mophie – a Case Study in Bad Customer Service

What is mophie?

mophie is a little California based manufacturer selling battery cases for mobile devices.

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My son Tobey bought one of their “Juice Pack Helium” cases via Amazon in September of last year. He liked the product, but it unfortunately fell apart one day, after less than 3 months of use. This was mid-December, a week or two before Christmas.

So, I encouraged my son to contact mophie to get the product replaced under warranty. He had researched the product and paid for it himself so I wanted him to understand the process of asking the manufacturer to stand behind their product when it breaks. We did a little research and found that mophie products have a 1 year warranty. With the busy holidays, we didn’t get a chance to submit the warranty request until January 3rd. Important note for later: this was 103 days after our purchase date.

So my son created a support request thru the mophie website. A reply came back from mophie a few days later, on January 5th.

Thank you for contacting mophie, and creating a case with our technical support department.

All new mophie hardware products carry a one-year Limited Warranty from date of purchase against defects in materials and workmanship.  Refurbished products purchased through third-party sellers carry a 90-day Limited Warranty form date of purchase against defects in materials and workmanship.

In order to move forward with the warranty replacement process, we will need a copy of your receipt from your purchase of this mophie device to verify the product is within warranty.  Please reply to this email with either a scanned copy or a photo of your receipt. Please make sure the date of purchase is visible in the file you send to us.

Alternatively, if you do not have a copy of your receipt, you can send a clear picture of the product label showing the serial number on the device. Please do not send images of the packaging.

If you purchased your item through our website, we can look your order up internally — if you have not already submitted your mophie order number, please reply to this email with the number.

Finally, please confirm your shipping address is correct:
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If there is no address listed above, please provide a valid shipping address.

Once this information is provided, we will be able to move forward.


Okay, it took nearly a week, but things seemed like they were off to a good start.

Over the next couple of days, we went back on forth, providing documentation and receipts to prove how and when the mophie case was purchased. on January 9th we provided a receipt from Amazon that clearly showed the date of purchase, the 3rd party seller, and the condition of the product at purchase – NEW.

On January 11th,  mophie came back and asked for a photo of the inside of the case, where the serial number is. We provided that as well. On January 18th we received our next reply from mophie, denying our warranty claim:

Dear Tobey,

Thank you for contacting mophie.

mophie offers warranty coverage for products within one year of the original date of purchase under our Limited Warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

The details you provided to us, however, show that you are outside of the warranty period.  We are, therefore, unable to exchange your product for a replacement item.

Further details of our warranty service program is available online at
http://www.mophie.com/warranty.

If you would like to purchase a new mophie product, please reply to this email, and we would be happy to provide you with a coupon code to buy a mophie product directly from our website.

Please let me know should you have any questions.


My son and I were confused. How could they think that the product was not within their warranty? Did they somehow confuse the manufacturing date of the case with the purchase date? So my son wrote mophie back again and nicely stated this later in the day on January 18th.

Several weeks went by with no further reply from mophie. Finally, on February 2nd I sent mophie another email on the support thread.

My son and I have been attempting to get his broken iphone case fixed under warranty.
We have not heard back again after his last reply on January 19th.
Here is his reply again:

Mophie Customer Service,

My mophie case was purchased from Amazon.com <http://amazon.com> on September 25th, 2015 and broke well over a month ago. This is well inside the one year warranty that you offer. How did the details I provided not show this to you? Is it possible you are getting the manufacturing date confused with the purchase date?

Please respond again, as I would expect Mophie to provide a replacement for this product that fell apart after less than 2 months of use.

Thank you!

Tobey

His case definitely qualifies for a warranty and we both feel he has done everything asked to prove that. I’m not sure why you think his product that broke less than 3 months after he purchased it would not qualify for your one year warranty program.

Please let us know what else you need from us in order for us to get this resolved.

Thank you!
Alan


This time we received a prompt reply from mophie later that same day, on February 2nd.

Dear Alan,

Thank you for contacting mophie.

mophie offers warranty coverage for products within one year of the original date of purchase under our Limited Warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

As the item you purchased was from a third-party Amazon seller, and you are not the original purchaser of the device, we must rely on the date of manufacturing indicated on the serial number label to determine if the product is eligible for coverage under our warranty.

The details you provided to us, however, show that you are outside of the warranty period.  We are, therefore, unable to exchange your product for a replacement item.

Further details of our warranty service program is available online at
http://www.mophie.com/warranty.

If you would like to purchase a new mophie product, please reply to this email, and we would be happy to provide you with a coupon code to buy amophie product directly from our website.

Please let me know should you have any questions.


What!?! Not the original purchaser? What does that even mean? Of course, to us, we were the original purchaser.

My final reply:
I’m sorry mophie won’t stand by their product and their warranty in this situation.
Its an interesting interpretation of the situation. My son purchased his mophie charger as a NEW item thru Amazon. Yes, it was delivered to us thru a third party seller, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t purchased as a NEW item. You claim your warranty is one year after the purchase date. How is purchasing a NEW mophie charger thru Amazon any different than purchasing it at Best Buy? If we had this exact same issue  with a charger purchased at Best Buy, would you also just use the manufacturing date to deny honoring the warranty? Products sit on shelves sometimes for months. Seems like its a convenient way to not stand behind your product.
Fortunately – Amazon ended up taking care of us when you mophie would not. How sad is that? Not their fault in the slightest, yet they offered a partial refund for being a loyal customer.
I’ve recommended to my son that he not purchase mophie products in the future! Can’t be trusted.

 

Dealing with consistently bad customer service like this reminds me that there is a flip side. Amazon has always treated me like the great customer I try to be. I have consistently used Amazon for a majority of my online shopping needs over the years, and whenever there has been any kind of an issue, (and they are few and far between) Amazon has consistently dealt with it promptly, with a minimum of time wasted on either side. They are quick to provide a reasonable and fair solution whenever a problem does arise, and they always seem to start from the standpoint that the customer is right and to be trusted.

After a lengthy and frustrating process with mophie, I felt bad for my son that the system let him down when he had a reasonable request to get a defective item replaced. I felt compelled to write this post so that it could be easily shared with others who might consider trusting mophie with their hard earned money in the future.


Final Note: We received one more reply from mophie after my final rant that finally shed a little light on mophie’s stance.

Dear Alan,

I do apologize.

Third party sellers such as Amazon or Google carry a 90 day warranty as they are not one of our retail partners.
In the case that the purchase date is outside of 90 days, we must rely on the manufacturing date of the serial number. Unfortunately, the serial number you provided showed us the case was manufactured in 2013, therefore, we cannot replace it within the terms of our warranty.
Here is a list of our retail partners that carry a one year warranty:
Alternatively, here link to our eBay Certified Direct storefront where you can purchase new or refurbished items at up to a 70% discount and a 90 day warranty:
Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you and I’d be happy to help.

Looking back, we were eventually put in that 90 day category by mophie. It had been mentioned in the first response from mophie but because they referred to a refurbished product, I ignored it since my son had ordered it as a new item from Amazon. It turns out that mophie simply treats Amazon as a non-retail partner and so their 1 year warranty doesn’t apply. Still seems wrong, and confusing. Also, if the reply from mophie back on January 11th after we had sent mophie our receipt from Amazon had stated the above, we might not have wasted so much time pursuing the replacement from mophie. The take-away for me is that when you are dealing with a small vendor, you better be prepared to read their fine print and face the consequences when you order their product and something goes awry. Fortunately, in most of my experiences as a consumer, the company will stand behind their product because they want to create a lasting relationship. In the case of mophie, they are not willing to budge an inch and they have lost my son and I as future consumers of their products.

Remember me mentioning 103 days after purchase at the beginning of this post? Turns out we missed the “real” warranty mophie provides when purchasing their product new from a non-partner by just under two weeks. Sigh. Still didn’t seem to help mophie consider replacing the broken case!

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps a prospective customer of mophie better understand how they treat their customers, when they are considering one of their products.

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