An odyssey with the Kobo customer service

I love books, I couldn’t imagine a life without them. I also love my freedom so with the age of e-readers I obviously didn’t go the Kindle route but chose Kobo as I could read epub files, the open standard for e-books, by just copying the files to the device. Great! I was a happy owner of the Glo, a great front-lit e-reader, an even happier owner of the H2O with its bigger screen. As Kobo announce their Aura One early September 2016, with an even bigger screen and high resolution display i ordered it right away, and to my big mistake, from Kobo directly. Fist they take 9€ in shipping, where other companies ship for free even from the Netherlands, and then you have to wait ages because their stock indicator is not updated in real time so there actually was no stock at all when i ordered.

After it arrived there was joy at first but after turning on the natural lighting, which Kobo achieves with RGB-LEDs emitting light in different tones of red depending on the time of the day, it shows what many people on the mobileread forums experience. Some LEDs are brighter than the rest, or the wrong color leading to red and green blotches over the bottom of the screen. Some people even see rainbows on the bottom half of their screens. Replacement devices also act completely different. This is totally unacceptable quality control of Kobo right here. They don’t seem to manage to produce the same screen twice at the moment. The One should have probably been released a few months later and Kobo would have saved their reputation.

But this is by far where my story with Kobo ends. I contacted their customer support and told them about my problems. They told me to send it back to the Netherlands, and I’d have to pay shipping costs for this. Considering I just bought their top of the line e-reader for 240€, paying shipping costs for a faulty device is probably not the best way to start a good relationship. So after complaining they offered to reimburse the costs to my kobo account but I’d still have to pay the costs for shipment. Considering companies in Germany have to pay shipping when returning products when bought over the internet and the product costs over 40€, paying for a replacement of a faulty device still didn’t seem right to me. So I started complaining to their official Twitter account on September 24th (Spoiler: It has not yet been solved at the time of this writing…). The apologized to me and offered to pay shipping costs and I should submit my address to their RMA department. I already had done this, but well, I did it a second time.

Nothing happened until the end of October when i wrote to their twitter account again. They added 15€ to my kobo account as an apology for the delays and apologized again. After I didn’t hear back from them after two weeks, we’re now in November already, they said it they had processed the replacement for shipment and that I should receive it within 5-7 business days. 14 days passed without a delivery and I asked again. Now they told me my delivery is on hold until they have more stock at the warehouse from which they are shipping it to me from and that there currently is no stock. So they lied to me when they said it shipped already and I had to ask again after two weeks of no communication from their side. What a joke this company became. If they would have told me that they finally managed to fix their quality control of the screens and the fixed ones still need some time it would have been totally fine with my. But not telling anything and expecting me to ask again is just totally unacceptable.

To sum it up, Kobo released a product too early, without acceptable quality control and take over two months (I can’t estimate how long it will take them to finally ship the replacement device) to replace their high-end devices from customers who bought the fist day the device has been available. This is how to get rid of loyal customers Kobo. Way to go!

Update 21.11.
I received my replacement device today. So neither the Twitter account nor the customer service knew they have already sent the device… But to my pleasure it’s much better than my previous one. No waybill for returning the old device was included though.

Update 4.12.
I still have no idea how to return my faulty device.