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Old 12-07-2012, 10:42 PM   #1
chris_gee
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Replacement policy

I got a Kobo Glo nine days ago at Whitcoulls in New Zealand. It started playing up yesterday with the light going on and off by itself. Then it went into the reactivating thing and then came up with connect to a computer then Kobo. So it re-downloaded the firmware, sync’d and reloaded a few books from Kobo. Then it did its internal fiddling and came right. Then I had to reload all the other books.
Five minutes later as I adjusted the print size it did it again. Same process.
It was okay for some hours then I switched it off. Later it said powered off although the screen was not blank but showed the cover, not the page I had been reading.
Once again it reactivated itself and came up with connect computer screen. This looks like 3 factory reboots in one day. Hardly practical when traveling or on the boat etc.

It seems to me that it was losing the firmware so that there was a problem with the memory chip. I took it back to Whitcoulls at Sylvia Park.

The manageress, who was not unpleasant, declined to replace it, despite my displeasure, and said that it was their policy and required by Kobo that it go to their head office to be looked at then they would contact Kobo for directions, as required by Kobo otherwise they might be stuck with it. This could take up to a week.

I pointed out that others had pointed to a one month immediate replacement policy in other stores. There is .no Kobo number or contact on their website for NZ. There is a suggestion elsewhere that Whitcoulls may be the distributor. I doubt that there is a local repair facility. The earliest they can presumably contact Canada is in four days.

I wonder about the economics of repair on something costing here 150NZ before tax.. Sure the part might be cheap but labour isn’t, at least as charged out.

I appreciate some might have problems setting the thing up. However, if the unit is in as new condition and obviously has a major problem, this attitude by Whitcoulls and or Kobo could mean a customer buys a unit takes it home and it is dead on arrival. To then say we might replace it in a week suggests to me a pissed off customer.

Our Consumer Guarantee Act says it must be fit for purpose but gives the option to the seller to repair or replace. What is missing is where or when. Surely a staff member in each store or someone should be available to do an on the spot assessment.

I am not saying the model is no good, (the manageress said this was their first return (in 2-3 weeks)), but a small percentage may be duds. But it seems to me handling returns in a way that does not alienate customers is a basic even if it does give a few false positives.
What do others think?
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:17 PM   #2
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I'd ask for her regional manager's contact information and see if her boss has any more sense about what the retail experience should be like. The whole point of paying retail is so that you should receive better treatment than an online house can provide - or what is the point of helping to keep brick and mortar stores alive?
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:42 PM   #3
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I bought my Glo via Whitcoulls online store, where their returns policy states that "Whitcoulls will Refund any defective item ..." which I took to mean I wouldn't have to accept a repair or replacement but could just get my money back if there was anything wrong with it. I would consider myself mislead by false advertising if that was not the case.

http://www.whitcoulls.co.nz/returns-policy/
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Old 12-14-2012, 04:46 AM   #4
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I had the same thing with my husband's Kobo Touch after just a month.

I insisted on WH Smith, where I bought it, fulfilling handling the problem, as my contract was with them - not Kobo. I had to send the Touch away, but my husband received a replacement after a month, and it's been working fine ever since.

Kobo support are very responsive by email... but I think they need to change their policy for ereaders that have problems so quickly after purchase. It just leads to a lot of customer unhappiness.

I would check your legal rights as a consumer in NZ. In the UK, we're covered for the first 30 days as not fit for purpose.

Good luck!
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:10 AM   #5
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All good advice. Checked Consumer Protection Act. A defect is significant if a reasonable consumer knowing of it would not buy it. He/she is then entitled to a refund or replacement which is his choice. Repair is only an option if that is not the case. Further the timeliness of the repair can be rejected if excessive considering how often the item is used. The protection can extend beyond the warranty period to what is the reasonable life of the item. The claim is against the retailer and their issues with the supplier are irrelevant.
After 13 days against an estimate of a max of 7 and with a Christmas shutdown imminent I contacted the regional manager. A few minutes later he called back with apologies, saying he would speak to the manager immediately and I could collect a replacement.
Similar laws apply elsewhere, and I found it useful to check it out and this may help others faced with ill-informed staff.
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:04 AM   #6
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Good for you! As long as a consumer is being reasonable, if they get shut down by a store employee they need to go higher. Be polite, but INSIST! The alternative is going louder, and I'm not very fond of that approach -unless someone is being an ABSOLUTE moron and asking for it.
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:11 AM   #7
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Glad to hear that worked for you.

WH Smith's in the UK has now refunded full payment on my son's Kobo Wifi that stopped working after 11 months... and he's so delighted, he's bought a Kobo Touch with the refund. Makes me feel much better about shopping with them in the future...

That's what these stores need to remember.
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