Considering Microsoft Store Refurb product? Read this first.


Know this, customer support for issues with refurbs is a serious deficiency for Microsoft Store. Here’s the summary of my recent experience:

* Ordered Refurb Surface Book. There was a nice discount over a new version (at the time).
* Shortly after unboxing, found previous damage to screen.
* Visited Physical Store, could not exchange (no refurbs in store).
* Online support personnel could not initiate exchange, must escalate, requires later contact.
* While contact was promised within two days, no contact had been made two weeks later.
* Calling online store support for status proved fruitless (other than additional notes on case).

I ended up returning the laptop as the 30-day return period was rapidly approaching. Needless to say, what started with joy (it’s a truly excellent and gorgeous device) ended with me questioning whether I should ever consider a Microsoft hardware product again.

Oh, the kicker? When in the local store for the return and having just described my frustration with the experience, the employee suggested helpfully “It’s OK, you just can’t please everyone”, as if I was just being difficult.

Comments (10)

10 responses to “Considering Microsoft Store Refurb product? Read this first.”

  1. 5496

    Not every store have refurbished in stock. 

    Any phone support that I called, sucks. No matter what company it is.

  2. 4213

    Weird, the author tag got omitted. This is my post.

  3. 2

    Knowing what I know about the folks running the store, this is clearly not the customer service experience they're shooting for. Hopefully, this isn't typical these days.

    I like the idea of refurb generally, and I've had great success with Apple refurb products (it's the only way they're semi affordable).

    • 4213

      In reply to Paul Thurrott:

      I agree and I've had excellent experiences with various refurb product over the years. Heck, cost is why I was buying this laptop as a refurb - it was $700 less than the new version at the time!

      Further, I'm totally understanding of how the screen damage -- a wide, long scuffed section of the screen that was barely visible but incredibly obvious with the pen -- made it through the QC process. When I found it, I thought "no problem, they'll take care of this".

      But the Customer Service process at the heart of my experience is clearly by design: escalation/callback on high-value exchanges. Setting aside whether a request for a two-day callback period is terrible CS, my specific case highlights that either they have piss-poor tracking of these callbacks or they are severely understaffed. (I called back twice after the initial case was opened and the agent was essentially powerless.)

      In either case, the result is the same as is my warning to others: if you buy a refurb PC from the Microsoft Store and you need it exchanged, you are very likely to have this experience. Save yourself the grief and simply initiate a return.

      (And to all those thinking, "well, I would just escalate the issue myself", they've also been very effective at shutting down alternative channels of engagement, feedback or resolution. Never could I speak with a supervisor/manager and the twitter account is a bot that will ask what your issue is, and then never respond again.)

      • 289

        In reply to primushed:

        Thanks for sharing your experience.  You'd think that a premium device (even a refurb) would come with premium customer service, but that's often not the case.  Very few companies have a strong commitment to CS, so I guess I'm not too surprised.  

        I am a little surprised by the attitude of the in-store associate.  I've had good-to-great service every time I've been to a MS store.  

      • 4213

        In reply to primushed:

        Saw the thread I started float to the top so I thought I'd update my story with a new warning about Microsoft Store.

        Do NOT return an online store product to the physical store, particularly if the physical store doesn't stock the SKU. Ship it yourself.

        I'm currently in refund hell. As I noted above, I returned the unit to a physical store two weeks ago and was eventually told that they'd just be shipping the product to the returns center, where the refund will be processed. What he should've told me was: "Please, you should just ship the product yourself. Then, at least, you'll have a tracking number to tell you it made it."

        As I haven't received a refund or even a status update, I called. I was told that they have no idea where it is right now and to call back in a week.

        But, hey, there's an upside: all these beautiful new laptops in Paul and Sam's CES coverage that are coming in March and April have me glad that I have to wait to replace the Surface Book.

  4. 4615

    Interestingly I should be receiving my purchase of a Surface Book Refurb.  I was excited about the savings over the full retail price. 

    I plan on responding with my findings after I receive the product. 

  5. 442

    Sounds a little overboard on your part.  They provided a product with a money back guaranty, the product didn't satisfy, and you returned it.  How could that be bad?  Sure you still wanted the product, but life is not always that generous.  Count yourself lucky you delt with a good business with proper customer friendly practices.  And, I believe I'd have to agree with the store, as it sounds as if you might have been a bit difficult to work with.  Remember, it's YOUR choice to be mad.  People don't make you mad, it's your choice.  It's your brain, you do with it what you want to do.

  6. 5184

    For what it is worth on MS refurb devices, I've had very good experience.  My XB1 is a refurb.  Still running great a year plus.  I also bought a refurb Surface Pro 3.  It's doing well also at roughly the 18 month mark.  I haven't had any reason to return any of them for issues.  I'd prefer to return a refurb if there were any issues. 

    My general experience with MS support has been superb.  I exchanged my Band 1 three times.  Never a hesitation to replace.  Exchanged my Band 2 once and again, same great experience.  Those were a mix of in-store and via mail.  I recently sent my second Band 2 in to get repaired or replaced due to strap issues.  This is the first bump I've hit with service as they keep saying they're trying to find parts and may just issue a refund, but can't give me an ETA on when they'll either fix, replace, or refund.