On Your Side: Repair Paperwork Hassle, Money Exits Canada, Battery Recall

I bought a SanDisk E280 MP3 player from Micro Technology Service that was not working when I received it. SanDisk's customer support told me to e-mail its RMA Compliance team with a receipt to get an RMA [Return Merchandise Authorization] number to return it-but when I sent the paperwork from Micro Technology Service, SanDisk told me that I had sent in the wrong receipt. Although I have sent the company copies of the receipt multiple times, SanDisk still won't give me an RMA number.

Walter Alburn, Montello, Wisconsin

OYS Responds:

As many manufacturers do, SanDisk replaces defective products under warranty if you obtain an RMA number for each item before you return it. To get this number, however, you must provide proof of purchase from the seller.

Our contact at SanDisk said the Micro Technology Service shipping invoice that Alburn sent in did not state whether the player was new or refurbished (Micro Technology Service sells both). SanDisk's warranty covers only new products; without this information, the company wouldn't grant Alburn an RMA number.

After we spoke to SanDisk, the company contacted Alburn for the correct information (he had indeed purchased a new player). It not only sent him an RMA number for a replacement, but upgraded him to a better model, the Sansa Fuze, at no charge.

When shopping on a reseller site, check whether a product is new or refurbished before buying. Most companies offer very limited warranties (or none) for refurbished products, so it's important to have proof from the seller that the item is new. Also, be sure to send in the correct paperwork: A proof of purchase will list the invoice, product, and serial numbers as well as the amount you were charged.

Money Exits Canada

Dennis Harrison from Markham, Ontario, contacted us after he was unable to update to the newest version of Microsoft's Money personal finance software. Harrison also couldn't find the product in local stores and had heard rumors that Microsoft was discontinuing it in Canada.

Microsoft confirmed that it does not plan to release an updated version of Microsoft Money in Canada at this time. It recommends that Canadian customers visit Simpatico/MSN Finance for money management resources (but they can't download bank transactions). Intuit's Quicken 2009 software, however, supports transaction downloads from Canadian institutions.

Another Battery Brouhaha

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has again announced a voluntary recall of lithium ion batteries. Made by Sony and used in several Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Toshiba laptop models, the batteries (including some replacement units) can overheat, posing fire and burn hazards. In 19 reports of batteries overheating, fire resulted in 17 cases, causing minor damage in 10 of them, and two people suffered minor burns.

A complete list of the models affected, plus contact information for the vendors, is on the CPSC Web site. If your model is listed, remove the battery and use the laptop's AC adapter until a replacement arrives. A similar recall in 2006 affected millions of notebooks around the world; this one involves only about 35,000 in the United States and another 65,000 elsewhere.

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