on May 7, 2018
DESTROYED MY COMPUTER!!
On April 5, 2018, I flew from Fargo, ND to Miami, FL, for a monthly business trip. The week prior, I had purchased the "Travel Smart Travel Bottle Set” because it purported to “conform with TSA guidelines” and be “ideal for shampoo, conditioners, hairspray, lotions, creams, etc.” Equally important is that it “ships from and sold by Amazon.com <http://amazon.com>.” I’ve been an Amazon customer for over 15 years, and it has come to be my most trusted place to shop. And as an Amazon Prime member, I needed this kit to arrive fast as it was eligible for two day delivery, and so I chose this one. And boy do I regret it.
I filled the bottles and jars with my liquids and gels and sealed them properly, placed them in the bag they came in, zipped it, and then placed my MacBook Pro laptop--which is my primary source of business and personal communication and work--in my carry-on backpack laptop sleeve. I then packed other important items, including this new travel bottle set, on top, so that I could take it out for TSA screening and it would not be crushed.
I arrived in Miami and stayed at a friends’ apartment on Miami Beach. The following morning, I woke up to start work on presentation that I was to give in a couple days, only to find that my computer screen was sticky and hard to open, and the computer was not on, which didn’t make sense, since the battery had been charged the day before. I tried to turn it on, and nothing happened—totally dead. I showed it to my friends, and the husband discovered that there was something gooey in the outlets and portals, which smelled minty.
This is when I realized that my new Conair toiletries bag, which I had removed the night before and noticed it was sticky on the inside, had leaked into the computer! I then inspected each container and noticed that my shampoo bottle, which I had properly sealed upon packing, had nonetheless leaked at least an inch of its contents, and one of the small containers with the twist-on cap, which had a liquid eye cream substance in it upon packing and closing, had almost completely drained out. These were the two most “liquid” of my toiletries. The other creams seemed gooey enough to stay put in their jars, but not the actual liquids.
This was a tragic but totally foreseeable incident on the companies part—that is Amazon and Conair— where the toiletry bag is placed on top of everything else—where it should be--but the liquids leaked from their sealed containers, and then leaked through the zipped bag that nonetheless comes with gaps and small holes. This hole must have been situated exactly on top of my computer portals.
So began an awful and expensive couple weeks of visits to the Apple Store in Miami Beach and the nearby Apple authorized dealer, Proatics, feeling too much pressure due to the extremely expensive diagnostic bill I’d been given to fix it ($1650 was the first estimate I received from the Apple authorized dealer, having diagnosed it as Stage 4 liquid damage that had fried everything but my hard drive, which he was thankfully able to extract before the shampoo reached it.) I gave my presentation as best I could, though was very stressed out and drained from this experience, having luckily emailed myself a draft of my presentation, which I was then able to do a cursory edit on a friend's computer. But beyond that I was not able to do other work throughout this time, and so have effectively lost three weeks in this mess.
On Wednesday, April 11, I flew to the Twin Cities and made several visits to the Apple store there, trying to decide what was the best course of action. Their workers confirmed the stage 4 liquid damage from shampoo, but advised given the high cost of sending it to repair, that I replace the used and damaged machine with a new one.
I contacted Amazon.com twice about this incident, including full documentation, and have received two cursory emails from their Executive Customer Relations person, Gabor Kiss, expressing sympathy but saying that it is not their responsibility, but Conair’s, and I must contact them. Kiss also refunded the $12 and change for the travel kit, and gave me a $30 (!) Amazon credit in response to my request for $2,417.58 of actual, documented expenses incurred to replace my computer. Kiss stated in his emails that to Amazon, “product safety is extremely important” and they are “really sorry” to hear about this incident. But a $30 credit gives the lie to both those statements.
I have since spoken with a corporate malpractice law firm, who looked at the case and advises me that given the well over 100 negative reviews that this product has — which we have since gone back to read and I even sent them as attachments to Amazon — that Amazon and Conair have been on notice for five years that this product “leaks on the first time”, “cracks”, “ran all over my bag”, “opens in the air”, is “junk” and “others be warned,” to quote just a few titles. Hundreds of customers have been diligent in documenting the dangers of this product, some even posting pictures.
But what was Gabor Kiss and Amazon’s response? he wrote "Reviews while helpful, may not speak towards the exact same manufacturing batch as your specific unit.” So in other words, it's a total crapshoot what you’re going to get with this product, despite it leaking over five years. Apparently Amazon feels no responsibility to pull a product that is clearly harming their customers, year after year, ruining their business trips and vacations, and putting their expensive electronics, important documents, clothes and other personal effects at risk each time we fly. Apparently Amazon (and Conair) have never heard of such a thing as quality control. Or products liability. And all the effort that we customers put into rating these products really doesnt matter to them, because nobody on their end is checking, or taking us seriously.
Since this whole fiasco began, I and my family have refrained from purchasing anything from your company. They should pay for this well-documented damage, and yet they continue to dodge responsibility . Because of it, they have lost a very loyal customer, since I am now shopping online at Walmart, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, You Tube, etc. My family (and my lawyer) we surprised by their shady treatment. I have contacted Conair and we will see what they say. But Amazon buyers beware—this company takes zero responsibility for the products it sells. Maybe they should have stuck to books, after all.
A very disappointed, formerly loyal, ex-customer