It’s time for MSFT to do the right thing with Band 2

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Certainly it’s no secret the quality control/hardware issues Microsoft has had with the Band 2 from cracked straps, to GPS issues, to battery issues and more.  While I really like the device and already miss it, I finally had to throw in the towel as my latest (3rd after the strap had cracked on the previous) one started randomly shutting off and would no longer sync with my phone.  Took it to the MSFT store and was told they had no more inventory.  They offered me $175 of in store only credit.  Weirdly, they wanted the charger too…can’t imagine they’re trying to refurbish these things.  My wife is also on her third one and I finally broke down and got her an Apple Watch for Christmas (she liked the Band beyond the reliability issues).  We’ll be taking hers back for a refund as well.

 

The failure rate on these things has to be incredibly high, high enough that MSFT should do the right thing and recall them or allow them to be exchanged for a full refund.  While all electronic devices have a certain shelf life, this thing is barely over a year old.  Seems like MSFT is sweeping this under the rug as quickly as possible and will be successful given that they probably never sold a lot of them.

 

I’m not the litigious sort, but I don’t think some sort of class action is unreasonable here.  To their credit, MSFT exchanged the previous 4 bands with very little hassle, but they need to own up to the fact that these things simply didn’t deliver basic quality control.

Comments (42)

42 responses to “It’s time for MSFT to do the right thing with Band 2”

  1. 8792

    I've gone through three Band 2s. The issue I have is the strap cracking open. Not everyone has that issue, but I've had it three times. I think it's because my wrist is on the small end of size for Medium, so I cinch it up as tightly as it will get. I think that's adding stress to the band where the batteries are.

     

    That might be why some people are seeing that problem and others aren't.

     

    tk

    • 699

      In reply to Todd Klindt:

      From my experience, and the techs I've spoken with at MS, only those who workout strenuously with their bands (or have it exposed in direct heat/sunlight) are experiencing the cracked wristband issue. Those who aren't, don't. I workout with mine daily, I love it, so I've had it replaced three times for three separate incidents of cracks. It's a great product, I hope they release a Band 3, it's incredible, just this crack issue.

      • 5799

        In reply to bbold:

        "or have it exposed in...sunlight".  You mean, like, normal people?

      • 905

        In reply to bbold: I wish that were true, but my wife's experience with her Band2 seems to contradict that.  The only thing close to a workout she'd done in the year since she got the Band is an occasional short walk, she spent very little time outside wearing it, but her Band2 strap cracked and nearly separated almost exactly a year to the day after we bought it.

         

  2. 5326

    I wear my band everyday and it is highly reliable, no cracked strap, no GPS issues, no battery issues, or any other issues. I guess I was one of the lucky ones?

  3. 5615

    I think they're sort of trying to do the "right" thing, but as with many things MSFT does, despite their best intentions, their execution seems to be missing the mark. To me, the worst part of this is that the "refund" they're giving is an "in-store" credit. That just seems so cheesy. The right thing to do would be to give a "refund" in-kind. If a customer paid with cash, they get 100% cash back; if they paid with credit, they get 100% added back to their credit card.

    Also, to me, a "refund" would be a return of 100% of the amount paid. Anything less is a "partial refund." And perhaps that's why they're taking the cheesy route of offering in-store credit. Since they're only giving partial refunds, there might be an accounting reason for why they need (or choose) to do it this way.

    • 1377

      In reply to offTheRecord:

      I'm willing to be quasicharitable about in-store credit only: MSFT may never have set up the accounting mechanisms necessary to set aside reserves against future cash refunds. I figure in-store credits wouldn't require charges against new revenues.

      • 5615

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        Yes, I suspect MSFT is taking a company-favorable route for accounting purposes, rather than doing the customer-favorable "right" thing. This still has to be accounted for using current accounting rules, so it will have a current and future impact (at the time the in-store credit is either used or expires) on MSFT's financial statements; although, given the size of the Band market, I suspect any impact will be small and immaterial. But since it's an in-store credit and not cash, it won't impact the all-important cash flow.

        Does anyone know if the store credit has an expiration date? I believe there is still a legal distinction between gift cards (which, by federal law, cannot expire for at least 5 years) and store credit (which can expire at any time subject to State laws). Many State laws have specific disclosure requirements regarding refunds, partial refunds, store credit, etc.

        • 5664

          In reply to offTheRecord:

          As a customer service wizard for a major retailer, a merch credit is treated essentially as a cash deposit - the same as a gift card - and thus cannot expire. 

          They use the same mechanism at checkout. Our merch credit numbers are the same as gift card numbers, but use a barcode instead of a mag strip, and the numbers are of a different sequence.

          Texas even puts their value up as unclaimed funds after an amount of time. Just like gift cards.

    • 197

      In reply to offTheRecord:

      I loved my band but it was stuck in a startup loop - completely unusable. It was my 2nd band (first one had a cracked strap). It still had a warranty so I mailed it into the repair service. Three weeks later MS is sending a full refund due to no replacement parts available.

      • 5184

        In reply to JeffB:

        What size was yours?  I sent mine in at the end of November.  Still have not gotten it back, nor a refund.  They just keep telling me they're trying to find parts and may decide to issue a refund.  Mine was a large.

        • 197

          In reply to jwpear:

          I also had the large band. I sent it back right before Thanksgiving, emailed them 2nd week of December for an update. Received an email a few days later saying they were refunding the purchase price.

    • 9887

      In reply to offTheRecord: I was given a full refund including the warranty. The store person gave me the choice of where to put the funds. So I asked them to put it back in my bank account via my debit card. The whole process took 5min. I didn't need to have "the disappointed customer" conversation at all. The store people were awesome in my opinion.

       

    • 6062

      In reply to offTheRecord:

      Agree, the in-store credit thing is a bit tone deaf.  The nearest MSFT store is a 30 minute drive to an area I don't go to often (I've already made three trips there at an hour each + gas to exchange/return the previous Bands).  At the very least you should be able to use it on line as well.

      I feel like the absolute "right" thing to do would be to admit the Band 2 didn't meet their quality expectations and offer full no questions asked true refunds to those who want it and have proof of purchase.  However, I'm guessing such an admission would open them up to lawsuits and probably has been advised against.

      • 3180

        In reply to DemBones:

        You can use the "In Store" credit to purchase MSFT gift cards (in store) then apply them to your MSA.  You'll end up with the just the tax on $175 left on your "In Store" credit. 

      • 699

        In reply to DemBones:

        A 30 minute drive? Wow, that's incredible! I live in New Mexico, in the city where Microsoft was founded, and my closest Microsoft Store is a whopping 8 hour drive to Dallas, TX!! (Haha) They really should build at least one store in the whole state and put it here in Albuquerque! After all, MS was founded right down the street! Anyways, I have found when I call tech support rather than go into a store they have stock on hand and have sent me (so far) 3 band replacements.

  4. 699

    Just a note: If you call Microsoft Tech Support or chat with an agent online, you can have them send you a replacement Band 2. I've had 2 replacements already, my strap keeps breaking. I do love these devices, however, at some point, they will run out of inventory, even if you have the Complete Care like I do. The stores don't have inventory; the online/phone tech support DOES. At least they did a month ago when I had new one in box shipped to me. Here's hoping they have a Band 3 out this year and they offer us early adopters a discount on it. I hope they do right by us, as well. It's a great product, just with one major flaw.

    • 5799

      In reply to bbold:

      When I brought in my Band to the Microsoft Store, they claimed they had never seen this issue and refused to honor the warranty.

    • 838

      In reply to bbold:

      I don't workout and I went through 7 of them in just over a year (pre-oredered it) though I did wear them 24/7. Every time I would just bring it into the MS store and they would swap it out without blinking an eye. They are out of stock at all my local stores (even went from a large to medium at one point as they thought that the sizing may cause the tear) so the last one this week was returned and I swapped it out for a FitBit Blaze instead.

      And I highly doubt you will ever see another Band device out of MS....

      • 268

        In reply to PeterA:

        I had mine for a year and the band finally cracked in mid December. I also went with a FitBit Blaze to replace it. All along I was wondering "why do people keep reporting broken bands; it seems fine to me" - until I, myself, hit the same issue. It seems like it will eventually happen to all of them.

    • 5184

      In reply to bbold:

      I chatted with MS support back in November and sent my large Band 2 in for repair--my 5th warranty repair in two years with Bands.  I'm still waiting for it to be repaired, replaced, or a refund.  It has been at service center since Dec 1.  It seems they're truly out of them--at least large--at this point.  They will not give me an ETA, so I don't know if they're just waiting to get some back on warranty repair that they can scavenge parts from or if they're waiting on a new lot from mfg.  I suspect the former.

  5. 1992

    Myself and my daughter have Fitbits and we experience the same issues with our bands as well.  They are not made to handle the daily stresses of working out.  I have stopped wearing mine, after while if you follow the same basic work out patterns you get the same results.  For example, there is not much difference in the number of steps taken per day.  For me I would not bother getting another one.  I think they will be another fad that wont last, unless, employers start encouraging (mandating)  that you wear one.

    • 5184

      In reply to lanzinfo:

      I've had similar strap issue with Fitbit Charge as I have had with Band 2.  I think the polymer is just not something that holds up over time with folks that use them during workouts and other activities that might stress them.  I wear/wore mine 24/7, so they're out in the sun, heat, get dirty, get sweaty, and stressed from the motion and flexing.  My latest Band 2 is currently stuck in perpetual service at a MS service center.  I sent it in in late November.  I have since picked up a Fitbit Blaze, so I can at least now replace the strap easily when it falls apart.  Unfortunately, the Blaze isn't quite as accurate at HR tracking and it isn't as comfortable.

      I loved my Band 2, still do.  I much prefer it to the Fitbit devices.  Band is more accurate and I like its form better than the Fitbits.  I really wish MS had given it one more go with Band and provided an interchangeable band like Fitbit has done.  It would have been perfect at that point. 

  6. 5541

    Two words on band straps cracking.....GORILLA GLUE

    • 5184

      In reply to ChiWax:

      Does this hold up better than the glue MS used?  I sent my second Band 2 in for service in November and have yet to get it back.  MS just keeps telling me they don't yet have parts and they won't give me an ETA on when they will.  They also say they may decide to issue me a refund, but again, won't give me a date on when they'll make that decision.

    • 699

      In reply to ChiWax:

      Oh yeah, that's real classy. lol!

  7. 9887

    My experience at the Microsoft store was amazing. I feel that they are doing the right thing. I went through 4 band 2s. I pre-ordered it from the start. After the 2nd band I bought the warranty which I never do. I returned the 4th one in December to the MS Store and they gave me a full refund including the warranty. I didn't even have to ask. They apologized and said that the band 2 was discontinued and they could offer me a refund. I was prepared to have "the argument" with them but I was super appreciative that I didn't have to. So I went back to Fitbit and got the Blaze from the Microsoft store. Other than having a Band 2 that worked I don't know how they could have done better. Thanks Microsoft Store for not being pricks.

     

  8. 5615

    Judging by the replies, it sounds like MSFT's handling of this is all over the place. Some folks are still getting replacement devices, others aren't. Some folks are getting full refunds, others only partial refunds. Some folks get to choose the form of refund (cash, credit, gift card, store credit), others are getting only store credit. I'm guessing MSFT will be glad to get this behind them.

  9. 9898

    So I just received my 5th or 6th Band 2. Fortunately, I had purchased the extended warranty. I have never waited more than about 1 week to receive replacements. Perhaps the most difficult part of the process is getting a warranty repair ticket created. Msft seems to make everything much more difficult than one would expect.

    I have never had a strap crack. I wear a medium that is still almost too big for me, so I do tighten it all the way. I managed to crack the glass on one, but others inevitably would quit charging altogether or battery life would drop to minutes/hours. And then the most recent failure was actually dead on arrival. I couldn't get it to reliably charge at all. My current device arrived 2 days ago and seems brand new. So far, it is syncing and communicating properly. 

    Oh, for the record, I do everything with my watch on. Playing beach volleyball is the most rigorous activity, I suppose. Underhand passes in volleyball should be a very good endurance test. I also tend to dive and roll around a lot, so the watch seems rugged enough to me. There must be some difference in the stresses placed on the straps by individual users; otherwise, I would surely have encountered a cracked strap by now.

    As others have said, I will definitely miss my Band 2 when there are truly no more to be found, or when my warranty runs out, which ever comes first.

  10. 5184

    I just chatted with MS Answer Tech about my Band 2 (large) repair they received on Dec 1.  I was told they're out of parts and a decision has been made to issue a refund--5 weeks since they received my device.  I wasn't able to get any details on the amount or when I might receive the refund.  Just said I'd hear from them.

    He's dead, Jim.

  11. 5799

    I loved my Band 2, but the straps cracked and same thing with the replacement.  I bet the failure rate of the Band is even worse than the Galaxy Note.  In any case, since MS is apparently abandoning the Band, I'll probably get a FitBit when spring comes around.

  12. 5721

    I hope MS did the right thing and fired the person or persons responsible for the poor quality of these bands.  The Band 1, ok, growing pains, but the exact same problem on the Band 2?  Everyone associated with these bands breaking should be looking for a new job.

  13. 850

    I had to replace four of the Band 1(s) but my Band 2 lasted better than a year before the strap cracked on both sides of the display at the same time. I'm on my second Band 2 and don't know what I'll go to if and when it breaks, too. I love the features.

  14. 3117

    Bought my Band 2 right around its release day and loved it. Unfortunately it stopped turning on around 5 months ago and I tossed it in a drawer then proceeded to forgot about it up until a few weeks ago. Took it into my local MS store when I was out doing some Christmas shopping and they gave me the full price (plus tax) in store credit. Seemed reasonable enough to me

  15. Pet jghgjh

    Now is the time for all to get the clash royale cheats online and we are having free gems here.

  16. 9201

    Still using my Microsoft Band 2 after a year.

    No problems, great and best fitness device out there for Windows Phone User. I guess I just look after my tech, and don't expect Microsoft charity.

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