(Photo: Newegg)E-tail giant Newegg has announced a sudden and unexpected change to some of its hardware return policies in the wake of some good old fashioned public shaming care of the Gamers Nexus (GN) YouTube channel. Going forward the company will allow “no question” returns on CPUs and motherboards purchased as “open box” items, which the company says will guarantee a “hassle free” experience. That’s the exact opposite of what Gamers Nexus experienced recently.
The brouhaha started two weeks ago when the site’s owner, Steve Burke, posted a video titled, “Newegg Scammed Us.” In the video he describes purchasing an open box Z490 motherboard from Newegg, then says he decided he didn’t need it by the time it arrived. As a result, he never opened the box. He initiated an RMA with Newegg, expecting an easy return.
A little while after sending the unopened motherboard back to Newegg he received an email saying his RMA was rejected because the of “apparent end-user caused physical damage to the CPU socket contact pins.” When he cried foul, saying he never even used the motherboard, Newegg’s support team said the RMA inspection team had found “thermal pate[sic]” on the board, meaning it was used at some point. Since Steve had never even opened the box the motherboard came in, this only made the situation more mysterious.
Now, if you think that’s bad — and it is — it eventually got even worse. When Steve went public with what was happening Newegg eventually relented, offering him a refund and also sending the board he originally purchased back to him as well. That’s when things really went off the rails. Upon unboxing the motherboard, GN found a hand-written RMA ticket from Gigabyte stuck to the board, obviously put there by a technician. That means that Newegg had sent the board out to be RMA’d by Gigabyte, which returned the board unfixed to Newegg, which then labeled it “open box” and sold it to Gamers Nexus. Whoopsie.
It was at this time Gamers Nexus asked its Twitter audience if any of them have had a similar experience, and the complaints started rolling in from far and wide, with GN describing the number of complaints it received as “shocking.” This prompted it to escalate the matter, as they announced on February 13th that given the number and nature of complaints it had received, it wanted to talk to Newegg in person. It was with this pressure of this unapproved (by Newegg) appearance of media at its doorstep that the company announced it was going to change its return policy for CPUs and motherboards that were sold as
open box” items into “no hassle” affairs.
In a statement to Windows Central, which was also posted to Twitter, the company admitted that some customer’s RMAs hadn’t been inspected properly, and it apologized for this. Newegg described them as “process errors” and said it’s already made changes internally to prevent mislabeling a return in the future. Finally, it said it is looking to make the entire RMA process much easier going forward for CPUs and motherboards sold as “open box” items, making them “hassle free” and “no question” deals.
This isn’t the first time Newegg has run afoul of Gamer’s Nexus, or gamers in general. We don’t need to remind you of the Newegg Shuffle, which lets people enter a lottery for the chance to buy a GPU or CPU that’s typically pre-gouged in terms of price, or sold with a bunch of parts you don’t want, like a monitor or power supply. The company was discovered to be bundling faulty power supplies in some of its Shuffle bundles last year, which was not a good look. Finally, last summer the company began locking “hot items” behind a paywall of sorts, forcing customers to use its PC building service to obtain PC components that are in short supply, with a mandatory $99 fee.