Notion Ink Customer Service Purposely Stalling Past 7 Day Return Period?

January 27, 2011
30

It appears in more than one case today that Notion Ink's General Terms of Return for the Adam Android tablet are coming into the spotlight in a rather unpleasant set of instances. As you know, hardware/software brand Notion Ink recently sent out their first shipment of Android tablets, that being the several different versions of what's called the "Adam." Since shipment, there've been several reports of difficulty in use, mis-information coming to light regarding the glossiness of the screen, blotchiness in the colors on the screen, and now a hardware mis-alignment in the swivel camera at the top of the device. A fellow by the name of Rambler reports today that after reporting to Notion Ink that his device suffered from the last two items from this list of defects, he was treated with what seemed to be a dismissive attitude and a confusing set of instructions, ultimately leading up to his 7 day return period becoming expired.

The story of Rambler, (otherwise known as Rambler358 on the NotionAddicts messageboard,) begins with his shipment coming to his Los Angeles door all the way from Xiamen, Fujian China. His first problem began when he attempted to apply the screen protector included in every Adam package:

Got home about an hour ago and decided to check out my Adam. Got everything unboxed, and all was okay. I decided I wanted to put the screen protector on the first thing. I'm here to tell you it's no easy thing getting the screen protector on! It needs to be aligned perfectly, or else the protector won't fit correctly. Needless to say, I borked the installation by not having it aligned just right. After taking it off once to try and realign, some dust specs got in. And then it still wasn't perfectly aligned, and the edges don't want to seal themselves. So I got the scissors out, and trimmed away some of those parts that wouldn't seal. After 45 minutes I got it to be as best I could, with at least no bubbles or specs over the screen portion. But I hope more screen protectors can be ordered, as I really want to do this again and get it perfect. But it looks just "okay" as it is now.

After this, he turned the tablet on and found there to be a 19% charge, the tablet telling Rambler that he needed to charge the device asap. He plugged the device in and started to search for the supposedly included PDF manual to no avail. Next he tried to enter his Wifi info but the keyboard did not appear without him exiting connection preferences and activating the Adam keyboard separately. Then he could not figure out how to turn the Eden OS off. Eventually he found one place - above the last used apps section, that worked for a two-finger swipe down to exit into desktop mode. Then the Facebook app didn't work in any mode, and the tablet was stuck in landscape mode, and the Help file opened into a non-existing link.

It was then he realized that his camera "would not stay all the way down in front," apparently popping up slightly like it was spring loaded. Filing this issue aside for later, Rambler noticed "some un-evenness in the colors on the display," but as it appeared to change depending on the angle the screen was viewed at, he filed this issue away as well. Next he realized that although the screen protector was attracting a massive amount of fingerprints, he couldn't remove the protector for fear that Notion Ink might not be producing more, as they've given no report on the subject.

When holding the device in landscape mode, Rambler noted that it was very easy to accidentally hit one of the buttons, especially since none of the buttons light up. Of course then Rambler remembered that there was no Android Marketplace on the tablet, and that although he purchased the PQ display version of the tablet, he found himself unimpressed with it, having to take it outside into the sunlight to "really see its merits."

At this point, Rambler took the camera issue back out of the back of his mind because not only was the swivel on the hardware acting goofy, the camera as it appeared on the screen was defective as well. When booting the camera up, Rambler saw a brief black screen with colored diagonal lines, then a blank screen altogether.

Then he took the screen issue back out of the back of his mind as he realized that the screen was downright blotchy. The Pixel Qi screen both whilst booting up and during dark scenes in movies. It was at this point that Rambler sent in a note to Notion Ink customer support asking for help.

Their response was less than helpful:

Greetings form the Notion Ink Support Team !!

Try pressing volume up and power button, enter recovery mode and wipe your data, then restart.

Please let us know the status of your Adam after you have tried the above procedure. Also, please let us know if you are still facing the same issue so that we may be able to assist you.

Thank you for your continued support to Notion Ink!
Warm Regards
Alan
Notion Ink Support Team

The first thing to note here is their complete disregard for the camera problem, as it is a hardware problem and has nothing to do with a reboot of the system. Furthermore, Rambler did end up trying this method for fixing all of his problems - to no avail. Rambler sends in another mail suggesting that they respond to the camera hardware issue as well as the fact that the whiping of the system fixed none of his problems, only to receive the following reply:

Greetings form the Notion Ink Support Team !!

Please send us some photographs so we may look and respond back to the issues you are facing.

Thank you for your continued support to Notion Ink!

Warm Regards
Alan
Notion Ink Support Team

At which point Rambler began to suspect the worst, that Notion Ink was taking him for a ride, so he replied:

I responded back again asking how would sending pictures of a defective camera help resolve a camera that can't take pictures/video issue? I then stated I'd like to do an advance exchange, and if they weren't able to do that, then I just want to return my defective Adam for a full refund.

It seems like NI is trying to extend out this process for as long as they can past 7 days, so that I'd have to pay some fee or something. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

It's at this point that Rambler receives another response disregarding the camera hardware issue, replying with the following:

Greetings form the Notion Ink Support Team !!

With respect to the screen what you see on the right side is the trans-reflective property. As the contrast ratio on a Pixel Qi screen is less as compared to a LCD screen for this reason the light bounces back and what you see is the white light.
This is not a defect of the screen.

Thank you for your continued support to Notion Ink!

Warm Regards
Alan
Notion Ink Support Team

This does not please Rambler, as the blotchiness he had been experience was showing up every time there was a dark or otherwise black scene on the device, so he responded again with a request for an advance replacement or a complete refund for his defective Adam.

It's at this point that he's received a large amount of replies from the other Notion Addicts who suggest he work with the Better Business Bureau (BBB, which of course wouldn't work since Notion Ink isn't in the USA or Canada,) and to call their toll free number. It is then revealed that this toll-free number was only printed once in a "way too early release of their paperwork" and was a filler number: 1 800 123 4567.

At this point it is several days after Rambler's tablet has been shipped. At this point, the following bit of legal text from Notion Ink's CancellationReturnRefund file:

You must notify Notion Ink of your intention to return the product within seven (7) calendar days of the date you received the product and return it to us in its original condition within thirty (30) calendar days of the date you received the product. Any refund will be processed after the product is received and inspected by Notion Ink. -- CancellationReturnRefund.pdf

Rambler is now not having a very pleasant experience, and notes the following:

At this point, I don't even care about the screen anymore. It's the camera that's really defective. Here are the camera issues I'm having with my Adam:
- First, it does not lock down in the front and pops up slightly.
- When running the camera or video I briefly get a black screen with horizontal lines, then goes immediately to a black screen with no picture/video taking ability.
- While in camera or video mode, I can hear a faint clicking coming from the camera when I hold my ear close to it.

I explained the above to NI support, with the secondary issue of the PQ screen's blotchiness on the right hand side. Support didn't respond back regarding the defective camera issue, but just defended my screen issue. I'm going to wait and see how support responds to my latest email to them indicating (again) that the defective camera is my primary concern.

At this point I think I just really want to return it for a full refund and get the Moto Xoom next month.

Another Adam purchaser (named Mada) tells Rambler that he (or she) had also purchased the Pixel Qi version of the tablet and received a very similar response when asking about the blotchiness - this was "a property of Pixel Qi and thanks for your cooperation." Mada notes that half of the screen on the Adam is "physically brighter with noticeable blotchiness in any which way the machine is used in," and that they doubt it's a property of Pixel Qi.

Rambler at this point plans to return the tablet to Notion Ink under their 30 day product guarantee, even though he must pay for shipping, this out of sheer frustration. The corresponding words from the same PDF posted above:

In case the product was delivered to you in a non-functional or defective condition, or if Notion Ink had shipped an incorrect product to you in error, Notion Ink will provide prepaid waybills so that you may ship the product back to Notion Ink. If you are returning the product under the 30-day return guarantee, you must bear the cost of shipping the product to us.

Currently Rambler is waiting for a response from Notion Ink.

What do you think? Time to think more about that BlackBerry tablet? How about the XOOM? Maybe a nice Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 would be better?


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  • Rambler

    Wow – my 15 minutes of fame! LOL
    Unfortunately these issues I’m having are very true. :-(

    • Murlgrrr

      Sad to hear, are there people out there not having the issues? Just wondering if there are a few faulty units or whether they are mostly dodgy.

      • bemymonkey

        I haven’t heard of a single PixelQi device that doesn’t have problems. :(

      • zuzu

        glad I came across this, I missed out on the preorder and now I’m happy I did, will get the xoom, I work too hard for my money to just risk it like this

    • Chris Burns

      Hey rambler!

    • http://www.facebook.com/rossdunn Ross Dunn

      Just so everyone knows, I just received my PQ Adam Tablet and it came out beautifully. That said, it was one of the sets that came out late so all of these issues were likely fixed. Anyway, it is great! I have a couple of things I want to ask support but so far so good. I am really sorry Rambler had to go through that BS… not cool!

  • Brie987

    Wow Im so sorry to hear about your issues, I REALLY wanted to get one but $ problems took care of that. Hoping the best for you. Questions. Anyone hear from the LCD Adams? Are they having the same screen issues or even the camera issues. Good luck and keep us posted. Also you seem to be taking this pretty well :)

  • Slaynasty

    Well obviously if you have an Adam you were in the first pre order and there are going to be issues with it it’s the price you pay as an early adapter but I have contacted notion ink with quick responses and they seemed helpful to me.

    • Anonymous

      @Slaynasty What the hell are you talking about? Are you suggesting that because Notion Ink is a new company that people should accept a defective product? If this in fact what you are saying you are out of your mind. I wonder if you would have this same cavalier attitude about the issue if that was your Adam.

  • mada

    Chris Burns, youre in the sf bay area right? you can come look at my screen yourself to see if its defective. Im in the south bay.

    People need to stop saying we’re faking it or its excusable for a company to send out bad products. A toll of users on notionaddicts has shown uniform problems with the PQ screen, gps and an unfinished UI. These problems arent faked and if it takes a well known blogger to confirm the problems themselves, Im more than willing to lend out my adam to put these shenanigans to rest.

  • Quintesse

    I started having my first doubts when I saw the “clunkiness” of the entire tablet and the size of the bezel around the screen, but I really decided to wait when I saw the first videos of the screen, there seemed to be so little contrast! It would be nice if a screen is usable in bright sunlight, but in the end I’m going to be using it almost exclusively indoors so there it has to shine.

  • RKumar

    Wellcome to the world of shoddy Indian way of dealing!

  • laziod

    Rambler, sorry to hear about your issues, luckly my adam is working like a champ. :)

  • Anonymous

    The product appears promising but with this sort of punishment worthy customer service, it’s not worth it purchasing their product. They need to overhaul their customer service or just close down the company.
    I suggest They partner with Amazon and Bestbuy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=563705036 Ward Anderson

    Man, and I really had my hopes set on this thing. All this bad news is really bad for the Startup. Going to have to go with the T-Mobile slate instead. I hope they get things sorted, they seem like they can be a good company. But damn. Y’all JUST started.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/jaroslav-stekl/ Jaroslav Stekl

    Well done, NI – you really had me there for a moment. Then, after the whole pre-order debacle (where the Adam looked like a scam), I decided to hold out and see what other people’s reactions to the tablet were like. Let’s just say that, having seen these reactions, I decided to wait for the Motorola XOOM instead…

  • http://twitter.com/rambler358 Ron Z

    Just a note to let everyone know that I got an email response from NI support, and they’ve approved my return and refund (minus the initial $50 shipping fee) and NI is paying the shipping back to them. I can live with that, as I at least got to see what Adam was about.

    I’ll be posting my Adam’s return progress over at the NotionAddicts thread I created there (Adam has arrived).

  • Anonymous

    you posted this at NI blog too rambler/mada? ..or not?

  • Taacmild

    Most of them got their adams with glitches and ofcourse some of them rooted and customised Adam(which actually worked well and made the screen respond superbly — watch the video from the link)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    And also Android Market installed
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    But those glitches should be removed by NI, not everyone who use Adam is a Geek

    • http://twitter.com/Nguyen Vincent Nguyen

      Do you have the correct links for youtube?

  • http://twitter.com/rambler358 Ron Z

    A video of my defective Adam:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tP0B1kFZk0

    • http://twitter.com/Nguyen Vincent Nguyen

      @ron thanks for sharing this video. Has NI respond to you regarding replacing?

    • http://androidcommunity.com/ Chris Burns

      thanks ron – we’ve got a post regarding this up on the main page now. we very much appreciate you coming to us first with this super video.

    • http://androidcommunity.com/ Chris Burns

      thanks ron – we’ve got a post regarding this up on the main page now. we very much appreciate you coming to us first with this super video.

  • http://twitter.com/rambler358 Ron Z

    A video of my defective Adam:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tP0B1kFZk0

  • http://www.facebook.com/brad.kalinoski Brad Kalinoski

    Junk. Just like I figured. Junk, and this gives a bad name to Android. christ.

    This is why apple says android tablets are vaporware.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rossdunn Ross Dunn

    Just so everyone knows, I just got my PixelQ version of the Adam tablet and it is flawless… not one of those issues encountered. That said, my tablet did come out later than the first round so I expect these issues were fixed (thank goodness!). Anyway, I wouldn’t want everyone thinking it is a bad company – the product is pretty damned amazing.

  • Raazrocks

    I request everyone not to regard NI ethical standards as Indian ethical standards. As an Indian , I am very disappointed with NI’s ordering , terms and conditions, firmware issues e.t.c.. NI is doing enormous damage to India’s image which is a budding IT country.

  • Strrrba

    It has been 2 months since this article came out. Guess what changed at NI’s end? Nothing. Visit their official boards and see it for yourself.

    Incompetent and clueless. I’m amazed they still have supporters. Empty words, that’s all they are.

  • G Stobbart

    Another case where incompetent fatcats tries to run a tech company thinking supposedly superior fancy naming hardware is everything above implementation and support.

    Seriously if you guys want an Android Tablet so much just get an Transformer or something. Why bother with a inexperienced company that have questionable tech support in the first place much less someone who just began to launch their first ever hardware.