Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My Creative MuVo C100 Story

Update: July 25, 2006 - Two weeks after I initially wrote about my experience with Creative's technical service department, I got my new Creative MuVo C100 replacement today from them.

creative muvo c100

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.

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.

Related Customer Support Stories: Cancelling AOL, Comcast fires Technician, Thomas Hawk battles PriceRitePhoto, Class action lawsuit against Apple about iPod's battery, Dell's run around


  1. Creative have had problems for a while. I ordered something from them online (a couple of years ago), then canceled it once I found out they were backordered. I even got a cancellation confirmation number, too! Two months later the item shows up at my door, so I sent it back. When I called Creative they told me they lost the cancelation. Fortunately, they credited me for the item.

    Best of luck, Creative. As a company you really don't get it.

  2. Reason is simple: moron middle managers are only concerned with meeting their targets and a call center target is to get rid of a customer ASAP and get on to the next one. A call center manager performance is partly measured by number of cases resolved (to their satisfaction).

    I went through similar none sense with Dell sales support even before the product was shipped. Do what I did. find the email address of a customer support executive and send a nice email including your phone number with full history of names and attach emails and CC a couple of consumer advocate reporters in media outlets in your area. I received a call 10 minutes after I send the email from VP of North America sales and he promised to make it right. If you are lucky and there is a slow news day, you may get a call for an interview as media loves David vs. goliath stories.

    Got my Dell monitor at % 75 discounts and free shipping.

    BTW: maybe these guys will be interested to hear from you. ;)
    George Thorn: Director, Worldwide Developer Relations, Creative Labs
    Steve Lamberti, associate director of services, Creative Labs

    Good luck,

  3. Key word in regard to EOSL: "initial," which means that whether or not they're still selling it is irrelavent. According to Amazon, the C100 was first available in September, 2004. I guess that means their line is still bullshit.

  4. Hey Tian,
    I'd say Creative has always had problems with their support.
    I had problems with my Creative soundcard and they were never able to really help me. And when I needed newer drivers (shipped with Win98 drivers, needed XP), they told me they weren't able to provide them as a download, I would have to pay for a CD to be shipped to me, which of course costs more time and money.
    Stupid a$$holes, I guess they'll only learn when they have to file for bankruptcy.

  5. way to go :)
    glad it worked out for you.

  6. thanks eddie for your suggestion.

  7. Wow...I have several Creative products and, fortunately, have never had a problem. I really hope that yours was a somewhat isolated event, but you certainly weren;t treated with any respect. I feel bad if their eventual response to you was isolated as well...meaning there are bunches of support issues they may have where the customer doesn't know to do what you finally did! No one should have to go through all that. 20 years of retail management taught me one thing (if nothing else): The customer is always right and, because without your customers you won't exist, if the customer is wrong, MAKE it right!

  8. How funny!

    I've got a Creative Labs Zen Sleek that was given to me January, 06 and the hard drive crapped out a couple months back. I went through practically a mirror-image process in returning my player, however, when I received the email telling me I would have to pay the $25 fee, I skipped any further customer service "blah-blah" and sent my reply direct to a handful of upper-level execs. Within 2 days, I received a call from one guy (Tracy), who told me not to worry about the fee, and that they'd just take care of the whole thing for free. I still paid the shipping charges, but that's it. Today I got a call from Chris Brown offering the exact same free service. Both men were very nice and responsive.

    I thought it was incredibly poor for Creative to charge a fee just to look at my $280 player, when it was under a year old. But the way the problem was resolved certainly satisfied me.

    Does anyone have Chris Brown's email address? Thanks!

  9. No email address, but I have Chris Brown's phone number to his office line.

  10. Way to go, Tian!

    This is a classic story of incredibly poor customer service! Good for you for "taking it to the top." My wife once had a malfunctioning laptop delivered by hand courier to the company President's desk. Right away, she received a priority call from a Vice President, apologizing and promising a new laptop by FedEx the next day. And she received a highly upgraded model! Execs hate to be disturbed as a result of their underlings' incompetence!

    Hey, I want to ask you a favor: I collect and publish stories like yours, and also use them in my sales and customer service trainings. May I use your story? I will, of course, change Creative's name so I don't get sued for sullying their (not so good) reputation. If you can reply to me at, I would be most appreciative.

    Thank you!

    Scott Sorrell

  11. I own a Creative Nomad Jukebox 40 GB and it makes an excellant paperweight. I had a hard drive error about 6 months after purchase and had an identical customer service experience. I finally received a new player only to have it die after approximately 5 months. Of course now it is out of warranty since the time I spent emailing back and forth still counts in the warranty period. I tried to get customer service to give me prices for fixing it since it is the same identical problem as before. I was told I could send it in then told I could NOT send it in. I was told I had to purchase a tutorial first but I had all the emails from the previous problem (and there were a lot!)and nothing works to fix it. I even tried emailing the execs listed here (twice!) and it has been two weeks without a reply. I am now working on compiling posting, articles, etc. regarding their customer service (or lack of it)and products to email to them as well. I know it will probably do no good, but maybe it will be therapeutic for me. Anyone considering a creative product, think again.

  12. Ran across your blog while trying to find a phone number for Creative Zen Customer Service (your blog was the first thing to come up when I did a Google search). My 17-year-old son purchased a MicroPhoto 6-09-06 and had a "Hardware Problem" message come up on the screen within 5 weeks. I have e-mailed customer service 6 times. I keep receiving the same form e-mail reply every time. We have tried every help Creative has posted on their site plus all the worthless links in their form e-mail. When I reply to their e-mails (at their request), I get no response from them. I am ready to take this to a local television station that does problem solving segments. Do you have any suggestions?

    Q's Mom

  13. Q's Mom,

    The best thing you can do is to email the top guys in Creative. For instance, I emailed all the PR people in Creative, and next morning my issue was solved.