standards. Yeah, I can get a dedicated Linksys wireless bridge from an Amazon reseller, but it doesn’t even seem to support wireless-G, let alone N, nor of course the 5 GHz band – only the ancient “B” band that no one has used in decades. But hey – I can get it for only $547.90!*
Amazon prices change frequently, both their own and those of their resellers, but this was literally the price quoted at the time I made this post.
I see this all the time. I work IT for a government agency and buy electronics off of Amazon constantly. I’ll buy something like an ergonomic Microsoft keyboard which is $30-40. When their regular stuff goes out of stock the only choice is a third party that’s now selling it for $400. (No exaggeration there.) Once the regular stuff is back in stock I can get it again at the usual low price.
I don’t buy those black market keyboards; I either find the closest knockoff by a different manufacturer like Kensington or ask my customer to wait if they insist on getting the real thing.