Putty-Filled GPU Causes Months-Long Dispute Between Amazon and Canadian Customer

Amazon and one of its customers based in Canada locked horns over a refund for a $690 graphics card earlier this year. The customer, François Legault of Calgary, claimed the purchased Zotac GeForce RTX 3060 Ti contained a fake graphics card filled with a putty-like substance. Amazon wouldn’t entertain his request for a refund, as it insisted the “correct” item should be packed up and sent back to its warehouse, before the customer could receive any reimbursement.

Zotac GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

(Image credit: François Legault)

Earlier this week CBC News posted a report on the efforts by the Legault family to try and get some justice from Amazon, and the absurd situation they have found themselves in. The graphics card order was part of a much larger components order which François bought his son to recognize the work he put in before his high school graduation.

Among the extensive selection of parts bought from Amazon, back in June this year, was the Zotac GeForce Twin Edge RTX 3060 Ti graphics card at $690, as well as some other tasty choices like the NZXT H510 case, a 16GB kit of Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3600 memory, a Samsung 98 Series 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD, and an MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk motherboard.

Zotac GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

(Image credit: Zotac)

With the system almost complete but lacking the all-important graphics card, François, who purchased all the components for his son Matthew, contacted Amazon and sent the fake part back to secure a refund. However, an administrator at the retailer said that they threw away the fake graphics card “to protect employees.” (Did someone think it was plastic explosive?) It was added that the refund would only be processed when the “correct” item is returned. This decision by Amazon was claimed to be “final,” in an email to the Legault family.

After months of deadlock, and the Legaults dismayed by Amazon’s seemingly unfair and unfriendly return policy, CBC’s consumer-affairs focussed Go Public program has managed to secure a refund and apology for the family. In discussions with the online retail giant, the CBC reporter had some questions about company policy and behavior, but Amazon wouldn’t shine any light on topics like how often this kind of refund issue occurs. The video report ends by advising customers to shop local and, indeed, the Legaults eventually bought a replacement graphics card from a nearby retailer.

Echoes of the Newegg RTX 4090 Saga

The above story, where a seemingly unyielding customer service department refuses to issue a refund for goods discovered to be very much not as described, reminds us of our coverage of the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4090 box full of metal weights saga from October. In the Newegg case, it only took about a week from the complaint hitting major media outlets, via social media, before the retailer relented.

There are some important lessons here: Where possible, it is wise to open and check big-ticket items at the retailer, or with perhaps the delivery operative witnessing it. If that isn’t possible you could make a video from the receipt of the package to opening it. All these little pieces of evidence can help your case, further down the line, if you are unlucky enough to suffer from a bogus product package delivery. Although it is likely that these kinds of occurrences are very rare.