PB Technologies Customer Service Timeline

I’m really interested to understand how consumers and retailers are educated around the consumer guarantees act. I’d love to hear your feedback as you read of the timeline below (I’ll add to it as it progresses). Am I being a dick? I’m going to be as careful as I can to add no bias. I will however comment in the comment section after the article.

  • 20 Jan: Bought a pair of Ultimate Ears 200vi iPhone headphones from PB Technology in Queen St. Cost $125
  • 12 Apr: Noticed the cord was fraying around the plug.
  • 15 Apr: Cord really frayed, headphones still working. Here’s a photo of the issue. Took the headphones back to the shop, with credit card statement showing the date and amount of purchase.
    • Gave the headphones to a technician called Cooper and said something like: “these are breaking, can you please replace them or refund my money?” I figured the plug was moulded on and unlikely to be repairable.
    • Cooper took a short look and said something like “no you see, this is damage caused by misuse or breakage. It’s not covered by warranty.”
    • I complained and said I hadn’t misused the headphones, just used them normally, and they were only 2.5 months old.
    • He reluctantly (no bias) said something like “I could send them to Logitech and have them decide if it’s misuse or wear and tear.”
    • At this point I was concerned about the time it would take, and also unhappy with the service. I was also wondering about my rights under the CGA and whether I had the option to demand a refund from PB without need for them to go to Logitech. So, I left the shop with the headphones, and the intention to check my rights and complain to PB about Cooper’s assumption that I caused the damage myself.
    • I checked the PB website, and was pleased to see they very clearly show their contact details and complaints process.
    • I sent this email to PB (and I freely admit that I dropped my credentials in there so they would understand I don’t just casually lie about intentionally breaking stuff):
      [quote]Hey guys,
      I just popped in to your city store with my 2.5 month old Ultimate Ears headphones that are falling apart, and was told by “Cooper” that it is due to damage, not normal wear and tear. After I mentioned the consumer guarantees act, he said reluctantly that he “might be able to send them to Logitech to see if they thought it was damage”.
      Thing is, I take my consumer tech pretty bloody seriously. I review gadgets for TVNZ Breakfast, and run a review site. I treat everything with the same care and attention you would expect from any other consumer. I did not damage these earphones.
      You can see an image of the frayed headphones here: www.ben.geek.nz/2010/04/pb-technology-and-the-consumer-guarantees-act/
      Can you help me out? I don’t really want a repair because I don’t trust the construction of the plug anymore.
      Ben Gracewood.[/quote]
    • … and got this reply
      [quote]HI Ben, Thanks for your email, PB Tech has always tried to supply the best service and above, that our customers are entitled to.

      I have spoken to Cooper who believes that the damage to the unit is caused by miss use and there by called physical damage.

      He has informed me that he has offered under warranty to send the unit to the manufacturer to have it assessed. He tells me that you have declined this offer and taken the goods with you.

      There by you are not allowing PB Technologies the opportunity to rectify this warranty issue for you.

      He informs me this all happened this morning 15/04/2010.

      Although we are Authorised resellers of these products we are not Authorised service agents and as such we must seek the Manufacturers/importers recommendation as to the repair or replacement of the item in question.

      I will check with the manufacturer to confirm that I am correct in the previous statement

      From your email please clarify, are you informing me that you will not accept a replacement if it was offered to you and further you are requesting PB Technologies to do repair work on the item in question that we are not authorised to do, and there by void any future warranty.

      I would like to solve this issue as soon as possible and request you deliver the item in question to us so we can get the fastest possible resolution with the smallest amount of inconvenience to you.

      Kind Regards
      Les Ludlow
      Operations Manager[/quote]

    • I was quite confused by this email, so I called Les directly. He seemed to be immediately on the offence, and we talked past each other for the whole call. His points seemed to be:
      • PB aren’t qualified to assess damage to we need the supplier to do it. Drop the headphones back in so we can get Logitech to check them.
      • We frequently get customers claiming “it just happened” for obvious accidental damage.
      • Customers wrap headphone cords too tightly and damage them.
      • The CGA lets us (PB) choose how to resolve issues.
    • …and mine were:
      • I didn’t damage the headphones, nor wrap them around anything.
      • If I had wrapped the headphones around the iPhone, this is normal use for headphones. They should be able to handle that for more than 2 months.
      • The CGA allows for normal, reasonable, etc., so how PB thinks things get damaged is not so relevant.
    • Then I took the headphones back to the shop, they looked up the original invoice, and booked it in for a warranty job.
    • Then I had this email exchange with Les:
    Ben Gracewood Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 3:27 PM
    To: Les <Les@pbtech>
    Do you mind if I publish this reply Les? I honestly think it’s up to PBTech to decide if the item is damaged or not, but am happy to have Logitech take a look if that’s the only option you allow me.

    Les <Les@pbtech> Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 4:17 PM
    To: ben
    Hi Ben You can publish this email if you wish we have nothing to hide. However publish it as it was written and without personal opinion attached and let the readers make up there own minds.

    Ben Gracewood Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 4:20 PM
    To: Les <Les@pbtech>
    I had no other intention.Headphones are now with your Q st store. Job number MD 2062.

    Les <Les@pbtech> Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 4:33 PM
    To: Ben Gracewood
    Thanks Ben, they should be here in the morning and I have arranged to get them inspected as soon a possible tomorrow, I am away for the week end but they are going to ring me with a decision and I will let the branch know what to do from there.

    Ben Gracewood Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 4:37 PM
    To: Les <Les@pbtech>
    Just confirming that you understand my preference is for a refund right? Looking at the plug arrangement, I’m not happy that it is fit for purpose.

    Les <Les@pbtech> Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 4:46 PM
    To: Ben Gracewood
    HI Ben I understand what you have said, the only question is weather the manufacture think the issue is warranty or (as we call at PB Tech) Physical damage.

    I will get back to you as soon as I can

  • …ends…

So, before you read the comments, make your own judgement.