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Old 01-31-2012, 10:27 PM   #1
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Well, it's the end of my journey down the iRiver

My original Story has given up the ghost, sadly.

The screen stopped working. It's 19 months old, still within its original 3-year warranty, so I sent it off for repairs. The repair company has come back to me to say it's "obviously" user-caused damage - they claim the screen is "cracked", but it certainly bloody wasn't when I sent it to them!! - and so I have to pay for the repair.

They want three hundred and ninety-nine dollars just to replace the screen, a figure that simply made me gasp. No better: if I want the unit returned to me, I have to pay $120 to cover their repair technician's time in assessing it. If I don't pay the money, I don't get the device back.

As far as I can see, this is simply extortion and theft. I sent it off in good faith, under a warranty that I had already paid for. It's their assessment that this is non-warrantable damage, but from comments their staffer made when he called me yesterday afternoon I strongly suspect that this is simply the tack they've decided will lead them to the maximum profit for the minimal effort on their part. (Oh, and if I pay for the screen to be replaced, I get only a 30-day limited warranty on it. For $399 I get only a 30-day warranty?!! Plus the rest of my warranty period, which I had paid for, disappears down the tubes.)

So, the best of a bad range of options is to buy a new device. The problem for me is that I don't like the new iRiver models - too small, too dinky, too limited in capabilities and performance - plus the people who distribute and support iRiver products here in Australia have shown themselves to be pirates who by their pricing seem to think they're onto a captive market that they can simply milk dry. I don't want a Kindle (lack of epub support is the main Kindle-killer for me) and I don't really want to be herded into the cattle-pens of companies like Sony, but it's looking like I don't have much of an alternative. I'll check out the Kobo Touch too, I think.

End of my sad tale.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:08 AM   #2
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Well that sucks!! If I were you I'd write iriver about your experience. I can't believe they would want to be represented that way in Australia, or anywhere for that mater. Don't forget to mention your posting on this forum, maybe even send them the link.

A sad tale indeed.
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:02 AM   #3
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A cracked screen I could understand (they're really fragile and thus it just happens), and there is little other reason why a screen would stop working.

The repair cost on the other hand is a bad joke. As is $120 for a technician to determine the screen is cracked, because that takes like 5 minutes since all you have to do is open the device and look at the screen from the back - and that only if it doesn't show a distinctive error pattern from the front anyway.
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:46 AM   #4
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Did you buy the unit in Australia? I ask because most states have Consumer Protection laws and methods of complaining about this sort of experience. If you did buy in from an Australian supplier, then I think you will have some basis for a complaint. If not, well, that is probably out of their jurisdiction.
And you are right about pirates - not all of them wear an eye-patch and a parrot. Most have business suits and put Blackbeard to shame!
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:39 AM   #5
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Thanks for the comments, folks.

I understand from my reading that the screens are easily damaged. But I haven't had an accident with this device - I haven't dropped it, and I haven't dropped anything on it - and there were no signs of damage to the screen when I sent it away. The screen certainly wasn't cracked! But there's no way I can prove that - the warranty company acknowledges that it's my word against the repairers, but has also firmly stated that it's taking the repairers' word for it. It's like trying to get a pay-out from an insurance company.

All that happened was that the device kept locking up - sometimes on booting, sometimes on page turns - and then one day I tried to boot it and there was no display on the screen. I sent it off in good faith, which I pointed out to the warranty company, to which their reply was, "Of course you're going to say that." It makes me *so angry* when people just casually imply that you're a liar - does no-one have any ethics any more? I know there are cheats out there, but how does that justify treating everyone as if they are one?

Yes, I bought the unit at a retailer here in Australia. But I suspect I've got no grounds for a claim, because I can't prove what the repairer is saying isn't accurate. And as I said, it's going to cost me $120 just to get the broken unit back.

So I think the best thing to do is cut my losses and simply buy a new unit. But my dissatisfaction with CR Kennedy, the lack of information and updates from iRiver itself, and now my experiences with this predatory repair company have really soured me on iRiver as a brand.

I'd appreciate the thoughts of you folk, if I may. Options are few here in OZ, and because my existing ebook library is completely in epub format, it looks like I need to choose between the Story HD, the Kobo Touch or the new Sony. I don't much like the physical buttons on the Story HD, or the fact that it seems almost impossible to get a case for it, or that the screens are more vulnerable than the other two brands.

Any thoughts from anyone, please?
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacEachaidh View Post
The screen certainly wasn't cracked!
Unfortunately you don't see the cracks from the front. They're on the back only, so the device has to be opened. Unless you have crack specific errors on the screen (black / white area along the crack, looks a bit like spilled ink).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacEachaidh View Post
or that the screens are more vulnerable than the other two brands.
I don't think so - it's all the same technology really. eInk screen just break very easily. The Story HD device itself is actually built quite sturdily - it's not just plastic but the whole interior is mounted on a piece of metal, at least I guess its metal since its insulated in the place where it comes in contact with the PCB. See the pictures in the dismantling thread.

Don't pay to get the old device back - the screen will almost certainly be cracked then even if it wasn't before. The problem is unless you open the device before sending it off yourself and make pictures of the unbroken display there is just no way to prove it. And opening the device makes you lose the warranty in the first place so...
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:48 AM   #7
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Mmmm, no, they said the screen was cracked across the front. They never even opened the case. As I said, it wasn't like that when I sent it off.

But anyway. It wasn't that that I was asking advice about. I was wondering if people had any experience of and comments on the three devices I mentioned as my options for a replacement uint? I've had enough experience of electronics over the years to realise that a specs sheet is no indication of how well a device actually functions, or the experience for the user.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:26 AM   #8
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I'm very happy with the Story HD, bought it because of the screen resolution mainly.

Can't speak for Sony/Kobo, never used those and touchscreen is not for me anyway.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:38 AM   #9
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I tried the new Sony and didn't like it. I found it glitchy even after the firmware update and decided I didn't want a touch screen ereader. The story HD despite its lack of features has been very stable for me. I just wanted a device to read with as opposed to play and tinker with, but everyone's needs and desires are different.
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:54 PM   #10
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I would probably go for the Kobo or the Story HD - we have both devices and they seem to be OK. The Story HD fits into a Kindle case - look on EBay and measure your ereader to check. I bought a "leather" (probably not real!) case designed for a Kindle, very sturdy, fits perfectly and looks most attractive - and at $7 a real bargain!
I would still report the incident to the Consumer Protection agency, they often investigate companies if there are numerous complaints. Often the Australian agents and retailers just think they can fob off problems back to the manufacturer overseas and refuse to take responsibility.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:55 AM   #11
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Just to resolve the arc, I finally went and bought a Kobo Touch today.

I weighed the positives and negatives of the available brands very carefully and finally decided the Kobo ticked the most items on my personal feature wishlist. And I've become dubious from past experience (of both the ereader and PMPs) of the level of support and ongoing development from both the main iRiver company and its distributor here in Australia, so that was a disincentive for buying another iRiver.

Anyway, I recognise these things are personal choices, and that's the one I made. Thanks to everyone on this thread for your observations and suggestions. They were much appreciated. :-)
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:32 AM   #12
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Given your experiences with the iriver disturber in Australia your choice makes a lot of sense. I'd pick the Kobo over others as well if the StoryHD hadn't worked out for me. Let us know how you like it after you've used it awhile.
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Old 02-11-2012, 02:38 AM   #13
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:07 PM   #14
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I had Pocketbook 301+ and was very happy with it until a crack appeared without the device having been dropped, abused by a cat etc. I was very much outraged until found out on the forum that these things happen all the time.

Then I picked Story HD for $99 and am keeping it mostly for the screen resolution,
since my Pocketbook has been repaired for $75 return shipping included (warranty expired), and if not for the screen resolution (important mainly for image-scanned pdf files) I would consider the Pocketbook much superior: more user-friendly, better battery life, tons of useful features.

In addition to the far from perfect user interface of the Story, you "story" increases suspicions about the Iriver in general - something must be wrong with this company.

In your situation I would shop around for a different device, and it would not hurt if you try contacting the company management. Writing a letter to a senior manager might help.
(I had once a trouble with the Dell support and wrote a letter to a senior manager that helped to solve the problem)
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:03 PM   #15
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Well, I've jumped into a different bed now (the Kobo Touch) and so far I'm very comfortable and happy there.

My intent was not overtly to rubbish iRiver the company, but to share my experiences with other iRiver owners who might understand the situation, because I was actually sad about it (as well as feeling a bit abused as a customer); so I appreciate the expressions of commiseration in this thread. I know, that's a bit sentimental, and yes, the Story was "just" a device, but it was also my first ereader, and I did feel somewhat sentimental towards it. But I'm bloody angry (sorry, but I am) that a replacement screen should cost more than the entire unit did to buy even at the height of its retail pricing - especially since it was always overpriced to start with. And I still have aftershocks of disapproval at discovering that the original Story was already EoL in terms of development before I even bought it, though it was clearly advertised as the latest, greatest thing and I still have an e.mail from iRiver claiming all the future development it would receive; they just "forgot" to mention that to get any new development I'd have to scrap the unit I'd just bought and buy a whole new one, several times over. To my mind, that's a dodgy practice, but it seems to be something iRiver makes a habit of, frankly.

Be that as it may, I've written to both iRiver the company and to the Australian distributors concerning the cost of the repair and the concern that this was driving me away from the brand. Five weeks on, I haven't received any reply - not even a form letter.

Last edited by MacEachaidh; 02-11-2012 at 10:06 PM.
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