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Home Updated: 5/15/05 List Entry

Rio MP3 Players

Date: 5/15/05 (although it started back in Jan 02)
Location: Peoria
Reason: Okay, this one is likely to be long so you will have stick with me on this. Essentially this is combination of issues that began back in January of 02. For background purposes, my first MP3 player was a RIO 500. This product lasted me a fairly long time and met all of my expandability, ease of use, and durability requirements. After awhile I obtained another Rio player in the February 2002 time period. This version was a RIO 600. Naturally, I thought it would be better, but I soon found out that this couldn't be further from the truth. When I went to upgrade it from the built in 16M of RAM, I found out that they had decided to incorporate their RAM into the RIO player itself in the form of a back pack. Essentially what they wanted you to do was purchase a new back plate which had the additional RAM built into it. Somewhat displeased, I re-read the external packaging and validated that I could increase the RAM up to 340M. I then went to the RIO online website to buy the desired back plate. Turns out they didn't even sell the amount of RAM the packaging said was available. This prompted a request to their support staff asking how to buy the 340M as stated on the outside of the player packaging. And what was the response to my customer service request, well it goes like this - essentially pages and pages of worthless FAQ material I could have easily read online and not one of them addressed my question.

Now, I'm getting a little steamed so I responded back to their customer service address with this simple interpretation. After reading their default response (apparently the tracking number worked since they decided not to resend the FAQ. Although the response indicated that would have to wait SEVERAL DAYS, I actually got a definitive response the next day. Although it was basically to inform me that their product marketing and packaging was a complete LIE! So I sent a short reply informing them of my decision to go elsewhere. As it turns out, I was unable to return the player and eventually just gave it to someone.

After that rip-off, you would think I had learned my lesson, but I forgot to document this event at the time and eventually it slipped my mind when I went to buy a player I could run with. I had some pretty specific requirements for that purchase based on ease of use, headphone format, expandability, arm band and durability. Based on what was out there at the time, I ended up purchasing a RIO CALI 256. [bang, bang, bang] sorry, just the sound of my head hitting the desk. It started out okay and I took it on all my runs ranging from 3 - 8 miles at a pop. After the first month, the headphones started falling apart during the run. Either the entire bud would pop off, or the other end would come loose allowing the wire to pull from the channel. Nothing like trying to put a headphone back together while maintaining stride. This issue ranked as annoying, but I did get pretty good at rebuilding it on the run. About 3-4 months later, I finished up my run and looked down at the sleeve of an expensive running shirt and noticed it had orange stains on it. Unbelievably, the case clip (that attaches it to the armband had rusted on both sides. This was suppose to be a SPORT player but it isn't water/sweat resistant. Great! now, I'm pissed so I sit back down at the ol' computer and find their website. They end up having a customer support submission form consisting of a bunch of questions and eventually a place to put your comment. After inputting all the required information, I hit the submit button which results in a Javascript error. Blood is beginning to boil. With what little patience I still had, I re-entered all of the information again only to get the same Javascript error upon submission. Somehow I managed to keep from sending my keyboard through the monitor and decided to let it rest for the night in hopes that one of them actually made it through.

Still with me? trust me, it gets better 8^) To my surprise I get an email reply the next day from their support staff regarding my support submission. My excitement quickly turned sour when I realized it was the same brush off they tried the first time I tried to get an answer from them - essentially they send a template email back stating they need more information in hopes you will give up and go away. What is even more hilarious is they ask for the SAME information I already gave them on their website and they appended it on their OWN email back to me. Okay, the battle has begun. I responded back with what I thought was an appropriate response to complete stupidity on their part - translated - SARCASM. Now it gets interesting. Here is the response I got from my reply - personally it goes down as one of my all time customer support responses. There are so many things wrong with this I don't know where to begin. In truth, I first read the email address and decided it was a slam back to me since I translated to be [A]ssh[o]l[e].com. I took out the poison pen and started my rant back when my brother asked me if it could have been a real address or not. Intrigued, I fired up the browser and went to which redirects to Sure enough, it is an address for a outsourcing help desk. I started poking around and found it interesting that the Contacts links on that page do not work. The spidy senses started firing on all cylinders so I went ahead and sent a test email to the address indicated in the response [note, not from my email address so I wouldn't raise suspicion]. The test email never bounced so the address looked legit. So this joker not only thinks I would pay for a replacement of the poor quality holder, but that I am stupid enough to actually send my CC info in the clear to him over non-secure transfer lines and an address I have no idea if valid. You guessed it, I sent another email in order to see where this was heading.

If you got to here, you either have absolutely nothing to do or hate Rio as much as I do. The saga continues. In the midst of all of this, I ended up getting a response from the second submission that I made on the original Rio support site. I figured I would take this opportunity to try and verify the CC info request from the previous support contact. Which resulted in .... drum roll please... the last email response I ever got from them! In a last desperate attempt to find some sanity in all this, I sent one last email of which there was never a response. I ask you now, have I been to hasty in placing Rio on the list? ahh, I'm glad you agree with me.

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