Jawbone refuses to honor their warranty

On 8 Oct 2011, I received a Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker as a gift, which DH purchased for me on 6 Oct 2011. On 29 Nov 2011, I contacted Jawbone because the Jambox was not holding a charge, and attempts to update the software to resolve the issue were failing as a result. Throughout the support process, I want to note that I was very pleased with the speed and attentiveness of the support personnel at Jawbone. The exchange, while disappointing in results, was professional and expedient. Unlike many other support services, their agent seemed to be truly reading my e-mails and not just scanning for keywords and sending form responses. However, once we got to the point that an RMA was in order, support informed me that they were “out of stock” and couldn’t promise when they’d have a replacement unit in stock. They said I could send my unit in but they couldn’t tell me when I’d get a replacement. They could not even give me a range, e.g., 4-6 weeks, 2-3 months, less than a year.

However, they’re selling my exact model on their website right now with indication that they are “in stock”, so the claims of being out of stock ring false. Additionally, per Jawbone’s One Year Limited warranty, “If Jawbone, in its sole discretion, determines it is not reasonable to replace the defective Product, Jawbone may refund to Consumer the purchase price paid for the Product.” However, not surprisingly, they don’t seem to be interested in pursuing that option either. Basically, Jawbone is telling me that I can either ship my unit back and wait an indeterminate amount of time for a replacement, or I can “check back with [Jawbone] periodically” to see if a replacement is available and ship it back at that point.

This feels very much like an attempt to get out of honoring the warranty by putting the consumer off and/or making it so unappealing as to discourage pursuit of the warranty. At best, I suspect that they’re simply “out of stock” of replacement units, i.e., re-furbished units, even though the warranty says replacement will be either new or re-furb and not limited to re-furbished units. I don’t think that it’s honoring the spirit of the warranty to delay replacement on that basis. I further think it’s against the spirit if not the actual wording of the warranty to refuse to replace a faulty unit in any way when the unit failed in less than 60 days from the point of purchase. Finally, I think it’s beyond the sense of reason to tell a customer with a ~$200 product that is now little more than a paperweight that it’s up to them to keep contacting you periodically to find out when the warranty will be honored. Admittedly, I’ve been lucky enough to not have very many issues requiring warranty service for my electronics, but when I have, I have never run into this sort of shenanigan. (For all of people’s complaints about Microsoft and XBox support, their support called me personally when the repair was in process and provided periodic e-mail status updates as well as an ETA that was accurate and reasonable.)

I informed Jawbone that they lost a customer over this. There is no way I will spend money with them again, and I advise others to do the same. It may be within Jawbone’s legal right to handle warranty requests in this way, but I think it shows an unwillingness to stand behind the quality of the product as well as a lack of caring about their customers once the sale is complete. As for my specific situation, I’m basically out of luck. I’m past the return window to return it to Amazon (though I will ask to see if they’ll make an exception, considering the circumstances). I’m posting the story here as well as in an Amazon review. I also sent it in to a few consumer interest blogs, for what it’s worth.

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