Cooler E-Reader - Disappointing Quality and Support
by Dean Johnston
We purchased 2 Coolers in July 09 when they first came on the market and unfortunately would not recommend them to anyone. While one has generally worked ok, less than 2 weeks into a 4 month trip to South America my wife’s unit started having problems – freezing up, getting caught in continuous loops while starting up, having the screen suddenly become garbled. A number of different fixes worked at different times but nothing actually solved the problems. Mine has also had some of the same problems but never as bad.
Eventually we were told to send hers back in mid-October (from Bolivia, paid by us, eventually reimbursed in Jan/10). Despite the fact we tracked it and knew they had received it before the end of October we never heard back until I hounded them in mid-November and finally got a response. I was told it was fixed but they were just waiting on a new software upgrade and would send it out next week. That turned out to be a blatant lie. Three weeks later I hadn’t heard anything and tried contacting them again – no response, no response.
Finally, in mid-December, I got fed up and sent an angry email to everyone in the organization I could find contact info for. That apparently got their attention as I received several replies and even a phone call. Their PR rep was very helpful and got a new unit sent out immediately (which was good because apparently they could no longer locate our original one). Of course, although she also promised to send us free credit in the Cooler Bookstore we never did receive this.
Now, while the new unit doesn’t seem to suffer from the original problems, the battery appears to be defective (it lasts about 10% as long as our other one – not even a full day). I once again contacted Cooler Support, even offering to purchase a new battery, and after a third try was told:
The COOL-ER's battery is easily removable. If you do find a replacement battery at a local battery retailer please feel free to try one out. I currently do not have a replacement battery to offer.
I thought it was very generous of them to “allow” us to try to find a new battery at our own cost since they apparently don’t bother keeping replacement parts around. Unbelievable.
All in all, we’ve had nothing but headaches with Cooler and I now understand why they were cheaper than the rest. Even when they are technically working they still occasional get stuck cycling and overall they just seem poorly made. So, while I don’t have any personal experience with other models, I would recommend trying anything else since I can’t see how the quality or service could really be any worse.