A few months ago I made a purchase of a motherboard for a new computer build. The mother board was damaged upon receipt of the item. Some pins were bent on various locations of the connectors. I was unable to get the motherboard to function appropriately. This motherboard was not cheap either. It cost almost $900.
I received the motherboard on January 13th. It was returned to the seller on January 14th. The seller then refunded me roughly half of the purchase price. They kept a $395 restocking fee. Almost 50% of the cost for a damaged item.
I initially reached out to the seller who was listed as “smartshopperLLC” on amazon. The seller sent a basic scripted message back saying I would receive my refund. A few weeks went by and I again reached out to the seller. The next reply stated that I had returned the item damaged and that is why they charged me a restocking fee.
Lets take a closer look at this scenario because it is an interesting dynamic. The seller sells a damaged item at a markup $900. The buyer receives and returns the item for a refund of $500. The seller pockets $400. The seller is then able to relist the item for another $900. Rinse and Repeat and you have the making of a very profitable scam.
Caught in the Middle
I have no way to prove the item was received damaged. Conversely, the seller has no way to prove that I damaged the product. There must be a leap of faith somewhere in this transaction. For a mail order business such as Amazon to appeal to the customer, you would expect their return policy to have some allowance for this type of disconnect.
I reached out to Amazon approximately 15 times over the next several weeks. Each phone call or chat required me to explain the situation. The associate would then tell me they have “escalated the concern” to the proper “team” and that I would hear back within a few days. Occasionally I would speak to someone on the phone who would then tell me that the refund was authorized and would be credited to my account in 3-5 days.
Amazon’s Lack of a Solution
The time would eventually pass and no resolution would occur. I would call back in and speak to another associate and go through the same steps. I called back in to Amazon today (4/15/23). It has been 3 months since I returned the item. The Amazon associate I spoke with today told me they had reached out to the seller and that I would need to wait 2 more days.
Upon asking the associate “what is the recourse if the seller ignores the issue?” The associate repeated that I would have to wait 2 more days. I continued to pressure them for a definitive answer but eventually the associate just ended the chat. I decided to call in.
The “manager” I spoke with on the phone listened to the whole story yet again. They told me they will “escalate” the concern and reach out to the seller, again. Then they said I should receive my refund within 5 days… again. So, after wasting 3 months chasing down a $395 restocking fee, I am in the exact same place I was every time I call or start a chat.
The Saga Continues
The moral of the story is DO NOT BUY ELECTRONICS from Amazon. I will update this story when and IF I ever get that $395. Until then, I will order my electronics from other sources that offer a better and more reliable return policy.
Buyer Beware! The online marketplace is a train wreck for the consumer. If it is not sold by an official Amazon merchant you could easily get scammed like I did. Take a moment to review the sellers info and ONLY BUY FROM A REPUTABLE SELLER