Friday, February 18, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Newegg Refund Scandal

Jez Corden (Hacker News):

Popular tech outlet Gamers Nexus recently reported an incident with Newegg, which has long been a staple for PC builders. The Gamers Nexus team purchased a motherboard from Newegg, and later decided to return it having realized that it was no longer required. Newegg then claimed that Gamers Nexus had damaged the motherboard, and then declined to offer a refund. After several months wrangling with Newegg, it seems the company had attempted to get the motherboard repaired themselves, while also denying the refund. Considering that Gamers Nexus had never even opened or used the motherboard, naturally this raised suspicions.

After exhausting all customer service options, Gamers Nexus went public on his sizeable YouTube channel. As you might expect, this led to an immediate refund from Newegg, and a return of the motherboard in question. And this is where the fun really begins.

The damage to the motherboard was not consistent with the type of damage that would occur in transit, featuring bent pins. The motherboard also had an RMA sticker on it, which would appear to indicate that Newegg had attempted (and failed) to repair it with the manufacturer prior to selling it on as “open box.”

teddyh:

I have a theory[…] NewEgg decides to decline the RMA just because they can, claiming whatever excuse they are forced to make up when anyone asks. (NewEgg went back and forth regarding whether it was thermal paste on the motherboard or damaged pins on the CPU socket.)

GN knows they didn’t damage the motherboard, since they didn’t even open the shipping box, so they relate the story to their surprisingly large audience, and the whole story blows up.

NewEgg goes “Oops, bad publicity, we’d better refund them.”

GN wants the motherboard returned, too.

NewEgg goes “Oh crap. We said the motherboard was damaged, so if we actually send the real motherboard back, GN will see that it’s fine and know we lied. But GN said that they never opened the shipping box, so GN has never seen the motherboard. We can just send back any old motherboard which is actually damaged. Genius!”, and NewEgg picks a motherboard which is marked as damaged in their inventory system, and ships it to GN.

Jeff Johnson:

I discovered a decade ago that Newegg doesn’t pay return shipping changes for defective items.

10 Comments

"if we actually send the real motherboard back, GN will see that it’s fine and know we lied"

That's very likely not what happened. GN accidentally bought an open-box motherboard (they intended to buy a new one, but Newegg had changed how they mark open-box motherboards on their website to make that status less obvious, probably because they have higher margins on these than on new ones). So it is, in fact, very likely that the motherboard was already damaged when Newegg initially sent it out to GN.

As for why Newegg sent out a damaged motherboard, that's the real mystery. I'm going to guess that "send out damaged products to customers" isn't an official policy, but Newegg probably has the same dumb OKR system in place that most other large companies have, where people's wages, bonuses, and promotions are directly tied to a few measurable numbers. It's not a huge leap to assume that sending out damaged products to clients, and then claiming that they damaged it, makes some number in a spreadsheet go up, to the point where you'll look bad on paper if you *don't* participate in the scam.

It's like that time when Gamestop employees hid games from customers because selling new games to them made their used game sales percentage go down, so selling games to customers, which is ostensibly their job, literally made them look bad.

Kevin Schumacher

What’s really unclear to me (without having watched the video, only read the Windows Central article) is why GN would deserve a refund *and* the motherboard back. You get one or the other if you’re trying to return a product.

@Plume
> It's like that time when Gamestop employees hid games from customers

Do you have a source for that?

Christopher Lloyd

I bough a retail box Intel CPU from Newegg which turned out to be a tray processor in a fake box, the RMA was marked as received promptly but it took 8 months for the actual refund to be issued.

"why GN would deserve a refund *and* the motherboard back"

Where did you get the impression from that anyone, including GN, thought they deserved both? They initially got neither. Newegg didn't refund them (which is what they should have done), and also just kept the board (which, once they decided not to refund GN, was definitely not the right option to pick).

Newegg both refunded them and sent them back the board because they completely panicked once they figured out that the person getting scammed this time was Steve Burke. Steve didn't ask for that, Newegg just decided to do both thing on their own.

"Do you have a source for that?"

https://kotaku.com/new-gamestop-program-leads-employees-to-lie-to-customer-1791874332

"We also tell customers we don’t have copies of new games in stock when they are on sale—for example, Watch Dogs 2 is currently $29.99 new and $54.99 pre-owned. We just tell them we don’t have the new one in stock and shuffle them out the door."

Kevin Schumacher

> Where did you get the impression from that anyone, including GN, thought they deserved both?

This line is in the Windows Central article:

> As you might expect, [publicity] led to an immediate refund from Newegg, and a return of the motherboard in question.

Which led to my confusion as to why one would expect both a refund and the returned product being sent back to the customer. Perhaps that is only the expectation of the WC article's author and not anybody else. For the record, I did not attribute that to GN or anybody else, simply asked why GN deserved it.

Re: the Kotaku article, I was curious because I used to work there. And while there was definitely pressure to get every customer to pre-order and/or buy a Game Informer subscription, we definitely never hid games. As it turns out, I left there nine years before the Circle of Life thing started.

Kevin Schumacher

Edit (if I could) to add:
Ohhhh I know where I got the idea GN thought they deserved both. This quote on this page from teddyh:

> GN wants the motherboard returned, too.

So it literally says that. That's where I got that impression. From it being explicitly stated on this here page on the internet.

I don't know teddyh from a hole in the ground so who knows if they represent GN's feelings or not (though it's certainly phrased and presented as though they do). But in any case, that only reinforced what I read in the WC article about the "expectation" of both happening.

"As you might expect, [publicity] led to an immediate refund from Newegg, and a return of the motherboard in question"

I think the reason Windows Central wrote it like that is that the story blew up, so a reasonable person might expect Newegg to go into damage control, and both refund the purchase and send the board back. So the expectation here is that publicity causes Newegg to overcorrect, not that GN "deserves" both a refund and the motherboard back.

"GN wants the motherboard returned, too."

That comment starts with "I have a theory on what happened at NewEgg with this motherboard," so whoever that person is, is not recounting a list of facts, but a list of hypotheses. Since that person is clearly somewhat prone to conspiracy theories, I'm not sure if I'd put much stock into their reddit comment.

Also, GN did ask for the Motherboard back *after* Newegg told them that they wouldn't get a refund. Which is a pretty reasonable expectation, I feel.

Kevin Schumacher

> so a reasonable person might expect Newegg to go into damage control, and both refund the purchase and send the board back.

I would like to meet this reasonable person, because if a customer is demanding a refund that has been denied, the damage control is to say "omg we're so sorry here take your money [which they did] and we're changing our policies [which they did say]" and maybe offer a gift card for next time or something. I never, ever would have jumped to "and give the product back, too" especially since they were claiming it was damaged.

> That comment starts with "I have a theory"

I haven't taken the time to research teddyh like you seem to have, but taking the comment at face value, it says they have a theory about NewEgg's actions in response to what happened, which we know what happened from outside NewEgg so there's no reason for speculation on that part. The actions/desires of GN seem to be presented as fact and at least part of it is fact (i.e. "GN knows they didn’t damage the motherboard, since they didn’t even open the shipping box, so they relate the story to their surprisingly large audience, and the whole story blows up." is all true). So it would follow that "GN wants the motherboard returned, too," is something that actually happened. It doesn't seem to be, but that's not how a reasonable person (lulz) would interpret that IMO.

"I would like to meet this reasonable person"

They wrote the Windows Central article, so I guess you kinda did. Unless your argument is that anyone who holds the position that it would be reasonable for Newegg to go into damage control, and both refund the purchase and send the board back, is by definition unreasonable.

"I haven't taken the time to research teddyh like you seem to have"

It's true, I invented a time machine, traveled to the past, engaged a private detective, tracked this person down, spent years investigating everybody they ever interacted with, and came to the conclusion that they are a conspiracy theorist. You caught me, I admit it.

Or, alternatively, I read one comment in which they come up a harebrained scheme where Newegg sends out an open-box, but perfectly working motherboard, gets it sent back, and then intentionally lies to Steve and tells him that the working motherboard is actually broken, and then just sends him a different broken motherboard of the exact same type they just had lying around (which is a lot less plausible than it might sound at first glance, given how low volume sales of 500$ motherboards are).

You really don't need to research this guy to figure out that this is not what happened.

TBH, I'm actually not entirely sure what you're arguing for. You seem to be arguing against a position nobody seems to hold, and now you're arguing that people are holding the position you're arguing against, and that people who think *these* people are unreasonable (which previously included you) are themselves unreasonable. Obviously, I don't need to be involved in this argument anymore, since you can hold it with yourself.

Kevin Schumacher

> Unless your argument is that anyone who holds the position that it would be reasonable for Newegg to go into damage control, and both refund the purchase and send the board back, is by definition unreasonable.

That has, in fact, been my argument the whole time. Great. Now that we've established that, 15 posts later...

> You really don't need to research this guy to figure out that this is not what happened.

You previously said:

> Since that person [teddyh] is clearly somewhat prone to conspiracy theories...

That is a pretty big reach based on one theory he came up with about one situation (which he might not even be serious about), so I just assumed that you weren't making stuff up out of whole cloth and you knew something else about him. So you didn't. Oh no.

> You seem to be arguing against a position nobody seems to hold

Which position is that? That GN "deserved" both the motherboard and a refund? I've already explained the several things that led me to believe GN felt that way.

> and now you're arguing that people are holding the position you're arguing against

See last three sentences.

> and that people who think *these* people are unreasonable (which previously included you) are themselves unreasonable

Which people think which people are unreasonable? At this point I think you have confused yourself entirely due to repeatedly trying to make me think I'm crazy and that nobody was ever saying the things I was reading and reacting to, which are either written directly on this page or linked from this page.

These are the things I find unreasonable:
- That Windows Central thinks that publicity would "expect[edly]" lead to both a refund and the product being returned, damage control or not.
- That a customer would deserve both a refund and the product back.
- That a customer would get a refund (however delayed) but then subsequently ask for the product back.
(These first three are all interrelated and basically rephrasings of each other.)
- Labeling a person as someone who is "clearly somewhat prone to conspiracy theories" based on theory that is soundly within the realm of possibility, if not probability

These are the things I find reasonable:
- That one would expect a refund or the product to be returned to them if they're within the return policy (although if the product is returned to them in lieu of a refund, they may have other recourse if the merchant violated their own return policy)
- That a company in damage control mode would go out of their way to try to get back in the customer's good graces by offering sweeteners for future purchases

I went and looked at the Hacker News post, which is where teddyh's comment above comes from, and one of the commenters on that pointed out that GN did at some point ask for the motherboard back, but they believe it was after the refund was denied and before it was later approved. That would be entirely reasonable. It seems what then happened is NewEgg made another mistake and both approved the refund and sent the board back, which could be a result of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing -- PR department gets ECS involved for a refund, meanwhile the RMA department processes the customer's request for the item back, and now GN has both.

> Obviously, I don't need to be involved in this argument anymore, since you can hold it with yourself.

Clearly it was my mistake to bother replying to you in the first place. I should have known you were trolling when you all but called me crazy for coming to a belief based on words on this very page, and you've only borne that out with your subsequent attempts at twisting things around and inventing things out of whole cloth. So yes, I'm done with this. Good luck.

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