Jabra: we know our Bluetooth headsets don’t work with laptops. Sorry, no refunds.

By Daniel Sedlacek

It was a shock, but at the same time, it was not. I think part of me always knew Jabra was lying the whole time. At this point, I was thinking about the support folks on the other side — with their canned replies and fake politeness. You see, we have exchanged a total of 25 emails with the Jabra Support Team trying to figure out why the $300 Jabra Evolve 75 stops working every time a meeting is started. Did they laugh at me while making me jump their hoops? Or did they cringe?

First, they were really sorry to hear that I am experiencing issues. They asked for a serial number and suggested that I use the USB dongle instead of a native Bluetooth to connect to my laptop. Next, they asked me to try the headset with a different device, like a mobile phone and suggested that I use the dongle instead of Bluetooth. Then they asked me to update my PC’s drivers and suggested that I use the dongle. When I told them my Mac OS drivers are up to date they asked me to install “Jabra Mac Suite”, which seemed to be itself broken, but hey, maybe it will fix the problem somehow? And then they suggested that I use the dongle.

Stop it, please!

Why do you keep telling me to use the dongle? I did not buy a Bluetooth headset to use it with a USB dongle. My MacBook comes with only two USB C slots and I am not going to clog one of them for no reason. Besides, it’s 2018 and your dongle is USB B. Am I supposed to carry an adapter in a fanny pack?

No, I do not have a “suboptimal experience”, the headset does not work at all. No, I do not want to enhance the “sound quality”, I can not hear a single word. No, I do not care if the dongle provides a connection over longer distances, my laptop is at arm’s length distance!

Wait a minute…

Are you saying the “Bluetooth” headset only works with the dongle? No? Good, because that is absolutely not how you advertise it. Yeah, sure I will find time for a troubleshooting session with your technician, thanks. We are finally getting somewhere.

Dear support team, I met online with your technician, he was a nice and knowledgable guy. He confirmed the sound from the headset becomes unintelligible as soon as it joins a call. He suggested that I ask for a refund under the warranty.

Dear support team, I have not heard back from you. I am going to apply for the refund, ok?

Hello? I still have not heard back from you and the $300 headset is gathering dust on my desk.

Finally a reply, yeah…

“We can only support the bluetooth connection to a computer when used with the USB dongle.”

Wait, are you saying the headset can’t connect to a computer via native Bluetooth? And you knew it the whole time? While you asked me to try a different device, to update drivers, to install Jabra software, to meet with your technician…

You were just trying to wear me down?!?

I do not want to live on this planet anymore. Give me my refund and I will be on my way…

What do you mean the warranty does not cover a refund, only a replacement? Are you seriously offering to replace a product that does not work as advertised with the same product that will not work as advertised?

“Such is our policy”? Stop using bureaucracy as an excuse, you falsely advertise your product, do you realize the amount of damage you are going to cause to your brand? It will outweigh some refund by a thousandfold.

But you do not really care, do you?

No, I can not work it out with the reseller, do you remember how you deceived me for weeks? Now I have missed the return period. Stop trying to fool me, the reseller has no reason to give me a refund just because you falsely advertised your product!

Oh, you are going to escalate my case to your manager? Ok, I will wait for the answer…

“Jabra does not support use of our Bluetooth (BT) headsets connected to native BT in any computer running full operating system (o/s)”

What you read above was not meant to impress you — the reader — it was meant to impress Jabra executives. You see, after the Jabra Support representative casually admitted that they are just playing mind games with me, I was pissed, but after the Team Lead told me to stick my request for a refund up my …, I was furious. I have realized Jabra is never going to take me seriously and my only hope is to play the public shaming card. But there is a good chance no will give a single damn about my little rant, and I wanted to make sure I get my refund before I fire my only shot. So I made a plan:

Step 1: no matter what the support said, I applied for the warranty and sent the headset off to an authorized repair shop. I don’t want it on my hands.

Step 2: I wrote the Act one of this blog post and,

step 3: I cheerfully opened a LinkedIn.com in a new browser window!

Once the first Jabra employee added me as a connection, I was only one degree of separation away from most Jabra executives. Some people collect LinkedIn connections as if they were a meaningful indicator of professional influence (am I too cynical?). In any case, I was soon connected to a dozen Jabra directors and managers. Researching the Jabra.com website revealed the email addresses format is the typical {first_name_initial}+{surname}+”@jabra.com”. (The other typical format would be {first name}+”.”+{surname}+”@jabra.com”). With names, titles and addresses, I could start emailing my new friends.

Dear Mr CEO
I am writing a blog post about my experience with your flagship headset but I am struggling with the title. I am afraid that “Jabra is falsely advertising its “bluetooth” headsets” is just not cutting it, if I want it to go viral.
Would you happen to have any ideas?

Some of the reactions are worth mentioning:

Managing Director Nigel was so kind as to let me know on LinkedIn that my email address may have been hacked because someone with my name sent him an uncomplimentary review on their products! Dear Nigel, I know the story sounds unbelievable, but this is indeed how your company treats its customers. I know, right?

Senior Director Claus, who was first to offer to escalate my case internally, wrote that he read my blog post with interest and that he is “happy to see you are not without humor”. Dear Claus, the humor is a facade. I have spent many hours haggling with your support team and many more hours writing an unnecessary blog post, depressed and anxious about the outcome. Cheating is not funny.

Then things escalated quickly. I was promised a full refund and I was even told to keep the original headset or to choose any other headset as a token of appreciation — thanks but no, thanks.

PS: To Jackie and all support representatives in the world. If you lie to customers to protect your cheating company you are not “just doing your job”. No, the bad karma is on you.

PPS: A few weeks later the reseller informed me that the authorized repair shop accepted my headset as defective and replaced it with a new one under warranty. I guess I am going to auction it off for the benefit of the local foster home institute.