Thursday, June 29, 2006

iPod Saga, Part One

A while back, I posted about how our 40GB 4th Generation iPod died and how I couldn't find a good solution to replace or repair it. Well, after looking around and researching prices, we figured that the best option was to eBay a used iPod. I wanted to just replace the hard drive in the 40GB, but getting a new hard drive was more expensive than getting a used 20GB iPod. And, since the hard drive specs have changed for each model, it wasn't going to be that easy to get a drive that I could be sure would fit properly in the iPod we currently owned.

After watching the market for a few weeks and losing several bids, we scored a used 20GB 4th Generation iPod for $112.50, plus an additional $15 for shipping and handling. The auction listing actually said "Apple iPod" and the item description stated "Apple iPod Fourth Gen. (20 GB, MAC/PC - M9282LL/A) MP3 Player". I include this because while it is all loosely true, it isn't exactly true. What showed up was an HP-branded iPod with an entirely different serial number. If I had known that, I wouldn't have bought it since it requires some effort to reformat and restore the device so that it will work with a Mac, a hassle I don't need.

We did try to use it, though. But, it was pretty clear that the device was shot from the beginning. The usual error messages, the dreaded folder icon on the iPod, the Mac having no idea what this thing is and usually not seeing it at all. I tried to make it work, but the hard drive made clicking sounds from the moment we touched it...not a good sign.

So, after trying for a few days, I contacted the support department of the eBay seller, a seller who states a 30 day repair/exchange/refund policy. About a day and a half passes with no answer back. So, in looking for other options for resolving this, I realize I can file a dispute with Paypal. And, that is exactly what I did. In the dispute claim, you can send the seller a message. So I sent this:


I recently received a 20GB "used" iPod from you guys,
MobilePC. What I did not know when I purchased the
device was that it was an HP iPod and not an "OEM"
Apple iPod. If I had known this was an HP model or
one originally intended for use with a Windows PC, I
would not have purchased the device. I only own a Mac
and plan to use this iPod with a Mac. Trying to
switch the iPod to work with a Mac voids the
manufacturer's warranty, assuming that there is any
time left on that warranty in the first place.

Despite this, I did try to find a way to make it work
with my Mac. The moment I turned it on, I got the
folder icon suggesting that something was wrong. And,
more ominous was the audible clicking sound and the
feeling of the hard drive needle moving rather harshly
inside the device when I tried to use it. I believe
that the hard drive is likely bad in this device,
something I am familiar with having had my previous
40GB iPod's hard drive die on me.

I would like to either have this device repaired with
a good hard drive, exchanged for a working iPod that
is native to Mac, or I would like my money refunded to
me. If I have to ship this back to you, I don't think
it is fair that I have to pick up the shipping tab
twice. I paid to have this iPod sent to me the first
time in what turned out to be less than stellar
condition. I don't think I should have to pay to have
it returned to working condition, something that was
guaranteed in the auction.

Thank you,

And, in the next few posts, I'll share with you the back and forth responses...

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