ChinaGrabber – Worst Customer Service I Have Ever Experienced.

Almost 2 months ago, I was looking for a new neat cell phone to replace my PDA phone. I wanted something different and smaller than the PDA style that is now catching on with everyone.

I found exactly what I wanted (in theory at least) @ ChinaGrabber.com:

May 9, 2008:
Looks neat, huh? It’s a watch, and it’s a cell phone! It was advertised as a QUAD Band Cell Phone Watch – still advertised as so. Comes with bluetooth, headset, FM radio, all sorts of stuff. The u200i cell phone watch is even detachable and can be used as a flip phone, NEAT!

After an hour or two of searching for this cell phone, I decided to pull the trigger and order from ChinaGrabber.com, despite their lack luster reviews from Google. So in the end, it’s my fault for ordering from there. However, the customer experience to follow was completely unexpected.

May 21, 2008:
After I received the phone, I quickly read through the manual, put in my SIM card, charged her up, & powered her on… “No Service”…

May 22, 2008:
Okay, my room has bad reception anyway, so I decided to take the phone to work the next morning where we are literally down the street from a Cingular (now, the new AT&T) antenna tower… “No Service”…

I even got a new SIM card from an AT&T store, as well as try different people’s SIM cards… “No Service”…

Something can’t be right, it’s a quad band phone, even my tri-band made for Europe phones have worked @ my office.

First thing I did was call up ChinaGrabber – I receive an answering machine telling me to leave my info & email them as well for a response. I do both.

Here is the message I left them on Google:
Hello, I received the u200i yesterday. It was advertised as quad band, however, I cannot get reception anywhere in my area – It simply displays “No Service.” I have looked thoroughly through the manual & checked every option in the phone – there is no setting for it. I have several other unlocked phones from China, even a tri-band one, and they all work at the majority of places I have tested. I believe either I have a defective phone or this phone is not truly quad-band, or even tri-band for that matter. I would like a refund and a return shipment label please, unless you can fix this issue. Quoc-Viet

After a day, no response… after a week, no response…

Early June 2008:
During this time, I finally found more information on the u200i & got in contact with a couple different companies that sold the unit. I found yet another site that “seemed promising” & did advertise as two separate models for the u200i, SurprisingGift.com, which sent me the wrong model as well – go figure. With those guys, it was a completely different disaster through PayPal & me losing money – but that’s a story for another time. I wanted the damn phone, and one of these companies must have SOME success – I’ll keep whichever works… neither worked, wtf?

Turns out, the u200i is NOT quad band at all, but comes in 2 different dual-band options. ChinaGrabber sent me the wrong one.

I still have not heard back from ChinaGrabber after trying a few more times. I don’t do this very often, but it’s time to call up American Express & ask them to handle it for me – charge back & request for return shipping label.

June 6, 2008:
I hear from ChinaGrabber! What a coincidence, just a day or two after I call American Express, I hear from a “Tunde Sosanya” of ChinaGrabber (quotes because there is never any name @ the bottom of the email, just in the ‘From Sender’ field)…

Hello,
Are you with ATT?
Turn on phone. Then enter the following sequence:
*#3646633#
Select the first option, then the second for the 850mhz option.
Best Regards

Sounds promising! Excited, I go home & do exactly that… “No Service”…

Begin, customer service breakdown:
Yes, I am with AT&T. I tried that option, & went through every band option, rebooted the phone each time, & still get “No Service”. I am located at a University where we have a cell phone tower near us – all other tri-band & quad-band phones are getting full reception. I cannot make or receive any calls.

Quoc-Viet

June 7, 2008
Hello, Could you possibly try a friend’s t-mobile card and see if it will work with that?

If you still cannot get phone to work, please send it to:

DigitalRise, LLC

818 SW 3rd Ave
Portland, OR 97204

And we will send you a new unit or different phone model of your choice. Please make sure to get a tracking number so we can track order. Lastly, if you could close the chargeback that was filed with your credit card company, it would be appreciated.

Best Regards

My response:
I have tried it as well & it does not work (from original email).

Can I get an RMA#, a return shipping label, and a full refund?

I don’t feel it is my fault that this phone is not working as advertised, so I don’t think I should have to pay for shipping it back.

I will be happy to close the chargeback once this is taken care of.

Quoc-Viet

June 10, 2008:
Tunde:
Hello, we need you to return the item to us before we can issue you a refund.

Best Regards

Excuse me? You send me a defective phone – something DEFINITELY not as advertised, and I need to pay for return shipping? Okay, let’s try to reason with Tunde here…

Me:
I am aware of that. Will I be receiving a return shipping label to send the item back?

June 10, 2008
No, if you are asking for refund – which you are since you filed chargeback, then you need to pay for shipping back per or website and google checkout policy you aggreed to. Please let us know once you have tracking and we will issue you full refund or send out a different unit.

Best Regards

June 13, 2008
I’m getting a lil p.o.’ed now, but no need to go completely ape shit on these guys:
Why am I responsible for shipping if I was sent a defective unit?

I’m asking for a refund instead of an exchanged because of the total lack of customer service & satisfaction. It was nearly impossible to ever get a response from your company until I filed a chargeback.

Tunde:
We can’t verify it was defective until we recieve it. Again, please send watch back so we can close dispute.

Best regards

June 16, 2008
Hello, have you been able to get a tracking number so we can issue you a refund?

Best Regards

My stance:
As I have stated before, I feel I am well within my rights to not have to pay for return shipping for a defective product. I don’t care what your policy is, it is simply not my fault that the item is not working.

It is not my fault that I have to return this item, it is either your fault or your supplier’s fault; the phone simply does not work in North America & I should not be responsible for paying to ship back an item that is defective. I am not sure how much clearer I can make this.

If you send me a shipping label, I will be happy to return the item, get my refund, and cancel my chargeback.

If we can’t reach an amicable agreement, I will continue to let my credit card company deal with this issue.

June 18, 2008:
Okay, we’ll ship you a return label or whatever.

Best Regards

Okay… why did I have to even argue about getting a return shipping label?

June 24, 2008:
Hello, did you receive return shipping label?

Also, we do have the 850/1900mhz u200i in now if you would still like it.

Please confirm you have sent watch out.

Best Regards

Notice how now it’s 850/1900 dual band… and not quad band? Interesting… I don’t know if I want to deal with these guys anymore… they did send a return shipping label, but it wasted several weeks of my life now just trying to get some sort of customer service – which so far, is below average.
I have just dropped it off w/ UPS. You should have the tracking #, but in case you don’t, here it is:

1z a49 3r8 90 4871 8291

I prefer to just receive my refund. You can just let the chargeback go through now.

Quoc-Viet

June 30, 2008:
Hello, We received your u200i watch. since we have the quad band u200i and there is a no return policy we are going to go ahead and ship out your quadband u200i.

Best Regards

Hey, what do you know, it’s a quad-band again. After wasting a month of my time, no thanks.
I do not want a replacement phone. You have wasted enough of my time – I don’t care what your return policy is or is not. I simply want my money back.

I will not accept any packages from your company.

Tunde:
should not have filed chargeback… read the return policy on our google checkout acct.

BR

Me:
I would not have had to if you returned your calls or emails prior to me filing one 2 weeks after unsuccessful contact.

The customer should not have to argue with the seller to get his money back when the seller sends a defective product to him. Return policies are guidelines and should be interpreted and adjusted as needed on a case by case basis.

This is by far the worst customer service I have ever received from any company I have ever dealt with. If my credit card company does not take care of this, you will hear from my lawyers, this is a complete waste of time.

Not that it’d be worth more time and money, but luckily, working for a university, I have a legal plan that basically allows me lawyers – one of the benefits. I don’t expect to have to call them up yet, as long as I receive my refund.

July 1, 2008
Up to this point, I’ve just about had it with ChinaGrabber… horrible customer service – only way they could have been any worse would be to insult me… wait, what’s this in my inbox?

Tunde:
you are a college student.. can’t expect you to act like an adult yet.

BR

I don’t know why, but I feel totally insulted, not so much by the college student part (emails from my work email, which ends w/ uci.edu), which I have already graduated years ago… but by “can’t expect you to act like an adult yet.” Hmmmmm…

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t feel this is how customers should be treated by CUSTOMER SERVICE representatives.

My final email to ChinaGrabber (hopefully):
Are you serious? Trying to insult me now? I graduated years ago, I’m working for the University of California, hence the email address.

What is your first & last name? I would like to reference you when I file my official complaint with BBB later this week.

I’m done with this… right after I send my letter to the BBB (if they are even part of BBB) & do my google sellers review. Time for Ankur to do his magical thing & get me on google ranking for reviews of ChinaGrabber.

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13 Comments

  1. Geez! Thats horrible!

    Lets forward this post to http://www.consumerist.com as well! :)

    Not only did they go back on forth on the subject, but the then insulted you to that degree…with a paper trail. Nice!

  2. Surprise surprise, they aren’t on the BBB listings…

    At least I got my Google Seller review in.

  3. Dr Dave Smith

    At least you got someone from Chinagrabber to reply….
    I’ve sent a half a dozen emails about my watch phone (By the way, mine works great, but only for about 4 hours at a time).
    It just won’t hold a charge….. Think they’ll respond to me??? NOOO
    Not a single response in a solid 2weeks of emails (in one direction only).
    If anyone knows how to get them to reply, please feel free to contact me at: qigongdoctor@yahoo.com
    Thanks in advance
    Doc

  4. China Grabber sold me a used cell phone & tried to pass it off as brand new. China grabber didn’t even bother to erase the previous owners SAVED PHONE BOOK & PICTURES OF HIM & HIS FAMILY!

  5. So, they are awful. They basically stole $1000 from me and sold me cheezy MP4 players that don’t work. I tried to get a reply from them for months, so I finally involved the BBB. notice their “F” rating.

    http://www.bbb.org/alaskaoregonwesternwashington/business-reviews/internet-shopping/china-grabber-in-portland-or-22441143

  6. I’m sorry to hear you all also had bad experiences with them, I hope you got your money back.

    I currently have a phone (apple pie & ice cream/haier elegance) from http://www.jd-usa.com/. I ran into a small problem (my own fault) with one of the phones & they spent the extra effort to find me suitable replacement & repair parts. Unfortunately, they don’t have a watch phone, but overall service is great & they do carry a couple nice & unique phones.

  7. found this on another site

  8. Does Chinagrabber actually send stuff when one orders?

  9. They sent me something… that’s about all I can say about them.

  10. joyce dixon

    I have a digital audio/video and that is not what I order i wanted a cell phone i dont need this or neither so i want this. Please help me i need pay for i want not what i dont want.

  11. You can do what I did: if the company is unresponsive, call your credit card company.

  12. I’ve ordered quite a few large orders with them, and had no problems at all. I’m quite technical though and maybe that helps. Lower priced products sometimes require more knowledge or configuration I find. To the writer of the original article. Personally I would of just sent it back to them like they said and then could have resolved the issue of postage. You have to understand if you raise a chargeback with a company they can only handle the process in that way to ensure they are not ripped off by bogus customers telling porkies.

  13. Actually, I’m very technically apt. If you read through the entire article, you will see that I found the issue with the phone (there are 2 different models – it is not a quad band phone). Furthermore, I’ve done the research & got in contact with other companies since then – the US band version of this phone had problems, i.e. none of them worked w/ US frequencies. I am unsure if they (the original manufacturers) ever fixed the problem since then. I believe I know more about that particular phone watch than the customer service techs @ ChinaGrabber.

    I also gave ChinaGrabber more than ample time to respond to my inquiries. I did return the phone to them with money out of my own pocket. I only filed a chargeback as a last resort.

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