Poof! Problem solved — thanks to our company contacts!

Larry Meyer was on a television-buying spree. At least that’s what Amazon must have thought when it charged him twice for one set. Huh?

Meyer told us he had bought a TV for his 84-year-old mother. He also paid for an extended warranty, and he had the set shipped directly to her in Minnesota.

“When the installer opened the box, the remote was broken beyond use,” he explained. “When the TV came out of the box, the cord was separated from the unit to the point that it would not function either.”

At least, under the circumstances, the installer put the old TV back in place and did not charge for the service call. Nevertheless, what was Meyer (and Mom) to do?

When Meyer called Amazon’s customer service, a representative told him that other customers had experienced the same problem with that particular set, and that the extended warranty could not be honored since the TV could no longer be replaced. But, under these circumstances, his mother would not need to repackage it and send it back.

“I said I would be willing to pay the difference for another model,” Meyer explained, “but I was told that I would have to completely buy another set!”

After a back-and-forth volley between Meyer and Amazon, via both email and phone, he eventually received assurances from a supervisor in the Philippines that she would walk him through the process and at the end apply the credit. Meyer trusted the process and completed the transaction, only to be told by her at the end of the call that she would not be applying a credit after all.

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An irate Meyer demanded that the representative have Amazon issue him a refund for the original set, but with no success. “I have not received the funds, nor a credit in any way,” Meyer told us. “The representative also had promised to email me the warranty, which she said had transferred to the second TV, but that never happened either.”

The good news is Meyer’s mother now had a functioning TV, but Meyer had to pay double for the privilege.

As a side note, some of Meyer’s emails we read had an angry and threatening tone. Our experience is that companies will not respond to a complaint that gets nasty. Calmness and politeness always have a better chance of prevailing in the world of self-advocacy.

After striking out with Amazon’s customer service representative, Meyer “climbed the accountability ladder” on his own by contacting one of the Amazon executive contacts listed on our website. When using our executive contacts list it’s a great idea to start with an email to the lowest-ranked executive on the list and work your way up the ladder if you haven’t heard back in a few days.

It didn’t even take that long for Meyer to get the answer he wanted. The next day we heard from him with some good news and great compliments.

I just wanted to briefly share (I am sure others share as well), that your contact listing on your website (along with a cc: to you) seemed to do wonders.

By the time I turned on my email this morning I had three different emails from Amazon. One assured me the new year of Prime would be canceled and retroactively credited. Another was an email with a cc to the warranty company asking them to either transfer the warranty or give a full refund ASAP.

The third indicated that rather than what was promised, the bulk of the TV purchase would be refunded to my credit card (which is fine) and a small portion (about $19) would go to a gift card and be available in my account. It will take a week to 10 days to verify the various refunds.

However, again, I appreciate your listing of the contacts, and, as I replied to the person from Amazon, the quick reply!

You’re welcome, and thank you for recognizing the magical powers of our list of executive contacts. We’re here for you!

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Mark Pokedoff

Four-time Emmy-award-winning television sports production specialist and frequent traveler. Longtime freelance writer and travel blog enthusiast. Proud papa of four amazing kids who have been upgraded to first class more than all their friends combined. Read more of Mark's articles here.

  • jim6555

    There have been a couple of instances where something that I ordered from Amazon needed to be replaced upon receipt. In one case, I called Amazon and they immediately provided a link to a shipping label that I could print and attach to the original box so it could be sent back without charge. The other time, I didn’t even have to speak to a human. I indicated on the website that the product was defective. The shipping label link was provided immediately. In both cases, a replacement item arrived two days after the claim was made.

    Amazon is known for it’s outstanding customer service. We seem to be missing some information about this transaction. Why wouldn’t Amazon just provide a return label to the LW as they have done for me. If the purchased item could not be replaced, a full refund or a credit for the amount of the purchase should have been offered. Could it be that the TV box sat in his mother’s home for months or years before they decided to open it and then make the claim?

  • Alan Gore

    This is a really strange outcome. Amazon policy is to immediately replace a product that is “dead on arrival” as this TV was. In this case the replacement comes directly from Amazon, not through the manufacturer warranty system or the Squaremouth extended warranty that LW purchased.

    A few weeks ago, I had to exchange a $1200 Olympus camera that developed green blobs in the electronic viewfinder on its first trip out of the house. Amazon even cross-shipped a replacement. Why was LW not able to invoke the standard replacement policy?

  • The Original Joe S

    its or it’s?

    “Could it be that the TV box sat in his mother’s home for months or years before they decided to open it and then make the claim?” Could it be that you made this idea up out of thin air, with absolutely no basis in evidence?

  • The Original Joe S

    Because the person in the Philippines was a jerk?

  • MF

    The answer may be b/c that model was no longer available, as indicated in the article. Also, as for shipping the defective TV back, perhaps doing so was beyond the capabilities of his 84 y.o. mother?

  • jim6555

    It could be. And then, it could not be. I don’t know. I was just trying to point out that there may be other factors that influenced the Amazon agent in the Philippines (who you have unnecessarily labeled a jerk) not to issue an immediate refund. Unless the LW responds here, we will never know.

  • Alan Gore

    It doe look as if Amazon intended to discontinue the model due to bad customer experience, which still should have been purely a matter of sending the broken one back and getting credit for it.

  • The Original Joe S

    Just as you are making assumptions, so am I. I assume that the guy in the PI either 1] hasn’t the backbone to make it right or 2] is an uncaring dirtbag. This since other toads in AMAZON fixed the problem, so it follows that the PI guy is a jerk. it was NECESSARY to label the jerk as a jerk, because he didn’t fix the problem; he contributed to it. Some people simply love to deny assistance to customers, because they are jerks. So, he’s a jerk.

  • Bill___A

    Something seems very fishy about this whole thing. Why would a “new”tv be shipped with an extended warranty that is already expired? Why would a damaged shipment be a warranty issue at all? There are a lot of unanswered questions and little of this makes sense. My experience with Amazon is very good. I have had no problems resolving issues with anything (so far). this is just weird.

  • PsyGuy

    Someone had a problem with Amazon ripping them off, but, but, but this is Amazon, I thought this kind of issue didn’t happen?

  • PsyGuy

    I’m going to guess, that this wasn’t an Amazon purchase but a third party Amazon Marketplace retailer.

  • PsyGuy

    We see it as jerky, but the reality is that supervisor was just doing their job. being “nice” to a customer can get you fired immediately.

  • Fishplate

    I don’t know what’s got into some commenters, but I’ve never known Amazon to do anything other than apply a complete refund immediately upon receiving notice that their return shipping label has been used and the return is on it’s way.

    Why would she not need to return it, and why would Amazon not issue a refund? This doesn’t add up.

  • sirwired

    I think this might have been a Failure to Communicate.

    I’ve had Amazon tell me to not return things before, and just issued a refund, but it was always something small and silly to mail back at their expense; one time was a wiper blade, and the other was a Hazmat (bottle of car wax.)

    For whatever reason, the rep must have initially thought this was going to be one of those items but it turns out it wasn’t and a shipping label needed to be provided (and used) so it could be sent back before receiving a refund. I don’t know what the deal with the warranty was; usually with these things you have a “trial period” where you can get a full refund for it, and it’s prorated if you can’t.

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