The Bear and Us (Part 3)
by John Delach
Part 3: The Great Hoverboard Saga (Continued.)
We gathered all five cartons in the kitchen and proceeded to cut each open to reveal their contents. The first thing to strike us was that each board came from a different source and while identical in outward appearance except for color, each inner box identified the unit by a different product name. We were in possession of a Smart Drifting Scooter, a Smart Balance Wheel, an Airboard Scooter, a Drifting Board and a Smart Self Balancing Scooter. I kid you not!
(An attorney friend later explained that they were probably manufactured by one firm but under “small batch” LLC offshoot companies in an attempt to limit liability and, perhaps, pattern infringement.)
We were searching for “UL” labels on the boxes that would confirm that each unit had been approved by Underwriters Laboratories. As an insurance man, I explained to Mary Ann, “We can’t believe that any unit is safe unless it’s approved by UL who test electrical products. They either have the UL symbol or they must go back. I wouldn’t even buy a string of Christmas tree lights unless it was UL approved.”
The first unit we inspected came from Modell’s and it bore the UL symbol. Since Matt was the prime mover to have this contraption, we both agreed this was his.
The other four did not deserve a home. None of them had the UL symbol we sort. So began the difficult task of determining which units corresponded to which orders and arranging for them to be returned. Nothing matched any paperwork or labeling and we re-boxed them using whatever seemed to make some sense.
We also wrote email messages of explanation to the parents. They agreed and Mary Ann referenced UL in her messages asking what it meant. Michael replied, “U lose.”
We first tackled the three boards ordered through Amazon, (two three and four). Mary Ann quickly located three items on her account and following the prompts on Amazon’s web site she instructed Amazon that we wanted to return three units. Amazon advised that they would contact the manufactures and we should receive return labels by email within two days.
Two suppliers sent shipping labels and Mary Ann returned these units (boards numbered two and three) via FedEx at a cost to us of $40 each. The remaining supplier (board number four) remained silent until Mary Ann followed up with Amazon. Amazon must have poked them but instead of a label this company, “Grateful AM,” sent a series of messages that escalated their position as the days went on:
We would like to tell you. Our products has quality assurance. You won’t worry the safety problem. Please continue to use it. We already spent expensive shipping fee from Hong Kong to your address.
This was followed by: If you return it to us, we only can give you the refund of value of product not including the shipping cost.
And finally: You have received our product for a long time. You must have used it already. Our company doesn’t accept the products are used already by customer, unless it is still in new type.
Enough already! After a lengthy but satisfying conversation with an Amazon representative, she agreed to credit Mary Ann’s account with $60 toward the shipping cost for the two returned units and the full purchase price for the one from Grateful AM. Great job, Mary Ann, great job Amazon Prime!
Mary Ann asked this woman, “What should we do with that board?”
“Anything you like.”
Several days later Mary Ann received a half-baked apology from Grateful AM. offering us a $100 credit if we did not return the unit.. Apparently, Amazon gave them religion. We chose to ignore their offer.
In summary, we returned two boards. We received a credit for about 80% of the price from one from the supplier and Amazon advised that the second supplier would credit our account with the full purchase price of that board. Board number four was ours do deal with as we saw fit and, number five, the one from Modell’s, was going to Matthew. That left the first board, ordered directly over the internet, ours to contend with if we could locate the supplier…(to be continued.)