I apologise in advance for this rant, however I feel it needs to be shared. I have recently had an issue with my Netgear DGN2000 wireless ADSL router whereby all the LAN ports have a hardware problem and no longer function (30 – 40% packet loss). Luckily for me the unit was still under warranty so I called Netgear support. I had already performed all of the required troubleshooting (different computers, different ports, different cables) and there was no doubt that all LAN ports were experiencing the same issue, although wireless was working fine.
The Netgear support tech wanted to perform a factory reset on the router, however I didn’t want to risk losing my wireless connection as I may not be able to reconfigure the router post reset should it not come back as expected. Like most of us, I rely heavily on my Internet connection and any downtime is hugely inconvenient. Luckily for me (or so I thought), the tech agree to go ahead with an RMA to replace the faulty unit I had. He said he would email me an RMA form and I should receive the new unit in 5 to 7 days.
So on the 5th day I check the Netgear RMA checker online and the status was still shown as “Shipped: No”. So I check every day with no change. Today is the 8th day since my call to them, and still no change to the status so I call them up and am then informed that the replacement unit has not been shipped as they have not yet received my faulty unit. I’m very surprised by this and explained that this was not how the process was explained to me, and that I wasn’t prepared to go without an Internet connection for 10 days for the whole process to complete. The support tech said that the process was clearly explained in the RMA email that was sent to me, however I re-read this back to them and again there is nothing telling me that they expect me to ship my faulty unit back to them first, and then wait for a replacement. I also checked the RMA form and found again the process is not explained.
In my 20+ years of working IT I have never come across this RMA process before, especially not on critical equipment like a router (even if it is for home – lots of us work from home).
Certainly I have had several issues with Netgear products in the past, but have managed to work around them before. This however is an absolute show stopper for me though, as in my opinion any product or service is only as good as it’s support.
So feel free to buy Netgear if you want, just remember that if you need a warranty replacement you’ll be without your product for at least 1 week, whilst they either fix it or replace it. Also to be fair, D-Link have the same policy as do other manufacturers possibly, so for my replacement of my faulty Netgear device I’ll be ensuring the replacement comes with an acceptable RMA process (i.e I won’t be buying Netgear or D-Link).