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  #1  
Old 05-04-2009
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Be careful buying electronics from Defender

Well, I live and learn I suppose.

I am (or was?) a big fan of Defender - they have good products, good prices and generally good customer service. However, as it turns out - they don't take returns on electronics. Perhaps this was a common knowledge - but it is certainly new to me.

Last week I bought Garmin Colorado 400C from Defender. Curiously, right before making a purchase I considered buying from another retailer (who I usually use for my photography and diving gear and such). They had it for $10 less (and they certainly take returns, no questions asked). I figured, though, that I'd rather give my money to Defender - $10 is not much to pay extra and they usually did right by me, so what the heck.

It also somewhat disappointed me that the best they could come up with during customer service call is that "they have a Wall st. lawyer in the family that owns Defender and he wrote their return policy" so it must be correct. I am sure it is legally airtight, but this isn't what store policy should be about - and in any case a "lawyer in the family" defense is not something I personally like during a routine customer service call.


Well, I suppose I have no one to blame but myself. Still, caveat emptor. If you purchase an electronic device (such as GPS) from Defender, open a box (mind you, it is not a wrapped or sealed box either) and then decide to send it back - they don't want it. Not even with a restocking fee. No way, no how. It is yours forever (unless may be manufacturer will take it). This is pretty darn unusual for an electronic retailer return policy. This is not entirely obvious from their return policy either (though now that I know where they stand I agree that this is what their policy means - that lawyer certainly did a good job for them).

I am not going to say that I will never buy anything from Defender again - but I am most certainly going to buy my electronics elsewhere. Their loss, frankly, considering how much I spend on that stuff.
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Old 05-04-2009
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Here is Defender's Return Policy. The way I read it, you should have been able to return the electronics "within 10 days from receipt". Was the issue that you had passed 10 days?


Quote:
RETURN POLICY
Return Policy:
We want you to be a satisfied customer, and we need your help to maintain our wide selection, name brands, low prices, and large on-hand inventory.

10-Day Returns:
Electronics, software, and electronic charts in their original packaging and ready-to-be-sold condition may be returned within 10 days from receipt for a full refund of merchandise price.

Non-Returnable:
Inflatable boats, outboard motors, life rafts, kayaks, trailers, cut goods, custom canvas, products with a broken seal, clearance items, close-outs, discontinued and specially ordered items are not returnable. If these items are found to be damaged or defective, you must notify us within 10 days for replacement. Unfortunately, we can not accept returns older than 30 days.

30-Day Returns:
Except as noted above, products in the original packaging and ready-to-be-sold condition may be returned within 30 days for a full exchange or refund of merchandise price. Unused items not returned in their original condition within the 30 days, if accepted, will be subject up to a 20% handling fee for inspection, repackaging, and restocking. We reserve the right to refuse returns or assess additional fees at our discretion if the merchandise is missing parts or is not in new condition.

Defective Products / Warranty Information:
Most items we sell are covered by manufacturers’ warranties. If you experience difficulty with a product, please contact the appropriate manufacturer for assistance and troubleshooting help. A full listing of the manufacturer’s websites is available at: Manufacturers’ Links, email custserv@defender.com, or call 800-435-7180. We will work with you and the manufacturer to resolve any issues.

How to Return an Item:

Request a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) Number by contacting Customer Service: custserv@defender.com, 800-435-7180 or 860-701-3400, or Request RMA Here. The returned product must be postmarked within 15 days or the RMA number will expire.
Repack the product in the original packaging and place inside a box suitable for shipping with all the original enclosures, parts, and accessories.
Write the RMA number clearly and conspicuously on the outside of the package.
Return it to us postage pre-paid (we do not accept C.O.D.),with the appropriate insurance. Please note: Shipping costs are non-refundable.
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Old 05-04-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
Here is Defender's Return Policy. The way I read it, you should have been able to return the electronics "within 10 days from receipt". Was the issue that you had passed 10 days?
No, I am still within 10 days - its been less than a week.
But I took GPS out of the box, put batteries in it and powered it up. That's it - they don't take items that's been powered up or in any visible way taken out of the box.

They just called me back and said that *as a huge personal exception to the policy just because I am such a good customer* they will let me send it back. However, if the guy that checks it out thinks that it is in *any way* visible that the box was open and device powered up - they will send it back to me, no return - and I am responsible for all the shipping back and forth.

Basically they told me that "they can't sell this item as new" again and so they can't take it back, because the next customer would not want something I opened. May be it's a germ thing, I don't know. Personally I don't care - but also am not sure why potential well-being of next customer is not an issue for all the other electronics retailers, but is a problem for Defender. They must know something everyone else does not.


With all that I am not sure how there could be a reasonable return on anything if I cant even open the box, much less power it up. How the heck would I know if it's any good? (I suppose the defective item replacement would still be fine but simply not liking the item because it is not working the way you expected - that's out).
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Old 05-04-2009
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Well

I will NOT pay full price for and open box and most open returns do have to be sold as refurbished or open boxes

At best you will get hit for 15% at most stores


You sure cant return electric parts on boat motors or cars at ALL unless there defective
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Old 05-04-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommays View Post
Well

I will NOT pay full price for and open box and most open returns do have to be sold as refurbished or open boxes

At best you will get hit for 15% at most stores


You sure cant return electric parts on boat motors or cars at ALL unless there defective
I definitely can return electronics to a number of stores (I won't start naming them - list would be too long ). Some take restocking fee, and others don't take any fees and simply accept returns. One of these stores was specifically on my list and had the same item at lower price.

In any case - I don't have a problem with Defender not taking returns, it is their store and their right to do so. I do have a problem with them not being completely honest about that in return policy (though of course now that I had spoken to them, I understand what the "ready to sell" clause means).

Other than a price of an item it is no big deal. (In fact, I am kinda gearing up for buying wireless Tack Tick instruments and until today buying from Defender was pretty much a foregone conclusion, but now I will definitely go somewhere else. Works for me).

I do think that it is worth informing others of the explanation of Defender return policy (in case, like me, they did not realize what it *really* meant) - it may save someone a few $$ down the road. That's all.
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Old 05-04-2009
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i have a kinda dishonest way when i buy something that i am not sure if it is what i need or if i will like it. i open the bottom of the box, that way any makers seal on the top stays undisturbed.
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Old 05-04-2009
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You would be surprised how many people return the big screen TV after the big game, or pots and dishes with food on them after they had the party, even that party dress after wearing it all night. Auto parts store will not take any electric device back. People mess to much stuff up. I dont know how they could stay in business buying back damaged stuff they cant resell.
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Old 05-04-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyt View Post
i have a kinda dishonest way when i buy something that i am not sure if it is what i need or if i will like it. i open the bottom of the box, that way any makers seal on the top stays undisturbed.
I don't think this would help in this case. The GPS box had no seals. It is ready to be opened and re-closed, so there isn't really anything that it needs to look like new. It is pretty much the same way it was when I got it.

The point is - if the store does not take returns on certain items, they should make that clear. Then customers would make their own decision - whether to buy there or not. Considering how many stores take returns no questions asked - it's not a big deal for a customer (me) at all. Just be honest with me upfront (instead of having a sneaky return policy that says you can return things, whereas really you can't).
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Agree, many good return policies have been changed because of abuse.
Worked with a guy that would buy tools from one place to try them out, then return them and order from an online store because they were cheaper but had a strictor return policy.

Electronic items are very often exchange only when open. If the box is opened, it's yours, any warranty work HAS to go through the manufacturer.
exceptions are hidden damage, or defective parts which most places will replace/repair.


Ken
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Old 05-04-2009
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Originally Posted by merc2dogs View Post
Agree, many good return policies have been changed because of abuse.
sure thing, and let them do it. but that means being clear and forthcoming. How hard it is to write on the web site "we have had problems with returns so we don't take returns on electronics"? Just put that in the policy - and everyone is happy.
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