After barely a year of faithful and honorable service, our Kindle died a sudden death last Friday. We were devastated. The screen just went blank for no apparent reason, irregularly streaked by horizontal bars of e-ink. No attempts at rebooting the device produced any change other than to the pattern of the hideous streaks. The timing couldn’t have been worse, because, it having lapsed over a year since we’d purchased this Kindle, its Limited Warranty must have certainly expired. At this realization, all hope gave way. Nevertheless, I thought I’d call Amazon and let them know how their device had failed us.
That I could even get in touch with their Customer Service personnel at 21:30 EST amazed me. In fact, it was they, not I, who even did the actual calling. I simply entered my mobile number on their website form, and they got on the phone with me a few seconds after. The representative I spoke to confirmed that the warranty had indeed expired. He then suggested a few troubleshooting measures, and when they all failed, began asking me a series of questions about how we had been using the device recently, whether we had exposed it to heat or humidity, subjected it to physical pressure, etc. And as soon as he was satisfied that we had indeed not abused the departed, he told me he would send a replacement via overnight shipping. Despite the fact that the warranty had expired and Amazon was under no obligation to console us for our bitter loss. Of course, on my end, I was required to send the defective device back to Amazon. But they would even include a pre-paid coupon and a box for its return shipping. This was customer service like you wouldn’t believe. I had been on the phone for less than 15 minutes when I received the splendid news.
Our new Kindle arrived on Sunday. It was so clean, white, and spotless that I got as excited unwrapping it as when we received our first one over a year ago. And Amazon even included a new charger. Quite a nice touch, since we had long lost our original one, and had been resorting to a makeshift Blackberry charger instead. The Kindle is an amazing e-reader—handy, light, handsome, chockfull of useful features, and now more affordable than ever. It offers great selection of reading material, and, with customer service such as Amazon’s, you really can’t go wrong. Hands down, the greatest gadget of the year. That’s right. Screw the iPad!
Update: A new Kindle just came out! Lighter, cheaper, with smaller casing, longer battery life, higher screen contrast, better PDF support, and double the memory of the old device. I am just buying one, in graphite, so that my husband and I can each enjoy our own. And thanks to the awesomeness of Amazon, both devices will be brand new. Happy reading!