I have never been a big believer in warranties, and I’ve never bought an extended warranty. But when a product dies within six months of purchase, you’d better believe I’m calling foul on a junk product.
Last Christmas season, my husband expressed interest in a fitness activity tracker. I did some research on the costs and features, and while they mainly seemed to be expensive pedometers, I bought him a Jawbone UP24. He opened it on Christmas morning and wore it all the time. He really liked it, too. He would even ridiculously walk around the house at night if he hadn’t walked 10,000 steps in a day, so as not to break his streak of continuous days of hitting his activity goal.
So far, so good.
In June 2015, a mere six months into its lifespan, the product basically died. It could no longer communicate with my husband’s iPhone, which is the only way for the user to see the activity tracking information.
To its credit, Jawbone customer service walked us through troubleshooting and confirmed we had the latest firmware, but ultimately agreed there was no fix. They offered to replace the UP24 with a UP2, which is a newer product. In July the replacement product arrived. My husband again loved it, and his activities and sleep habits were once again successfully tracked.
Five months later, the UP2 died. This time it was not a technological death, but a physical one. The bracelet no longer clasped, so it fell off, making it completely unwearable — and as wearable technology goes, useless.
Perhaps I was naive, but I contacted Jawbone customer support again. I believed that because they provided a brand new replacement product in July, that surely my warranty clock had reset in July, and I would easily receive another replacement.
Well, my warranty fantasy was shattered when Jawbone informed me on Dec. 10, 2015, that my one-year warranty is only valid from the initial purchase date, which in my case happened to be November 2014.
But what about that brand spanking new UP2, that wasn’t even on the market a year ago? Surely it should last beyond five months? And don’t these companies want us to keep wearing their product, so we don’t, say, go buy from their competitors?
With some persistent phone calls to regular customer service representatives, following
the golden rules of self-advocacy, I managed to persuade the folks at Jawbone to replace the product a second time.
The Jawbone representatives initially rejected the validity of the one-year warranty based on my initial purchase of the UP24, which was in late November 2014. Politely, patiently, and providing evidence of my purchase date, I explained that the item was a Christmas gift, first opened and used on Dec. 25, 2014, and argued the warranty clock should not begin until that date.
While this argument is a departure from the strict language of the warranty, many companies make allowances for extended return periods and warranties in consideration of the holiday gift giving season.
Most standard product warranties work just like that of Jawbone, which states: In the event there is a warranty claim and a subsequent product replacement, the warranty is extended to the replacement product. If at the time of replacement there is less than 90 days left on the original warranty, Jawbone extends the warranty by 90 days.
So we’ve made it to 2016 with our third product. Can this latest replacement UP2 outlast the 90-day warranty extension we have just entered? I’m not holding my breath.