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V-Moda: worst customer service ever

By Sparky | June 25, 2008

When they work I love my Vibe Duos, but unfortunately they are not working so well right now. I raved about them as the best iPhone headset on the market in my review on Gear Live and my follow up post about the 2nd generation Vibe Duos with an answer/hangup button. Unfortunately I can no longer say I recommend either the Vibe Duos or any product made by the V-Moda company.

While their earbuds are amazingly comfortable and sound great they have severe build quality issues which results in frequent failure. After repairing the headphone sheath as described in the review and then replacing them entirely when they stopped working I have had to replace them two more times directly through the V-Moda warranty program for a total of three replacements in under 9 months.

The first time I replaced them through RMA I was a little irked that the process took almost two weeks. This time around V-Moda has gone silent once I shipped the defective earbuds back to them. UPS has proof that they were delivered and signed for, however V-Moda initially couldn’t find them (and wanted the tracking number again), and now refuses to even respond to emails regarding the warranty program.

It’s sad really – the Vibe Duo’s are the most comfortable, and among the best sounding headphones I’ve ever used. When they work I sing praises to my fellow man about the glory that is the Vibe Duo, but since in the last 9 months since I bought my first pair I’ve been through 3 pairs, and without their delicious sound for more than 6 weeks I can’t honestly recommend anyone purchase them if they in the slightest value reliability or customer service.

I’ve filed an official complaint with the Better Business Bureau to see if that might get me traction on getting my promised replacement pair. The full text of the complaint is below for public record.

Complainant Information
About 3 weeks ago my Vibe Duo earbuds stopped working and I contacted the company asking for a replacement pair. They sent a form letter with a ticket number (Ticket ID: ZWL-207849) and asked that I mail the broken earbuds to their mailing address. (V-Moda, 6464 sunset blvd. suite 500, hollywood ca 90028)

I sent the earbuds back via UPS (tracking number: -tracking number redacted-) and then didn’t hear anything back for 2 weeks. UPS confirms that the package was delivered 2 weeks prior, 2 days after shipment.

I re-contacted them asking for status and they took 3 days to respond and their response was that they needed the tracking number. I sent an email providing the tracking number and have not heard back from them. I have sent them two additional emails asking for status updates and to complete the RMA with no response. Each of my last 3 emails has included all of my contact information as well as the tracking number.

Resolution Sought: I would like the RMA to be completed and to receive the replacement earbuds for the ones sent their way (at their instruction).
Date Problem Started: 05/28/2008
Date of Transaction: 05/28/2008
Amount in Dispute: $110.00
Invoice Number: ZWL-207849
Complaint Type: Refund Promised
Product or Service: V-Moda offers “high end” earbuds.

Update: Mere hours after the posting of this article V-Moda got back to me with status on the warranty replacement and the happy news that they would be shipping the replacement Duos right away. The communication did not mention if the Better Business Bureau or this article had any influence on their response but the timing certainly is suspicious. The note included an apology stating that they had moved offices which had caused delays. While finally getting contact is nice V-Moda’s inability to properly set expectations was inexcusable.

Good customer service does not always mean instant resolution on an issue, but it always means rapidly responding to contact and setting expectations properly. After 9 days of sending mails to V-Moda with no response any customer is going to be frustrated – a frustration which could have simply been avoided with a quick email on day one stating that they had received the communication and would have an official response within two weeks.

In conclusion I can no longer heartily recommend the Vibe Duos to iPhone owners seeking headsets. Don’t get me wrong – I love my Vibe Duos, they sound great and are super comfortable but after 3 failures and such abysmal customer service I’m left with both a sour taste in my mouth and a sadness in my heart that if history is any indication my replacement Duos won’t last longer than 3-4 months .

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Topics: Apple, Audio, Cellphones, Gadgets, Reviews, Technology, iPhone | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “V-Moda: worst customer service ever”

  1. Cody Says:
    July 7th, 2008 at 10:14 am

    My V-Moda Bass Freq’s have died recently too, I have sent them in about a week and a half ago and the support site says they are still processing? I don’t know.

  2. Sean Says:
    July 7th, 2008 at 10:40 am

    I have had great service with V-MODA. They have always been responsive and very helpful. I was able to find their phone number on their website. 888-VMODA-LA.

  3. Steve Says:
    July 8th, 2008 at 10:40 am

    I have had the exact same POOR customer service. You can basically dido the earlier complaint, because I am going through the exact same problem. No response from V-Moda. I also love the headphones with my iPhone, but strongly wonder about reliability and ongoing service.

    Any suggestions on how to get them to reply to emails or voice messages???

  4. Ryan S. Says:
    July 8th, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    try calling them at the number above..

  5. William Says:
    September 18th, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Pair number 5 are inbound now.

    5 Pairs in 11 months, and total time without due to shipping back and forth, about 4 months.

    My advice, avoid this product the products are not fully worked out, even with the new rev2 ones with the different headphone plug, they still have sound issues in the buds themselves. (diff vol levels, tin like popping sounds, etc)

  6. Russell Whitaker Says:
    October 3rd, 2008 at 6:46 am

    I have an iPhone, and purchased a set of the V-Moda Duos myself in February 2008 at TekServe, an Apple retailer and service shop on 23rd Street in Manhattan. I loved them, but (surprise) they failed in the manner I’ve become accustomed to since: one speaker fails, but not the other.

    By March 2008 – a few weeks later – I’d experienced my first headset failure. TekServe replaced the headset on the spot. Several weeks later, another failure; TekServe again graciously replaced the unit.

    In May 2008, another failure. This time, understandably, TekServe asked that I ship the defective replacement to V-Moda directly. Before doing so, I looked up the telephone number of their “customer service” department and surprised a real person at the company. I was directed to their website and told to email them with a description of the issue; I received a standard “here’s your case number” autoreply and asked to ship the headset on my own dime along with a printed and hand-completed warranty form.

    It took me a couple of weeks from the time I mailed the defective unit (the 3rd I’d had since having purchased the original) by USPS Priority Mail to the day I received the replacement for _that_ one.

    A couple of months go by, and another failure. Same drill again. This time, the replacement unit (around early August 2008) comes with a major change in the plug design: apparently more robust, and the joint is offset by about 30 degrees, in an apparent attempt to relieve mechanical stresses on the wire/plug junction. This time, I’m encouraged: they’ve apparently addressed a quality-related design issue, maybe they’ve addressed the overall build quality issues too.

    No dice. About 6 weeks later – a few days ago – same failure mode: one speaker out, the other functional. Yet another email to V-Moda customer support.

    This time, they immediately reply and tell me they’re generating a UPS Overnight mailing label on _their_ dime. They did, I receive it within minutes, and ship by UPS today. Today, UPS Tracking indicates the defective unit is out for delivery in Los Angeles (I mailed it from Manhattan last night) and I’ve told V-Moda to be on the lookout for it, and to expedite the replacement: I want turnaround _today_ and overnight shipping, and I want the unit tomorrow.

    We’ll see.

  7. Russell Whitaker Says:
    October 3rd, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Update:

    So, I called them direct at

    to let them know that I knew that they’d actually signed for the inbound (defective) unit today mid-morning, and that I expected a turnaround the same day, the same way: immediate shipment by UPS Next Day Delivery. This was after I’d made the same demand by email, but gotten this canned reply:

    “Russell,

    We process replacements in the order in which we receive returns. Also, we ship out replacements UPS Ground. If we do not process your order within three business days, please write back to us. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

    Rock On,”

    To which I had immediately replied:

    “Actually, I _don’t_ understand: you have the item overnighted _to_ you, but can’t see fit to do the same on the way out? You do realize, yes,
    that this is my *third* warranty replacement by you, after *two* at TekServe in Manhattan? That’s *5 replacements* in 9 months, and a cumulative couple of months, roughly, of “dead device time” as well as turnaround time for me, on something I spent decent money on?

    This isn’t acceptable. How you plan to stay in business unless you dramatically _improve your reputation_ for respecting your customers? Doesn’t anybody there actually care about us, the customers?”

    A few minutes after I hit “send” on that reply, I called 888-866-3252 (aka “888-VModaLA”), which is a now unpublished number, and chose phone tree option #2 (#1 is Sales) to speak to a customer service rep. I got Kathy, whom I believe I’d spoken to the first time around, last May, in a similar interaction before they’d moved and changed their (also then) unpublished number. She said she was just then in the process of reading my email, and started reading me a canned script reiterating the mail I first received.

    I told her that would be unacceptable, and pressed my point about having the replacement shipped the way the defective unit had been shipped: immediate UPS Next Day Delivery, handled then and there. She said that normally they have a fulfillment house in another city – Chico, I believe – fulfill these requests on a non-urgent basis, but that she would take care of it immediately, from stock at hand, today.

    Within minutes, she sent me a UPS tracking number, and I expect my – 5th! – replacement on Monday morning.

    Hope this helps others.

  8. Aubweb Says:
    October 8th, 2008 at 9:17 am

    I ordered v-moda vibe duo for my iphone last week…
    The package just arrived… but wrong product and wrong color…
    I am so angry !!!

  9. peter Says:
    December 2nd, 2008 at 11:54 am

    I hope I will not suffer all of this with my return.
    Phone number for them is 323 645 4418

  10. Greg Says:
    December 20th, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    I bought a set of Vibe Duos in December of 2007. They were great until May of 2008 when I had one bud go out. It was the connection between the two buds, oddly enough, not the male end connector to my phone.

    I didn’t have a receipt for that pair anymore so I purchased a second set, hoping (stupidly) that it was just that pair that was bad.

    Nope.

    October of 2008 the connector failed and I had…one ear that worked.

    Yay me! I was smart enough to purchase the second pair directly from V-Moda. I filled out the form, sent it back after awhile (work was very busy, I couldn’t get to the post office immediately) I got the replacement in late November. Here we are, 28 days later. 28. My new style Vibe Duos just lost the right ear driver, just like last time.

    And no one is at V-Moda to talk to today. This company seriously needs to be closed. I’ll be contacting the BBB on Monday. I will then call V-Moda and inform them that I will do everything in my power to see to it that the company is put out of business and that management for V-Moda

  11. Lee Says:
    March 3rd, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I’ve had 3 pairs of the vibe duo die on me in one year. I’m on my forth pair a set of vibe/duo 2 they sound and feel great but there was a flawed on the wire a small bulge at the bass of the jack became an exposed copper wire 1 month in. I give up on these people they will be getting 2 of 4 RMA’s as I have lost two recipients. If they are not honored BBB here I come.

  12. Jeff Says:
    March 13th, 2009 at 10:55 am

    DO NOT buy these things. I’m about to send back my 3rd PAIR! This is insane. I don’t even want a replacement, I want money back at this point to buy a different brand. I just got these back 6 days ago, no exaggeration, and already the left bud has shorted out. Unreal. They’re great when they work, unfortunately that only happens for about a month or less on average and then they break. Can i say it again..THEY BROKE THREE TIMES… and I treat these things with kid gloves. Totally unacceptable.

  13. Shana Says:
    March 23rd, 2009 at 9:01 am

    My experience with V-Moda’s customer service has been amazing. I got the Vibe Duo microphones this past December, and I did have problems with the right earbud not working after about 3 months of use. I contacted customer service, sent mine in, and they had a replacement to me within a week. When opening the new package I accidentally cut the cable with scissors, and when I called and told them they immediately sent out another replacement pair. Amazing!

  14. Eddie Says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    I was worried after reading all this, however I called the VMODALA #, and spoke to Kathy.

    She went to look to see if the package was received and I gave her my tracking number. She checked it out and processed my replacement right then and there.

    I should be receiving my replacements within the week. If I don’t I will update my comment, but I’m hoping for the best.

  15. Shamir Says:
    July 6th, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I am currently waiting for my 4th replacement pair of the VIBE duo’s.

    The sound quality is so amazing that I feel compelled to just keep sending them back each time they break, which is about every 4 months, like clockwork. Each return takes about 10-14 days..

    Why cant they just fix the problem and get it right?

  16. oliver Says:
    August 14th, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    well same story here, My Vmoda vibe II cord was defected. its been almost two weeks and they told me they sent one pair already to my address but did not received them. Now they are sending another pair with confirmation tracking number. I really think they have issues with costumer services, I love them but will never buy their product. They lack costumer services skills and the warranty service lacks organization and reliability.

  17. Robert Says:
    August 21st, 2009 at 10:01 am

    On my 2nd pair, the right ear bud just failed after 1 months use. Stupidly I too threw away my receipt from the 1st pair thinking I just had a bad ‘apple’ (the left ear bud failed on those). Since they sound so good I ordered another pair, saved all packaging & receipt. I treated the new pair like gold. Didn’t even fold/wrap the earbuds when in non-use. Still failed! Coming here and reading all the comments are discourging. Why even bother sending them in if they’re going to fail in 2-4 months again? Waste of shipping costs, might as well throw that money towards another brand/company.