After scores of complaints about cracked Kindle 2 electronic readers and a class-action suit filed Tuesday, Amazon.com has decided to replace the broken Kindles for free. The company reversed its initial decision to make owners pay $200 to repair the devices just two days after the $5 million class-action suit was filed.
The Seattle, Wash.-based law office of Terrell Marshall & Daudt filed the lawsuit against Amazon.com on behalf of all owners of Kindle 2 and Kindle DX e-readers. The lawsuit began after Seattle resident Matthew Geise, the lead plaintiff in the case, was told that the device for which he paid $359 and the protective cover for which he paid $29.99 would not be replaced for free.
The law firm alleges that Amazon.com changed its policy of replacing cracked Kindles for free to charge a $200 service fee.
"We do not comment on active litigation," said Amazon spokesperson Cinthia Portugal. "Nevertheless, we encourage anyone who has an issue with the cover-attachment mechanism to return the cover and device for a free replacement so we can investigate further."
Not So Protective
Three months after Geise purchased the device for his wife, the couple began noticing cracks on the device where the protective cover attaches to the Kindle. The device's screen then froze on July 6 and has not worked since.
After contacting customer service, Geise was told the frozen screen was covered under warranty but the cracks to the device would not be covered. Geise was told, according to court documents, that the cracks would not be covered under the warranty since the only way cracks would occur is if the user opened the cover backward.
The couple was then told later by a different Amazon.com representative that the cracks were a common complaint and said the company would fix the device for a $200 service fee. The couple was also told they would receive a replacement Kindle, but were not told if the replacement was new or used.
Portugal also would not say whether replacement Kindles would be new or refurbished devices.
Kindle 2 owners began posting their complaints about cracked Kindles on the company's review page. Reviewers said their devices cracked after attaching a leather protective book cover to the device. Ironically, the protective cover was offered through Amazon with the Amazon Kindle logo.
"This is garbage," said one reviewer, according to documents filed with the court. "I am sorry, but if an accessory is purchased to PROTECT the product, the company should certainly be liable if it is the cause of the damage."
"This has happened to me now, too," wrote another reviewer. "Unfortunately, Amazon is not being so responsive. First they told me the problem was 'customer use patterns.' I asked, 'You mean, like reading?' Now they are offering to send me a new replacement for a '$200 service fee.'"
Participants in the class-action suit are asking Amazon to refund all their money, pay treble damages, and pay fees associated with the lawsuit.
Posted: 2012-01-01 @ 7:22pm PT
Yes I have a kindle and the screen is cracked also.