Update: July 13, 2006 - This morning I got a call from Chris Brown, Team Leader of Creative Technical Support. He said that he was instructed by his director to personally take care of my issue after my email to Creative's Public Relations Department was passed down.
During our conversation, Chris was very courteous and professional. He has apologized on behalf of Creative and its technical support department for providing me with incorrect information regarding their policy.
A few minutes later, I was issued a RMA number, waived the $25 non-refundable fee, free shipping label, and Creative will replace my MuVo C100 free of charge.
Update: July 12, 2006 - I would like to thank everyone for your suggestions and support.
I have emailed my experience with Creative Customer/Technical Support to Phil O'Shaughnessy (Senior Director of Corporate Communications), Lara B. Vacante (Senior Public Relations Manager), and Katie Meyer (Public Relations Specialist).
I was not able to find contact information for George Thorn (Director of Worldwide Developer Relations) and Steve Lamberti (Associate Director of Services).
Hopefully I will hear something back from them.
Original Posting: July 12, 2006
In November 2004, I have purchased a Creative MuVo C100 mp3 player. There were several reasons I decide to purchase a mp3 player by Creative instead of its competitors. Mainly it were its design and functionality.
MuVo C100 has 256 MB of built-in memory storage as well as an expansion slot for SD cards. It used standard AAA sized battery, its display was large, buttons were easy to operate, and it also had FM radio receiver.
It was a great mp3 player.
Recently in mid June of this year, my MuVo’s display stopped function properly. The blue colored background light is on and the player still played music, but there is no text to show song titles, play list, and time. It was like an Apple iPod Shuffle but was cheaper with extra functions.
I contacted Creative via its website about getting my player repaired. After filling in detailed information about myself and the mp3 player, I received my first reply from Doug (15589) of Creative Americas Customer/Technical Support on June 30th stating that it was a firmware issue. Doug suggested me to download the latest firmware from Creative’s website and give it a try.
I emailed Creative Technical Support back indicating Doug’s updating the firmware suggestion did not work.
Kelvin, another Creative tech support person, replied to my email saying since my product has “exceeded its 3 month labor warranty period” and a “non-refundable $25.00 diagnostics and handling fee would be required”, plus any cost of repair over the $25, I will have to pay as well.
“Why not,” I thought to myself. $25 sounded reasonable enough; after all, my MuVo C100 is over one year old.
In order to receive a RMA, Return Merchandise Authorization, I had to once again provide all the information about myself and my mp3 player which I have already done when I contacted them at the first place.
A few days later, Jason (tech support person #3 from Creative) emailed me back denying my RMA request based on “the product is EOSL, End of Service Life”. He also suggested purchasing a “30-minute Creative Tutor session for $12.99”, where I will be talking to a tech support person on the phone, go through all the procedure of “diagnostics” and eventually conclude “yep, the display on your mp3 player is not working, you will need to send it in”.
According to Creative’s Frequent Asked Question page about EOSL:
A product will reach its end of service life at a minimum of 3 years from its initial shipping date. Products are deemed EOSL when we are no longer able to provide hardware or software support. This may be due to a lack of available replacement inventory or parts and also advancements in technology and operating systems.
I find Jason’s claim hypocritical since the same player is still available for sale on Creative’s website and no where near the “minimum of 3 years”.
When I pointed this out to Jason, he did not reply back, instead it was Tim and he insisted that I should purchase the $12.99 Creative Tutor session. Within two weeks, multiple tech support persons from Creative have provided me with complete different responses.
Feeling frustrated, I replied back to Creative and this time I have also copied my feedback to “Creative Experience”, asking why is it so difficult for me to receive a RMA for my repair? And, if I was to be hassled around, at least the tech support people can do is too keep all their stories straight.
As of right now, my Creative MuVo C100 is still broken. There are no more responses from Creative’s technical support, probably I may have been black-listed as a "trouble customer" by them.
With 80% of mp3 player market share is currently controlled by Apple’s iPod and multiple companies are making portable mp3 players, one would think Creative would do a better job of keeping its current customers happy, perhaps they would purchase more products by Creative.
Although my experience with Creative technical support could be an isolated incident, it still lingers over my mind. Hopefully this story about my experience with Creative will be picked up by Boingboing, Digg, or any other media organizations, and then Creative would eventually learn a thing or two about customer service.
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