"Please do read this before you purchase a Creative Zen Vision: M"1.0 starson by zhuanyi
Pros: Good sound quality, reasonable price
Cons: really, really, really bad post-sale support
Summary: Like most of you here, I was thinking of getting a top-of-notch MP3 player for my ears, and after seeing so many positive reviews about Creative Zen Vision: M, I decided to give it a try.
To be honest, the sound quality as well as the functionality produced by Vision M is indeed superb, and I did enjoy a lot listening to it. The real headache only came in when I tried to upgrade the firmware on Vision: M.
After downloading the firmware from the official Creative website, and followed the instruction exactly, my player failed to reboot itself, recovery mode was stuck at the main menu as well. Despite trying all possible methods suggested in the knowledgebase and many forums, the player simply failed to respond to me. Then I contacted the Creative RMA department, and that was really the beginning of all the nightmares.
Quickly enough, I was given a RMA authorization number, since, well, there was basically nothing they could ask me to do other than rebooting and trying to reset the player. However, what amazed me was that I was being told I need to pay USD 50 for the inspection of the unit although it was covered under the one year warranty period. (It turned out that the problem was software related, hence it was covered only by the software warranty period of 90 days.) I tried to explain to them that I was following the procedures listed on the Creative website when updating my firmware and hence it should not be fault if the firmware failed to work, and they agreed to ask me to send in the player first for them to take a look.
The player was delivered to them without a signature nor a notice saying it has arrived although I have requested for both when I sent the parcel in Express Parcel, wrapped in bubble bags. Then the most shocking news came in, I was being told that the unit was physically damaged and hence out of warranty and my hard drive was broken and they will need to charge me 120 USD to get the hard drive replaced.
Well, I have to say that it is not their fault that the item was damaged during the delivery, however, when I tried to ask them to send me the original packaging back so that I could start a claim with Canada Post, I was told that the packaging was thrown away.
Disappointed, I sent an email to them, telling them I would rather get a new player if I have to pay 120 USD, but there was no response (BTW, I am someone who would check my Spam box everyday as well, not just inbox).
Then approximately a week has gone by, and all in a sudden I received this email saying that the unit would be disposed if I do not pay them 95USD to get it replaced. While 120 USD seemed to be too high, 95 sounded like a reasonable price to me, so I called them (which, by the way, I had to pay for the international long distance charge to US because they do not have a toll-free number) and gave them my credit card number. I confirmed with the lady over the phone that the unit would be replaced.
Then the package came in with Fedex, and when I opened up the package, I saw a unit with several damages at the back. Thinking they might have sent the wrong unit, I called them and was told that they have ran out of stock in their warehouse and hence they repaired the unit (which is still broken!) rather than replaced it.
Could you imagine how outrageous I was? I was told the unit would be replaced and no one has told me 95 bucks means the hard drive would be replaced but the unit would still be broken! I emailed them back and was told that they are not a reseller, but a warranty warehouse, hence it was reasonable for them to repair the unit (even though it is not repaired to the original state) rather than replace it without informing me in advance.
I sent another email to their customer service explaining the situation about a month ago, and I have never ever heard from them since, neither the RMA department nor the Customer Service.
I have to say that Creative does produce excellent MP3 players, and the price is reasonable as well. However, would you like to get a good player at a cheap price, and then having to worry about what if the unit is broken?
I am putting down my personal experience here, so that if you do consider yourself as techie-pro who could fix the player if there is something going on, or if you are really short of cash but is looking for a good player, then give Creative a try. Otherwise, it is probably better for you to get something else right now.
Thanks for your time and I hope after reading though this, you will have a better view of Creative now.