Kindle Return Policy Exceeds Expectations
One of the unfortunate truisms of modern consumer electronics is that they rarely, if ever, have a shelf life of more than a few years. Whether this comes about just because of the rough and tumble way that most people treat their expensive toys, or whether it represents a scheme of planned obsolescence on the part of manufacturers, most people hold domain over a veritable graveyard of broken gadgets.
We’re only a few years into this whole Kindle experiment at this point, so for the most part, we haven’t really figured out what the shelf life of your average Kindle or Kindle 2 is yet. There are some disconcerting signs, like people reporting fading e-Ink after months of using the Kindle in direct exposure to the sun, and the probability that the Kindle’s non-replaceable lithium-ion battery will eventually cease to hold a charge, but for the most part we’re still in the early part of the products’ life cycle.
So when an e-buddy of mine reported that his Kindle was busted, I was curious to see what Amazon’s customer service response would be.
Upon taking his Kindle 2 out of his bag one day, he found that only about a quarter of the screen was operational, and what it did display was totally garbled. He called Amazon’s dedicated Kindle hotline (1-866-321-8851 for those of you in the U.S.) and was immediately put on the line with a representative. He explained the situation and within five minutes, Amazon was overnighting a brand spanking new Kindle his way, along with a prepaid UPS label and shipping instructions to send back the broken one. No muss, no fuss.
In my experience, a lot of companies will ask that you send them the defective product first so that they can either fix the one you send or, at the very least, verify that your claim of a broken product is legitimate. Evidently, Amazon has taken the decidedly more consumer-friendly approach of assuming that their customers are being honest. Or in the words of my Kindlebro, “I like it when companies trust their customers. I didn’t have to prove that I wasn’t using it as a doorstop or something. I said that it broke during normal use just chilling in my bag and in its case, they believed me and took care of it faster and with a better outcome than I hoped.”
Upon receiving a replacement Kindle, all you have to do is go to your Amazon account page, hit “Manage Your Kindle” under the Digital Content header, and deregister the old Kindle. Then register the new one, change your current subscriptions to your new Kindle, and the rest of your content should download via 3G automatically. It could scarcely be a simpler process.
Of course, my friend’s Kindle was still under the included one-year manufacturer’s warranty. I’ll be curious to see moving forward what kind of policy Amazon adopts when these kind of things happen out of warranty. Here’s hoping they can keep up this level of service.
If you have any Kindle customer service stories of your own, either good or bad, feel free to let us know in the comments!