Amazon - Return of faulty product for replacement

Hello

Seeking your thoughts please. I purchased Soundpeats in ear headphones through Amazon last August, 7 months ago. I noticed recently the cradle for charging the headphones was not charging them. I assume the cradle battery has failed. I contacted Amazon chat to seek a replacement and had the following conversation:

NIKITA has joined and will be ready to chat in just a minute.

Good morning Nikita

7:21 am

NIKITA | Customer service

hello Chris

Good morning

How may I help you ?

N

7:21 am

The Soundbeats in ear headphones I received in August last year have stopped working. I beleive the charging cradle is not charging its battery anymore.

Soundpeats

I would like to return them for replacement

7:23 am

NIKITA | Customer service

I am sorry to hear that !!

Let me check this for you

I can help you return the item for refund and you can re-order

Would that be fine ?

N

7:26 am

Will it be a 100% refund?

7:26 am

NIKITA | Customer service

Yes

Your order total was AU$ 101.64 and refund will be the same

N

7:28 am

Thank you. I notice that the current price is higher for these now. I beleive I am entitled to a replacement. Your suggestion would not be a replacement.

7:29 am

NIKITA | Customer service

Unfortunately a replacement option is not available for this item

N

7:29 am

Well, under ACL I’m afraid that is my right.

7:30 am

NIKITA | Customer service

I can help you with a $5 promo credit for the difference amount

N

7:30 am

Well, thank you but no. A credit means I still pay more, just storing the difference with you. I would prefer a replacement please

7:31 am

NIKITA | Customer service

I would have loved to help you with a replacement , unfortunately as this order is a year old we do not have a option to replace it

For warranty issue , you will have to contact the manufacturer/seller of the item

N

7:32 am

Thank you. However, the order was last August, 7 months ago. And ACL clearly says a warranty period is not one year but a reasonable time. Finally, you are responsible for the replacement, not the manufacturer/seller. The order was placed with you, the supplier.

May I ask you are recording this conversation. Will you send me a copy when we are finished?

7:33 am

NIKITA | Customer service

Yes this conversation is saved

N

7:34 am

And you will send me a copy?

7:34 am

NIKITA | Customer service

https://www.amazon.com.au/sp?seller=A275AR54GLEN&

You can contact the seller for this item through this link

You can always find this conversation , we do not a option to send it

N

7:35 am

Where would I find this conversation?

7:35 am

NIKITA | Customer service

Whenever you click the option to chat with us , you can always scroll up for the previous one’s ( everything is recorded )

N

7:36 am

Thank you Nikita. So, just to be clear. Amazon will not or cannot offer a replacement for this faulty item ordered 7 months ago. Is this correct?

7:37 am

NIKITA | Customer service

As the item is sold by a thir​d party seller and only fulfilled by Amazon, we unfortunately do not have access to seller’s inventory , therefore cannot promise a replacement

I hope you understand my limitations here Chris

N

7:39 am

Of course, nothing personal Nikita. However, you are not saying you cannot replace the item. You are saying you cannot promise a replacement until you contact the supplier and ask the question.

Reminding you that ACL applies to all purchases made in Australia.

7:40 am

NIKITA | Customer service

Please contact the seller through the link provided and they will contact you via email regarding the replacement for the item

N

7:41 am

Thank you Nikita. I’ll progress this further.

7:41 am

NIKITA | Customer service

I appreciate your understanding and patience !!

Is there anything else I could help you with ?

N

7:42 am

no, thank you Nikita. Have a nice rest of your day.

NIKITA | Customer service

Thank you for contacting amazon. Have a blessed day ​

N

7:44 am

So, it’s not a lot of difference ($5 or so) but I’m mindful that this may be occurring a lot, hence adds up. I think I’m right that I can request a replacement. But do I push further with Amazon or do I have to contact the manufacturer via the link the girl gave me?

I note the following statement in the ACL:

The seller also must not refuse to deal with a customer about the returned good and tell them to deal with the manufacturer instead.

Is Amazon the seller? Is that the “get out” here?

Kind regards

Chris

4 Likes

I would not really consider a conversation with a chatbot to be authoritative.

But if the chatbot was representing a retailer, the business can within the ACL decide how they handle a faulty product remedy.

Repair, replace, or refund. Refund was the option offered.

You can try and demand your preferred option of replacement, but the business doesn’t have to agree with that. Just handle the faulty product.

1 Like

If you have a look at the ACCC website, you will see that your problem is what is called a ‘minor fault’.
From that page:
If you have a minor problem with a product or service, the business can choose to give you a free repair instead of a replacement or refund.

In your case the business has NOT chosen to offer you a repair instead of a repair OR refund. Clearly, they are acting in accordance with the ACL. For what it’s worth, Aldi follows this same refund model.

I suggest you avail yourself of the refund with the a $5 bonus.

You can then choose whether you buy the same

or something else.

2 Likes

The poster doesn’t know if the fault is major or minor. They have assumed it is the charging cradle that has failed but they don’t know for sure. So they need to return the product and have it assessed. As the cradle and the earbuds are a combined item it may be a major fault if either part is not working.

Would they have bought them if they had know of the existence of the problem? If not that also gives them major fault protection under ACL.

@chrisnir1 needs to get the address of Amazon to return the items for assessment and send them by registered post so they have some proof of being sent. Even better would be to get a Return Authorisation from Amazon to ensure they accept the items.

If Amazon are not willing to deal with @chrisnir1 eg will not accept a possibility of return for assessment, then they need to go formal and start the letter/email writing to put their claim in writing as per ACL requirements. If no adequate response is received in a reasonable time then they need to follow the Fair Trading step and finally they can go to more legal steps eg their relevant Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

@chrisnir1

CHOICE and the ACCC provide templates for emails and letters to help you create the communication you need. If you search this site looking for ACCC or CHOICE templates you will find a number of hits to select from. Even without those letters you can make a complaint with the ACCC about the service or lack thereof you have received, be warned however it is unlikely that the ACCC will take action of your complaint unless they deem it worthy of their further action.

What the ACCC are most likely to do is file the complaint with others of the same type of Amazon issue to see if it has become an issue big enough for them to take action, this is a very opaque process and no one here can say when or how they will reach a point of reaction. The reality is that it really up to the individual to take action on their own behalf to assert their ACL rights via the legal channels. So if you decide the issue is worth your efforts I very strongly advise you on getting some legal advice about your issue before you commence the action. We on this site do have a topic that has links to free consumer Legal Advice centres that may provide a starting point for you to find some legal advice.

5 Likes

It may also be worth trying this:

There are some online reports that the terminals gummy up/oxidise over time affecting the charging ability.

If it is a gummy up/oxidisation of the terminal due to use, this won’t be covered by the ACL, as it will be classed as a maintenance activity by the user.

4 Likes

Design fault then perhaps if they oxidise even if maintained according to instruction. Makes them possibly an ACL issue if that is the case. I would argue if you have to use sandpaper to sand the contact points that is a real issue of build quality and with sanding you could easily void any coverage under ACL.

5 Likes

Looks like charging issues might be a common problem…

and other online forums. The cause of the charging issue isn’t known, but it is worth trying what the video proposes…no loss if it doesn’t work.

Maybe taking the refund might be the best option if there is a quality issue with the device or the above maintenance/fix didn’t work. Getting another (replacement) may not mean the problem isn’t fixed in the long term. They might reject a ACL claim if the replacement pair exhibits the same fault in 7 months (as the warranty period starts from the day of purchase, not day of replacement).

4 Likes

Thank you all for your comments and advice.

1st the technical. The headphones have very little use. All contacts are clean and unoxidised or marked. (A fibreglass pen is usually better for these things than sandpaper).The cradle has a lithium battery and a series of leds indicating charge status. The input led is red and does not change to blue (charged). charge leds remain off. So earbuds are not charging because the cradle battery is not accepting a charge. Hence my train of thought.

2nd. I do consider it a major fault as the headphones are unusable, completely.

I do have a minor problem with Amazon in that they are willing to sell the item but then fend you off to the manufacturer when a problem occurs. I’m not sure this is legal per the ACL but it probably relies on the definition of Amazon as seller or facilitator. As Grahroll indicates above a referral to ACCC relies on a large number of cases to prove Amazon are systematic in their processes and that it fails the ACL process. Perhaps my experience is rare and uncommon. I’m not sure it is.

Probably I will go back and obtain the refund, given the circumstances and per phb’s advice. It is not a large value so is it worthwhile following up with the Fair Trading if they don’t change their response? Certainly I’m not sure it is worth an investment in legal advice prior to moving through this if I continued my complaint. Reality trumps righteousness perhaps. In this case I am the fly! But at least i’m more educated now about my rights and options for future and perhaps more valuable events.

Thank you all once more, appreciated.

kind regards

Chris

8 Likes

I really seriously struggle to see what your problem is.
You have a faulty product. Amazon is offering a full refund. They are not fending you off to the manufacturer, they are offering you a full refund.
Take it and move on. Buy the same product again, or something else.

1 Like

The problem here is that under ACL the consumer has the option of replacement, repair or refund at Their choice if it is a major fault. If a major fault it is not the retailer’s choice unless there is no other option available, which would seem ludicrous in this situation.

A minor fault places the choice at the retailer’s determination.

3 Likes

The free Consumer Legal advice is absolutely cost free, worth considering before you take any further decisions or actions.

The complaints to Fair Trading and the ACCC may lead to further action on their parts and the Fair Trading one may result in a better outcome for yourself (not likely but possible). These steps would involve very minimal cost to you beyond sending an email or letter to Amazon requesting resolution of your issue before you make a formal complaint to ACCC and or Fair Trading.

2 Likes

@chrisnir1, that communication should be in the formal Letter of Complaint style. You can find advice about how to write one using the Community search tool.

2 Likes

Did you buy the product directly from Amazon or from the Amazon Marketplace?

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One thing comes to mind regarding your comment of sending the item back to Amazon to determine the fault.
What is to stop Amazon from downplaying the seriousness of the fault or from advising Chris that the item was received in a damaged state and we at Amazon have no idea if the damage was caused by you the user or the postal service.

I mention this in the context of a cheap mobile dumb phone, brand name Opal, which I bought from Aust post 2or 3 years back and stopped working 8 months later.
Aust post had no interest in repairing or refunding and instead palmed me off to the importer’s office in Sydney. Even when I quoted ACL.

So I contacted the importer.
I did not like his attitude demanding I return the item to him at my cost to assess and if the assessment concludes is that the damage is my fault, then no repair and no refund will come my way.

I will need to pay the postage to have the dud item mailed back to me.

While he did not say it in so many words, the man gave me the impression that in any event, their phones are not repaired, given their sub $100 retail price.
Appalled and disgusted, I cut my losses and bought a $65 Nokia that works like a charm.

Needless to say, I use the Opal phone now to prop open my bedroom window at night.

It does that job quite well.

3 Likes

I purchased the product from Amazon I believe.

Whilst the cost to me is small the aggregate advantage to Amazon would be large if they can easily divert customers with damaged or faulty goods to the manufacturer. I accept Amazon may not have stock but they can facilitate a replacement with the manufacturer or supplier as other sellers would be doing I expect. Do Amazon fall under the ACL as a seller or a facilitator? Can they legally avoid the ACL if so? Is it enough to call yourself a facilitator? It’s Amazon that take my money not the manufacturer after all.

Originally I was really wanting a replacement. When the items worked they worked well. The additional information has made me think twice. However, such is life. The contact oxidization is something that must occur across the technology no matter the supplier. My robot vacuum cleaner for example has the same issue. Easy to fix though.

Appreciate the advice from all here, thank you.

regards

1 Like

One of the small print bits to watch is whether the purchase will be ‘fulfilled by Amazon’ or ‘fulfilled by […]’ as to who is actually selling it. Amazon tries to be like ebay for the latter, eg ‘not us, them’.

As with many things laws are well behind technology, and often sadly wanting in an increasing number of areas.

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I really don’t understand your complaint at all. Amazon offered you a full refund of the money you paid. You then wanted to complicate things by talking about the fact that the purchase price had increased since you bought the item. I think that had the purchase price dropped since you bought the item you would not be complaining about getting your money back.

1 Like

Hi
Initially I wanted a simple replacement. It was going to cost more to get a refund for the amount I had paid and the current price. Hence the question and their offer to get a credit for the difference. At face value it seemed ok except I was tied to spending the credit at Amazon. For $5 not a big deal of course but for others in a similar position perhaps more of a big deal. ACL says I have the right to choose the option hence I wanted the replacement without needing to refund and then make a new order. I agree perhaps not much of an issue. But in thinking about it further Amazon is bypassing the ACL. Again for my case its small beans but perhaps not for others. Am I picking a fight unnecessarily? Perhaps its these fights in aggregate that helped to develop and secure the ACL in the 1st place that presents you, and me and all other consumers with good options given faulty or not fit for purpose goods. Do we than have a responsibility to try to make sure companies adhere to the ACL - perhaps yes. Else it falls by the way. And in particular the gig economy companies that are always testing the boundaries of what they can get away with (perhaps rightly so - all’s fair in love and war and business) should be pushed back when necessary. Yep, my case is small beans, but …

And if it was cheaper rather than more expensive then yes I would have been happier if they wanted to stick with their method rather than a straight replacement. All’s fair afterall :slight_smile:

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Hi Gregr

Thanks for your comment. Yep, you could read the comment that way. I must admit at the time I read it as she would facilitate the refund AND then an order for a replacement (which at that point was going to cost more). That is both needed to occur. I didn’t read it as here’s a refund and then you can decide what you want to do. Perhaps it’s worth clarifying with them the difference. I might do that.

Yes, my Soundpeats died about 12 months after I bought them as well - unable to locate how I bought them, but was not through Amazon. This may be a major fault in them!

2 Likes