15 August 2019

Amazon: New or Used

My niece is a gamer. When she pinged me a couple of months back during E3 to tell me how excited she was about the "Zelda: Breath of the Wild" sequel, I went ahead and bit the bullet to get her a Nintendo Switch for her birthday.

I jumped onto the Amazon app, searched up the device, made sure all was legit, and purchased the unit. It came promptly, and I put it aside until her birthday a couple of months later.

The day finally arrived. I knew she was going to be so excited to get this. And she was! She was very happy. Since we had spent the day out celebrating her birthday, she was tired and planned on opening the Switch the next day.

Midmorning the following day, I pinged her to ask her how the Switch was going. She told me she had just gotten up and was starting it up at that moment. A few minutes later, she messaged me asking if I ordered the unit was new or used. She said there were accounts already on the device.

I checked the order from Aamzon, and it was listed as New, sold by Amazon Services, Inc. I Googled the account names and found nothing to indicate any dummy/default accounts preinstalled. I opened a chat session with Amazon. A tech joined shortly, and I began to ask about the situation.

In the meantime, my niece was still trying to connect the unit to the WIFI with no success.

I had asked her to send me the serial number. I thought it might come up in the conversation with the tech. She gave me the number. I did another quick search only to see if there were any reports with that serial number. But the number didn't seem to match a Nintendo Switch. A little more digging informed me that the serial number my niece provided was for the charging unit. When I told her this and where the serial number should be, she told me it had been torn off leaving only little bit of white sticker where it once was.

So, now I have discovered that although I ordered New and my invoice reports New, I was sent a Used device which isn't even functioning as refurbished.

To make matters more frustrating, the return window for an expensive device like this is only one month. When I mention this to the tech, she tells me that she can make an exception to the return window. This is a concern to me since I tend to buy gifts in advance, especially around Christmas. I have purchased many items a couple of months before the event. With a one month window for returning items, I am now realizing that I am going to need to either wait until it is less than a month and take the chance it might be sold out or order early and open it make sure it works.

What really makes me the most angry is that although the device was listed as New in all the places for the order, I received a less than Refurbished item. I could even understand if this was sent from an Amazon seller, but it was Amazon Services itself.

Amazon has made things right, something I expect for an item this caliber. A one month return window on this type of device seems a little small. (A friend suggested a one-month-from-open and not one-month-from-receipt. That seems smart.) And how does a unit with non-functioning WIFI end up in a box in their New-status stock?

This experience will change how I handle gifts from Amazon.