Samsung Sucks

Samsung sucks.

They don't honor their warranties.

OK, it's a little more complicated than that.

The Short Story

In 2013 Dec, I buy a Samsung Nexus 10 tablet. I pay $400 for it. It works great for 11 months. Then the wi-fi breaks.

I locate the warranty booklet. (I always keep the warranties). It is warranted for 1 year from date of purchase.

I locate the receipt. (I always keep the receipts). It was purchased 11 months ago. So it is in warranty.

I call Samsung. I navigate their phone tree (7 levels deep). I talk to many people. It is surprisingly difficult to convince Samsung that the device is actually broken.

Eventually, I find someone who agrees that the device is broken. I fax them the receipt. They give me a case number. They send me a PDF of a UPS shipping label. I pack up the tablet, print the label, drive to the UPS store, and ship the tablet to Texas.

I track the tablet via UPS. It arrives in Texas. I check my case number on Samsung's customer service portal. It shows that they have received the tablet. I wait a few days. The tablet appears to be stuck in their system somewhere.

I call Samsung to find out what is going on. Samsung explains that they cannot accept the receipt as proof-of-purchase, because the receipt does not show the device serial number.

I've never heard of such a thing. You buy something, you get a receipt. The receipt shows the product, the date, and the price paid. The receipt is your proof-of-purchase.

Samsung's position is that I might be showing them the receipt for a different tablet—one that was purchased later—in order to get warranty service on a tablet that is actually out of warranty. Unless the receipt shows the serial number, they won't honor their warranty.

I talk to many people at Samsung. I plead my case. Retailers don't print serial numbers on receipts. Retailers have no way to print serial numbers on receipts. The serial number is on the device, inside the box, where the retailer can't see it. Even if the serial number is printed on a label on the outside of the box, the retailer isn't set up to capture that serial number at the point of sale and print it on the receipt. That isn't what retailers do.

Samsung won't budge. I want the tablet fixed. I pay Samsung $106 to fix a product that failed in warranty.

There is an annoying asymmetry here. Samsung refuses to honor their warranty on the grounds that I might be defrauding them. I, on the other hand, know for a fact that they are defrauding me.

Samsung sucks.

The Gory Details

Samsung's customer service organization displays a staggering level of confusion and disfunction. End-to-end, it took me to get the tablet fixed. I was going to tell this whole wretched story in gory detail, but at this point...meh.


After it was all over, I got a call from Samsung. They were conducting a follow-up survey on the quality of the service that they had provided me. The caller asked two questions I resisted the temptation to unload on the caller with both barrels, and simply answered his questions. Yes, the people at Samsung were unfailingly polite. And yes, they expressed empathy.

Which I hadn't though about until he asked me. But at several points, usually when I was audibly upset, people at Samsung told me that they understood how I felt.

Evidently, Samsung finds it cheaper to train its customer service personnel to express empathy for the fact that Samsung is not going to fix the customer's problem than to know...fix the customer's problem.

Staples Sucks, too

Staples sucks, too. Staples is where I bought the thing. I was hoping to leave Staples out of this, because I called Staples several times to try to confirm Samsung's claim that the receipt should show the device serial number. The people at the store had no idea what I was talking about.

But the people at the store aren't equipped to handle a question like that. They referred me to a corporate number, and assured me that Staples corporate took customer issues seriously.

I called the corporate number, and the person I talked to did take it seriously. He agreed that I ought to be able to get warranty service for a device that was still under warranty. He collected some details, and said that he would pass the matter on to his Samsung buyer—that is, the person at Staples whose job is to buy things from Samsung.

The buyer called me a few days later to confirm the details. A few days after that the buyer emailed me to say that he was in discussion with his counterpart at Samsung and hoped to have a resolution soon.

I never heard from Staples again.

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Steven W. McDougall / resume / / 2015 Oct 21