PROBLEM SOLVED

My steam mop broke! Why won't Amazon clean up this mess?

 

February 8, 2024

Roy Gregston's Hoover Complete Steam Mop breaks down only a few months after he buys it from Amazon. Even though he has a three-year extended warranty, no one will cover it. What's going on?

Last year, I purchased a Hoover Complete Steam Mop from Amazon. On that same order, I bought a three-year extended warranty from Asurion.

The unit failed a few months later.

I first contacted Asurion. A representative informed me that since the steam mop is still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, Asurion could not help.

I then contacted Hoover, who declined to replace the unit because they considered Amazon not to be an "authorized" reseller. I don't understand how anyone selling new products on Amazon could not be “authorized.”

I then contacted Amazon, which said the item was outside of their warranty period.

Amazon contacted the actual seller -- a business called the Deal Valley. Amazon finally agreed to a return, with a reduced refund, but they would not pay for shipping of the defective item. The returned item would be worth 50 percent of the value of the original steam mop, or about $100. I'm not prepared to accept that. Can you help?

Roy Gregston, Green Valley, Ariz.

No one wants to take responsibility for your broken steam mop -- not Amazon, not Asurion, and not Hoover. But you should not have to accept a 50 percent refund for something that should be fully covered (and for which you paid for extra insurance).

An authorized seller is a company that has permission from a manufacturer to sell its products. In your case, you were buying the steam mop through Deal Valley, which was selling its products on Amazon. So Amazon was not the authorized reseller -- it was just an intermediary for your purchase.

But that doesn't let it off the hook. Amazon still has its A-to-Z Guarantee, which protects you when you buy items sold and fulfilled by a third-party seller. Amazon followed its policy correctly. Your return would have been subject to a restocking fee, and you would need to pay for the postage. But Amazon also has an implied warranty that any product you buy through its site will be covered -- and that's especially true for the Asurion add-on, from which Amazon no doubt received a commission.

No question about it, your case was in a no-man's land. So what to do? I think you did the right thing checking with Asurion, then Hoover, and finally Amazon. That was the correct sequence. If I had to lean on anyone here, it would be Amazon. Ultimately, Amazon is responsible for the products it sells on its site. And again, not to belabor the point, but it sold you an extended warranty that suggested you would be fully covered for three years -- not covered for only 50 percent after a few months.

You kept a compelling paper trail, but the response from all parties was firm. You could have escalated this in writing to one of the Amazon executive contacts I publish on my consumer advocacy site, but by the time your case landed on my desk, you had been patient enough.

I contacted Amazon on your behalf. It arranged for you to return your steam mop for a full refund.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (https://elliottadvocacy.org), a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at [email protected] or get help by contacting him at https://elliottadvocacy.org/help/

© 2023 Christopher Elliott

 

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