My D-Link wireless router died this past weekend. Again! and I’m not a happy customer.
I purchased the D-Link DIR-615 router last September after a lightning strike took out my cable and just about everything attached to it. After mail-in rebate, it cost about $50.00. Two months later, it stopped working. I tried to return it to Office Depot, but was that told that they only accept returns within 15 days of purchase and that I would have to call D-Link to get it repaired or replaced.
I worked with a D-Link technician to troubleshoot the router and eventually a Return Authorization was issued. I was then told that I would have to ship the defective modem back to them at my expense. I tried to argue that they should send me prepaid UPS tag, but did not prevail. I sent the router back costing me about $12.00. A week later, I had my replacement.
Fast forward four months to this past weekend. The replacement dies and I start the process all over again. After roughly two hours on the phone, the Return Authorization was issued. When I asked the support rep about getting D-Link to pay for the return this time, I instructed me to call Customer Service.
I tried several times starting last Saturday to get through to D-Link’s Customer Service, but they were either closed or left me waiting in the queue for over 30 minutes (I refuse to wait any longer than that). If the wait times are any indication, D-Link has lots of customers with product issues. I finally got through to a Customer Service rep today after a 20 minute wait. I explained that my router was dead for the second time in six months and that I didn’t think it was fair for me to have to pay shipping a second time.
I was told that D-Link will pay for shipping only when the product is diagnosed as defective within the first 15 days. I explained that I understood the policy, but that considering that this was the second failure, perhaps they could make an exception. The CSR replied that she understood, but then restated the policy.
At that point, I asked to speak to a supervisor. I was told that the supervisor would give me the same answer, but after I insisted, the CSR transfered me. Sure enough, after pleading my case to the supervisor, I was politely told that D-Link would replace my router, but that I would need to pay for the shipping. I expressed my disappointment in having to pay nearly half of the purchase price in shipping costs for in-warranty repairs and ended the call.
When a customer needs to buy a wireless router, the best deal often wins. There are lots of choices in residential wireless networking products and there isn’t much differentiation in terms of price, quality or technology. In a marketplace with these characteristics, brand loyalty is difficult to maintain, but the ability to deliver an experience that exceeds expectation can make a customer for life. In my case, D-Link had the opportunity to turn a dissatisfied customer in the a happy one. The cost would have been less than $10 (volume shipping discount). In return I would be writing a very different blog post right now. I would not have told friends and co-workers about my bad experience. I would not have told followers on Twitter not to buy D-Link products (OK, maybe that was a bit melodramatic).
Perhaps D-Link does have some larger quality issues and the cost of paying for return shipping for all that defective product would be cost prohibitive. I don’t know. I do know that I’ll never purchase another D-Link product.