iRobot / Product fails to perform, Customer service lost returned merchandise
I purchased a Roomba (robotic vaccuum cleaner) from iRobot. The company I work for has manufactured components for iRobot's tactical product line, so I was aware of their commitment to quality, and assumed that it would be reflected in their consumer products as well.
The first one I had died 10 minutes into its first use. The brush drive motor self destructed, causing a great grinding noise to come from the machine. It ultimately took 3 weeks for a warranty exchange.
They (technical support) decided that the reason why the replacement robot didn't work - no sound, only travels in backward little jerky movements 90% of the time, won't dock, wont respond to the remote control, drives right down the steps without ever slowing down... is because the battery needs replaced.
The second agent I spoke with (when a new battery failed to resolve any of the issues) told me I needed to clean the sensors.
When that didn't fix it, the third agent told me that if the speaker isnt working, then it doesn't matter if the battery is good or bad, or if it is dirty or not... the entire robot needs replaced. According to the information he had in front of him, the only problem that I had reported was that it wasn't spending as much time cleaning as it used to. I pointed out that I had never claimed that as a problem, I had, in fact, explained exactly the same symptoms to every person I spoke with.
He sent me 2 emails that told me how to prepare it for shipping, but no RMA number. The first email told me to watch for a subsequent email that would have my RMA number.
After 4 days of waiting for the 'subsequent email with an RMA number', I finally called to request one from a real person. The agent I spoke with gave me a 12-digit RMA number. (For the record: [protected])
I shipped it back with the RMA number clearly visible on the box, and the shipping label, and emailed iRobot the tracking number (1Z71155F0395020217), RMA number, and expected delivery date.
They replied to *that very email* 2 hours later with â€Â?Here's your RMA number.' And this one was totally different. (The new number is: [protected])
I called and explained that I had been given 2 different RMA numbers.
I was told that I shipped it back with an invalid RMA number, and that was going to cause problems, but that it would be noted on my ticket.
Three days later, the unit was received by iRobot. I called when I received a delivery confirmation from them.
They told me that a robot was not received on that RMA number and that I would not receive my 'warranty exchange unit' (code for 'another refurb to replace the new one that didnt work') until they had received my defective one on the RMA number I had been given.
I tried to explain that I already did that... even have a confirmation that 'Murray' signed for it... But that didnâ€™t matter, because the RMA number in their system does not show a returned unit, and that I would not receive my warranty exchange unit until they receive my defective one on the RMA number I had been given.
I started demanding to speak with someone who could find answers for me.
They then began providing lip service for me:
I was told that it had already shipped, but that they don't have a tracking number because 'it doesn't work that way' (whatever THAT means.)
Several days later I received an email that said it would be released for shipment in 2-3 business days.
4 business days later, I called and was told it was on the dock and would ship out that day.
Several days later, I was told that it had shipped the day before.
The next day I received an email saying it would ship in 2-3 business days.
I called and demanded an honest and true indication as to the status of my robot. I was told that they couldn't help me because they couldn't 'work with' the RMA number I had been given, and that I would have to take it up with the sales department.
The sales department couldn't find any record of the RMA number at all, and told me that I needed to take it up with technical support.
A supervisor told me that I needed to take it back to the store where I bought it in the first place (He told me this after I told him I had returned the unit to iRobot, gave him the shipping information, the delivery receipt date and recipient, and all of the RMA numbers and ticket numbers...)
My frustration level at this point was higher than it has been with any company or product in memory.
That's when I just gave up and decided it was wasting more of my time than the thing was even worth in the first place.
So now they have my robot, they have my money, and they have no desire or ability to return either one to me.
So I took the components that I did NOT return to them (the charger, the battery, the dirt bin, the virtual walls, and the remote) and I threw them in the dumpster.
I give up.
They have defeated me.
Their technical support agents contradict each other, they give out conflicting instructions and information, they give out wildly varying diagnoses to exactly the same symptoms, and they ignore such facts as 'delivery confirmation receipts'.
They pass customers off to other agents or departments who are even less helpful or competent than the previous one, and they are unable to offer any explanation as to why this sort of behaviour is acceptable from their staff.
I am tired of playing with them, the cost of the robot, plus the cost of sending 2 defective units back to them, is a pricey way to get their point across to me, but I feel that they will get my money's worth. I will take the education I received from them, and use it to in turn educate as many people as I can... They have a nice concept, but their product quality is inferior. I base that statement on the fact that 100% of their products that I have used have quit working within 10 minutes of their first use.
I faxed the company and instructed them to keep the robot; I am tired of dealing with them after 9 months. I have filed a report with the BBB in their area, and I am seeking reimbursement of the $10.85 it cost me to send the second one back to them.
Their customer service department is unable to diagnose a problem consistently from one person to the next. They give out conflicting information, but are unable to acknowledge that they made a mistake. They do anything in their power to alienate their customers and make the process so cumbersome that it is easier to just give up and walk away than it is to find even one employee who is willing to look at a situation and make a decision to satisfy the customer rather than perpetuate the nightmare.
They are the stereotypical American company that sells a shoddy product, refuses to stand behind it, takes the customer's money, and slams the door in their face.
I will do everything I am able to make sure that anyone I can reach will know what a horrible company iRobot is.
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