Newegg Promises Hassle-Free Open Box CPU And Mobo Returns After Selling Damaged Gear

Newegg shipping box on a porch
Buying open box, refurbished, or recertified merchandise at a discount carries an inherent risk, though vendor or manufacturer inspections and appropriate return policies are supposed to be mitigating factors. Simply put, if an item arrives damaged or otherwise doesn't function properly, you should be able to return it for a refund or, at minimum, get a replacement. In a statement posted to Twitter, popular online vendor Newegg admits it dropped the ball in that regard, and has vowed to do better moving forward.

Newegg found itself embroiled in controversy when Steve Burke at Gamers Nexus posted a pair of YouTube videos detailing his experience with an open box motherboard purchase. The two videos titled "Newegg Scammed Us" and "Newegg's Shocking Incompetence" span a combined 45 minutes and have racked up over 2 million views between the two. So what happened?

As the story goes, Burke spent around $500 on a Gigabyte Z490 Aorus Xtreme motherboard to troubleshoot an issue he was having with a build. By the time the board arrived, however, he had already figured out the issue, so without opening the board, he returned it for a refund (minus shipping and whatever restocking fee might apply).

Things went downhill from there. According to Burke, he never opened the motherboard, or even the shipping box it arrived in. He also didn't realize he had purchased an open box item, which really shouldn't matter but is germane to the incidents that followed. After receiving the board back, Newegg rejected the return because of damaged pins on the CPU socket, which the retailer attributed to the buyer's negligence.

It was only after Burke complained on Twitter and a firestorm ensued that Newegg issued a refund and also sent the board back to him. That's part one of the story. Part two involves a deeper dive into how this happened. Interestingly, the board had a Gigabyte RMA sticker on it with identifying information, so Burke called Gigabyte to find out what happened. Apparently at some point a customer bought the board as new from Newegg, returned it to the retailer, and then Newegg attempted an RMA with Gigabyte.

Upon receiving the board, Gigabyte offered Newegg two options: pay $100 to have the socket repaired, or pay nothing and have it returned. Burke says he was told Newegg opted for the latter option, but instead of scrapping the board, the retailer listed the broken item as open box, and he was the unlucky recipient who purchased it. Which makes the initially rejected return so egregious.

That's the short version, anyway. Without specifically acknowledging the entire incident, Newegg posted a general apology on Twitter saying it is aware of a "very small number of returns may not have been thoroughly inspected" and those items were "accidentally resold as 'open box' merchandise."
Newegg goes on to claim that these were isolated incidents arising from "unintentional process errors," and that it has already tweaked its internal procedures to avoid this from happening again.

"Further, we have put in place new polices the ensure a hassle-free return experience on 'open box' merchandise returns on motherboards and CPUs," Newegg says.

There is no doubt this is in response to the YouTube videos and Twitter post that took Newegg to task for how it handled the situation. And here's the thing—the vast majority of people don't have an influential platform to spur a resolution in these situations, so it's easy to see why this drew so much attention and an eventual statement and apology on Newegg's behalf.

Let's hope it was sincere one, and that customers without a massive social media following don't have to jump through hoops if and when an open box item arrives already damaged.

Top Image Source: Paul Sullivan (via Flicker)