netgear readynas on fire

4 tips that help you get a faster replacement from Netgear

In Tips & Tricks by Michael Allen1 Comment

Attention Netgear ReadyNAS NV/NV+ owners:

Certain models of Netgear’s ReadyNAS NV/NV+ have problems with their PSU (power supply unit) which could damage the equipment and potentially pose a fire hazard. If you own a ReadyNAS NV/NV+ and detect any burning smell emitting from the unit, you should STOP using it immediately and ask Netgear for a replacement PSU. Please share this post with anyone you know who owns a ReadyNAS NV/NV+ because they may not know there was a recall for affected models. Netgear has been quite low-key on this recall, but some info is available from their website.

I own a ReadyNAS NV+ and would normally leave it running 24/7. One day, there was a strong burning smell coming from my home office and I quickly traced the source to my NAS, which was smoking when I entered the room. The LED display was toast and the unit subsequently failed to boot. I’m just glad I was in the house and able to unplug the unit, or who knows what might have happened? Checking Netgear’s community pages, I discovered this is a known problem with particular models of ReadyNAS NV+ and that a recall had been very quietly issued many months before.

After contacting their support team, I learned that getting a replacement for a defective product from Netgear is not as simple as I had hoped. So, I decided to record my experience of getting a replacement from Netgear, hoping to help others who are in a similar, frustrating situation. Here are my 4 top tips to help you get a faster response from Netgear.

Tip 1: Find the receipt and serial number

The first time you contact Netgear abut a product you bought from them, either online or by phone, they will ask you for specific information about it. If you have the information they need at hand, it saves time in escalating your case to move to the next level. The information you need to collect before contacting Netgear is:

  • Serial number of the product (look for a sticker look like the following image on the box or the back or bottom of the unit).  Netgear Serial Number
  • Date of purchase.
  • Merchant name (where you bought it).

If you have the serial number of the product and the receipt it is usually enough to go to the next step.

Tip 2: Register your product online first

Before you ask for a product or part replacement, you have to first register the product online. Here’s how: If you don’t currently have a Netgear account, head to NETGEAR Support Page and click “Continue”. If you already have a Netgear account, log into your account and click “Register new product”. In either case, make sure you have the information mentioned in Tip 1 ready before you contact Netgear.

Tip 3: Use Online support over phone support

Netgear’s online service portal offers a few advantages over their unfriendly telephone system (which will disconnect you if you make an error).  The online support provides you with a detailed record of your case’s history, and is very easy to track. Not having to wait on hold for long periods saves time and reduces frustration as well. However, the main advantage when you use the online option is that you are (usually) dealing with the same rep from start to finish. That just makes everything easier – although it is no guarantee the process will be quicker. I, for example, am still waiting to hear back from them, but more on that later.  

Dealing with Netgear by telephone can be a real pain. Aside from the usual long waits and annoying marketing messages, you often end up speaking with a new rep who needs to hear the whole story over again. It really wastes time, period. If you must reach Netgear’s customer support by phone, here are instructions for navigating through their system.

  1. If you’re calling from a cordless phone or from your cell, make sure it is fully charged.
  2. If you are in US or Canada, call 1-888-638-4327.
  3. Upon hearing “Thank you for choosing Netgear, a worldwide provider…,” press 4 for technical support. If you are calling about a RMA (return merchandise authorization), press 3 instead.
  4. Select the option for your product, eg: 1 is for ReadyNas.
  5. When talking to the agent, record the name and badge ID of the agent and have a pen handy to jot down notes and questions.
  6. Ask to speak to a Supervisor if the person you speak to can’t help you.

Tip 4: Be respectful, patient, and assertive

Though most of the Netgear support staff I dealt with were friendly and helpful, there are a few whose primary motive seemed to be getting me off the phone. The first fellow I spoke to suggested I go to Walmart and “fix it myself”. WTF? Instead of being angry and say something like “Can you transfer me to someone who is smarter?”, I told him I would take this up with his Supervisor and reminded him I was inquiring about a recalled product. He then checked on my request and found that they were out of stock for this particular part, and it would be “days or weeks” (huh?) before they would have that part in stock again. So, if you get frustrated, try to be calm and act professionally. Finally, after some discussion, he promised to contact me when the PSU was restocked. Which brings me to…

One last thing: Follow up your case (be merciless)

Having a promise from Netgear is a bit like peeing in the snow on a dark winter night; you think you’ve achieved something but it is really hard to tell (shamelessly borrowed from  Joe Wang). For those who’ve finally made it all the way to the warranty and replacement department, but are still waiting for Netgear’s promise to be fulfilled, here are some additional tips that should help you finally resolve your case, and may well be applicable to other issues as well.

You can certainly call Netgear and request an update on your case, if you are willing to be put on hold for 20+ minutes, and have faith the call won’t be dropped at the end of the wait. I decided to “engage” Netgear through social networks, in effect publicizing my issue in an effort to get it noticed by someone who can cut to the chase and solve my problem. In recent years, social networks have become increasingly important to create direct communications with customers and build brand loyalty for large companies like Netgear. Here is what you can do to get attention from Netgear online:

I hope these tips are useful for people who are trying to get a product replacement from Netgear smoothly. Please tweet and share this if you like it. If you have any tips on how to get faster responses from Netgear, please write to me so I can share your experience with our readers.

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