Lack of Post-sale Customer Service

Back in May 2005 I purchased an Averatec C3500 tablet PC. It was a bit of an impulse buy but I was looking for another model from Averatec that had everything the C3500 has but no tablet and after getting a demo I decided to buy one. I’m pretty happy with the laptop except that the beast runs hot and has pretty awful battery life. I can squeeze two hours out of it but that’s the maximum. On the other hand it’s fairly light and saved our butts during a recent trip to Spain.

But this entry isn’t about the laptop or Averatec. It’s about a different company with apparently crappy customer service.

To help matters I thought I’d buy an external battery pack and since BatteryGeek had a few promising models that should be cheaper than extra batteries from Averatec ($99 each), easier to charge and not so heavy that I’d hate carrying it around I decided to give them a shot.

I’d initially chosen the BG18-21-111 model as it seemed to fit my needs and attempted to contact BatteryGeek through email since their online shopping cart still wasn’t working. Their web site said it was undergoing maintenance and would be back online in early June. Unfortunately this was mid-June and it still didn’t work. They’ve since taken the shopping cart links off their site.

After getting no response through email I gave them a call. Their 800 number turned out to be an answering service that promised a return call within 24 hours. More than 24 hours later I still hadn’t heard from them so I tried their toll number (maybe I should have given up at this point).

I finally got hold of Sean the morning of June 22nd and after discussing my needs with him ended up ordering the BG15-21-118 based on his estimate that I’d get 5-7hrs of runtime from it. I’d also mentioned that I needed it for a trip I was taking the following week. He said he’d ship it out that day and I could expect to receive it Friday or Saturday.

And so I waited.

And waited some more.

Friday and Saturday came and went with no battery appearing. On Sunday I sent them an email asking for a tracking number for the package and (late) Monday Melissa replied and sent me a number that couldn’t be tracked. They’d shipped it by USPS but hadn’t asked for tracking, so naturally there wasn’t any.

On Tuesday I left for my business trip without the battery and somewhat annoyed that the pack hadn’t arrived on time.

On arriving back home the next weekend I found the pack waiting for me and discovered the reason why the battery hadn’t arrived on time.

Instead of sending the battery on the 22nd as they’d promised, they sent it on the 27th. I wonder when they’d have sent it if I hadn’t asked them for the tracking number. Would I still be waiting? Probably.

Their service didn’t get any better from there.

In the box there was an adapter, some tips, no documentation at all and a battery pack that wasn’t the one I ordered. They appear to have sent me a pack that is better than the one I ordered so that’s not so bad but the lack of documentation is one more annoying thing.

On the battery pack are two connectors, one marked in and the other marked out, a meter with five lights, I’ve since discovered that one is red, indicating what? and the other four are a simple power meter, and a switch marked L/H.

Wanting to know more I sent an email off to their support box asking for documentation and why the pack hadn’t been sent when promised.

I hooked the adapter to the pack using the "in"; connector and let it charge.

Checking my email later I found a bounce from their ISP saying that their support box was full. I wonder why.

So I resent the email to sean at batterygeek.net and postmaster at batterygeek.net and waited. I actually received a reply on Sunday. Unfortunately Sean only replied to one of my questions (the L/H switch is used to tell the pack roughly what voltage range the device requires) so I replied, thanked him for the information and repeated the unanswered questions and added a few new ones (like why am I seeing much less runtime than he estimated).

Crickets…

It’s a week and two more emails later and still no response from Batterygeek.

I’ve tested the pack several times since receiving it and can squeeze 4 hours and 45 minutes out of it pretty consistently by operating in what I’d call power-saving mode. Basically turning everything off I don’t need and turning the screen brightness down so that the batteries will last as long as possible. Given that this is a larger pack than Sean and I discussed, I expected that I’d see longer runtimes. I’m definitely not getting 5-7 hours out of it.

The behavior of the pack is a bit annoying (the whole experience is more than a little annoying) in that during one, and only one, of the five full tests I’ve done in the last week only once did the little red light on pack start blinking when the power level on the pack started to bottom out. In that case I was actually able to run the computer for another 20 minutes before the laptop switched over to the internal battery. In every other case the switch has happened with no warning at all. It’s not a huge issue since I’ll typically be using the pack with a fully charge internal battery but I’d sure like to know what the pack <i>should</i> do.

So far I’d have to recommend staying away from Batterygeek until they get their quality control and customer service up to snuff. Though they offer a 1-yr warranty on their packs, since they don’t include documentation with them (how will you know when it’s not working 100% correct?) and they can’t be reached reliably, good luck getting one replaced.

Updated: 2006-01-22 12:10pm

Apparently BatteryGeek has also been operating under the name New Laptop Batteries for some time now. Beware. They’re the same people, same products and I’m sure exhibit the same behavior.

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Author: Michael Harrison

Husband, Programmer, Irish dancer, tinkerer, astronomer, layabout (as much as possible)

28 thoughts on “Lack of Post-sale Customer Service”

  1. Thank you for the information. I will stay away from them and look for an external battery pack for my C3500 somewhere else. Could you let me know what battery pack you ended up with (brand and model)? and, would you recommend it? Thanks.

    1. I’ve still got the battery from BG. I’ve never received a reply from them since they got my money but as it’s doing what I needed it to do I’m not going to worry too much until I actually need service. Then I’ll get worried.

    2. Thank you for sharing your experience Michael. I found to be an interesting read. I also purchased a long life battery from batterygeek.net however my experience was quite different than yours. The battery I purchased from them gave my laptop an additional 12 hours of run time per charge which far exceeded my expectations. Additionally, the battery I received is very small in size and durable which makes it ideal for my frequent travels. They also included some extra nifty free gifts which I thought added a nice touch. My experience of the customer service level at batterygeek was quite different from yours. I found the customer service that I received from both Sean and Melissa at batterygeek.net to be exceptionally good. They both responded very fast to all my questions and concerns on three seperate occassions and I also received amazingly fast same day shipping. Personally, I would not hesitate to refer this company and thier products to anyone.
      Cheers,
      Dr. Steve Prescott

      1. Thanks for your reply Dr Prescott. Perhaps Sean and Melissa were having a bad month when I purchased my battery from them.
        I still only get about four hours runtime from my battery when using it “normally”. Perhaps after a bit more time has passed I’ll give them another shot at customer service.

      2. Interesting – found a positive review of this battery at another site, and it’s signed by William Prescott. Could it be that the Prescott family really likes it, or are they maybe shills for BatteryGeek?

  2. This is a follow-up to my last review of BatteryGeek.
    On September 15th Sean from BatteryGeek contacted me about a review of his battery pack I’d posted on Amazon. He was "painfully disappointed" about it and wasn’t sure where the ball was

  3. I bought one of their earlier models, the BG16/19-8800. Customer service was fine, though nothing special. The battery also worked fine, giving about 6 hours, and I was very happy with it. But, now that I’ve had it just over a year (which happens to be the warranty period), it died completely.

  4. Excellent post! I wish I had read it before I ordered from these bastards. I ordered a battery for my POS Acer Aspire 3000 (which gives me a whopping 1 hour of computer use: this should be criminal, but hey, another day) over 10 days ago. No word on whether it has shipped. I “left a message” with some clueless receptionist who, for some reason, can’t access the information.

    This company SUCKS.

    1. I bought a battery pack from batterygeek just the other day and it’s giving my IBM ThinkPad 7+ hours of additional run time per charge. Not bad. Also, after I placed my order they shipped it out same day and I received it the next day with some free gifts. Not bad either. So far so good.

  5. I had a different experience so perhaps their customer service has improved.

    I ordered 2xDVD batteries + 1xPowerbook battery on 24th Dec and requested two day shipping because I thought I could get it in time for a flight on the 29th. I saw your post and thought I better check with them on delivery date. I called and Sean explained the package would arrive on 29th – one day later than I expected because I’d forgot to allow for Christmas Day (Mon)

    This was a problem for me because of teh time of my flight. I asked if they could “speed up” the delivery. Instead they rushed me a second duplicate package that arrived the morning of the 29th, giving me time to charge up the batteries and get them onto the plane. The batteries were(are) excellent and their flexibility helped me out. I was impressed with them – sure they’re not Amazon, but they have products that are much better than the Everyready device I can find in my local Best Buy at a fair price. If they hadn’t been willing to leap into action and ship a second package leaving themsolvces out of $400 of inventory until I returned the other I would have had no battery. That is excellent service in my book.

    I’m not disputing your experience. Maybe you had a bad day or maybe I had a great one? I would recommend Battery Geek but you do need to do your research first.

  6. Awful company. They sent me a “personal battery audit” tailored to my machine. When I ordered the battery they suggested? None of the adaptors fit to my computer! They didn’t apologize for telling me incorrect information in the “audit”, but just asked me to send the battery back.

    Awful. Slow service, if not a bit supercilious, will not use them ever again or recommend them to friends.

  7. What do you normally think when you get a sales call and the person on the other end says he is responding to a request you made online? Many people would respond that the person made a mistake, ask to be taken out of their database and forget about it.

  8. I received a defective psp15 battery. I called several times for customer service and was told someone would call me back. Two weeks went by til someone from tech support called me back. He was helpful and confirmed I needed to get a replacement. I was told I would receive a return envelope for exchange. I called several times only to get a promise someone would call back. One week later still no one called. I am now planning to return the battery for refund before my 30 days expire. I also realize that the email from Sean and Melissa (owners) are automated emails since I get the same canned message each time I call. Wish I had read this blog before purchasing. Will let you know if the service changes for the better.

  9. hey everyone
    i found out about batterygeek like a few days ago looking for a psp batt for the 13hr flight to tokyo (then 5 more to bangkok). anyways i’ve been trying to figure this company out through reviews and whatnot and i’m finding everything you guys found. blogs are usually “bad service/product, beware” posts with the inevitable “this company is the best” type follow-up that all sound like marketing bs and not really reviews. too much sugar-coated enthusiasm. i found it funny that the post immediately following kel maxwell’s kinda takes this into account. so i’m all set to not trust these guys when google takes me to the ebay reviews of batterygeek and they’re primarily good. like real good. so now i don’t know. what do you guys think?
    http://feedback.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewFeedback&userid=batterygeek&items=-1&item=-1&de=off

    1. I had an awful experience, so I am biased, but here is what I think overall.

      Assuming they send you the battery (I didn’t get mine, they blamed UPS, and sent me another one). Also, assuming there are absolutely no problems you need resolved once you get the battery, then you should be OK. If you need any customer support, or any advice, or any servicing, you are completely screwed.

      They did refund my money promptly once i returned the battery, though.

  10. I was researching ipod batteries and found battery geek.net. It looked like the best battery for my purposes, too good to be true. Well, i recommended them to a friend of mine with an ipod video. He bought one, i waited. The battery that arrived was a laptop battery, with minimal, almost amatuer documentation. And no way to plug into an ipod without some special non-existant adapter.
    So i searched some more and found that the geekpod 100 is the EXACT SAME battery as Japan Trust Techology’s pod60 battery. Same dimensions, same 6000 mAh. Looks like batterygeek got ahold of another company’s batteries and illegally changed the name.

    Well i DID order the battery, but from a more reputable Lik-sang.com from Hong Kong. I’m still waiting on the battery, but lik-sang looks to be a trusted name. Even http://www.penny-arcade.com bought a Nintendo DS Lite from them. Go Gabe and Tycho.

    1. Sounded interesting Rob so I did some research myself online and read the following news about them: “As you have all noticed, the funding company (Lik Sang International Limited) behind Lik-Sang.com has been unable to recover from the court injunction back in September of 2002. After having been forced to put the web site down for one month, the company was still too severely hit to run business smoothly the past few weeks. Many emails have remained unanswered until now and most parcels could not be shipped for more than two months now.” Not too sure whether or not I could trust this company Lik-Sang.com especially after reading this and learning that they are located all the way out in Hong Kong. Anyways, just my 2 cents worth.

      1. Your research is flawed Brian(I can’t comments on Robs) as the injunction you write about was from 2002, and at the time mod-chips were legal.
        Microsoft, Sony and Nintento used heavy-handed tactics to get Lik-Sang shut down and all that resulted is they can’t sell mod-chips any longer. Their business appears to be thriving otherwise.
        While they are in HK that’s not an indicator of a disreputable business.

        1. I grew up in Hong Kong and still have family there and I would agree that just because the company is from there doesn’t mean that they are not a reputable business. My girlfriend purchased a few products from Lik-Sang.com well over a month ago and she is still waiting for them to be delivered to Los Angeles. Not sure what the hold up is. Perhaps Lik-Sang.com somehow let her order slip through thier cracks or maybe it is just some sort of customs delay. Regardless, now she is totally starting to regret her purchase through them.

          1. Just to report, I recently purchased the Pod60 battery from Lik-Sang.com and the package arrived here in Tampa, FL within 5 days of the order. I did purchase the DHL International Express shipping option for $23 and Lik-Sang sent me a shipping confirmation email with a tracking information link. Even with the shipping costs, the battery cost less than the one sold at batterygeek.net

            The battery has performed as advertised so far.

  11. I ordered from batterygeek.net and my package arrived just in time for my million hour flight to Moscow. I appreciated thier note in the box and for writing a note on the FedEx shipping form asking them to deliver it to my apartment office. I have to say, everything about doing business with them was stellar. Never have I had such a positive experience within any shopping, let alone online shopping. I was joking with my girlfriend that they were the first business I wanted to be friends with. And I also appreciated the little extras in the box. I just think its funny that thier business is more personable than most people, but maybe its just because I live in Texas. Anyhow, I hope thier business thrives.

    Sincerely,

    Pasha Morshedi

    Houston

  12. While looking through my server logs I found that the person from this story is still periodically checking my site, so I did another search on the web for stories talking about Battery Geek and Dragon’s Eye.
    Even the Better Business Bureau isn’t fond

  13. I placed an order at battery geek *25 days* ago and have not received it yet..

    I sent them *5 emails* & a note through their web site to know whether it shipped or not and got no reply at all.

    So where does this leave me?

    IMHO, customer service is not up to my (I think reasonable) expectations as a customer.

    Maybe I just had bad luck, but that’s my perspective.

  14. Update on Battery Geek Customer Service 03-12-09: I asked for in-warranty support no fewer than 6 times (emails and phone) and have received no response other than automated email. Stay Away from Batterygeek.com

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