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Provantage.com / Refused to refund money for faulty product

1 CA, United States
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I ordered a Hanvon GraphicPal 0605 on 12/11/09 from Provantage.com for my wife for Christmas. After opening the product on Christmas she discovered it was defective. I attempted to contact Provantage once we returned from our Christmas trip. I also emailed Hanvon (they do not post phone numbers on their website). After receiving no response from either party, I finally decided to wait through Provantage's long wait time and talk to a customer service rep. The rep informs me that they will look into it. Several days later I receive an email from "Stephen" who informs me to call some company named Trustin. I call the number and am informed that Trustin is simply the company delivering the goods from the manufacturer to Provantage. They have nothing to do with the end user. Fortunately, they have a sense of customer service and give me the name and number for Hanvon.

After a difficult conversation with Yuying at Hanvon, who speaks broken English, I pay the money to ship the defective product to the manufacturer. They, in turn, ship another item to me, saying they have tested this one and find it to be in working order. Upon receipt, however, the replacement tablet is also defective. At this point, I simply want a refund.

So I again speak with Yuying, whose English is conveniently even more broken than before. She states she can only refund 80% of my money for the defective product, and I'll have to go through Provantage. Knowing that they will need an authorization number, I practically have to force one from her.

I call Provantage that afternoon. After 15 minutes of on-hold, I give up. A few days later, I call again but dial the option to speak with sales. Voila! Someone answers literally within a minute. They, of course, have no need for me so I'm quickly ushered to the Customer Service queue. After waiting 17 minutes, I speak with Ron, who was very friendly and very powerless to help me at all. I explain my situation, to which he informs me that it's past the 30 days, despite the fact that I originally called about my problem within the 30 days. I am informed that I'll have to contact the manufacturer (Hanvon) to resolve the matter. I inform him that Hanvon informed me to call Provantage. Ron explains there's nothing they can do (except keep the money, of course).

Provantage claims on their returns page, "Some of our Best Customer Services begin AFTER you buy from us!" After receiving 2 defective products and no assistance from them, it's time to simply accept that fact that I was hosed and start spreading the word that this statement is most certainly a flat out lie--at least in my case. Armed with the knowledge that Provantage may send you a defective product and keep your money, I highly advise avoiding this business and paying a little more to companies who won't simply steal your money.

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