My father was going overseas for a vacation and I thought I’d buy him a cellphone for Christmas (well, a belated Christmas present). I got him the Motorola RAZR V3 off of And oh what a mistakethat was.

The short of it is this: the first unit I was sent was clearly used. The protective stickers attached to various surfaces of the phone were clearly reapplied by hand: the edges were frayed, and there were little bubbles of air pockmarking it. When I opened up the battery compartment, I was treated to even more evidence of prior usage: there were scratches where the battery comes into contact with the phone. Clearly, somebody had removed and installed the battery enough times to scratch the surface.

There’s nothing on the NewEgg website that says that it is a refurbished or used unit. NewEgg dishonestly represented their product as new when it had clearly been returned after being used. I’ve been a longtime customer of NewEgg and have purchased quite a lot of electronics from them. Hell, I built two computers from parts on their site, and a friend purchased his build’s parts from them on my recommendation.That’s why it totally surprised me that NewEgg would engage in such dishonest business practices. They completely violated my trust in the NewEgg brand. Now that they have sent me a used product (that was seemingly factory sealed mind you) when I am paying full price for a brand new product, I wonder whether or not they pull a quick one over everyone for the rest of their wares.Anyway, not only was the phone an obvious returned unit, it didn’t even function. The battery just wouldn’t charge, no matter what outlet I used. Because it was not functional, my father ended up leaving without my present. I wanted an advance RMA though because my mother would be joining him shortly: she could bring the phone with her if the phone would arrive in time.

Of course, dissatisfied as I was, I fired off an indignant and very upset email to NewEgg customer service. They were sparse in their response, telling me thatanadvance RMA would have to be done over the phone. I complied and called them up. The wait time, lasting under ten minutes, would usually not be particularly annoying, but the irritation that was roused from me and the anger of having experienced dishonesty magnified the annoyance of having to wait. Eventually, I got through to a lady with a Mid-Western accent. She helped me process the advance RMA. I was told that it would be sent out the next day.

Now, this was a time sensitive RMA. If the phone didn’t arrive in time, then my Christmas present would be moot. Not that my father couldn’t use a new cellphone, but having a new nice one would be far more beneficial: his current phone is not unlocked and therefore he would have to borrow a phone when he arrived overseas.

So I checked on the RMA at regular intervals. The next day arrived, and I noticed that the RMA was stuck on Step 3 – Processing Payment (or something to that effect). I gave NewEgg a call and had a chat with some fellow. After putting me on hold for about five minutes, he told me that he sent the issue to accounting and that they would email me about it.

I waited for a couple of hours, and with no response, I called NewEgg again. This time I reached a young lady who actually helped me get something done. While I was put on hold, I checked my order status and found that it had gone through: my credit card was charged and the order was going to be shipped.

I finally got the the phone. And lo and behold, it was clearly another used unit: the same signs of previous ownership and usage were evident, clear as day. But at least this one charged properly.

I suspect that these phones may be simply sold as new although they’ve been refurbished or new: there’s this warranty card that tries to convince you not to return the unit to the point of sale, but rather to contact the company that sells the phone (if I recall correctly it’s PDA Giant).

Anyway, the lesson to be learned is this: never EVER, under any circumstances, buy a cellphone from NewEgg.