Kay Talley returns a component of her Samsung 980 solid state drive back to the company. The company receives it — and then does nothing. Is she entitled to a refund or a return?
Q: I purchased a Samsung 980 Pro SSD solid state drive from a local Micro Center and registered the product with my Samsung account.
I sent Samsung the solid state drive (SSD) to update the firmware under my warranty. Samsung confirmed that it received the SSD and said it would take four days to complete the process. But the company never returned the SSD or gave me a refund. It’s been more than a month. Can you help me? — Kay Talley, Santa Ana, Calif.
A: Something has gone seriously wrong with your return. Samsung should have acknowledged your drive and updated the firmware in the time period it promised. Your case is what I like to call a black hole return: You send a product to the company — and it does nothing.
Black hole returns are one of the most vexing consumer problems I’ve ever encountered. How can a company accept a return and then stop communicating with you? And I also wonder what would happen if the roles were reversed. What if a company sent you something and you failed to acknowledge it or pay for it? Corporate America would have a hissy fit.
You kept excellent records of your return, including a paper trail of your electronic chats with Samsung. Good job! It shows your repeated efforts to get Samsung to reveal the whereabouts of your SSD and to return it. The trail ends with you contacting the Better Business Bureau and connecting with someone from Samsung who promises a speedy resolution.
“We’re just waiting for the system to finalize everything for you to receive the electronic coupon,” he says. “I’m still going to continue to follow up with you just in case you have further questions, or you can reach me directly at my office.”
But nothing happened after that. And that’s when you contacted me.
Black Hole cases are challenging. If a company doesn’t acknowledge a return, it’s considered lost. At that point, you have to file insurance claims. If you don’t have proof of your return, you could be out of luck. Fortunately, you kept your UPS receipt — again, good job.
I list the email addresses and phone numbers for Samsung’s customer service managers on my consumer advocacy website, Elliott.org. I think a brief, polite email to one of them might have resolved this missing return case.
But you’ve been more than patient. I contacted Samsung on your behalf. A representative reached out to you and promised a refund. A day later, Samsung finally refunded you for your SSD.