One Thing You MUST Know Before Shopping Online

by Valerie, Mom Knows It All

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This is a brief story of what happened to me when I tried to work with both a seller and a manufacturer to get a broken item repaired or replaced. This is not a brand bashing post. This is a factual accounting of what was to follow. I am sharing the story not to put a company down, but rather to share with you something important that I learned that I believe everyone that shops online should be aware of before making a purchase.

In late 2012 I purchased a Philips Fidelio docking speaker for my iPhone. It’s next to my bed and I use it as an alarm clock.  I loved the sound quality of it so much that I ordered a second one on 02/24/13 for my son on Amazon from a seller named Expansys because they had a good price. I could have purchased this unit from other sellers,including Philips themselves, for more money. I could have purchased similar docks made by other well known brands that were reviewed better. But, I chose to buy the Philips because of my experience and I chose to buy it from Expansys on Amazon because of the price.

My youngest son (well actually both of my sons) loves music. He plays music constantly, so the docking speaker gives him an opportunity to listen to his music while our iPod Touch charges. It cuts back on the amount of times where he comes to me asking “recharge”. He doesn’t use it as an alarm clock, just a way to listen to his music and charge his iPod. The child has no friends to play with after school, so he’s got me, the dog, the cat, his trains, his DVDs and his music.

In December my son’s unit stopped working. I realized that, according to its paperwork, it had a one year warranty. I contacted Philips on 12/26, who asked me to send them some info and proof of purchase. I sent it that day, by email and fax. On 01/06/14 I received an email that they couldn’t read my documents and to resend them. I resent it again. On 01/09/14 I once again received the same canned response that they couldn’t read my documents. I resent them again.

I telephoned after to follow up, and was told that they’d received the documents and the item was covered under warranty. They took my debit card and said they’d place a $1 hold on it, this was to be sure I sent my unit back since they were sending a replacement. February arrived and I hadn’t received a box to send the broken unit back in. Nor had I received a phone call or email.

One year since my purchase passed. I telephoned Philips again on 02/27/14 and was informed that Expansys was not an authorized Philips reseller so Philips would not be honoring the warranty. They could not answer my questions why I had not been notified sooner that they’d changed their mind and they had no explanation. They told me to contact the seller.

I tried contacting Expansys several times in several ways including email, telephone, and social media. I also contacted them through Amazon on that same day 02/27/14. Five days later on 03/02 they replied they would look into it and get back to me. One day later I received an email through amazon stating “Hello, this order is from a year ago, and we no longer have any stock of this product. We are unable to repair or replace this unit.” Frustrated I tweeted both of them. Philips, to their credit, once again responded asking for the model and date purchased. I sent it over by DM and received a reply this morning once again to contact the seller.

At this point it is clear to me that neither the seller Expansys or the manufacturer Philips is willing to do anything about my situation. I am out both $60 and my son is out one docking speaker. I can’t say for sure that I will never buy a Philips product again, although it isn’t very likely at this moment today. I can say I will never buy from Expansys again. But this post isn’t about that.

The message of this post is very simple.

If you shop online from sources other then the manufacturer directly, be sure to find out if the seller is an authorized reseller. If they are not I urge you to either buy a different brand or buy from a different seller.

The money you may save by buying from an unauthorized reseller just isn’t worth what it costs in the end if the unit breaks. Find yourself a bit lighter in the wallet sucks on its own, but when paired with the face of a child who’s crushed, well that  just sucks.

Have you ever had a bad experience with an unauthorized retailer? Leave a comment, I’d love to know!

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26 comments

Audrey at Barking Mad! March 5, 2014 - 12:38 pm

Unfortunately I’ve had a similar situation happen with a camera lens I bought, at a cost of almost $700, and when the gears of the lens were stripped after only 6 months, I contacted Sony and was informed that the reseller I purchased through was not an authorized distributor and the “warranty” would not be honored. I was crushed. It not only cost me time and money to sort it out (thankfully my credit card issuer refunded the purchase amount when we let them know about the situation – they didn’t take sides and they had all the documentation) but I lost work due to the fact that I had a non-functioning lens and I wasn’t able to photograph an event I had already taken a deposit for.

I know better now, and I’m sorry you had to learn this lesson the hard way too. There’s really no excuse on Phillips part though. They had a chance to cement a relationship with you but decided to not do it. That’s unfortunate.

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valmg March 5, 2014 - 3:14 pm

Oh my goodness that is awful! That’s a LOT of money! It’s great your credit card covered it. We don’t have a credit card so I can’t see if that’s an option.

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Lisa - BetweentheKids March 5, 2014 - 12:54 pm

OH man, what an ordeal! I’ve had issues before with Amazon, but they’ve been really good at fixing the problem, because they take pride in their customer service. From now on, though I’m going to double check when purchasing elsewhere. This is a nightmare!

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Annie March 5, 2014 - 2:56 pm

I am sorry you went through this!! But thank you for sharing so that others can avoid this same mistake!

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Heather Lawrence March 5, 2014 - 4:30 pm

Oh thats horrible!”
I have had some really great experiences shopping online and some horrible ones too.
At least your credit card covered it!

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valmg March 5, 2014 - 6:33 pm

We don’t have a credit card, we’re out both money and product.

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Theresa @ Faith and Family Reviews March 5, 2014 - 4:50 pm

I have heard of this before but haven’t experienced it myself. I think it’s wrong and sorry you had to lose out on money, product, time and energy.

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Donna March 5, 2014 - 5:15 pm

That’s awful, Val! I hate your son doesn’t have his dock and your out the money… but thank you for sharing your story so others won’t have to go through what you did.

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valmg March 5, 2014 - 7:32 pm

I’m saving up to get him a different unit. He’s been without it for weeks now and is really missing it and I hate that.

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Kasey@AllThingsMamma March 5, 2014 - 5:20 pm

OH wow! That’s bad! Good thing it was fixed!

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valmg March 5, 2014 - 6:32 pm

It was not fixed, both seller and mfr refused to fix it.

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Michelle March 5, 2014 - 6:39 pm

That is so awful and shouldn’t be legal! I do have to admit I have a fear of something like this happening when shopping online so I always try to purchase directly from Amazon, etc. if it’s something more than 50 bucks or so.

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valmg March 5, 2014 - 7:25 pm

I have shopped Amazon for years, I love them. I never even gave a thought to unauthorized sellers being on there. I know to find out now before I buy.

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Robin {Mom Foodie} March 5, 2014 - 7:13 pm

Good to know when making large purchases.

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Cat Davis March 5, 2014 - 7:18 pm

Yikes. I shop through Amazon all the time and didn’t realize that some weren’t authorized sellers of products. I’m sorry to hear about your experience.

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valmg March 5, 2014 - 7:24 pm

I do the majority of my shopping on Amazon and didn’t realize it either.

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Liz Mays March 5, 2014 - 7:30 pm

That is just so frustrating! That happened to me with a computer once where they wouldn’t replace the whole thing even though I had a warranty. They wanted me to take a part out and replace the single part. I did and it all failed again a few months later. Ugh.

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Jenn March 5, 2014 - 7:48 pm

Wow! Thanks for the warning. Sorry you’ve had to deal with this.

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Digna D. March 5, 2014 - 8:06 pm

Very good information. With so many purchases being done online anymore, you can’t be too safe. Thank you!

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Kat B. March 5, 2014 - 9:41 pm

Wow! I am sorry to hear that happened to you. I shop on Amazon all the time. I will keep a look out.

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Tammilee T March 5, 2014 - 10:02 pm

I am sorry to hear that happened to you.

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Michelle March 6, 2014 - 1:15 am

When I make purchases like that online, I try to only buy from sites that I know will not be an issue if I need to return an item. You have to be careful on amazon due to the marketplace type selling.

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Shell Feis March 6, 2014 - 3:18 am

When I buy from Amazon, I only buy from Amazon or the actual brand- because I’m afraid of something like this happening. I’m so sorry you had a bad experience!

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trisha March 6, 2014 - 9:07 am

I guess its kinda like buying on ebay or something. You Never consider it though on AmaZON!

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pat. marsden March 6, 2014 - 9:31 am

Dealing with gray marketeers can bring many problems for the few bucks most times it saves.

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Heather @OurKidsMom March 6, 2014 - 2:05 pm

Oh how frustrating! Regardless if they were an authorized reseller or not, Phillips should be standing behind their product. How infuriating.

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