Amazon Customer Banned for Returning Faulty Goods

A self-confessed Amazon addict has had his account banned and gift card balance seized after returning a number of items which he insists were faulty. Greg Nelson, a computer programmer from the UK, bought 343 items from the online retailer over two years, returning 37 of them on the grounds that they were faulty, damaged, or not as described. The frequent returns have resulted in him being blocked from any future purchases from Amazon, losing his gift card balance in the process, despite what Nelson claims to be fair grounds for sending the offending items back.

“As a previously fervently loyal fan of Amazon who has been a customer since 2002, I understand that it is trying to protect its business – however I find its actions in this situation totally egregious,” Nelson told The Guardian. “I could understand if there were evidence that I had somehow tried to abuse the system, but I haven’t. Of course, Amazon can refuse to serve whom it likes, but surely it cannot legally keep gift card balances and other purchased goods which have already been paid for by the customer – despite what any potentially unfair small print might say?”

Nelson has tried repeatedly to contact Amazon about the matter, but the company’s customer service department has only responded with a default response, refusing to re-open his account.

Amazon refused to discuss Nelson’s case specifically, but confirmed that Nelson’s account will remain closed.

“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for the millions of customers who shop with us,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “In a tiny fraction of cases we are forced to close accounts where we identify extreme account abuse. This decision is only taken after we have reviewed the account carefully and tried to work with the customer over an extended time period to resolve any issues.”


The True Cost of Using USB-C Cables

Remember the story of a Google engineer who declared war on USB-C cables that failed to meet specifications? His continuing battle took a turn so grim even he was surprised at how dangerous it had become. Back in November, Benson Leung, who works on Google’s Pixel range of computers – one of the first systems to support USB-C – found that many cheap cable available on sale failed to meet the official 1.1 specifications, and so began reviewing every cable he could get his hands on from Amazon.

Leung’s mission, though, has met an abrupt end. Not because he has reviewed every USB-C cable available, but because the last one he bought and tested destroyed his computer, as well as the two USB PD sniffers he was using for testing. He bought a Surjtech 3M USB A-to-C cable (now removed from sale) and plugged one end into his Chromebook Pixel and the other into the sniffer. The sniffer failed immediately, and the Pixel soon followed.

On 1st February, Lueng posted the following product review of the offending cable to Amazon:

“Hi Benson here doing another USB Type-C legacy cable review. This one will probably be the last one I do for a little while because this cable (1-star review score, straight off) seriously damaged the laptop computer I am using for these reviews, a Chromebook Pixel 2015, and two USB PD Sniffer devices (Twinkie).

I plugged this cable into the twinkie (as a pass through) and my Chromebook Pixel 2015 and the A end into a 1st party Apple 12W iPad charger.

Twinkie’s current and voltage measurement command (tw vbus) failed immediately after plugging this cable with the adapter into it. This is permanent damage. I tried resetting the Twinkie analyzer and having the firmware reflashed, but it continues to exhibit this failure. It is no longer able to use its voltage and current measurement capability on the Vbus line.

On my Pixel, both USB Type-C ports stopped responding immediately. Neither would charge or act as a host when I plugged in a USB device such as an ethernet adapter. Upon rebooting my Pixel, the system came up in recovery mode because it could not verify the Embedded Controller on the system. No amount of software recovery could revive the EC. Upon closer analysis, serious damage has been done to components related to charging and managing the USB Type-C port’s capabilities.

I directly analyzed the Surjtech cable using a Type-C breakout board and a multimeter, and it appears that they completely miswired the cable. The GND pin on the Type-A plug is tied to the Vbus pins on the Type-C plug. The Vbus pin on the Type-A plug is tied to GND on the Type-C plug.

This is a total recipie [sic] for disaster and I have 3 pieces of electronics dead to show for it, my Pixel 2015, and two USB PD analyzers.

Needless to say, this cable is fundamentally dangerous. Do not buy this under any circumstances. I will be contacting Surjtech directly shortly.”

Remember, kids: if you’re buying a new USB-C cable, always check to see if Leung has reviewed it. It could save your devices from being fried.

Image courtesy of MacWorld.

Gamer Returns 30 “Faulty” PlayStation 4’s in One Year

JediRabbit is a name that crops up on the PlayStation Forum far too often, as it seems that every single console he buys doesn’t meet his very particular expectations. Every console he buys seems to be faulty in his mind, as do his games and even his controllers, in fact, everything is wrong as far as he is concerned. He’s made a staggering 1,829 posts on the PlayStation Forums and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. So the question is, what’s going on here?

It seems from his first purchase, he’s been on a downward spiral of hardware related paranoia. His first concern was the fan noise of the $400 console he purchased. After asking and near tormenting the forum users for advice, who told him that it’s normal, he went and returned the console. It seemed odd to him that the fans got a bit louder when certain games were played. You and I both know that the harder you tax hardware, the hotter it gets, but it seems JediRabbit just can’t grasp that concept. Within six months, he had been through an alarming six consoles by returning them and guess what, they all had the same “fault.”

It’s at this point most people would just admit that they don’t like the console or the hardware. Perhaps buy an Xbox One or a PC and just move on with their life. The consoles also get warm for him when in use, as do many electrical devices, but of course, this is a fault and started another wave of returns.

“Can’t help but notice my PS4 console gets hot on top of the console,” he wrote, adding: “wouldn’t it benfit the PS4 console to have vents ontop to help that hot air escape? [sic]” “Try drill some holes in the top and see,” another user replied, to which JediRabbit responded: “aint got a drill.”

So he took it back, and then the next one, or two, I’m honestly starting to lose count, also had some faults.

“just got a brand newe PS4 and started playing KZ but have noticed during play, a few times i have started shooting and the picture would freeze for around 1 second but i can still hear the gun firing.” He added: “am i just parniod or is this just the game itself and framrate. would anything be wrong with my new console?”

That’s OK, JediRabbit is keeping score, and claims to be on his 20th console now. His local gaming retailer must be the most patient people on Earth. With the console buying madness behind us, the controllers were next for the chopping block, causing six more returns over 60 days due to them disconnecting. PFC_Hudson replied with some advice (see below).

Have his issues been resolved? Nope, he’s still unhappy and now we’re up to 30 consoles and counting. Perhaps JediRabbit needs to understand that the PlayStation 4 isn’t a mythical device that runs completely silent, with flawless gaming performance, subzero hardware temperatures and infinite battery life on the controllers.

What do you think, is JediRabbit a master troll, the most unlucky customer in the world, or (to be blunt) a massive idiot? Let us know in the comments section below.

EKWB Issues Full Recall of Predator 240 and 360 AIO Coolers

If you purchased one of EKWB’s Predator 240 or 360 all-in-one liquid coolers, then you should read this. EKWB has issued a full recall of all EK-XLC Predator 240 and 360 pre-filled and pre-assembled all-in-one (AIO) CPU liquid cooling units due to a potential risk of leakage of liquid from the unit. Affected are all Revision 1.0 models of both the 240mm and 360mm version with the EAN-codes 3831109863343 and 3831109863350.

At first it was estimated as a limited risk situation where only a single batch of units were affected and could develop leakage over time, it quickly turned out to be a more widespread problem and that is why EKWB issued a full recall. The good news in all of this is that a new and fixed version is ready, any revision 1.0 product will be replaced or refunded, and EKWB even covers damage to other parts that resulted from a leaking Predator AIO.

EKWB first identified the issue as a faulty O-ring in the EK-Supremacy MX CPU water block that was used in the unit. At first, it was thought that it only affected the November batch of O-rings, as pre-orders and early testers hadn’t reported any issues. That quickly changed and EKWB found the problem to affect all units. The leakage may occur between the copper cold plate and bracket on the water block after it is heated up and pressure rises. Current statistics show that 1 out of 10 units leaks.

If you currently use one of these units, then you are strongly recommended to stop doing so. EKWB has redesigned and released a new version of EK-XLC Predator (Revision 1.1) on the 4th of January 2016 that prevents any leakage under normal working modes. For the full details on refund or exchange, please visit EKWB’s official note about this issue. You’ll also find contact email addresses and phone numbers for both EU and US customers.

Errors in productions are something that can happen to anyone at any time, what is important is how you handle the aftermath. EKWB has shown a prime example of how it is done. They are taking full responsibility for it and giving their customers multiple fix options from a refund to replacement units. No secrets but full disclosure all the way through. Well done EKWB, it might cost you some money to fix the issue right now, but you’ll win some loyal customers with it.

Lawsuit Filed Against 3D Printer MakerBot

3D printers are a good invention, but it sadly doesn’t print legally binding instructions with which companies should follow, well it probably does, but manufacturers will ignore them. It’s been alleged that 3D printing firm MakerBot has knowingly shipped a project which they knew did not work.

A lawsuit has been launched over MakerBot and parent company Stratasys over its fifth generation 3D printer, which is accused of shipping these units with flawed extruders, this is the mechanism which melts and deposits filament that is tending to clog. The company also told investors to expect over projected growth while at the same time cost cutting corners relating to quality, repairing returned units and also sacking workers.

By the time this came to light, investors had lost millions of dollars in expected revenue. By looking at the lawsuit, it immediately becomes clear something has gone drastically wrong. From flawed designs to expensive warranties, there is quite a bit which has been built up against MakerBot.

What this highlights is again for a company to over inflate its expectations while at the same time failing to deliver. These allegations have not yet been proven and still need to be laid out in a court of law; I do believe there is a case against MakerBot which if they lose, could be curtains for a company which attempted to make 3D printing mainstream while doing so at an unrealistic production price.

Thank You adafruit for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of engadget

Snapdragon 815 Said to Have Lower Operating Temperatures than Its Predecessor

There have been a lot of talks regarding Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 and its alleged overheating problems. However, despite its latter issue claims, no conclusive tests or evidence have been found to pin it officially on the processor being faulty.

It is said that a few reports have been spotted, especially from the HTC One M9, where high operating temperatures have been noticed. The issue however seems to have been fixed in the Snapdragon 815, having an operating temperature of 38°C compared to the 42°C registered for the Snapdragon 801 and 44°C reported on the 810.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information