Sep 21 AT 11:24 AM Taylor Wimberly 30 Comments

[Update] VIZIO has serious issues with Co-Star deliveries

vizio google tv

I am a huge fan of Google TV, so I was really excited when VIZIO placed their $99 Co-Star up for pre-order back in July. We emailed their PR team to see if we could get a sample unit to review, but they never responded and I just went ahead and ordered one from their online store.

My unit finally shipped on August 17th and my credit card was later billed on August 21st, but I have yet to receive the unit. The problem appears to be that VIZIO tried to cut some corners by using FedEx’s economical¬†SmartPost shipping. This service starts with Fedex picking up the package from the shipper, and then they hand it over to the U.S. Postal Service to make the final delivery.

Since the U.S. Postal Service was supposed to make the delivery there is no way to confirm the drop-off with a tracking number. My experience has told me that the U.S. Postal Service can often lose items, so I always ship my packages with FedEx Air or Ground and require a signature at delivery.

So anyways, I reported my problem to VIZIO customer service on August 28th and they told me they would have to file a claim with FedEx before they could send me another Co-Star. They said they would contact me later that day when it was resolved, so I thanked them and went about my business.

VIZIO customer service never called me back and the package never came.

I started calling VIZIO back about once a week and every time I was told the same thing. “I’m sorry I can’t help you.” “I need to talk to someone in another department and call you back.” “No, I can’t offer you a refund.”

As someone who has worked in customer service, I find it alarming that it has taken so so long to resolve my support case. I have been extremely patient every time I have called in, but no one seems to care that I’m an unhappy customer. It should be a simple task to file a claim with FedEx and ship me another Co-Star, but VIZIO can’t seem to figure it out.

To this day I’m still waiting in hopes that someone will call or email me to let me know when my Co-Star is on the way again. I’m at a loss for what I should do next, so hopefully someone from VIZIO will read this and forward it to someone that cares.

Update: Someone from VIZIO saw my blog post via Google Alerts and contacted me. They apologized for the shipping issues and agreed to overnight me a Co-Star. It’s nice to know they took care of me so fast after complaining, and I hope the other non-bloggers who had issues with their deliveries will receive the same treatment.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Dan

    I think the best thing you can do is post it everywhere on the internet, and every time it shows up in a new location, email vision with ALL the links in the email. Email every day. If you threaten their brand, they will respond. Since your story showed up in my email from Android and Me, and I don’t know you, I think you’re off to a good start.

  • stepquick

    Bash them on twitter?

  • Robert

    Thanks for warning me. I was just getting ready to order.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      It might not be so bad if they had different shipping options with a tracking number to your door. Shipping any consumer electronics via USPS is just a bad idea.

      • jaxidian

        I TOTALLY agree! Anytime I sell even used cell phones (via Swappa) or anything else of value like this, I ALWAYS do it via FedEx or UPS via a fully-trackable system. NEVER EVER would I use USPS for something with a value of more than ~$30.

        HOWEVER, in this case, if FedEx insures the package and is willing to take on the risk of it going via USPS, I really don’t see a problem with this shipping method AS LONG AS Vizio is on the ball with fixing problems like this. I can see you being disappointed that you never actually received the first shipment but you need to be patient and give Vizio a call (like you did). They should have said, “We’ll talk to FedEx immediately and get a new one shipped out to you tomorrow” (like they did). But the problem is that they should have actually done it instead of lying to you. Frankly, while the shipping method was certainly an important variable, I don’t believe it was the broken variable. I think the Vizio-to-FedEx interaction and the Vizio-to-customer interaction were the broken variables here.

        So just like you said, Vizio is having some Customer Support problems.

      • NasLAU

        I must disagree. You can often times save money by using USPS and you have the option of requiring a signature or insuring tour package.

        The fact that FedEx (and UPS) use USPS should tell you that USPS is doing something right.

      • Alex

        Amazon ships via USPS all the time, the difference is that their customer service does not [email protected]

  • rsanchez1

    Oh man, that sucks. I hope my Vizio TVs never run into any problems so I don’t have to deal with their customer service.

  • chipthamac

    Call your credit card company and charge it back.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I thought about that, but I actually really want the device. I’m hoping they will still send me another one since I already paid for it.

      • amgala

        Do the chargeback and just re-order it

  • Jeffrey Smith

    Thats pretty sad. Also sad that they charge $10 for that type of shipping. Soon after they announced this, I signed up to be alerted of presale.times. I’m still waiting for my email. I tweeted and emailed to ask what the story was since I missed out on the free shipping as I missed the announcement of presale (i was on vacation and not checking twitter). Still no response. Your post just confirms that they don’t care. I’ll spend my money with a company that does.

  • Thomas Biard

    Preface: Not arguing, just offering my experience and opinion.

    A few months ago we bought a Vizio LCD TV. I have been following their company as it has grown and there were a few key points that I learned that helped me understand what I was getting into when buying one of their TVs. First, they make TVs that have great picture quality at a low price. Second, they do not have the quality control that Samsung or Sony have. So when one understands they are buying an item that has a higher likelihood of being defective, the price makes sense. However, if you do get a good unit, it rivals the picture quality of high end TVs. When we brought it home and watched the first movie on it, it almost seemed cheesey because of how crisp and clear all the colors and picture were.

    The point that makes this trade-off ok by me (and i think many others who purchase Vizio products) is that you are dealing with an American company. Not to say that their product is made in America, but they are based out of San Diego, CA i believe and their CEO is a USC graduate. This, as I have seen in many product reviews and my personal experience, is good in that they are accessible. Sure the products are made in Asia, but their whole base is out of America, and because of that I have found the customer service to be quite helpful.

    The specific problem we had when we bought our TV was that the remote was DOA. The TV started up just fine and in fact, we were able to use the remote from our 3 year old 23″ Vizio to power-on and change channels/volume. I instantly called Vizio customer support and told them about the remote not working. I tried their 3 suggestions and after confirmation of still being dead they took my info and had a new working remote to me in 1 day with a return envelope for the defective one. In the end I was very pleased with the help and the experience.

    Specific to your problem, I def would be angry/pissed and not want to use their service again, but being that they are still new and growing, I’m guessing this is one of those issues that they’ll work out along the way because with the USPS loss rate of packages, i guarantee you’re not the only one that called them about this.

    Taylor, I hope you get it figured out. Sucks that their service is so poor in this regard because that is a good way for them to lose potential customers over such a seemingly small issue for them.

    • ben dover

      I agree that visio is a great company that is USA based and The Verge did a great write up on them once but customer service not returning calls is a straight up fail and they deserve the bad press. I’m in the IT field and was a field tech for three years. The easiest way to loose a customer for good (besides screwing up on the job really bad) was to simply not return their calls. If a company doesn’t have process and procedure for handling simple things like making sure a return call is made, they have bigger issues.

      I’m not saying I won’t buy their products, its just that it’s inexcusable to do what they did and finally fix it once they got smeared online. Sadly, this just shows that an american company really isn’t all that better than any other company. Even apple has been in hot water for issues like working conditions in the factories that make their iSheep products.

  • Joshua Wise

    I happened to have a similar problem. I ordered the Co-Star, first per order. I received a defective device I spent a week explaining the situation, after having used the online chat system, they were friendly, helpful, and emailed me. Having forgotten a method to solve the problem, they asked me to try one last thing. This did not work. I replied to the email, as asked. Never received a response. Finally chatted with support online again, they told me that they would say up a replacement. After giving them information. They said they noted it in my account, and I had to call. I figure this was a security thing, so I call. They have no information. I explain myself again! They then tell me they need a proof of purchase to make sure I am within 90 days and that they would call me back after receiving it. I told them no, the device was just announced on the 14th, it hasn’t even been 90 days since it was announced. I wanted a replacement. They put me on hold. Came back, and set up a replacement. I finally received the device after another few days. Not as bad as your situation, but still terrible customer service.

    • SGB101

      i love the fact the device wasnt even 90days old and they asked you to prove its still in the window
      big LOL.

  • skeeterflea

    Do you ever get the urge to tell them you run a tech Web site with X number of visitors each day? I know that would be hard for me not to say while on the phone with Tech Support…

  • Jim

    Glad I read your article I was ready to order from them so this will save me some time. Sorry Vizio (I have 4 flat screens from them) if this guy cannot get service Im sure I would not.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I just spoke with someone from VIZIO and they explained there were a “couple hundred” people who had issues with these SmartPost deliveries. It sounds like they are aware of the issue now and they have a fix in place to avoid these types of problems in the future.

  • Tal

    I have it already.
    My opinion on the google TV platform is that its not ready for primetime. Especially due to Google not being serious about it.
    There are only a few applications that can run on the platform. Most of my streaming applications just DO NOT work there.
    But most of all what it needs is an android kind of remote. The interface is BAD. If its android it just needs an android remote. We can then operate it as we do our mobile device. Any other way is silly.
    I am deeply disappointed. Its a brick from day 2.

  • @VeggieTorta

    Oh god what a horrible experience. I too was very excited about this product but I’m not going to gabble with VIZIO now. I don’t have a national blog that will get their attention. Thanks for sharing.

  • Mix

    I just love how some companies wait until issues like these surface on blogs or go to an almost viral like state before they quickly jump in to correct the issue at hand when they could have just dealt with the issue first hand.

    Reminds me of the airline that destroyed a guys guitar, he writes a song, song goes viral and a month later the airline is buying him a replacement guitar. Before the song the airline was not budging and was refusing to take responsibility..

    Bless Jee-bus for the internet.

    • Ryan

      It’s ridiculous that someone has to resort to posting on the web and making a big deal to get resolution. I recently had to the same thing with GoDaddy (had to buy from them, didn’t want to). Only after a bitchy tweet did they contact me and resolve the issue.

      I guess they are just to stupid to realize the bad press this gets them. Can’t say I’m jumping to order one of these knowing I might get screwed around for weeks.

  • J3R3MY_H

    The perks of having a successful blog.

  • donald

    Had similar problem with their shipping when the use fed ex then they transfer the package to united parcel service ,you have to track thepackage with an app. Which in turn can be found on the google playstore but the kicker is they don’t tell you that it’s $14.00 and yesa there is a free version but in redirects you too the pay version in order to fully use the tracking function. Also if you try to leave an email ,dont waste you time you’ll never get a makes good electronics but people skills need an overhaul.

  • Thou Khut

    moral of the story: don’t buy from vizio unless you can win the internet

  • keithp

    Having the hassle to get proper customer support is a pain, but come on, indicting the whole company for a problem with the shipper?

    By the way, my pre-ordered Co-star arrived with no problems or delay.

  • Brix3d

    I had exactly the same experience with FedEx/USPS, my unit showed up, with a rewritten address label taped over the printed one. I signed up for twitter just to get a response from the company.
    Now that I have been using the unit, it is freezing ( heat related? ) if left on when not in use. I’m wondering how customer service will handle a replacement. Agreed, Android is not baked yet, Apple TV remote – 2 buttons, Google TV – 50+

  • Nathan D.

    Well it nice that they saw your post and will over night it for you.