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#93917 by billlawton
Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:07 pm
ooma and Costco is a great partnership. I bought my first (and second) Telo from Costco. Glad I did as my first failed after about 2 years . Actually got $50 back when I bought my replacement as the price had come down. When I recommend ooma to friends, I make a point to recommend buying from Costco due to their generous return policy and the tendency for the Telos to fail. Other than this failure, the service has been great.
#93935 by zten
Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:50 am
I am not a Costco Member. So if you buy it from Costco, they will replace it for free if it ever dies?

If that is the case, it might be worth the Costco membership all on its own! It just still seems crazy to me that they have not fixed this issue, unless of course, this issue actually makes ooma more money than it costs....
#93959 by scoutconnor
Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:36 pm
zten wrote:I am not a Costco Member. So if you buy it from Costco, they will replace it for free if it ever dies?

You could also try your credit card. Many have a built in double manufacturer warranty. If you know how you paid for it, give the issuer a call and see if you can file a warranty claim through them.
#93963 by lbmofo
Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:39 pm
billlawton wrote:ooma and Costco is a great partnership. I bought my first (and second) Telo from Costco. Glad I did as my first failed after about 2 years . Actually got $50 back when I bought my replacement as the price had come down. When I recommend ooma to friends, I make a point to recommend buying from Costco due to their generous return policy and the tendency for the Telos to fail. Other than this failure, the service has been great.

Ok. I've seen many "generous Costco return policy" type posts.....I wanted to ask my question numerous times before but thought was a bit sensitive so just left it. The heck with it...I am going to ask my question now...at least to get a feel of whether I am in minority or majority.

Here is another post like the one above:

njmurvin wrote:Since the Telo should be covered under Costco's unlimited return policy, why would anyone purchase extended warranty from Ooma? The reason I ask is that they are emailing me to purchase the extended warranty before the warranty expires (soon).

Then there are others that feel this way:

Jasper2 wrote:Regardless of the store policy, I would be just a little embarrassed to return a product after a year's use. ;)

Here it goes: Costco offers a very generous return policy. Everyone knows it. That's why people feel comfortable buying stuff from there knowing if anything goes wrong, they got "no hassle" returns to fall back on. I get that part. That's why I buy from Costco too. Okay, so far so good. But I don't think people should use this policy as their personal "extended warranty" or worse yet "lifetime warranty." If one wants an extended warranty, they should get it through other means. Returning things to Costco after "customary" warranty periods (+/- a few months), to me, seems to be abuse. Something like Telo (electronics), I can see 1 year + a few months maybe...but 2 years? It is costing someone money unjustly (Costco, Ooma, and/or all Costco members). Heck, billlawton even got paid $50 after getting 2 years of free service. To me, something is not right. I don't use a router for 2 years and get my money back. Telo is even worse because Ooma is providing free service before the "return" event (after getting years of service, if one quits one day and says don't need home phone service anymore, returns to Costco, get full refund). Am I off base here?
#93970 by EX Bell
Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:13 am
Just my opinion, I have little to no facts to back any up the following.

I'm a Costco member, I think I've stated that in a few posts. I think I've even used the exact words "Protected" in describing a purchase from Costco. However, I never said to anyone to specifically use their policy on returns as an extended warranty, and neither are you for that matter. I also have not and do not encourage abuse of their policy. I do however, with all do respect, think everyone who has a concern about what are or are not the policies of other companies and how it possibly affects their business or the assumed effect future purchase price to the consumer, should stop speculating on those effects and worrying about what other people choose to do. Let your own moral compass be your guide. If for example that compass tells you that you should buy product and if you feel it's wrong for you, just throw it on a pile of electronics in your home, so be it.

Theses are multi-billion dollar corporations, not a small struggling business trying to survive against the multi-billion dollar corporation. I can't imagine Costco, the sixth largest retailer in the United States, and the Seventh largest retailer in the world, in business for thirty-five years, is really struggling due to a return policy they themselves set. Rather the policy they have is likely helping their business grow, easily displacing any possible loss from returns. I doubt they would consider it a loss anyway, since they send the product back to the manufacturer. The manufacturer then refurbishes non-defective product an resells it themselves at a lower profit margin or they sell them to wholesale buyers of refurbish products who then sell it to businesses that sell it to the average joe like you and me at a reduced price. So instead of the product ending up in a pile until it's not useful anymore, and then ending up in landfill or a recycling center early in its life, that embodied energy in the product is utilized. I personally have no issue with that. Costco uses a similar business model to Walmart. They pressure manufactures to lower their prices when they feel it's too high by threatening not to stock their product or give it a prominent position on their shelves if they don't lower their prices. This does beat down the little retailer who doesn't have that kind of leverage. So if their's something to object to, its not consumers returning product and hurting poor multibillion dollar in sales Costco, its their business model itself and we have a choice in that as well. No one forces any of us to shop there, we in fact pay for the privilege.

So my personal opinion about any return to any business is, try it. If they say "I'm sorry you're beyond your return period" and you are, then what is or is not said from that point forward is completely between the individual returning the product and the management. If the return policy doesn't suit their business, they will adjust it accordingly, that's what smart businesses do.
Last edited by EX Bell on Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
#93973 by Cyberchat
Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:12 am
lbmofo wrote:.....
Ok. I've seen many "generous Costco return policy" type posts.....I wanted to ask my question numerous times before but thought was a bit sensitive so just left it. The heck with it...I am going to ask my question now...at least to get a feel of whether I am in minority or majority.

........

Here it goes: Costco offers a very generous return policy. Everyone knows it. That's why people feel comfortable buying stuff from there knowing if anything goes wrong, they got "no hassle" returns to fall back on. I get that part. That's why I buy from Costco too. Okay, so far so good. But I don't think people should use this policy as their personal "extended warranty" or worse yet "lifetime warranty." If one wants an extended warranty, they should get it through other means. Returning things to Costco after "customary" warranty periods (+/- a few months), to me, seems to be abuse. Something like Telo (electronics), I can see 1 year + a few months maybe...but 2 years? It is costing someone money unjustly (Costco, Ooma, and/or all Costco members). Heck, billlawton even got paid $50 after getting 2 years of free service. To me, something is not right. I don't use a router for 2 years and get my money back. Telo is even worse because Ooma is providing free service before the "return" event (after getting years of service, if one quits one day and says don't need home phone service anymore, returns to Costco, get full refund). Am I off base here?


Ibmofo,

You might have waded into a swamp, here! Well, I've got a ol' pair of muddy boots which I use to wade into the woods to feed the birds, squirrels, deer and other critters, so I guess a bit of "pond scum" on them won't hurt. ;)

I don't believe you are totally "off base" here. I get the points you're making but I'm not completely aligned with your thoughts.

In this topic you have the tension between a human nature of wanting something of value for nothing (or next to nothing) tugging against the real world fact that something of value costs "somebody" something to produce or to provide that service.

This human nature is evident when an infant wants to own "all the toys" and will smack another infant on the head if it trys to take one. Some infants never grow out of it or have little direction/guidance to become a better citizen. This "free ride" mentality which you can see in the street riots combined with business trashing everwhere in the world projects an aura that "if I get mine, the rest of the world can be dammed". I guess all of us have some residual charteristic like this within us; again, its a human nature survival-of-the-fittest thing.

But, some of us received enough consistent direction/guidance either through kind parenting or butt-kicking 'this is the way it is" guidance that we learned to "pay our own way" in this world. It also included some common courtesy and moral instructions which causes us to share with those less fortunate, take our place in line if others arrived ahead of us and to not trample others just because we're stronger or to not take things just because no one is looking.

With regard to Costco, I doubt that the Costco Corporate Charter includes the word "charity" within it. So I expect that any costs related to "abuses" of their return policies will be passed on to the rest of us Customers. But the use of the work "abuse" in this context is a misnomer. Costco sets the policy and they're using this policy to differentiate themselves from their competitors, so its kind of a marketing expense. If at some time in the future they determine that this policy has become counter productive, they'll change it. In fact they already have limited the policy for computers and a few other electronic devices because of extensive abuses of the policy. So, I don't feel that those Costco customers who extend this return policy to its limits are necessarily putting their hands in my pocket. They're just taking advantage of a policy which Costco has setup, advertised and promoted to their own advantage.

So, although I don't choose to do it, I don't view to-the-limits-use of Costco's return policy as being completely in the same category as someone taking advantage of others. But the thought of this scenario conjurs up a vision of my Dad's size 12 moving my butt a few inches North toward my ears (even though he's been deceased for many years). :(
#94016 by zten
Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:56 am
Well, guys, being in the HW manufacturing business for the last 23 years, I don't get any of this. The ONLY type of electronic device I would consider getting an extended warranty on is a high tech device and only if the extended warranty covered accidental customer abuse like "oops, I dropped it onto concrete from five and a half feet by accident" or "oops, I accidentally dropped it in the toilet" or "oops, my son lost grip on the Wii controller and the screen cracked". Bottom line, these things SHOULD NOT be bricking themselves, transistors and power supplies SHOULD NOT be failing. This thing sits in a climate controlled, stationary environment. It should be significantly more robust. It should easily last more than 5 years. It should be as robust as a TV with a picture tube. For high tech devices made out of solid state components (lol), the device should become obsolete before it dies, in my opinion....

If Costco has an unlimited return policy, they have clearly determined it is better to have it than not from a business perspective, so returning something that falls within the rules of their policy should not be viewed as "slimey". I guess if Costco was losing their butt on Telo product quality, they would stop selling them. However, something tells me Costco must get some kind of agreement with any manufacturer they deal with. I'm sure Costco does not eat that loss all by themselves. It is at least shared with Ooma. Ooma seems to have an unlimited supply of "re-furbished" devices, so where do those come from?

I got my refurbished Telo last night. After the obligatory 60 minutes with tech support (between wait time and trouble shooting time) it finally started working. I also tried swapping out just the power supply on the old telo, as one poster thought maybe the PS died. No dice on that one. My ooma just bricked itself just like my previous one did 15 mos ago. Really, the only reason I got this device was for the money saving. I think I have saved money over the last 19 months, but not nearly as much as Ooma claims becuase the investment costs are MUCH higher than they advertise. I will buy the extended warranty, assuming I can still, since my MTBF is about 10 mos.

Ooma did not even ask me about getting my old one back. Something tells me they have a steady stream of bricked boxes coming in and from that they have plenty of "refurbished" boxes available for sale. Is my bricked box worth anything to any of you guys? Let me know you want to buy it for a low price. I can ship it in an ooma box with PS and Ethernet cord. :o)
#94023 by EX Bell
Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:35 am
Thanks for the insight and the level-headed post. I like to imagine that I'm one of the lucky ones, like the guy who smokes three packs a day for 70 years and never has an adverse effect. I'm getting the sense that it's a pie in the sky dream I ain't ever gonna see. So yes, the obligatory extended warranty is in my future too.

The more posts I see about Ooma devices leaving this world between the ages of 5-15 months old seems not only sad, but a bit too high for anyone to suggest there's no problem, just keep smiling, but it's not a surprise either. I'm not a HW vet like you, but the early routers from Linksys used to give up the ghost at about age 2. Now, that their owned by Cisco, I have to say their damn hard to kill. So one would assume something was changed that made them dramatically more robust. Something is wrong with Ooma Telos, and in the interest of self preservation, I hope they find the problem and correct it with a firmware update before mine decides it isn't long for this world. :)

From the "goodbye Ooma I'm headding to netTalk" post of late, it sounds like their beginning to lose some ground. I would imagine if they don't either drop their price for the Telo dramatically or make it a more robust product fast, their going to lose customers at an accellerated rate. They'd better hope I'm in a good mood the day mine fails, and the wife... :shock: ...watch your back Ooma.

BTW, could somebody with a "dead" Ooma Telo crack one of these open. If there's a JTAG plug inside, it's possible that someone with some knowledge about these things could "Unbrick" it and post how to do it. I know that the boys over at the DD-WRT forum have brought some of the assumed to be dead routers back to life by connecting a serial cable to the JTAG plug. It sound a bit complicated, but I think from their directions I could figure it out, I've just never had one of my Cisco Linksys routers brick and the old Linksys routers I owned that did, were already recycled before the procedure was available.
#94026 by zten
Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:05 am
Shucks, I should have done a simple web search. I did not realize I had an option other than ooma or Magic Jack Plus. My brother has a magic jack and considering the voice quality is bad about half the time I talk to him, I really did not think I had a better option than ooma. I was weighing the idea of getting VOIP from Comcast, but the idea of a monthly bill just really pains me...

Do you know anything about netTALK? I entered my phone number in their tool, and it told me my number was NOT eligible for porting. Seems bizarre my number already on one VOIP system could not be transferred to their VOIP system. Do you think that is an error?

I hope ooma fixes the issue too. The problem is the business model does not push them to do so. The business model simply pushes them to sell HW. Other than making great margin on HW, how else do they make money ? (other than thru Premier service -- not sure how many subscribers they have). So they are motivated mainly bring in customers, not to keep them..... Is my view too skeptical?
#94028 by EX Bell
Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:57 am
zten wrote:Do you know anything about netTALK? I entered my phone number in their tool, and it told me my number was NOT eligible for porting. Seems bizarre my number already on one VOIP system could not be transferred to their VOIP system. Do you think that is an error?

I hope ooma fixes the issue too. The problem is the business model does not push them to do so. The business model simply pushes them to sell HW. Other than making great margin on HW, how else do they make money ? (other than thru Premier service -- not sure how many subscribers they have). So they are motivated mainly bring in customers, not to keep them..... Is my view too skeptical?


I don't think your view is skeptical, but realistic to the way the majority of businesses seem to be operating today. They seem to fall all over themselves to get you, but once you're in, take a number. When you say you're leaving they call you "Valued Customer", as if vocalizing the words or even putting them in writing somehow makes it true.

For me netTALK was not an option I could take. I'm in Toronto and they don't offer porting of Canadian phone numbers. Since my wife would not accept a new number (frankly I didn't want one either), I had to make sure we could port our old one. netTALK also limits you to 3000 minutes a month (averages to 1.62 hours a day), where as Ooma allows up to 5000 minutes a month. 5000 is not a problem for us, but 3000 minutes a month would be.

This last point may not be important to some, but I have say I like the big Ooma box with touch sensative buttons and speaker. This is actually smart design in my opinion. A lot of people still have an answering machine or if they don't they probably have a cordless phone with a base station that has an answering machine. These things are not much smaller than the Ooma Telo. So having this extra box is not really that big of a deal, and it makes it familiar to deal with. I have my box, when someone calls I can screen the call. When there's a message the play button flashes. I can skip forward or back and delete my messages. As a bonus, I can send a call waiting call to voicemail by just pressing a single button on the Telo. It's nearly identical to what I had with POTS and an answering machine. What's not to like about that? I didn't have to explain anything to my family except the send to voicemail button. With netTALK I would have to always navigate the keypad for voice mail. Not a big deal I guess, I do it on my cell phone and I do it at work, but if I have the option for a simple interface at home, I welcome that.

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