Beware of “Fair Buy” electronics mail order

Fair Buy is an Auckland-based firm that sells cheap phones on parallel import. One would expect, given this scenario, that their service would be less than exemplary. Unfortunately their service is very much worse than you might expect.

Before I go into detail, I will just highlight that my shockingly poor experience is not unique. I have a friend who also bought a phone off Fair Buy, got the same runaround and had his phone returned with a serious new fault. At that point he gave up and accepted that he was stuck with a faulty phone. Sadly I only found out it was Fair Buy after I had run into my problems with them.

I also see that there are numerous poor reviews on PriceSpy that mirror the experience I detail below. A Google search led me to on-line forums where it is noted that Fair Buy offers incentives to buyers to post glowing reviews on PriceSpy, in a successful attempt to out-number the poor reviews.

The problem: My new phone did not charge properly.

To cut a long story short, here’s how it went from there:

  1. Fair Buy wasted a week trying to burn me off by responding to my emails with stupid troubleshooting suggestions, one by one in individual emails (e.g. “Try finding another battery.” Not only is that their job, the battery is not user-replaceable on this phone).
  2. Only my threat of legal action caused them to request that I send them the phone.
  3. Their warranty policy on fault assessment, 72 hours. I heard nothing until I followed up with an email 7 days later.
  4. On Day 8 they told me the phone had to be sent to China and repair would take up to 3 weeks.
  5. SIX weeks later, having heard nothing, I again threatened legal action.
  6. EIGHT weeks after discovering the fault, I received the phone back with the fault repaired. BUT…
  7. The phone arrived without the packaging, charger or accessories. These items finally arrived a few days after I complained (again).
  8. They had managed to scratch the finish on the back of the phone in the process of shipping and repairing.

At that point I gave up and accepted that no further effort could be justified and settled for a scratched phone.