Back in May I ordered a UPS for my home office. You don’t get power cuts in the UK very often and, in fact, I think power is out at my house more of a result of work being done inside my house, than anything, but as it’s a single point of failure than can be easily rectified, it seemed the sensible thing to do.

Last month, I went to plug an extra device in and found that it won’t push into the socket. In fact, as I attempted to push this plug in, the plug next to it also raised up out of its socket. Something wasn’t right and a quick inspection showed the issue – the socket safety shutters had dropped away inside the device.

I’d registered the UPS with APC at the time of purchase and although I’d had an email to say they’d received my registration request I’d heard nothing more. I rang them and, via a very quiet phone line, they arranged to have my UPS swapped out. Indeed, just a few days later a new one appeared.

But arranging to have the old device picked up turned out to be a lot trickier…

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I’d been given an RMA number and sent details of how to arrange pick-up of my old device, which I did. I arranged for the courier, via the APC site, to come out last Thursday. I followed the instructions that they provided and printed off the two sheets of information which I duly attached to the outside of the box. All was simple.

But then, Thursday came and went and nobody turned up (I know as I stayed in to ensure it). However, in the afternoon, I did receive an email from APC…

We have received notification that you have process return for the defective ups.

I’m not 100% sure what that means but I think they’re saying it’s been returned. Well, the box in my hallway said otherwise.

Anyway, on Friday I rang them and, I quote…

Sorry about that, there was a sniper attack on the TNT building

Call me a cynic, but I’m sceptical about this being true. Especially as it’s FedEx picking up my parcel. Anyway, they told me to get off the phone as they’re sure TNT will be calling me to re-arrange. Fine. It’s their UPS. If they don’t pick it up, I gain an extra battery for mine.

Yesterday (Sunday), I received another email from them…

This e-mail is a reminder that the next working day your Schneider Electric RMA will be collected by FedEx Express or one of its partners.

The required transport documents were submitted to you in the 1st e-mail

Ok, so with no warning (it’s a good job I work from home), they’re turning up the next day. But the box is ready as I attached the documents from the 1st email (as they confirmed there). And see how they say it’s a “reminder”. A reminder would suggest this is something I’m already aware of. I wasn’t.

At lunchtime the courier turns up (yes, it was FedEx). He takes a look at the box and confirms that the wrong documents are attached. It turns out there were 4 more pages of documents attached to the email I got yesterday and he needed them – the 2 I’d already attached (you remember, the two that the very same email said were the correct ones) were useless to him. So, I quickly print these 4 pages off and hand it over to him – he’s now happy.

Oh, and he confirmed that they were booked that morning by APC and not any earlier. And certainly not last Thursday.

On the Wednesday, APC called me. They’d actually seen this mentioned on Twitter and then read this post. They apologised for the problems I’d had and said that the process was already being improved (imagine what it had been like BEFOREHAND!).

Now they didn’t mention the “sniper” comment above but, in passing, mention that a lot of the issues had been caused by the “cyber” issue they’d been having. On a quiet phone line, this is what the APC guy had said to me the other day – not that they’d had a “sniper attack” but a “cyber attack”!

And that appears to be the case too. Well, not APC but FedEX, which is what I assume he meant.

 
The moral of this story – there’s no point in having a slick warranty replacement service in place if you’ll just end up looking like buffoons organising a courier for the RMA pick-up. And, yeah, most people could do with some notice – the original idea of allowing me to pick a day was good but only if you actually then follow it up.