TrustedReviews has recently learned that Motorola is currently facing a lawsuit worth $5 million. The lawsuit is based on allegations that the phone maker has performed poorly in terms of its customer service, especially with its warranty service for its flagship products like the Moto 360 smartwatch and its smartphones.
The class-action complaint against the Lenovo-owned company was filed in Illinois on April 21. Douglas Lynch, a Georgia resident, has been named as the main plaintiff in the case after he fought with Motorola to get his broken Moto 360 replaced. For months, the argument ensued unsuccessfully as Lynch was unable to have his smartwatch replaced.
And as it turns out, Lynch isn't the only consumer who was disappointed at how Motorola handled its customer service. According to Girard Gibbs LLP, one of the law firms handling the case, shares that there are other people who share the same sentiment as Lynch. An attorney for the law firm says that they 'want these issues to be resolved for all consumers.' The attorney also shares that the actual compensation owed could be likely higher than $5 million.
The Consumer Complaints Against Motorola
Motorola received a number of consumer complaints on how it handled their concerns. For example, in the case of Douglas Lynch and his cracked Moto 360 smartwatch; he was not given the right replacement device Motorola promised. Less than a year after purchasing his Moto 360 smartwatch, Lynch encountered a problem with the back-plate of his watch cracking. And as it turns out back-plate cracking was a common problem among first-generation 360 smartwatches. Motorola had acknowledged the problem and fixed this when they launched their Moto 360 2015 model. When Lynch started the return process, Motorola told him that a replacement would be shipped to him within four days. Unfortunately, this wasn't observed.
Five days after Lynch brought in his cracked Moto 360, Motorola confirmed that the smartwatch has been received. They then went silent after this. Worried about the status of his replacement, Lynch called up the company 12 days later. A customer service representative told Lynch that a replacement for his Moto 360 smartwatch was unavailable. This prompted Lynch to decide to pay for the difference between his 360 model and the newer smartwatch. The rep reportedly denied this offer.
The next time Lynch called Motorola to follow up with his replacement smartwatch, he was told that delivery would take a few weeks since it was being shipped from a factory in China. Shortly after, Lynch received a confirmation email for the replacement shipment. It was at this point that Lynch realized he was being sent a cheaper model of the smartwatch compared to the one he originally purchased. Lynch made a call to Motorola to confirm the email. He was then told that it was an erroneous email. A rep for the company assured him that he would receive the correct model as a replacement. In December, the replacement model finally arrived and it was just as Lynch had feared. The phone maker had sent Lynch a leather-band Moto 360 instead of his more expensive metal-strap version.
The incident prompted Lynch to give up on the entire replacement process and opted to buy a new smartwatch. This time, from a rival brand.
On the Consumer Affairs website, there are 8 other separate complaints listed by a court filing. In addition to this, Motorola has obtained a 1.1-star rating out of a possible 5. According to lawyers, this was a clear demonstration of the 'widespread nature of Motorola's failure.' All of these complaints had to do with Motorola fulfilling its part under the warranty clause of their products. Some examples of these complaints include:
March 23, 2016: “I have sent my phone back for replacement three times now, and am awaiting my fourth phone (Moto X Pure) to arrive in the mail. They do not send you a new phone as a replacement...they will send you a used phone...the first two replacement phones would not receive any signal and the third phone records static with videos recorded by the phone.”
March 11, 2016: “I bought a phone which was defective, changed it under warranty, which again fell through in three months. They send me another phone and this time the new phone did not have a back cover. Within six months, I had three exchanges, and out of six months, was without a phone for two months.”
January 30, 2016: “I contacted Motorola to repair my wife’s Moto X, which had a broken screen. I sent them the phone and paid for the repair on December 9, 2015. My wife’s phone was a nice custom Moto X Maker with custom colours and 32GB of storage. I learned we wouldn’t get the original phone back, and that she would only get 16GB of storage. It’s nearly February and I still have no phone."
According to Lawyers...
Lawyers that are handling the case say that Motorola is liable under four claims:
Claim #1: Motorola had violated its express warranty when it gave a written guarantee that promised to repair or replace a broken device within a specific time period. Usually, the warranty covers a period of one year since the date of purchase. In Lynch's case, Motorola breached the warranty since it failed to repair his device or even provide a refund or equivalent replacement.
Claim #2: Motorola violated the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act when it committed the first fault of breaching its express warranty clause. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is considered a federal law throughout the United States. This is a 41-year-old law that covers warranties and ensures that businesses aren't using them so they could rip off their customers.
Claim #3: Motorola violated the Fair Business Act when it refused to repair or replace defective devices as well as replaced devices with inferior products than the one purchased. This is particularly true in the case of Lynch.
Claim #4: Motorola has been unjustly enriched when it improperly withheld money or belongings from customers who wanted to have their devices replaced. The lawyers handling the class-action lawsuit believe Motorola needs to pay back the money it owed to its plaintiffs.
Once the court decides to go to a jury trial and Motorola is found liable for the claims, it could be forced to:
- Pay damages
- Pay court costs
- Cover attorneys' fees and costs
- Comply with its warranty
- Pay anything else that "the court deems proper"
On the day the lawsuit was filed, Motorola sent a statement to TrustedReviews saying:
"We're experiencing delays at our US repair center that is influencing repair times for some customers. We know how important it is for you to get your phone back as quickly as possible so we’re working hard to identify and implement solutions. We are dedicated to the highest quality service and this is not up to our standard of excellence. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience this situation has caused.""If you are currently having an issue with warranty fulfillment, please contact us at 888-355-8422. We are available Monday through Friday from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, or on Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 Eastern Time."
When TrustedReviews publicized the lawsuit Motorola was facing, the phone maker sent a second statement saying:
"Motorola has a long history of providing exceptional products and services to its customers. We are aware of the lawsuit, and are investigating the claims, which we believe to be without merit."
No word has been given by Motorola ever since.