Home » Computers » Irritations of online shopping

Irritations of online shopping

posted in: Computers, Rant 0

I love shopping online. It has to be the most convenient and thriftiest way to shop. Lots of deals to be had without having to drive around from store to store.

With all the conveniences and savings of online shopping, every now and then you run into some pretty backwards situations.

Take the external USB 2.0 2.5″ SATA hard drive enclosure I bought from Other World Computing. I paid $35 + another $6-7 shipping for it since I had a 60gig SATA drive laying around (the original hard drive from my Macbook before I upgraded it to a 160gig) and figured it would be cool to use that 60gig as a nice portable drive just for keeping large files.

After a month, the enclosure started acting finicky. Half the time I had to unplug it and plug it back in because the volume wouldn’t autodetect and mount in OS X. Eventually, it stopped mounting altogether. Checking /var/log/system.log yielded various USB enumeration errors. I tried the enclosure on other Macs and the results varied from detection on first plug to detection only on several plug/unplug/replug instances.

I opened a trouble ticket with OWC and eventually they issued an RMA so I could send the enclosure back for a replacement. Sounds good right? Not really. Here’s a small segment of the email I received:

ATTN# DO NOT use the retail box (white or printed) as your shipping container. Do not wrap the retail box in shipping paper. All items being returned to OWC must be placed in a cardboard box with packing material around all sides of the item. Failure to do so will void this RMA and may result in the voiding of your OWC warranty. Please ship the item(s) to the address listed above and on your invoice. I would advise you to insure the package for the amount of its value. You are responsible for shipping charges back to OWC. If the product arrives missing any of the original packaging, manuals or parts, or is damaged in a way other than from point of manufacture, the return may be assessed additional fees or refused altogether.

First, off they tell me that I have to double box the item. Second they tell me that I’m responsible for return shipping. This is pretty annoying.

The enclosure came in an white, non-descript, OEM looking box and inside the box it was in foam cutout padding that probably cost more than the enclosure itself. Why can’t I use that box as the shipping box? Why do I have to put it in another box with even more padding? Do they want to reuse that box? Maybe they want the box to look new so they can pawn it off on another unsuspecting buyer. Next, why should I be responsible for return shipping on an item that appears to be factory defective? I can understand if this were a store taking back an return on an item that they didn’t make (i.e. Newegg taking back an Asus motherboard). But this is an OWC branded product. For all intents and purposes, they made this item and should be responsible for the integrity of the product.

By forcing me to box the actual box itself with more padding, it’s going to bump the cost to ship this item to at least $9 (USPS Priority flat rate mailer should fit the OEM box). $9 which I’m responsible for footing the bill on. $9 more for an item that cost me $41 and change. That’s another ~22% tacked onto the cost of the item.

I received the RMA authorization back on 12/06, but I don’t think I’m going to bother sending it back. Some people will say it’s only $9 and I may as well get it fixed otherwise I’m looking at a $35 (plus shipping) broken piece of plastic. But personally, I’m just a bit peeved that they put stipulations on the return process for an item that was shoddy to begin with and make me foot the return shipping.

I bought memory for my Macs from OWC in the past, but I don’t think I’m going to continue to purchase from them anymore.

A person’s got to have some standards (and principles).

Follow Jonathan Ocab:
Owner and administrator of ocabj.net
Latest posts from

Comment on this post

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.