Feeling scammed by Pine64
#1
Information 
Good evening,
thank you for reading the whole post before answering.

To start off, i put a lot of time into working everything out, but it seems like, pine64 is not interested in helping me at all.

I was one of the people that ordered a Pinephone PMOS Convergence Edition. On arrival i saw that the display was broken, but have not received an answer for my ticket, which i immediately opened after noticing that. To fix that, i decided to open a paypal dispute, which finally led to an answer. Well, i was offered to receive a replacement display, which i received weeks later.
There was a problem with it though: The image quality was fine, but the touchscreen didn't work. Well, so i wrote to the support again and (of course) didn't receive an answer again. I reacted to that opening a thread on the forums. I was suggested to contact tllim, which i did. I got one answer in my tickets, then it got quiet again. Of course i tried to contact tllim again, who told me to solve that with the support. After that i haven't got any answer from him again.

Many days later i finally received an answer on my ticket. I shall please ship my phone and replacement screen to Luke. To make sure that everything goes without any hassle i decided to contact him using directly. Well, said and done. There i was writing with Luke. I shipped the package to the UK. And i received an answer from him: Both screens seem indeed to be broken. Additionally he said, that he would forward that to the support. Well, i have not received an answer from the support or Luke since then. I have asked him, how long that could take still, but have not received an answer yet.

And now i stand here, lost 257 USD, and also don't have any item in my hand. Nothing. No phone, no money, no reaction to my inquiries. I feel scammed.
Consider that everything i told you happened over a timespan of 6 months. Considering that i have directly contacted pine64 after receiving the defective unit, that's a lot of time. And in that time i was not able to use the phone. It was just there. Not working. And now even that is gone, without reaction.

So please, would anyone be so kind to help me? Preferably Pine64. But honestly i've been left hanging by you quite drastically now.

Greetings
Janik020301
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#2
I fell sorry for you. I'm in no position to help you.

Just to put things into perspective:

Quote:And i received an answer from him: Both screens seem indeed to be broken. Additionally he said, that he would forward that to the support.

When was that?

Good luck. I hope you get things sorted out.
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#3
(12-07-2020, 03:02 PM)CharlieGordon Wrote: I fell sorry for you. I'm in no position to help you.

Just to put things into perspective:

Quote:And i received an answer from him: Both screens seem indeed to be broken. Additionally he said, that he would forward that to the support.

When was that?

Good luck. I hope you get things sorted out.

That was about one week ago. Though when chatting with Luke i usually could expect to get an answer within 24 hours.
Thank you very much. That my only hope now :/
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#4
Consider if @Luke is indeed in UK (I have no idea), that there is a nasty political situation going on there, and he might be a little preoccupied. I've actually been a little concerned: maybe I haven't been paying attention, but I haven't seen him round here lately.
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#5
I don't really have a doubt in Luke. Working with him was a good experience. Besides that I've got an answer from him this night.

What still concerns me though is, that after all this time, there was as little effort as possible spent to solve my issue.

The refund policy also seems a bit scammy, especially in my situation, where i pretty much am stuck. Of the 257USD i paid, i would loose 58USD first, because that's shipping and vat. Then they would add 60 additional dollars.
So i would loose aproximately 117 USD, because pine didnt manage to provide me with a working device nor help me in any other way.

117 USD for nothing...
  Reply
#6
(12-08-2020, 02:41 AM)Janik020301 Wrote: I don't really have a doubt in Luke. Working with him was a good experience. Besides that I've got an answer from him this night.

What still concerns me though is, that after all this time, there was as little effort as possible spent to solve my issue.

The refund policy also seems a bit scammy, especially in my situation, where i pretty much am stuck. Of the 257USD i paid, i would loose 58USD first, because that's shipping and vat. Then they would add 60 additional dollars.
So i would loose aproximately 117 USD, because pine didnt manage to provide me with a working device nor help me in any other way.

117 USD for nothing...
Jaik020301, I don't think you are alone in not getting responses from Pine64. Shortly after making a purchase (only about 3 weeks ago), I realized I had made a mistake with my purchase. I made my purchase using my android phone since I was without my computer at the time. I find it extremely difficult to navigate the screen on my phone. As a result, I made a purchase for the $150 model thinking it was the same as the $200 model aside from the $200 model coming with the docking thing.

Anyway, the next morning I had access to my laptop and was able to look at the Pine64 website and my confirmation of payment email, and I realized the different specs of the two phones. I also found their single board computers and wanted to add one or two. I sent them an email within 12 hours of the initial purchase asking if I could add items to the order and get the better phone by either paying the difference or canceling the order and placing a new order. That was Nov 21st and I've yet to receive a response back from them. It was only one email, so it's not like I'm spamming them with a ton of emails or anything.

What the other person that commented said came to mind, and that is the turmoil taking place right now. I know you said you spoke with the guy Luke that you mentioned and said he's in the UK, but my concern was more so to do with the fact that that the confirmation email and other documentation I received later said the product is coming from Hong Kong, which is dealing with quite a bit of turmoil at the moment.

Having said all this, between the turmoil with Hong Kong getting taken back in by China from the UK, with Covid19, and with my assumption that they might be getting more orders than they can keep up with, I gave them a little bit of latitude in having not responded or anything. Of course it's only been 3 weeks for me, not six months like you mentioned. I can say that giving them the benefit of the doubt in terms of things that have been taking place in the world only goes so far, and now after reading your experience I'm considering just filing a dispute with Paypal and canceling the order.

In regard to your issue, I'd look a little more into your options with Paypal. Paypal has good resources in terms of helping a buyer in your situation. I'm not a lawyer or an expert but do have some experience with contract law. Assuming you are in the US since you quoted payment in US dollars, if you contracted with a company for a good there is law called the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) that has been adopted by all of the states. Even though it's state law, from what I've read, sellers from abroad that are selling to you in the US are still bound to it. If the product you received was not as described or functioning as it should have been the seller has a reasonable amount of time to correct the problem. A reasonable amount of time depends on different circumstances, but I have no doubt that six months is past any reasonable expectation for a cell phone. Also, companies/sellers put out policies all the time. That doesn't mean that they are valid. Companies can't write policy that violates law (the UCC in your case). They can't have and enforce policy that allows them to benefit from undue enrichment (sending you broken junk in violation of contract and not rectifying it in a reasonable amount of time). Although the UCC does allow for company policies to be made part of a contract and there is quite a bit of latitude given in regard to company policies during contract formation, the way the policies are presented when you make a purchase can make them irrelevant to the contract you enter into. Where were the policies listed when you made the purchase? Did you click a check box saying you acknowledged them and agreed to them? Were they even on any of the pages in the shopping cart or product description? Even so, what you describe does sound bad, and even if those policies were presented adequately, they would likely not be upheld if challenged by anyone outside of the company.

The points I'm trying to make are 1) with everything going on, I would give them some latitude, but 6 months is more than I would have given them 2) don't ever take what a company says is their policy as being valid and enforceable 3) Paypal has great resources to protect buyers without you having to know all the technical contract stuff, so I'd reach back out to them and try getting them to issue you a refund, including the shipping, VAT, tax etc. They can hold that against an international seller for having breached a contract that they entered into by selling to someone in the US... Keep in mind, I could be wrong, but believe you have to file the dispute with paypal withing 180 days from the time you paid for the item...
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#7
(12-08-2020, 07:36 AM)j68734 Wrote: Paypal has great resources to protect buyers without you having to know all the technical contract stuff, so I'd reach back out to them and try getting them to issue you a refund, including the shipping, VAT, tax etc. They can hold that against an international seller for having breached a contract that they entered into by selling to someone in the US... Keep in mind, I could be wrong, but believe you have to file the dispute with paypal withing 180 days from the time you paid for the item...

Well, like i said, i have opened a dispute after i happened to not get an answer. After the timeframe ended i was not able to do anything with paypal anymore: the support told me, that i sadly missed my chance there and there's nothing else they can do for me. They told me to contact the Verbraucherschutz (customer protection organisation in gernany), but that won't help me much, because Pine64 is not based in germany, or at least the EU. In that case i sadly don't have much more hope than to wait for pine64. Though i have heard some positive news from Luke. Don't know yet though, what will going to happen.

I also hope that your issue will be resolved soon too. It's a bummer how the support is handled currently, but i'm sure there are quite some people trying their best to help.

Greetings
Janik
  Reply
#8
(12-08-2020, 09:45 AM)Janik020301 Wrote:
(12-08-2020, 07:36 AM)j68734 Wrote: Paypal has great resources to protect buyers without you having to know all the technical contract stuff, so I'd reach back out to them and try getting them to issue you a refund, including the shipping, VAT, tax etc. They can hold that against an international seller for having breached a contract that they entered into by selling to someone in the US... Keep in mind, I could be wrong, but believe you have to file the dispute with paypal withing 180 days from the time you paid for the item...

Well, like i said, i have opened a dispute after i happened to not get an answer. After the timeframe ended i was not able to do anything with paypal anymore: the support told me, that i sadly missed my chance there and there's nothing else they can do for me. They told me to contact the Verbraucherschutz (customer protection organisation in gernany), but that won't help me much, because Pine64 is not based in germany, or at least the EU. In that case i sadly don't have much more hope than to wait for pine64. Though i have heard some positive news from Luke. Don't know yet though, what will going to happen.

I also hope that your issue will be resolved soon too. It's a bummer how the support is handled currently, but i'm sure there are quite some people trying their best to help.

Greetings
Janik
I missed where you said that initially. I'm sure they will make it right, probably just in over their head with things going on. If they couldn't respond to my one email in regard to purchasing from them, something that would make them money, I don't think the issue is them scamming. Just all the crazy stuff going on in the world right now. Plus their phone has gotten a lot of publicity and likely increased demand for their products is above their capacity for manufacturing and customer service.
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#9
What an awful situation. I'm sorry that everyone keeps trying to dream up excuses for Pine64.
  Reply
#10
I'm sorry this happened to you; it is definitely not okay for this to drag out over months, let alone half a year later. That's pretty bad.
Not to make excuses for Pine64, but to quote this blog post,

Quote:For reference, the Pine Store receives in excess of 3000 support emails per month – this give you an idea of the scale and volume of such support tickets.
It doesn't sound like Pine64 is able to keep up with this (which they hint towards in the linked post). Not helping the situation is they are creating too many products, in my opinion, and they are spreading themselves way too thin. *cough PineCom cough*

I really wish they'd prioritise the support a wee more, because they are botching what otherwise could have been a great product launch and are unnecessarily harming their reputation in the process. Linux enthusiasts are being turned away from Pine64 products because of this, which isn't helping in growing a strong community (which these products so desperately need).

I don't think Pine64 are scammers, but I can understand why you feel that way. I'm hoping they will resolve this case soon for you and will consider putting more effort into support going into the future. It does sound like they want to, but action speaks louder than words.
  Reply


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