My wife loves her Kindle Fire…so much so that, at night when I am wanting to look something up on the net with it, an elbow might be the response…It, and its predecessors have been her constant companion since Amazon first decided to enter the market to compete against the iPad. And it has been a good, successful competitor, but…
A month ago Sharon described a failure in her latest Kindle Fire, it would not charge. Since she is the experienced software person and I am the one in charge of hardware it became my duty to look at it and determine that the charging port was loose. 35 years of experience unleashed on the problem. Mission Accomplished.
First, I went out to Bing and Google [no, you are thinking of Bing and Bob and their seven “Road to” movies with Dorothy Lamour] to see if, by chance this problem had been reported before. 44,600 responses on Bing and 215,000 responses on Google told me that…yeppers, there is indeed a problem, or as Microsoft might call it – a “feature”.
On Amazon’s own product page was one very good source of information on the loose charging port…a little thread called “Kindle Fire charging port getting loose”…it has 639 responses from May 22, 2012 to earlier this afternoon. [READ Here]
Should you want to read a more “lively” discussion there is a thread on “Where is the Kindle made?” that gets very entertaining very quickly. [READ Here]
So, it is time to call Amazon Customer Service to play customer service roulette, and the first take of the card reading call center employee [Sarah from Bangalore] decided that, no the problem was not…COULD NOT be the charging port that we, and a hundred thousand other tech savvy users believe it to be. So, they sent us a new wall wart, guaranteed to solve the problem. They even have a great little web page entitled “About Charging Your Kindle Fire”…it doesn’t help. [READ Here]
Except that it didn’t fix the problem.
So the next round of customer service roulette began. The next card reading call center employee seemed much more helpful…It was not the charging port, it was that we needed a new wall wart power cable. Fine, except that they had already sent that. [turn customer support card here] Now the likely problem was that we may have an incorrect wall wart power supply…is it black and does it have the name Amazon on it? “Why yes it does” I answered. Back to the troubleshooting card system…and the next response is…you need to buy a new Kindle Fire and I am sending you your shopping choices.
At no point was “We know this to be a manufacturing issue, common to every f’ing one we produced in China and we would really, REALLY appreciate the opportunity to fix your Kindle Fire.” Nope…didn’t hear that.
Kindle is the second largest presence in the market, behind iPad and has sold seven million of these. That is a large user base to blow off when a manufacturing problem eliminates the possibility to even use the unit.
But it is now time to ask the simple question…”is it worth throwing away a Kindle because a soldered connection on the motherboard was improperly installed…repeatedly”? Or do we look around and see what is out on the market that might not have customer service hassles, might not have a manufacturing flaw that Amazon refuses to either acknowledge the obvious problem or fix it. Amazon had $61Billion in revenue in 2012…it is time to step up and be one of the big boys.
McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.
You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.