Hello iPod 15GB, Bye Bye Zen Xtra

april 21, 2004

Well, yesterday my Creative Zen Nomad Xtra 30GB died on me. The harddrive on the thing decided to take a dump -- and all this time I was worried about the dreaded headphone jack problem that is discussed so much over in the Nomadness forums. There is a good and bad part to this story though. I had purchased the Xtra a year and a few months ago at Best Buy -- probably the last big ticket item I will buy there since my experiences with the company has been pretty dismal. At the time of purchase I did not realize that there was only a 90-day warranty on the Xtra. While I was on a business trip, I went to the local Best Buy in Fayetteville, AR and purchased a two-year replacement plan for the Xtra. A good investment I figured after reading all about the headphone jack issues. My previous experience with the Best Buy "service" plan -- not the "replacement" plan as I have with the Xtra -- was not good at all, it resulted in Best Buy "servicing" my PDA for over eight weeks! But, I figured with the replacement plan, I�d have better luck. Actually getting a replacement was great since I got an Apple iPod 15GB to replace the broken Xtra -- since Creative is apparently phasing out the Xtras, or Best Buy has decided not to carrying them, Best Buy does not carry the Xtras anymore. The replacement process is tedious at best, requiring you to have either the credit card that the item was purchased on or the receipt for the item. If you lose either one, then you are going to eat a loss. The phone service for Best Buy, when you call into a store, has a cheerful sales associate spouting about how if you don't have a receipt, they will find it for you, no problems. That is not the case. After spending thirty minutes at the store trying to get a replacement, everything finally got done and it was all based on the fact that I didn't have the receipt for the item -- to which they could not find until I got my (expired) credit card number. I don't blame the people helping me out -- Katie, Michael, and Jessica were all helpful -- but the policies that Best Buy have in place and the way that the replacement (and service) plans are put together are really inane and not well done. Their system for storing customer information is just as bad. I will never buy a service or replacement plan from Best Buy again, it is just too much trouble when Fry's Performance Plan works so well and cost so much less -- and in most cases, the Fry's associates, unlike the Best Buy associates, will work out a deal when a Performance Plan is involved (usually knocking the price of the plan off the item, therefore making the plan free). For the iPod, it will be AppleCare coverage all the way. Yes, I'll have to ship the iPod back to Apple if something goes wrong -- like the battery dying -- but with the experiences that my friends have had with AppleCare, I don't think the iPod will sit on a repair desk for more than a day. The turnaround for AppleCare is tremendously fast. There are many people out there that swear by the Best Buy replacement plans, most of them taking advantage of the fact that the plan will replace any equipment without question -- and usually, they will upgrade the item if they do not have the original in stock anymore -- but I just don't feel like the aggravation of dealing with Best Buy anymore. It is just the pits dealing with their policies. Atleast I am now happy with my new generation three iPod! And that's the happy ending to the story.

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