Over the past couple of days I've had a frustrating experience with Nest's support for their thermostat. We have five of them (two in our house, and three in our barn), and for the most part they have operated flawlessly. However, a couple months ago one of the thermostats in our house started misbehaving. From the on-screen indications it was obvious that the battery wasn't charging. I thought at first that it was a problem with our furnace, but after lots of troubleshooting I came to suspect that the battery in the thermostat was failing. I then decided to take one of the thermostats out of the barn and install it in the house, and now it has worked flawlessly for several months.
So yesterday I set out to see how to fix my thermostat. It's a lithium-ion battery, so how hard could that be? A little googling and I determined that I had a second generation Nest. A little more and I found unofficial teardown instructions – and it looked really easy. The battery, however, is a proprietary one. How could I get one of those? My usual sources (Mouser, DigiKey) had nothing.
The next thing I did was to contact Nest support via their chat application, where I briefly described the situation and asked if they could provide me with a replacement battery (which I'd be happy to pay for). After a bit of back-and-forth with the very polite support agent, I determined this:
- My Nest thermostat was indeed broken, and the likely problem was the battery
- My Nest thermostat was out-of-warranty
- Nest would not sell me a replacement battery
- Nest would not fix the thermostat for me
- The only thing Nest would do is to give me a coupon for 20% off on a new Nest thermostat
But (and you knew there was going to be a “but”, didn't you?) when I started a chat session with another agent, an hour or so later, there was apparently no record of the approval for a replacement. I told the agent what had happened, and he promised he'd look into it and email me back shortly thereafter. I waited a few hours, but got no email. So I started another chat session with yet another agent, and had basically the exact same interaction. After that I went looking harder for a replacement battery, and found one from a highly-rated seller on eBay. I waited until this morning, and then tweeted about my frustration and started yet another chat session – but this time I got the same agent (Kathleen G.) that had gotten approval for a replacement on the day before. She apparently had some record of that approval, because shortly after we finished up I got an email from Nest confirming the imminent shipment of a replacement thermostat. I'll be sending them the dead one back, presumably for repair (which makes me wonder why the don't offer repair as a service, as I'd have been happy to pay for that).
Apple handles this sort of thing so smoothly, so easily, that I have come to expect that from other high-end hardware – it's jarring and disappointing to find out that's not the case. It's not quite bad enough to cause me to eliminate Nest products from consideration in the future, especially since after some hassle my problem did get resolved – but it's darned close.
Herm's Inn, and both of us had their carnitas skillet. I ordered mine with a fruit cup instead of potatoes – I've done that before, so I knew I was in for a treat. The carnitas were excellent; nicely spiced slow-cooked pork with salsa fresca, guacamole, and a couple of eggs over easy. The English muffin came with some excellent raspberry freezer jam. The fruit cup was simply superb: perfectly ripe strawberries, blueberries, black raspberries, and an orange slice – and a few grapes for sweetness. Their potatoes are good, too – but in my book, those fruit cups are way better...