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Netgear Support Hell

I used to be a happy Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ user for almost 2 years. Until yesterday. After a routine shutdown the unit wouldn't power on anymore. Just a short blink of the LED and end of story. I removed the disks and verified that it is the unit, not one of the disks. So far so good, s**t happens, that's what warranties (the ReadyNAS comes with 5 years of it) and support lines are for.
So I called the 24x7 hotline proudly promoted on the Netgear Singapore website. Since I called after hours (I have a dayjob after all) I was transferred to the international support centre. To make it clear: everybody was polite and followed their scripts - but utterly useless. So no one at the front line to blame, rather the guys who designed that support system. Netgear's support centre is located in India (surprise, surprise) and lot of the people I spoke to had a clear Indian accent. I'm fine with that, a lot of my friends are Indian and typically fine folk. Someone with no exposure to Asia might struggle a bit.
The first person just functioned as a kind of dispatcher, giving me a case id and connecting me to a support engineer. The engineer concluded that a unit not powering up is a level 3 issue, gave me a new case id and connected me to a level 3 engineer. Than engineer concluded what I told the first guy: "The unit needs servicing". But he neither could issue a RMA number nor tell me where to bring the unit. He connected me to the department in charge, at least he thought. I ended up disconnected. So I called again. Stated my case ID, went to the second level engineer who then directly connected me to someone else. Every time I get connected I had to not only wait considerable time but also restate my case ID to every person I talked to. Now they told me I have to call the Singapore hotline to get an RMA for Singapore. I didn't pay attention that moment, but it turned out that it was the number I called in the first place. So I went through another round. When I ended in the same department again the person told me, that her supervisor could help but currently was in a meeting and would call me back. Which (s)he didn't. So this morning I called again. I asked the first guy why he not just could press the button and issue me a RMA and tell me where to bring the unit. He told me that they had different departments and his wouldn't handle ReadyNAS and that he would loose his job when breaking the rules and that he wouldn't do that. So I went through phone hell again. They tried to deflect me again to the Singapore support number (the one I was calling). After insisting that that is not a solution, they gave me the Netgear Singapore office number (for your reference: +65 62336810). It is Saturday, so what happened: A tape announcement tells me that the office operates Monday to Friday during office hours and anyway for technical support I should call the 24x7 hotline (from Singapore 800 6011 369)... exactly that number that was so useless in the previous calls.
In conclusion: Netgear's claim of 24x7 support is a laughing joke. I spend 2 hours on the phone, spoke to 15 different people, ended on a dead line 4 times and still have a broken unserviced unit. I feel like Buchbinder Wanninger ( German original). This is a classic case of " Support process, broken as designed".
Update: To add insult to injury... I sent sales@netgear.com a link to this blog entry that bounced back with a 550 content rejected.
Update2: (23Aug2009) With a copy of the entire blog post the message to netgear went through. Chirpa from the Netgear support forum tries to be really helpful. My wife briefly spoke to the guys from the shop where I bought it, they claim that their waranty for Netgear is 12 month (which is BS of course) and I got an online update from Netgear providing me the contact details of Singapore's Netgear distributors handling RMA for them. Shot an eMail off to them, wait what's happening on Monday.
Update 3: Salvation

Posted by on 22 August 2009 | Comments (a) | categories: Technology


  1. posted by Jan-Piet Mens on Saturday 22 August 2009 AD:
    This tweet has an at-character missing on it. Have you seen it? { Link }
  2. posted by Aaron Seet on Saturday 22 August 2009 AD:
    { Link }
  3. posted by Palmi on Saturday 22 August 2009 AD:
    Stephan , am sory to hear this . you are not alone with "Netgear customers services from hell" - I bought NAS from Synology and after the warranty ran out i had issue with my 406E and in 36 hours they sent me a email with link to RMA form and told me that they would gladly send me new motherboard for free if i pay for shipping. if you are looking to diffent NAS then give them a change - i own 2 now and its GREAT product.

    WebSite = { Link }
    Forum = { Link }

    Emoticon biggrin.gif
  4. posted by chirpa on Saturday 22 August 2009 AD:
    Stephan, some regional offices are not 24/7, but many are.

    Anyways, I will contact USA customer service (my local peeps), and see what can be done. Though there might not be much of an answer until the next business day (Monday).
  5. posted by chirpa on Saturday 22 August 2009 AD:
    Also, forgot to mention.. Not sure what the content of your email was to the sales address, but with a 550 Content Rejected, sounds like it was suspected spam and blocked. Maybe too many links in it, or certain keywords that triggered it. If you like, PM (private message) me (chirpa) on the ReadyNAS.com forums (I see you do have an account on there) the contents of your email, and I will make sure it is passed on.
  6. posted by Patrick Picard on Saturday 22 August 2009 AD:
    That sucks. I have a Thecus N4100PRO nas and I hope to never have to deal with support or have problems!!
  7. posted by Andrew Trembley on Sunday 23 August 2009 AD:
    I've had two drive failures and a significant software bug on my NV+

    Netgear's tier-1 support is pretty much useless on ReadyNAS issues. That said, it's not that difficult to get to the folks who really know what they're doing.

    The development team hangs out on the ReadyNAS Forum { Link } . In my experience, they have always been fairly quick to provide support.

    I've also found using Netgear's online support request tool gets things escalated to the appropriate team.

    In the end, I'm happy with the product and support, even with problems I've had no data loss (not something I can say with other devices).
  8. posted by Per Henrik Lausten on Sunday 23 August 2009 AD:
    What a story, Stephan! I own a ReadNAS NV+ too - and after reading this I just hope that it behaves! Good luck with your quest. I hope that @chirpa and co. will be able to help you.
  9. posted by Jonathan Wong on Monday 24 August 2009 AD:
    I have a different problem with the Netgear ReadyNAS.

    Been a happy NV+ user for a while. Experienced a disk catastrophe last year, but the online forums were useful enough for me to do a self-recovery. (I do agree that the phone support is close to useless)

    Problem is that I now want to upgrade from my ReadyNAS NV+ to a ReadyNAS Pro. Believe it or not, I can't find a single retailer in Singapore that is carrying it.

    I've asked around, and apparently there are some problems with the ReadyNAS distributor here in Singapore. Which may also explain why Netgear doesn't know what to do when they have a support request to replace a faulty unit.
  10. posted by Stephan H. Wissel on Monday 24 August 2009 AD:
    a) Thx for helping
    b) Netgear in SG claims on their website 24x7. Bogus claim?
    c) What a joke: the phone support wasn't able to provide the distributors' names, the web support could.
    d) The process is so broken I ended up with 4 different Case IDs (I know why: when escalating you get a new case id, so the case can be marked "closed" to meet an SLA). Way to go.