Customer Service is NOT DEAD... Why Barnes & Noble Rock...
I bought my wife a "nook" touch e-reader a little over a year ago. We had some problems from pretty much day one. The unit liked to freeze on occasion, and in the last 4 months the battery life had dropped to about an hour on a full charge. Anyone that understands anything about E-ink display e-readers knows that battery life should be closer to 20 days, not 20 minutes. So it had issues. The reason I had purchased Nook over a Kindle was for the very reason of quality. Argue all you want, but Barnes & Noble makes better quality e-readers and tablets than Amazon. Pretty much all honest reviews come to this conclusion.
The device had also been dropped several months back. The issues we had were unrelated but it had physical damage all the same. I wasn't even aware it had been dropped at all until after this interchange at the store. (the "damage" was the casing was slightly apart near the charger, hence I didn't notice it)
Life has been busy to say the least though and I hadn't had time to bother with the unit.
I finally had time to take it into the Barnes & Noble store where I purchased it today.
I went up to the Nook service desk, e-reader in-hand, and explained to the sales-clerk that I had purchased it about a year ago (I was also unaware it had been more than year) and that I had been having problems with it. I told her I had even tried to re-flash the firmware on it and I still couldn't get it to work. The unit didn't even have a charge when I brought it in. She stuck it on a charger for 15 minutes and then proceeded to try working on it.
After an hour of not much luck she came back out and asked me about the split casing on the bottom. I explained that I didn't think it had been dropped but it very well could have been as I was not the primary user. She then asked if I had purchased an extended warranty when I bought it and I told her that I had not. She said she would try to do some more work on it and asked me if I didn't mind waiting. I told her it was fine.
About 30 minutes later she came back and said that she couldn't even get the device to be recognized for flashing. Told me it was out-of-warranty by two months but that they were able to make an exception. She handed me a perfectly brand-new looking device that she said was "certified pre-owned" (it is immaculate) and that it was mine to keep free of charge. I got a receipt for the pre-owned unit and went on my way after thanking her profusely.
I must say this incredible customer service was unexpected. Barnes & Noble, for about $75, has purchased a lifetime customer and a raving fan. The new unit works SO much better than the old and it offers up a much better (and expected) experience as a result.
If I were buying an e-reader again, Barnes & Noble would be my first stop. If I were considering locked tablets (i.e a Kindle Fire HD or Nook Tablet HD) their units would be high on my list.
Thanks B&N for the great service!