Thursday, August 24, 2017

Are we Tracking?

"Those warranties … they always find a way out of them. They're such a hassle!"

My wife and I are non-athletes, but we like to know something about our activity level: steps taken; sleep quality; heart rate; heart rate variation with activity and so forth. At the end of May last year we each bought a wrist worn activity tracker at a big-box electronic store. ( I will henceforth refer to the device and its maker as 'tracker,' and the store as 'retailer.' ) We downloaded the tracker app and enjoyed being able to monitor our activity, and see our history.

Previously our older son had gotten a tracker. His wristband delaminated, developing a huge bubble. The device was integrated into the band, so if the band went bad the device did, too. "I talked to tracker about it; they were great. Sent me a new unit with no questions asked." Matt is quite active, and always wore his tracker. We figured his perspiration took a toll on the band.

Eight months after the purchase of our trackers our bands began delaminating. "I'll bet this is just what Matt was talking about," we said.

I chatted online with a Tracker CS agent. My device was under warranty, he'd send an email detailing my options, one of which would be to simply replace the device I had. I spoke on behalf of my wife, and she got an email with the same options I had. We both chose replacing our original device, and received them promptly. We were happy as clams.

Until another six months passed … I noticed the end of the band immediately adjacent to the device was delaminating. I didn't mention this to my wife, I didn't feel like contacting tracker again, and figured I'd wait until it had delaminated across the entire width of the band and then I'd try gluing it down.

As I waited for that to happen the delamination slowly widened. "Look," Ellie said, showing me her tracker bearing wrist, "it's happening again." Sure enough, her band had developed a bubble. I showed her my tracker; ugh.

"You warranty is up, but all is not lost," the agent said this time, "I can offer you a 25% discount on anything."

"I buy two devices, need to replace each of them, twice, for the same reason, in a period of less than eighteen months, and all you can offer me is a 25% discount?" I asked, incredulously.

Well, no, that's not all. He also upgraded our accounts to premium. If Ellie or I were athletically competitive, this might have been worth something. But we're not, and it wasn't. "I'd trade you the Premium Account for an additional 25% discount," I said.

"I cannot do that," he replied. "I've given you all I can."

As Ellie and I spoke about this, shopped on the website and wondered what kind of device(s) we'd like to get, I mentioned what I thought was the original device cost.

"No," she said, "they weren't that much."

Curious about this, I got the original receipt. "Oh, honey," I said, "look at this!"

There was a second line for each device: "2-year replacement warranty … $30." We never buy extended warranties … except when we do.

Because Ellie wanted to see the various devices before making a purchase decision with her 25% discount, we were already planning a visit to the retailer that day. "Now we have another reason to visit retailer," I said.

"I, of course, want to go," she said, "But what are you expecting?"

"I expect to walk into Customer Service, turn in our bad trackers and walk out with new ones."

"Dreamer," she said. "Those warranties … they always find a way out of them. They're such a hassle!"

We went. "Did you bring your charging cords?" the pleasant agent behind the desk asked.

"Groan!" "No, we didn't."

"We have to return them with the device. You bring those in, and I'll give you store credit for the original purchase price of the devices."

Home was close, it was still only late afternoon, and we made a round trip.

We took the previously-selected units (on sale for $20 off ) to the CS desk, and the agent did exactly as she had said.

We left the store with two brand new trackers ( similar to the one we originally purchased but with removable bands and a new feature or two ) and  $40 credit. We did not buy the warranty; we have two weeks to decide on that.
If you would like to comment but don't care to use the comment field, send an email to

No comments:

Post a Comment