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Battery Junction and Efest cells; poor QC, CS, and misleading descriptions

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by T.H.Cone, Dec 28, 2014.

  1. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    Just putting this out there as a PSA of sorts.

    A month or so ago, I ordered ten Efest LI cells from Battery Junction. The four 18650 cells were in spec and I'm using them ATM. The four 14500s and two 16340s all suffered from inaccurate product descriptions relating to their size and the 16340s in particular had some very real quality control issues.

    The 14500s were all more than 3mm longer than BJ's website claimed.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    That's 2.097", which converts to 5.3.2mm when it should be 50mm (according to what a 14500 should be in theory) or 49.11mm if we go by what BJ claims. I won't bore you with the photos, but all four cells were within a thousandth of an inch of this one.

    Now, the 16340s were a much as 4 mm longer than they should be, again, according to BJ. Worse yet, the 16340s were not even the same size relative to each other.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The top cell measures 1.434" and the bottom one measures 1.505" which converts to 36.4mm and 38.2mm. Again, technically, given that a 16340 should be 34mm and BJ says these cells are 33.98mm long, something isn't correct.

    [​IMG]
    It goes without saying that protected cells are generally longer than the unprotected variety and that there will be some small variance in the manufacturing process, but these are way off from what they claim to be or should, in fact, be. Worse yet, BJ has had a month plus to correct the product description and has not done so, thus leaving more people open to disappointment and frustration.

    Moreover, while they did take them back, they charged me a 15% restocking fee. I understand the need for this and it is their stated policy, so I wasn't shocked or surprised. However, I think when I receive something that is other than what was described to me when I made the purchase, the error is their's and not mine so the restocking fee, in all fairness, should have been waived.

    I'll say too, that as someone who has dealt with BJ multiple times a year for multiple years to the tune of plenty of money, I was disappointed that when I plead my case in this regard, I was basically blown off. We'll see just how displeased I am the next time I need cr123a in bulk.

    So, make of all of that what you will. I'm a little disappointed with Battery Junction and very disappointed with Efest.
     
  2. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    I feel your pain THC, and the 15% restocking fee is a real bummer, but it's hard to pin BJ for Efest's inaccurate specs or QC. A dealer really has no choice but to list the exact specs provided by the manufacturer. I can't blame GoingGear for being disappointed with my SC52's exaggerated output and runtime specs.

    The 850 mah on that 16340 is also way off btw (S/B ~600), although the 800 mah on the 14500 is about right (per HKJ's reviews).

    Sorry to hear this happened to you. :(
     
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  3. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    I see your point, but they've had ample time to to correct it or put up some sort of note that the factory specs are way off. I see where that is a slippery slope, especially since everyone exaggerates their performance numbers, but still...

    The restocking fee is indeed a bummer. I think that they should have waived it, but I'd have been a lot happier than I am now if a compromise had been reached; maybe slit it 50/50, since I specifically purchased those Efests based on those numbers.

    I buy a fair amount of stuff from them because they are US based and I'm risk adverse when I can be. If the screw up had been 100% mine, I'd understand the restocking fee.
     
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  4. reppans

    reppans Loaded Pockets

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    A dealer's hands are tied - adjusting manufacturer specs would expose them to liability, and any dealer comments of inaccuracy will not be appreciated by their suppliers. The only dealer option is to not carry the line/product, which is certainly possible with enough returns and dissatisfied customers. Actually, what bugs me about BJ is that they don't carry more reputable Li-ion manufacturers so I only go to them for primaries.

    I think you should hose Efest in the customer review section :D. If you do, I suggest biting your lip on negative BJ commentary or your review will "censored." Review BJ on external websites (eg, Yelp or Resellerratings) if it still bugs you ;).
     
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  5. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    I'm not really built that way.
     
  6. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    Reppans, I just left reviews with my username for both cells. I was very diplomatic. I didn't mention BJ or the RF at all. Just the facts.

    The reviews didn't go up, but maybe they review them first or something. You have to give your email, so they can definitely tell I am a real customer of theirs and actually purchased the cells. I'll give it a few days for them to post my reviews. If they don't show, I think we can draw an inference from that, don't you think?
     
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  7. geekandwife

    geekandwife Loaded Pockets

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    As others have said you are blaming the store for the products failing when the store is just a middleman. They provide the specs the manufacture provides. Anything else, any "disclaimers" of faulty specs would almost for sure the manufacture/distributor pulling the product from the store. Unless you are a store the size of Amazon or Walmart or the such you don't have enough pull in the market to make the manufacture/distributor to force them to change to correct specs. So that leaves pulling the product and no longer doing business. And that is not always an option either. It is quite common for you to be able to carry product X, the distributor will make the deal you also carry product Y and Z. You may not really want to sell Y and Z but to carry product X where you are going to make your money, you have to order so much of the rest of the catalog.

    On top of all of that, you were buying products without any reviews. The first thing I would do would be to check the product for reviews. Doing a google search one of the first links I come across is someone testing the exact 14500 battery and they note the size is off. Never trust "official" specs on any un-reviewed product.
     
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  8. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    Well, Geek, I hear what you are saying, I did do some, though not exhaustive, research prior to buying. I am a member of three flashlight forums, so...

    But it is still BJ's website, so they are at least somewhat culpable in my mind. And even if everything you say about their situation vis-à-vis Efest is a reality, it still doesn't make it right I get penalized for returning stuff that was not as advertised.
     
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  9. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Let me make sure that I understand this correctly?

    I order batteries based on them being a size that I require for use in my lights.
    They arrive and are not the size I ordered but they do claim to be and were advertised and sold as being the size that I ordered.

    You are claiming that somehow the responsibility for the error is with the manufacturer who I have nothing to do with and not the retailer from whom I purchased the mislabeled or produced items?

    Further you feel it is my responsibility to make sure before ordering that the seller has no record of fraudulent or unknowingly selling items not as listed?

    I am sure glad I do not buy from you guys!

    I don't buy from B.J. anymore and stopped for exactly the reason TH offered,they just blew me off about any customer service issues anytime anything came up.
     
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  10. CatsTide

    CatsTide Loaded Pockets

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    Just throwing this in but I had some great CS from them.
     
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  11. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    Geek, I just scrolled by my picture of those two 16340s and this thought accrued to me.

    Putting the exact size issue aside for the moment, should I have to pay a restocking fee for obvious quality issues? I mean, when was the last time you purchased batteries or cells that were that different from one another. If you went to wherever you keep batteries right know and grabbed two Eneloops or Duracells or whatever, at random, would there be a naked eye observable difference in any two twins?

    Which is why I said before, blame for the 14500s could be argued either way, but on the 16340s, i think the scales absolutely tip away from me.
     
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  12. CatsTide

    CatsTide Loaded Pockets

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    I would have major heartburn about paying restocking fees.
     
  13. kertap75

    kertap75 EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I understand what people are saying about the store not being allowed to change the specs but I completely disagree with giving them a pass on liability. Doesn't posting specs that are wrong fall under false advertising? And I've seen multiple sites that have disclaimers about manufacturers claimed specs so I don't think the manufacturer is going to pull their product from the store unless you are really bashing them (and why would you do that unless you didn't want to sell it anyway).

    Also, why do so many people give businesses a free pass when it comes to right and wrong? Selling a product that is a piece of garbage to unsuspecting customers that you lied to is wrong. But just because it's the right business call it's okay?
     
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  14. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I feel it is even worse than this.

    This is essentially defective merchandise and is not suitable for the intended use.
    You can not just market goods claiming anything you like and then profit from buyers returning defective goods they receive from you in good faith?

    And yes I do sell goods too.

    There are plenty of things that I do not sell that competitors do and I won't sell them just because I refuse to expose myself to these kinds of liabilities for such pathetic profit margins.
    Every time I do need to respond and in good conscience and business ethic take care of the customer and let it become my problem with my supplier I am losing money,it is just a cost of doing business.

    So I can either choose not to sell if I can not sell in good faith or accept the costs of doing business and do the best that I can.

    What I can not do is make the customer suffer for defective product.
    The restocking fee is really for buyers remorse not to let the fallout from defective product roll off my back?

    Am I crazy?
     
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  15. geekandwife

    geekandwife Loaded Pockets

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    As far as the restocking fee, did you contact CS for a RMA for exchange to get products that met the correct size requirements? If you did and they refused then I would be in agreement that the seller is in the wrong.
     
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  16. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    Oh, and in case I didn't make it clear in the OP, once I got my RA# I emailed the person I was dealing with making my case against the restocking fee, including splitting the fees or just giving me store credit. I included a copy of the email in the package that was being returned as well. So my real grip about BJ's CS is that I didn't get a reply. A "Hey, sorry, bro, rules are rules" would have at least I was valued enough to be worthy of an answer.

    And while every customer is important, as a guy who has spent well into four figures with them over the years and probably in excess of $500 this year alone, I may not be entitlesd to special treatment, but I think a return email is not too much to ask for.
     
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  17. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    Actually, Geek, because BJ is my preferred place to buy batteries and cells to avoid fakes, after I realized the Efests were not going to work, I explained to them exactly what the cells were going to be used for and asked what hey had that was short and protected that would fit. I was was told nothing, so my exchange turned into a return.

    I'm a pretty calm, patient, and fair buyer- have you seen my LAPG thread- I'm always working toward a solution that's good for everybody.
     
  18. geekandwife

    geekandwife Loaded Pockets

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    It is the manufacture that is providing the specs, so they would be the ones liable for false claims. You can go on the companies site that makes the battery and they have a picture just like OP does showing it is proper spec. To prove false advertising you would have to look at entire production lines and show they are on average out of spec. That is beyond the abilities or control of the store. And you would be surprised how quickly companies will pull their product or just refuse to sell to someone. Look at our own forum store as an example.

    And the reason many people will give an out to the business is many of us run a business our self and know many of the issues are out of our control, and customers in general have unrealistic expectations. In theory we would push back the cost on the distributor, but many times it is not worth the cost or hassle to do so, even when we can. For myself I do computer repair and sell parts. Most of the time if a part fails, it is just easier and cheaper to eat the cost of the refund and trash the product that to deal with the manufacture. That means I lose out not only the profit on the item i sold but also the wholesale cost of it. So for me to sell you the product and have it returned, no matter the reason means that I am at negative value for it. I lose money giving the return, especially when there is not a "broken" product. Out of spec sucks, but that doesn't qualify as a valid return to my distributor, so i eat the cost of the product in full because the manufacture screwed me over.

    You will find you get much better customer service return policies when you pay for the cost of them as well. When you are buying the cheapest products from the cheapest seller, you aren't going to get the same level service as if you pay more. That is something as well many consumers don't understand. I can go to a local hobby store and handle each battery before i buy it, run it on a meter to check output, ect, but the same batteries cost me $3-4 more for that.
     
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  19. T.H.Cone

    T.H.Cone I am senor Fluffy, hear me roar

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    Well, I don't think you can say BJ is the cheapest seller selling the cheapest product. This wasn't a DX deal that went bad after all.
     
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  20. geekandwife

    geekandwife Loaded Pockets

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    I added more to explain more what I meant. Battery Junction is a "low cost" seller. One of their main selling points is their low cost in comparison.
     
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