The Nook Color Fiasco

I ordered a Nook Color recently (9/6/11) in spite of the fact that it cost way too much.  I made the mistake of clicking through the sale too quickly and didn’t realize the free two-day shipping I thought I was getting was actually only valid if I signed up for some offer (scam???) Barnes and Noble was offering.  When I found out I was going to have to wait for 6 business days (once it shipped), I was upset to say the least.  I said as much in an e-mail to customer service.

I finally received my brand new Nook Color on 9/15/11.  I unwrapped it and put it in its protective case (additional cost).  I read over the quick start guide, which warned of charging completely before using, and I set it to charge.  Two or three hours later I was ready for bed, and the Nook said 43% charge.  I went to bed knowing it would be fully charged when I awoke the next day.

When my eyes opened the next morning, my thoughts quickly focused on my Nook Color.  I didn’t even put on my glasses and I was already looking at it.  The charge status on the micro-usb plug still showed it wasn’t fully charged.  It had not turned green.  How could that be, I wondered, as I put on my glasses and looked at the software’s charge percentage?  It read 45%.

On the bus ride to work I started reading the Nook Color documentation (installed on the Nook Color – I keep repeating Nook Color for *SERPs).  Also, nosing around I noticed that my 8 Gig of memory was reporting as 1 Gig.  I thought that there was something wrong with my brand new Nook Color as it was supposed to have 8 Gig of memory, not to mention the charging issue.  This greatly upset me.

I called Barnes and Noble on 9/16/11.  Charlie took my call.  Little was said and he was already sending me a replacement power cord.  I told him about it only having 1 Gig of memory, and he said that, indeed, it did have 8 Gig of memory, but that 3 Gig was set aside for the operating system, 4 Gig was set aside for stuff downloaded from Barnes and Noble, and the 1 Gig that was reported was sideloaded and was for my use.  How generous of them.  I complained that Barnes and Noble’s website is misleading and he said that all the information is there in the spec’s.  I suggested they should make this type of information more easily accessible, more obvious, and he said he would report my suggestions to his supervisors.

So, I left my brand new Nook Color on the charger over night.  The next morning it was still at the same charge level as the night before – 16%.  Wonderful, a $300.00 Nook Color paperweight with hard case.  Now all I have to do is wait patiently for another couple days to see if the new cable will fix the Nook Color charging issue.  I assume the charger cable breaking easily is a known issue at Barnes and Noble.  Evidently their idea of fixing the problem is swapping out the bad cable in the hopes it won’t happen again (till my warranty runs out?) instead of redesigning the defective cable.

Looked into getting more memory for the Nook Color.  Eight Gigabytes cost around 4 dollars.  So, including shipping, it cost me almost $10.00 for 8 Gig more memory.  I’m sure the memory costs Barnes and Noble a lot less than it did me, so I have to assume they’re really cheap, or they don’t want me (or you) putting anything on the Nook Color unless it comes directly from them.  I’m leaning toward cheap, though, ’cause for a lousy $8.00 more ($4.00 for an additional 8 Gig of memory and $4.00 for the speedier shipping) I would have been a much happier customer.

I originally chose the Nook Color from Barnes and Noble over the Kindle because I don’t like being forced to buy proprietary software, e-books, etc. from the manufacturer, original seller.  That’s why I would never buy anything from Apple, but I digress.  However, I’m now beginning to believe the Kindle would have been the better deal.

On 9/18/11 I sent Barnes and Noble an e-mail (using their customer service e-mail submission page) asking where was the confirmation e-mail regarding the conversation I had with Charlie.  You’d think it would be an automated service.  I also asked where was the e-mail confirming the replacement power cable shipment.

I received an e-mail reply from Barnes and Noble about my Nook Color order.  They assured me they were very sorry, but they were unable to find an order number matching the one in my e-mail.  Maybe I should call them?

Called Barnes And Noble about my Nook Color and spoke with Jas (Jazz?).  After running me through their process I asked if I could speak to a supervisor.  “No, they are gone for the day,” she assured me.  I asked about the e-mail confirmation for the new charging cable they were supposedly sending me.  She said they don’t send out confirmation e-mails for accessories.  I suggested to her that it was not an accessory because the Nook Color would not work without it.  She assured me the charging cable (to replace the faulty cable) was, indeed, on it’s way.  I asked for the tracking number, and again asked if she would send a confirmation e-mail.  No answer to either question.  I decided that although she was very polite and apologetic, it was useless speaking to her, not to mention being irritated by being put on hold constantly.  I finally had had enough and asked about the return policy.  Suddenly I was able to speak with a supervisor.

The supervisor explained that the return and refund policy was 14 days from purchase date.  I asked if it was 14 business days.  He said no.  I asked if it was from the time I purchased the Nook Color from Barnes and Noble or from the time that I received it.  He again told me that it was based on the purchase date.  I explained to him that they did not ship it out the day that I purchased it, and that it took up to 6 business days to receive.  He again said that it was based on purchase date.  He then did some quick calculations and told me that it was too late to return my Nook Color for a refund.  I did some quick calculations of my own (it was, after all, simple math) and assured him I was still able to return the device as it was only the 19th and I purchased it on the 6th.  He reworked this complicated mathematical equation and agreed with me.

Considering my run of good luck and the outstanding customer service with regard to my brand new Nook Color from Barnes and Noble, I decided to return it for a refund.  I was told I would have to ship it back at my own expense, which is wrong.  It would be different if I was returning it because of so called buyer’s remorse, but this was a defective product – an expensive electronic paperweight.  I decided not argue the point because I just wanted this nightmare to be over.   The supervisor sent me an RMA in an e-mail.  He explained that sending an e-mail was difficult because they did not have access to outside e-mail, that he had to send it to someone else who could resend it to me.  He asked me if there was anything else he could help me with.  I told him that I hoped Barnes and Noble was hit with a class action suit (any lawyers out there?).

I mailed my brand new Nook Color back on the the 20th (9/20/11).  Actually, my brother did it for me while I was at work, but that’s beside the point.  It cost $17.32 to ship it with $300.00 insurance and delivery confirmation (which I have yet to receive – gotta love USPS tracking, but that’s another story).  Again, a bargain to be done with the nightmare.

I get home from work on 9/20/11 and I have an e-mail from Barnes and Noble saying they are shipping another Nook Color.  It was probably the power cable that they supposedly had already sent, but the e-mail said it was a Nook Color.  I again called customer service for Barnes and Noble.  I spoke with Janeane (???) who was very apologetic.  I asked to speak with a supervisor.

When I was connected with a supervisor I started with, “I’ve been told 1,000 times already that everyone is very sorry for the inconvenience, so please don’t say that you’re sorry.”  After explaining the situation he assured me there was nothing he could do that night, but that he would get back to me the next day.  He even went so far as to ask for my phone number so he could contact me personally.  I recalled for him my history with the Nook Color and Barnes and Noble’s customer service.  I also said that I was concerned about the latest e-mail, because although I had an RMA e-mail, it did not say if it was an RMA for return and replacement or refund.  He assured me that it was for a refund.  I told him that his assurances did little to ease my fears considering my history with Barnes and Noble’s customer service.  I asked for an e-mail with clarification on the RMA.  He said he could not do that and was sorry if I felt their e-mail was lacking.  I advised him that I would tell everyone that would listen not to buy anything from Barnes and Noble, especially a Nook Color, primarily because of the lousy customer service.  I told him that I would also blog about it (and you doubted me).  He asked to put me on hold so he could check on something.  After about 10 minutes on hold the line went dead.  I never received a call back, that night, nor the next day (with the personal follow up).

So, that’s my story.  Let’s recap:  Barnes and Noble, Nook Color, electronic paperweight, lousy customer service, hours (yes hours) of phone calls, lack of proper confirmation, and oh yes, return and refund but at my expense.  Of the original $296.66 I paid I was refunded $264.81 (I suppose there was a restock fee or something – don’t know).  Oh yeah, almost forgot, 14 days from purchase date to return the defective Nook Color, in spite of the fact that it took over half that time to receive the shipment.

Note: I am not alone in my complaints regarding the Nook Color by Barnes and Noble. Google “nook color charger problems” and find out for yourself. Sure, some will be off topic, but if you look, you will find complaints about the charger system. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

* SERPs – Trying to get Google to display this page when someone searches for Nook Color or Barnes and Noble.

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