Flash! My Kindle 3’s screen fails

Flash! My Kindle 3’s screen fails  

Well, I’ve heard about this from other people, but I’ve never had it happen to me.  

My Kindle 3’s screen just failed.   

I’ve already spoken to Robert at Kindle Customer Service and they are sending a replacement.  Before I get into the details, though, I want to show you what it looks like:  

Kindle showing failed screen

As you can see, what is happening here is that the top left part of the screen is showing part of the Ralph Ellison sleep mode picture (screensaver).  The top right of the screen is blurry.  The Ellison picture stayed, even after a few different attempts to remove it.  I’ll go through all that shortly.  

The picture itself is out of focus, and I apologize for that.  I took a picture with my Flipcam.  I did try doing a screenshot*, but oddly, it does not show the obstruction…the screen looks as it should.  

So, here’s the story…  

I went to update my Kindle 3G & wi-fi  (D’Artagnan, by name) with the new Kindle 3.0.2 update.  I hadn’t done it yet.  When I picked it up, I believe Ralph Ellison was showing.  I started it, and  got the image you see above, basically…I could see the bottom part of the homescreen, Ralph Ellison, and the blurry part.  

My first attempt was Alt+G, which refreshes the screen…no change.  

Since the menu had the blurry overlay, I went right to the “hard reset”…holding the power switch to my right for a full fifteen seconds.  It restarted as it should…with Ralph showing the entire time.  No fix.  

I decided to try installing the 3.0.2 update, to see if it might do a factory reset or something and fix it…I didn’t expect that, but hey, why not?  ;)  

That would have been tricky, but I can turn on the Voice Guide audible menus without seeing them (I do that for the car, for one thing).  I knew where the Settings choice is in the Menu, then you go to next page, and click.  That worked.  With the audible menus on, I could work reasonably well with the Kindle.  

When I plugged it into the computer and it went into USB mode, by the way, Ralph Ellison still showed.  

I updated the Kindle…still no change.  I won’t be able to test the other parts like a possibly faster web-browsing experience…until I get my replacement.  

While it was connected, I copied my documents, pictures, music, and so on off the Kindle.  I do that regularly.   

UPDATE: After I gotten everything off the Kindle and synced it (to send my latest notes to Amazon), I did a factory reset…still no fix.  I turned it off to ship it back (seebelow)..still the same situation.

I went to  

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport  

and clicked the Contact Us button in the bottom right.  I logged in, and used the Call Me feature on the phone tab.  

As it has the one or two other times I’ve used that, the phone rang in a second or so.  I did have to hold for about a minute to get someone…that’s unusual.  

I got a Kindle Customer Service rep named Robert.  He was very professional and friendly…all of my experiences with Kindle Customer Service have been like that.  

I explained what the situation was, and what steps I had taken.  I let him know about the screenshot not showing the screen failure…he thought that was interesting.  :)  

They are sending me a replacement by one-day shipping…which gives it an arrival estimate of it Tuesday, the 21st.   

I do have the original shipping container, and I’ll send it back in that.  They gave me a link to print a shipping label, and I won’t be charged for the shipping since this is a device failure.  If you return one just because you want to do that (you get a thirty-day trial), you pay the return shipping (it’s a few dollars in the US).  

Oh, I’m not getting any special treatment, incidentally.  They would replace everybody’s Kindle in the US the same way.  

Am I “bummed”?  Well, a bit, but I knew this was nothing I could do anything to fix myself.  I expected to get the Kindle quickly.  I can borrow back my Kindle 2 from my Significant Other (SO) for a couple of days, I’m sure…my SO’s sibling hasn’t picked up the K1 yet.  

Like most things in life, it was an opportunity to learn something.  I wouldn’t have known that the screenshot wouldn’t show the failure…and I’m guessing they didn’t know it, either.  

Oh, and I can say that there wasn’t anything unusual done to the Kindle…I’ve always suspected that putting pressure on the screen might cause these failures, but that didn’t happen.  It didn’t get wet or get exposed to unusual temperatures.  I didn’t have any unauthorized modifications (“hacks”).

And the cat didn’t sit on it.  :)  

I’ll keep posting, but they won’t be based on experimenting with my K3 for a few days.  :)  

It may also give me the tiniest bit more motivation for a good pirate “Arr!” for International Talk Like a Pirate Day on Sunday.  ;) 

* When you do a “screenshot” or a “screengrab”, you have your device “take a picture” of what’s on the screen.  With a computer, you use the “prt scr” button (Print Screen).  With a Kindle, you do Alt+Shift+G (shift is the Up Arrow).  For more information, see this earlier post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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61 Responses to “Flash! My Kindle 3’s screen fails”

  1. Andrea Says:

    you said: I did try doing a screenshot, but oddly, it does not show the obstruction…the screen looks as it should.

    What do you mean? Sorry to be clueless. What kind of screenshot? And it didn’t show damaged??

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Andrea!

      Sorry, I should have linked to my earlier article about how to do a screenshot…I’ll update the article.

      http://ilmk.wordpress.com/2009/09/08/g-whiz/

      The basic thing is that you Shift+Alt+G (shift is the up arrow), and your Kindle takes a picture of everything on your screen and stores it in the Kindle’s “root directory” (the same place the folders for Documents and Music are).

      What was fascinating to me was that the screengrab (also called a “screenshot”) looked like the Kindle would normally look…the portion of the Ralph Ellison sleep mode picture (“screensaver”) wasn’t visible.

  2. Teresa Says:

    HI! My daughter had the same thing happen with her wireless K3. She only had it about a week. She took it to school in her backpack, she’s in college, and it was on the screen saver mode. When she had a break she pulled it out and turned it on and the top half of the screen was whited out and there was some streaking. Like yours but at the top and took over half the screen. The difference for us we could see other text, etc. when we changed screens. It was not stuck on the screensaver picture. It was pretty clear it was a problem with the screen itself. She swore she did not put any pressure on it either. We called Amazon and explained what happened, tried the reset fixes as well with no effect, and Amazon sent us another one which we had the next day. They gave us the link for a return lable and we packed it in the box the new one came in and returned. it. Our experience with Customer Service was just as positive as yours. The only thing I am considering now is whether to get the extended warrenty. We did not do that and I need to decide very soon as our 30 days is almost up. I am sorry for your problem but it is good to know this is happening. My daughter was devestated thinking she had broken it.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Teresa!

      You make me very happy that I posted the story! I’m glad your daughter can know it wasn’t something she did. I can be very sure that I did not treat it in anyway unusually poorly…I’m quite cautious, just as I was with paperbooks (p-books).

      What you describe, where the unaffected part changed, is what happened with me, too. That’s why I was able to restart it and such.

      As to the extended warranty, you may want to consider the SquareTrade Warranty. They are actually cheaper than the other one, and I’ve heard good things from people who have them. There are several options from SquareTrade, for different values of items, and with and without accident protection.

      If your Kindle is the wi-fi only, this might be a good choice at $29.99:

      It gives three years (from purchase), including fix or replacement for drops and spills.

      For ten dollars less, you can get it without drop and spill protection:

      The two I’ve listed are right for the wi-fi only model. There are also ones that cover wi-fi and 3G models.

  3. Teresa Says:

    Thanks for the info on the warrenties. I think I will look into it for her. Sounds like our problems were exactly the same then as well. Must be some glitch! Thansk for writing.

  4. mygadgetblog.net Says:

    Actually it is not strange, that the screen shot looks fine, since obviously the display is broken (either the panel itself or something in the surrounding electronics) and not the “graphics card”.

    A screen shot just saves the momentarily memory state of the graphics memory to the disc or in this case to the flash memory.

    If you would smash your computer screen the screen-shot would still look fine as long as the graphics card in you computer works normal. So in your case it just shows, that it is the display itself which is malfunctioning not the graphics chip on the kindle main board.

  5. Jon Says:

    I had a similar problem with my K3. The night before Labor Day, it decided to display a solid horizontal line about 1-inch from the top of the display. If the device was fully shutdown, the line went away. But if the screen was showing anything, there was the line. It appeared over text in a book, in the home area, even appeared on the loading screen when the Kindle was rebooting.

    I tried all the same troubleshooting steps as you did (refresh, reboot, reset to defaults) and nothing worked. So the next morning, even though it was Labor Day, I contacted support and had a replacement K3 shipped overnight. It actually took 2 nights because of the holiday, but I can’t blame Amazon for that. :)

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jon!

      I’ve heard about this, certainly back as far as the first K2s, maybe the K1s. I’d never seen it before, though.

      In my case, the piece of the sleep mode picture stayed even with the device entirely off.

      Similarly to you on the delivery, I called on a weekend (when the problem happened). It should be going out today, arriving tomorrow.

  6. holsted Says:

    Ok, I found your blog and since I also use wordpress (just learning all this stuff, mine is just set up for family stuff), I clicked on the subscribe button, hope that’s the way it works and hope you don’t mind you are such a well of information that when I realized you had a blog I went looking for it.

    Well, on to what you are talking about, this is scaring me since I had planned to buy my mother the Kindle3 for Birthday/Christmas, (I just recently bought the K2 and trying to get use to it & now there is a K3,lol) and hearing you had a problem as well as others is making me leery. Do you think it’s still worth buying?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, holsted!

      Thanks for the kind words!

      I think the K3s have overwhelmingly been good…I believe it’s just a fluke that I had one malfunction. That could happen with anything. I’d go ahead and get it, if I were you…this is the first one that’s malfunctioned on me, and I’ve had several. It’s a great gift! :)

  7. holsted Says:

    Oh, forgot to ask, would a link to your blog be better the me doing the subscribe button?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Linking and/or subscribing is fine…up to you. :)

      Which subscribe button did you use? Just curious….you might be subscribing through RSS (Really Simple Syndication) or through the Kindle store. The latter is better for me, but up to you.

      By the way, I took a look at your blog. Did you want it to be public? It seems like it is focused to a specific group, and you might want to limit it. One other thing: I have a pretty common type of color vision deficiency (color-blindness), and I can’t read the picture titles in your sidebar at all. If I select them, I can. :)

  8. holsted Says:

    The subscribe is through the wordpress button that they have that shows up when I click on my dashboard. How do I do it through the Kindle store?

    Yeah, I started my little blog just for family members since lately they have kind of scattered so everyone could kind of keep track of stuff. Oh, thanks for mentioning about the color-blindness I should check if any of the extended family members have that problem. The color and actual set up is one of the choices through wordpress just did what they said to do, since I don’t know anything about all this kind of stuff. Oh, should I limit it and how do I do that? Way of Kindle subject now, sorry, lol.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing again, holsted!

      You can choose a different theme, if you like. When you are in your Site Admin, you’ll see a theme choice under Appearance.

      If you look under Settings, you’ll see Privacy as an option. If you click that, you can choose to make the blog available only to users you choose.

      Should you do that? Up to you…a lot of people have very few privacy concerns these days. :) You might want ask the family about that as well…

  9. holsted Says:

    Also didn’t mention earlier but I don’t use the Kindle to look at blogs, use my computer.

  10. Magno Says:

    Dear Bufo,

    Can I refer the case of your K3 crash in my brazilian blog?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Magno!

      Sure, that’s fine. :) I’m not happy it happened ;) , but I’m glad getting the story out there can help people.

  11. Magno Says:

    It’s ok! I love my Kindle too ;-)

  12. Phil Auckland Says:

    Hi All,

    My wife and I have two K2’s international edition.

    We are up to our 3rd screen failure now. Every time amazon are great about replacing it, but it is getting a bit frustrating going to the airport all the time and sending international shipments at my cost, which they then reimburse through fairly manual procedures.

    I am sad to hear the K3 has the same issues. I was hoping if they repace the K2 that just failed with a K3 it might be better.

    All 3 of our failures have occured while the Kindle has been on a wall charger (genuine Kindle version made for Australia). I’ve asked them if they will replace that too in case its part of the problem. It seems to me the screen just may not have robust enough electronics.

    I love the device but 3 failures in 9 months is wearing.

    Cheers…Phil

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phil!

      Sorry to hear that! We have a K2i that’s running fine, and a K2us before that was worry free (until lost or stolen).

      The NOOK (sic) and the Sonys use the same screen technology (from the same manufacturer). I assume they have that same problem, although the devices just aren’t discussed as much, I think.

  13. Skip Says:

    Thanks so much for writing this! I had the same issue and, thanks to your post, went through most of the troubleshooting stuff (hard reset, fully charged, etc.) before calling Amazon. They have GREAT customer service, I only spent about 3(!) minutes on the phone with them before they offered a replacement, which I’ll get on Tuesday. So thanks again, if I hadn’t seen your post I wouldn’t have known to call Amazon, and would have unnecessarily cashed in my SquareTrade warranty.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Skip!

      I’m glad that was helpful for you! That makes me feel good. Kindle Customer Service has done very well by me. It helps people to know that I’m not getting special treatment. :)

  14. Chong Says:

    I have exactly the same “luck” as you do and the only difference is much larger portion of my screen won’t display. This is 3rd time I “Slide and release the power switch to wake”… Why that is happening ah..?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Chong!

      If you’ve held the power switch for a full twenty seconds and it is still having the problem, you need to contact Kindle Customer Service.

      Start here:

      http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

      You’ll see a button that says Contact Us on the right side. You can call them or have them call you. I’m presuming you didn’t get your Kindle from Amazon.co.uk. If you did, let me know.

      • Chong Says:

        Many thanks, Bufo!

        No. This was a purchase when I was in US last month and I’m from China. I have no idea how I can send for a replacement, just wait for their response and see if I want a another business travel. Very few ideas or experiences I can refer about the warrant in here and I’m really disappointed about the quaility of the product.

        Btw, can you explain more about the 20s story?

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Chong!

        Hmmm….being in China might be a problem for getting the replacement, since they can’t ship them there, I believe. However, if you are within thirty days of purchase, you can return it and get a refund.

        Which 20s story? I’m not sure what that is…

  15. Ionut «John» Burchi Says:

    Thank you for your post. The same thing happened to my Kindle 3 today and it hasn’t been a month since I got it. I was just about to show it to a friend, I picked it up from the table I had left it on and half of the screen went crazy when I slided the power button. For some time part of the “screensaver” image was still showing on the top part of the screen while the actual text appeared on the bottom part. Tried everything in the support documentation but to no luck. It actually got worse after a while and the top part just went blank.
    I live in Spain so I was kind of worried about Amazon’s international replacement/return policy. I just called their support number and in no time I was talking to a representative. She was very helpful and informed me they are sending me a new one (in about 3 weeks unfortunately) and they will refund the shipping costs for sending back the defective one. As you well said, if you return a defective unit within the 30 days they’ll handle the shipping charges (which is the least they can do).
    It’s sad though that this seems to have happened to quite a few people, maybe Amazon could just thrown in a free protective cover since it would probably cost them less to do that than to replace an actual Kindle.
    It is a great product though and it has been a pleasant experince reading on it for the past 3 weeks. I guess I’ll get a cover for the new one coming just in case. I’ll just use Kindle for iPhone until then.
    Thanks again and keep up the good writing :)

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Ionut!

      I really appreciate that field report…especially from as far afield as Spain is to me. ;) I don’t know that a cover would make any difference, by the way. My third Kindle 3 has been fine (knock virtual wood) without a cover, although I have one now. I’m positive that nothing untoward happened to the two that failed…no drops, no undue pressure.

      Sorry it takes so long for you to get it! As least you have the iPhone in case you were in the middle of an important part…

      Thanks again for writing from Spain!

  16. Cal H Says:

    I love my kindle 3, but my first one’s screen failed after 5 weeks. Amazon sent a replacement and the screen failed on THAT one after 5 weeks. My third kindle is on the way. I still love the idea of the e-reader but I think the kindle is simply too fragile for the real world. It should be at least as reliaable as an ipod, phone, gps or any other electronic device which gets carried in real world conditions.

  17. Kindle Thai Says:

    Your post and the others are really helpful. My kindle is totally be the same as yours. The screensaver is freezing on the top-half which I can see only the bottom. My kindle is 1-half month old. However, I did jailbreak 2 weeks ago in order to put new screensaver. My question is do I have to uninstall the jailbreak before send back to Amazon? Unfortunately I cannot see the command on the top-right which to uninstall properly. Do you have any advice? Cheers,

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Kindle!

      I’m sorry to hear that!

      You are unable to see the screen?

      Is the Kindle responsive? You could try (carefully):

      Home-Menu-down five times to get to Settings-click-Menu-down three times to get to Reset to Factory Defaults-Click

      That should wipe everything off the Kindle, including any personal files you have on it.

      I would think that would wipe out the “hack” you used, but I don’t know for sure.

      Using that “hack” violated your Terms of Service with Amazon…I don’t recommend them for that reason. Amazon has said it won’t void your warranty, but it could hypothetically get you in trouble with them (although I haven’t heard of them going after anybody for that reason).

      • Kindle Thai Says:

        Thank you for rapid answer bufocalvin.

        Yes, the kindle is responsive. I tried what you recommend but nothing happen. I properly should call Amazon and ask them how to solve this problem.

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Kindle!

        I appreciate you letting me know. It’s possible that “hack” interferes with the factory reset…I have heard that it prevents updating.

        If you got your Kindle from http://www.amazon.com (or in a store in the US), as opposed to http://www.amazon.co.uk, you can contact them starting here:

        http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

        You’ll see a Contact Kindle Support button on your side.

        I’d call them or have them call you…I usually do the latter, but that may only work in the US.

  18. Rayan Says:

    Thank you for posting this! I got my dad a kindle for Xmas and he called me today saying his screen was not working. I FB him this link to your blog and it was helpful for but like you they are sending him a new one :(

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Rayan!

      My current Kindle has been fine for some time…knock virtual wood. ;)

      I’m glad the postiing was helpful for your Dad! Replacing it is one resolution to a problem, and Amazon handles that very well.

  19. Zoey Says:

    Hey so i hav a k3 and that same thing happened 2 me. i sort of came 2 a conclusion that it was bcuz i turned it on and i didnt turn it off it just shut off on its own. im probably wrong i just thought maybe???

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zoey!

      It’s an interesting hypothesis. I’d say it’s refuted by the fact that I don’t turn my Kindles off (Amazon says it is better to et them sleep, usually), and I haven’t had the problem on most of my Kindles, including my current Kindle 3 (knock virtual wood) ;) .

      It’s good thinking, but my guess is that isn’t it.

  20. Cha Says:

    Hi,

    I encountered the same problem with my kindle today. I am from the Philippines and I got my Kindle 3 as a christmas present last December. My kindle is also stucked with Ralph Ellison’s screensaver but there is a small portion at the bottom part that seems to be working properly because I can see it reacts when I slide in the start button. Still, most of the screen is stucked with the screensaver.

    My problem is I don’t have the box anymore and I think the customer service will ask for the serial number. I know there is a way to know the serial number by going to Settings but how can I do that if my screen is stucked this way? Is there any other way I can find my kindle’s serial number? I haven’t called yet their customer service so I’m not really sure if they ask for that but I assume they will.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Cha!

      I’m sorry to hear that!

      Go ahead and call Kindle Customer Service. If the person who got it for you got it from Amazon, and it’s registered to your account, they shouldn’t need it. I think the serial number is actually on the back of your Kindle, but the writing is so small I’m not positive.

  21. Ralph Partlow Says:

    Bufo,

    Yet another case like the many reported previously. It would seem to indicate there is a percentage of K3s that have a manufacturing defect. Nothing traumatic happened to the device. I charged it for the first time since the initial charge (9 days), removed it from the charger, turned it on, and viola, screen craziness. I applied the known fixes but it seemed unrepairable. I called Amazon and received the same great customer service and will have a replacement tomorrow.
    As long as I’m writing, thanks for being Bufo (not that you had a choice), I greatly enjoy your blog and your style.
    Kindest regards,
    Ralph

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Ralph!

      Sorry to hear that! I’m glad it’s being resolved for you. That’s one of the biggest pluses for the Kindle, in my opinion…superior customer service.

      Thanks for the kind words! I think we do have some choice about who we are. I’ve always liked the Kurt Vonnegut quotation: “We are what we pretend to be.” Who we are is a complex question…but I think people who pretend to be “jerks” online because they think it is funny are risking becoming that. Contrarily, I think people who pretend to be heroes may become that as well.

      That was probably more philosophical than you expected, hm? ;)

  22. littleleers Says:

    My husband bought the new Kindle this past Feb. 2011. I have the old original Kindle and it is ticking along just fine. However, we were at the airport and hubby put the Kindle into his back pocket and sat down.

    The Kindle screen nor frame did not show any obvious damage. However, the pressure screwed up the E-Ink text. Half the screen was blotted out by scratchy black and grey lines. My husband is a techie and has I-phone, laptops, etc. This Kindle SHOULD be able to tolerate the average type of abuse that goes along with traveling.

    Amazon will replace ours for $58.00. No dice. This is a flawed design with a much too fragile screen. I am fumed because others have dropped or done other nasty things to their Kindles and received free replacements. Yup, we had ours for less than eight weeks and it is dead and Amazon could care less. And we are loooong time Amazon customers too. A bad customer encounter travels far….and I am seeing to it that this one does.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, littleleers!

      Your experience sounds unusual. I’m not saying it isn’t true, of course…I don’t know one way or another. I did a little bit of research on this, and polled my readers in this post:

      http://ilmk.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/how-hard-is-it-to-get-a-replacement-kindle-from-amazon/

      78.75% reported that Amazon sent them a free replacement within days…but there was a group of 3.75% that were offered a discount replacement, as you report.

      I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I’m curious about what might make yours fall into this small category.

      Are you outside the US?

      I assume you didn’t buy an extra warranty. I didn’t do that, and have gotten replacements.

      Did you speak to Kindle Customer service, or general Amazon Customer Service? While Amazon is highly-rated, I’ve heard people say they have gotten even more extraordinary service with Kindle Customer Service. If you got your Kindle from Amazon.com (as opposed to Amazon.co.uk), I would call them at one of these two numbers:

      1-866-321-8851 (free number in the US)

      1-206-266-0927 (number for outside the US)

      Alternatively, you can go to

      http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

      You’ll see a Contact us button on your right side. You can have them call you…that works well.

      I have to say, I would not expect very many devices the size of a Kindle to survive being being sat on in a back pocket. I would not expect a Kindle to be able to survive that kind of treatment…although I do expect them to survive normal traveling experiences, and I think they tend to do that.

      I appreciate you sharing your experience. I like people to hear from different sides, and they know I and most of my readers who have reported have had good experiences.

  23. Natividad Says:

    Hi I have a Kindle 3, wifi only and I bought it in China. But right now I took it on vacation to the Philippines and it’s unresponsive. The screen looks normal but it won’t turn off or recognize any buttons I press. I can charge it but the computer won’t read it. Is there anything I can do? I haven’t charged it in a while and I’m hoping that it’ll go blank soon, but is there anyone who can help me? I don’t know what to do. Thanks

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Natividad!

      In terms of getting help, I’m a little concerned because you bought it in China (where it isn’t officially on sale). Since it is at the least gray market, I’m not sure if that will affect you getting help or not. Is it registered with Amazon? Are you able to buy books from the Kindle store for it?

      If it is registered, try going to

      http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

      You can send an e-mail there, or you can call.

      It’s better that it doesn’t run out of power altogether. Try this to restart it:

      Disconnect it from any power sources (wall or USB).

      Hold the power switch to your right as you face the screen for a full 15 seconds (longer is okay).

      Let go, and let it restart on its own (it may take a minute).

      If that doesn’t work, plug it in to the wall for an hour, unplug it, and try again.

      Let me know if that works for you…

  24. manaiakalani.org Says:

    I suspect this is exactly what’s happened to mine. Though I’m not in the States. What I find really annoying is that I have to call. I can’t just send it back – I have to take time out of my horribly busy day, spend a bit of money on a toll call, pay for a courier to the States (from New Zealand) and then go through the whole process of reimbursement for the courier (but not the phone call).

    I’m sure the people on the other end of the phone are lovely – but still – what a great big horrible giant pain in the backside.

    And this is for the International edition – no “special offers” at a cheaper price for me. :(

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, manaiakalani!

      You are unable to e-mail from

      http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport?

      It makes sense to me that the “Special Offers” Kindle isn’t available outside the US at this point…since you are a very different advertising market, and that’s what powers that device. They’d have to do a different one for each market.

  25. TC Says:

    Same sort of problem with my Kindle 3 that others here have mentioned. Here’s the caveat: Once the 1 year warranty is up, Amazon isn’t so great to deal with. I had 2 Kindle 3’s go bad – the first was 3 months before my warranty was out, so they sent me a different one. Worked great for 4 months, the poof, the top 1″ of the screen went bad. Called Amazon, they won’t send me another. Offered me a “service replacement” Kindle 3 for $85. I don’t really want another after these problems, but I’d be willing to apply that $85 to a new Kindle Touch or the Fire. They won’t allow that. So I’m left with a non-functional $189 device. Paying $85 for a third Kindle 3 would be tossing good money after bad. I’m ready to try a Nook.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, TC!

      Yes, I’ve had a couple of Kindle 3s fail, as I’ve documented here. My last one has been fine…knock virtual wood. :)

      However, I certainly wouldn’t recommend switching to a NOOK on that basis. Kindle Customer Service has been much better for me than Barnes 7 Noble Customer Service (at least online…I’ve never had a problem with B&N CS in the stores). That’s both people and policies…did you know that if you accidentally return a NOOK to the wrong B&N address, they keep it and don’t give you the money for it? As a retailer, that blows me away…they presumably know which of their customers sent it, but won’t help them out:

      http://www.barnesandnoble.com/help/cds2.asp?PID=8121#nook

      I don’t think they are dealing poorly with you to offer you a reduced-priced replacement after the warranty period, but that’s a matter of perception. I think you would find that is somewhat unusual, though.

      I do think the new $79/$109 seems like a more solid device…you might want to try that one. You have a thirty-day return policy (as always) with a Kindle…that works very well in the USA, where return postage is only a few dollars.

      Also, the NOOKs can’t display your Kindle store books…although you might be able to read them using the Kindle Cloud Reader in the browser.

      I’m very confident that my Kindle failures weren’t due to things I did…I’m very aware of my Kindle use. However, if you do decide to get any E Ink screen, I’ll just warn you that they are sensitive to pressure, which is something I think not everyone considers. Squishing one into a packed laptop bag, for example, might be a problem.

      Anyway, I know it’s frustrating and a device should not fail that often. You got replacements during the warranty period and then were offered a reduced price one outside of it., which seems reasonable (and I would guess unusual) to me.

      • TC Says:

        bufocalvin,
        You wrote:
        I don’t think they are dealing poorly with you to offer you a reduced-priced replacement after the warranty period, but that’s a matter of perception. I think you would find that is somewhat unusual, though.
        and
        Anyway, I know it’s frustrating and a device should not fail that often. You got replacements during the warranty period and then were offered a reduced price one outside of it., which seems reasonable (and I would guess unusual) to me.

        I would agree with you if not for the fact that 2 Kindles have now gone belly-up without any damage inflicted upon them or mistreatment (I’ve kept mine in the hard cover all the time). They just quit working properly. The 2nd Kindle 3 malfunctioned only 4 months after it was sent to me. It is poor business and unreasonable to not stand behind the replacement to a defective product for a period of time equivalent to the original warranty (1 yr).
        Also, after having 2 defective Kindles, it would be foolish to invest more of my money ($85) to replace it with the exact same thing. That’s tossing good money after bad, plain and simple. It seems that Amazon is banking on people being suckers after the warranty is up.
        A reasonable compromise would be to allow me to apply the $85 to the cost of a different product.
        I appreciate the info about B&N policies. They’re coming out with an interesting new color Nook on Nov 16 that rivals the Fire; but I’m most intrigued by the Kobo Vox that came out last week. Hopefully, I hear some good news back from Amazon about a solution to my Kindle problem, but I’m not holding my breath. They may lose a very loyal customer who has purchased countless items in the past few years.

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, TC!

        I absolutely understand being soured on the Kindle and Amazon after two failures If the first Kindle I ever bought had failed, I might have a different perception of them. However, I tend to be a pretty optimistic person, and I feel like my “positive persistence” was rewarded in this case. It would be perfectly logical to drop a product after one failure, let alone two. I wasn’t asked to pay for my third, though, because I was within the warranty period, presumably.

        I’m glad that you’re open to Amazon still responding to you. Their Customer Service is very highly-rated, but that’s an abstract. You have to go based on your own experience. My experience with Kindle Customer Service has been great…and I don’t think it’s because they know who I am as a blogger (that gets raised by people sometimes). I hope you are talking to Kindle Customer Service:

        http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport

        Let me know what happens. I want my readers to hear about the good and bad from Amazon, so they can make informed decisions.

        I don’t think Amazon ever relies on people being “suckers”…they rely on customer loyalty. That doesn’t mean they can go outside the policy every time, but I know they have done it. By the way, that’s an interesting and different perspective about the replacements. My thought with a 1-year warranty is that they make sure I have a working model during that period…not that the 1-year warranty starts over with every “repair” (which is what a replacement is for a Kindle). I can see that viewpoint, though.

        Yes, the Barnes & Noble policy in that case is disturbing. Another policy of theirs (and the same one Barnes & Noble does, last time I checked) is no e-book returns at any time. Amazon allows “returns” of a Kindle store book within seven days for a refund…that’s another reason I’ve preferred Amazon to Barnes & Noble.

        I’ll be clear: I think it’s perfectly reasonable of you to not trust something that’s failed twice. :)

        We’ll see what may or may not be announced on Monday by B&N. We’ve had some supposed “leaks” recently, but we’ll know then.

        As to the Vox, I wrote about my first impressions of the announcement here:

        http://ilmk.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/kobo-introduces-the-vox-to-go-head-to-head-with-the-fire/

        I haven’t heard anybody tell me bad things about Kobo, I think. They’ve always struck me as a reliable company….I still think of them more as a content provider than a hardware provider, but I haven’t heard people complain about Kobo’s customer service, which is a good thing. I think they’ll continue to have a market share….but I don’t think the Vox is going to challenge the Fire in sales.

  26. kindle fire review Says:

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  27. TC Says:

    Update on Amazon reply to my Kindle 3 screen problem: They have abandoned me, gone silent, left me with my faulty Kindle 3. I’m very dissatisfied. Calls, emails, complaints and suggestions have come to naught. The best they will do is the “offer” of a $85 replacement Kindle, which would only be under a 3 month warranty. I could get a new K3 for $99 with a one-year warranty! No credit towards a Fire or even a Kindle Touch.
    Buyer beware: Once your original 1-year warranty is up, Amazon abandons the K3. The replacements will be under warranty for 3 months from the date they send it to you, or til the original 1-year is up whichever is longer.
    There needs to be a recall of K3’s to address the problem of the faulty screens. Or a class-action lawsuit. I have been an Amazon supporter for years and I loved my Kindle. But they are selling faulty products that just don’t last. BAD Business!!!

  28. Pakketdienst Zeeland Says:

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  30. John S Says:

    I had a Kindle 3 that was a few weeks outside of warranty, that failed today. It was used less than 10 times in the year I owned it. “Customer Service” told me my only option was to buy a replacement unit. This will be the last thing I ever purchase from Amazon. At least Apple stands behind their products.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, John!

      I’m sorry to hear that happened!

      Before you make that decision, though, I’d find out if Apple would have replaced a device in similar circumstances…outside warranty. Amazon has very highly-rated Customer Service, and when I polled my readers

      http://ilmk.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/how-hard-is-it-to-get-a-replacement-kindle-from-amazon/

      only 4.55% of the respondents said they didn’t get a replacement. I didn’t specify in or out of warranty, so it wouldn’t surprise me if those were out of warranty. Here are the results:

      ===

      I have called Amazon about a damaged or defective Kindle and they…

      sent me a free replacement within days 74.55%
      sent me a free replacement, but it took a while 0.91%
      fixed what I thought was a problem over the phone 8.18%
      offered me a replacement for a reduced price (but not free) 11.82%
      would not replace it 4.55%

      ===

      It is up to you, of course. Fortunately, Amazon has a free reader app for the iPad, so if you do go that way, you’ll be able to read your Kindle store books on that device. That’s not true in the opposite direction: there is no iBooks app for the Kindle, but if you don’t come back to Kindles (and no one else on your account uses a Kindle or a Kindle app), that won’t matter.

      Again, I’m sorry to hear your Kindle failed…as you know from the post you commented, I have had that happen myself. It’s not pleasant when any device you have dies.

  31. Satie Says:

    I just called on my K2 (owned for close to 3 years) with the above problem and they offered a replacement at reduced price. I had no warranty and appreciate the close to $40 off a new Kindle 3 that comes with a 1 year warranty. I know you wrote this awhile ago but wanted to let people know to call and see what they can do. I got the K3 Wireless/3G model for $120 vs. $159 that they are selling for now. No advertisements. They also offered me the touch at discount but I am old school :-)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Satie!

      I appreciate you sharing that! I hear from people that they are concerned about Amazon not continuing to support the Kindle Fire 1st Generation, yet they are still supporting (not with updates) the Kindle 1. :)

  32. It’s ILMK’s 4th birthday! | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Flash! My Kindle 3′s screen fails […]

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