Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Top-battery.co.uk's excellent 3 year warranty

If you want to buy a replacement battery for a laptop or netbook, why not buy one from a web site?  After all, internet buying is easy isn't it - I buy a lot from Amazon and get great service.

Given the choice of web sites, when I happened to discover that the best price for a high capacity battery was from another company using a UK domain name I was quite pleased.  No worries about import duty or how to return it in the event of a warranty claim or faulty delivery.  And on top of all that, the battery came with a 3 year warranty.  Too good to be true perhaps?

It arrived a few months ago.  It weighed more than the netbook, but at least I didn't have to carry a charger with me.  Its capacity was absolutely prodigious.  The netbook had a battery lifetime of over 10 hours - enough for a return trip from Oxford to Paris by train!  But being aware of looking after batteries, it was rarely discharged below 70% full.

But of course it was not a case of 'happy ever after'.  Quite soon it started to show signs of problems.  Sometimes the netbook wouldn't start up unless I took the battery out and replaced it.  Sometimes even that wasn't enough.  I had to plug in the charger for a few seconds and it would start.  Having started, it would run fine for hours without the charger but odd battery-related lights would flash at me ominously.

During a long conversation, my 'dear friends' at top-battery.co.uk usually replied promptly and courteously, but I don't think they understand English very well.  Or maybe that is just a tactic to avoid answering difficult questions.  They ask similar things all the time, take little notice of your answer and finally when I asked for a warranty replacement they asked me to send them £15.  You see, they are not in UK at all.  Who knows where they really are, but they claim China. 

What?  £15 in order to claim my statutory right to a warranty replacement - no chance!  Their excuse was

"As yo [sic] know, our battery is so competitive.The battery is used for some times,We will resend you once get the payment."

I'm sorry to say that it all reinforces my view that (at least some) Chinese companies have a different view of contract law and indeed common decency.  They make promises that they have no intention of keeping.

e.g.  http://top-battery.co.uk/, says "We promise all the products sold are 100% brand new and free from defects in material and workmanship. Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction."  That is, unless you make a warranty claim.

They masquerade as something that they are not - namely a UK company - and their excuse "our battery is so competitive" is quite pathetic.  The battery is not at all competitive because it doesn't work properly!  In fact, in the following disclaimer you can see how they are playing with the law in innovative ways. 

The batteries supplied by our Company are [replacement for] sold for use with certain products of computer manufacturers, and any reference to products or trademarks of such companies is purely for the purpose of identifying the computer manufacturers with which our products [are replacement for] may be used. Our Company and this Website are neither affiliated with, authorized by, licensed by, distributors for, nor related in any way to these computer manufacturers, nor are the products offered for sale through our Website manufactured by or sold with the authorization of the manufacturers of the computers with which our products [are replacement for] may be used. 

And yet they claim
  • ACER Laptop Battery
  • APPLE Laptop Battery
  • Dell Laptop Battery
  • HP Laptop Battery
  • LG Laptop Battery
  • SONY Laptop Battery
You see how they flaunt the names of top brands to sell their dubious products?   You might be lucky if you buy something from top-battery.co.uk, so it is (of course) up to you if you want to take the risk as I did.  The ironic thing is that I was about to buy another battery for another laptop and I would certainly have bought it from them if they had been the reputable supplier that they claimed to be.

But now they can f*** off, and they are not getting another £15 or another order and I write this in order to warn other potential customers who they are dealing with!

I have no way to know how many UK domains they own with credible-looking web sites, but since my correspondent has always signed off with the name 'Sunny', I'm wary of any companies with the word Sun in their name, especially when they also come from Shenzhen province.

I think I'll stick with other traders via Amazon (who don't have the word Sun anywhere in their name)!

Small note:  I haven't actually given up on the prospect of a refund via Paypal yet.  They should expect the possibility of a long-lasting dispute to occupy them for a while.  But I offer a limited warranty on that claim.


Derby Sceptic said...

A well timed warning. I am looking for a battery for my laptop and came across kingbattery.co.uk

Interesting that the disclaimer uses the same wording as that reported by PE, so may be the same company. Close examination of their site gives hints that they are not UK based but they certainly don't highlight it. However one clue on this site is the office hours, which are quoted in Pacific Time!

I will be looking very closely at any prospective supplier before proceeding.

Brandon Hudson said...

Nice and quite informative post. I really look forward to your other posts.

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Tracy J Holroyd said...

Unfortunately, I am also a victim of this company - if that's what you want to call it. The battery they sent me didn't fit, so I tried to get a return number, which they would not give. I returned the battery (signed for) and opened a resolution with Paypal who then advised me to return the battery to an address in China. However, I had already returned the battery to the UK Return Address on the label, postcode UB2 5LF. I sent tracking information to Paypal, and have been told I will only receive a refund when it is confirmed delivered. According to Royal Mail, this was delivered and signed for on 01/05/2014. I now await Paypal's response. Either way, I'm not holding my breath. Watch this space and keep clear of this Company!

David M said...

Got caught out 10 days ago by this , thankfully only £22 still a lesson learnt.

Peter B said...

Got caught in the same way. Return postage to China exceeds the cost of the battery. Deal with this company at your own risk.

Anonymous said...

Thanks but bit late.
Did notice Chinese after payment, battery came, great, stopped working, not so great...will send FOC replacement, great, not arrived, not so great, no answer after several emails....no so great.....internet campaign started to get my money back,
Will keep you informed