Swatch Group, Hamilton / Wouldn't repair a recent watch, lost my box, total rip-off
I sent my Hamilton Khaki quartz watch back to the Swatch Group for replacement of a broken crystal. The watch was purchased new in the late 1990s, and was off the 5 year warranty, but I wanted to have the watch properly re-sealed and the vacuum restored inside the case. After speaking to them on the phone, I was told to send the watch for a repair estimate. I sent it, in its original box, with the original warranty and dealer purchase information. Mistake! I got an estimate back by email, and then by regular mail, stating that they couldn't repair the watch because they no longer have the correct parts and would not repair it unless it could be returned to its original specs. They would keep the watch until I either authorized its return, so I could get it fixed on my own (they'd direct me to a list of "qualified" watch repair people.) OR, I could purchase a brand new watch from them at a generous 30% off retail. Woo-hoo! You can buy a new Hamilton from Ashford, or many other online retailers for a lot less that that. I was pissed, and told them I only needed them to replace a very common round crystal, the was probably exactly the same as on some of their new watches, but no dice. They just wanted me to buy a new watch at a substantial profit to them, and then keep my still running, still good watch, that only needed a crystal.
So told them to send it back to me. When it arrived it came without the case. When called about that, they said they'd look for it, but they don't keep them because there was no room to store them. I told them the watch was collectible with the case, and wanted the original one back. They first insisted they had no record of having received the case, and that they photographed each watch as it was received. Wrong! It WAS sent in the case. They said they'd look for it and get back to me by the next day. I don't know if they did the former; they definitely never did the later. When I called them back again a week later, they said they'd look again. Then I was told they'd found the case and would send it. I asked for confirmation that it was the original. Was told it was. But what they sent me was a huge modern case in a hideous orange color. It has just kept going on, they insisting I never sent the box, and that they wouldn't fix the watch when. I told them to just send me a similar, inexpensive (relatively) new Quartz Khaki, they said they could, but I'd have to send mine back. (Ok...) And buy the new watch on their "exchange program" for 30% off retail. This has been going on for three months since I received the “sorry” non-estimate. Now we're pretty much right back where we started. I've still got a nice watch with a broken crystal…and now I don’t have the original box. They’ve got me madder than hell about being jerked around and getting ripped off by a scheme to simply sell customers new watches at a very nice profit.
Can you say, "crooks", boys and girls? Don’t send your watch back to Swatch. Don’t buy one of their overpriced, brands either. Based on my experience, they certainly don’t support them.
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