My wife wanted a new analog clock for the kitchen—one with a metal rim and a glass face, not plastic. After some on-line shopping I found one that met all her criteria and that she liked the looks of, so I ordered it for her birthday.
When it came, it looked fine, and really did have a metal rim and a glass face (though the metal was a little thin and is likely to dent easily). Unfortunately, the clock did not run—neither with the provided AA battery nor with any of the AA batteries we had around the house.
I sent a message to CafePress customer service, and within a day I got the very polite reply:
Thank you for contacting CafePress! I am more than happy to help. I am sorry to hear your clock didn’t work. I went ahead and sent you a replacement at no additional charge to you. Please don’t worry about sending the other clock back, I don’t want you to incur extra shipping charges so just throw it away. Your new order number is ******** and your estimated arrival date is July 15th.
If there is anything else I can do for you, please let me know.
That struck me as good customer service, and I looked forward to getting a replacement clock. Nine days later, the new clock arrived. I put the provided battery in it, and it ran—for half an hour.
This time, I went out and bought brand new AA Alkaline batteries, so I could be sure that the problem was not just dead batteries. I put in a new AA battery and the clock ran—for an hour.
So now I have two very pretty, but completely useless clocks from CafePress.
I tried diassembling one of the clocks and replacing the clock motor with one from the old kitchen clock (which, though ugly, as worked well for years). Unfortunately, clock motors are not quite standardized, and the shafts on the old clock motor are a tiny bit smaller than on the CafePress clocks, so the hands of the new clock won’t fit—they just droop down to the 6 o’clock position.
I’ll contact CafePress again, to let them know that the second clock also failed. I don’t want them to keep sending me broken clocks every 2 weeks, though. I just want them to know that the ultra cheap clock motors that they bought were really bad deal, and they should immediately discontinue working with that vendor and find some clock motors that work. They may have to eat a lot of inventory, but that would be better than having bloggers with more audience than me telling everyone not to buy their non-functional products.
If they would just send me a new clock motor (that has been tested and verified to run for more than an hour, not yet another broken one), I’d be glad to fix the clock. If they have an estimate of the failure rate (which is looking like higher than 50% from my small sample), they could send me a dozen, or however many it takes to get a good one, and I could test them to find one that is good.
I’ll update this post in a couple of weeks, after the next go-round with CafePress customer service.