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The Warehouse's crazy warranty policy

23 November 2020

New Zealand's "red shed", The Warehouse makes the bold claim that they give you a money-back guarantee of satisfaction.

Indeed, if you purchase almost any product and, within 60 days, decide you have made a mistake, you can return the item (with receipt) for a full, no questions asked, refund.

That's a bold policy that has probably earned the company some loyalty from customers over the years.

Now you'd think that with such a policy in place, they'd be similarly prepared to replace any low-cost items that fail during the warranty period with a new one out of stock -- but no.

In fact, I can not believe the way they handled my own situation over the weekend.

Almost exactly one month ago I bought a Chromecast Ultra from TWL using their online shopping service. Not an expensive purchase, about $100 or so.

I would have purchased "in store" but the local shop never stocks this item so I only had the option of "click and collect" or online shopping with delivery.

Previous experience of own and friends has clearly proven that "click and collect" is a real lottery. Sometimes it takes weeks before the ordered items arrive in store. By comparison, the regular online shopping experience is usually "next day".

Hence I opted for regular online shopping.

The device arrived and I set it up. All was going perfectly until a couple of weeks ago when subtitles began to sometimes get all jittery. No worries, I can live with that.

On Saturday however, the device began giving a blank green screen when running, after which it shut down and restarted itself. This seems to be a thermal issue because leaving it unpowered for half an hour saw it kick back into life for another hour -- and then if began faulting in exactly the same way once warm.

Simple enough, I thought. I'll contact TWL and they'll probably exchange it for a new one.

Nope... not that simple.

According to the representative I engaged in their online chat I would have to take the faulty unit to my local TWL store where they would send it away to be "assessed" for repair.

Excuse me?

How long would that process take? And when was the last time anyone repaired a $100 electronic device with an obvious thermally-related failure. It's just not economic to do so.

Apparently they have no idea how long that would take -- could be days, weeks or months.

Meanwhile, I'm paying for Netflix and Disney with no way to watch them on my TV set???

So, the only way to get this thing replaced is to exercise the "money back guarantee" and get a refund for this faulty unit then buy a new one with that money.

Of course, as I mentioned earlier, the local store doesn't stock these things so I'd have to buy online again -- with the same useless fault-repair policy.

Needless to say, I will be returning it to the local store for a full refund and then I will use that money to buy another unit from a totally different source -- hopefully one that has a more sensible attitude to warranty claims.

This policy of "assessment" for such claims by TWL is ludicrous and makes no sense to me.

Since I will now have no option but to return the device and claim a refund under the customer satisfaction guarantee, TWL will then have refunded me the full price and also be left with a faulty unit in stock. What's the bet they just throw that unit back in the storeroom and sell it to some other unsuspecting mug? That is why *I* will not be buying *any* new electronics from TWL.

How crazy is a policy that requires a low cost faulty product to be sent for assessment and repaired instead of simply replacing it with a new one. Of course customers are going to exercise their right to the "money back within 60 days" option in such cases.

No wonder the Red Shed is not doing as well as it once did.

Have they replaced all the management with chimpanzees or something?

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