I’m a big fan of wireless Access points (APs) from a company called Ubiquiti Networks. I have installed these across a number of schools due to their low cost and the fact that no additional hardware controllers or licences are required to run them.

I recently had an issue with one of their ToughSwitch PoE devices which suddenly died, but I thought I would be OK as it was still under warranty…

I contacted Ubiquiti Networks for a RMA (Return Material Authorisation) and was told I needed to ship it back to the USA at my own cost… Nearly £30!

I had various emails from Ubiquiti Networks over the next few days then was told a replacement was being shipped. What they didn’t say was that it was being shipped from China!

A week later a driver from UPS knocked on the door with a demand for nearly £50 for a customs charge. I refused delivery and contacted UPS and was told I needed to contact HMRC for an EORI number. HMRC said this would take 3 days. The next day UPS tried to deliver again, with a demand for £50. I refused delivery explaining that I have applied for an EORI code and it could take three days… the UPS driver tried to deliver again the next day! He also and said he will not deliver again as he has tried 3 times!

After waiting 3 days for HMRC, I received an email to say they needed the UPS.com tracking number. Thankfully I took a photo of the delivery and was able to provide this.  I received another automated email to say my application could old take another 3 days… After 3 days, I received another email from HMRC asking for the value of the item! I had already stated in my original application that this is a warranty repair and has no commercial value.

I’m still waiting for a response from HMRC, UPS & Ubiquiti Networks and don’t know where the item is or if I’ll ever receive it. Poor customer service from these, and from the original vendor who has left me to sort this out!

My advice for the future is check whether your vendor/distributor will handle warranty issues with Ubiquiti Networks for you as you could be out of pocket or lose your goods.

I have bought my client a Netgear PoE switch out of my own pocket in the interim as I don’t want them to be without their network. I think I will also stick with Netgear for all switches moving forward…

I will update this post if I ever get the item back. In the meantime, here is the replacement I have loaned the school:

29/06/18: quick update. I now have the EORI number, but after lots of phone calls & being passed around I have been told the only way to receive the item is to pay the charges. I can then submit a claim to HMRC who may or may not refund me. This “free” repair could end up costing me nearly £80! The fault appears to lie with Ubiquiti Networks as although they marked it as a warranty return, they also declared the value if purchased.

I have spoken to a UK distributor of Ubiquiti Networks equipment who will handle warranty returns on items purchased from them. If you want to buy Unifi APs and Switches get in touch with https://www.4gon.co.uk

I’m really frustrated by this whole debacle and will not be buying another ToughSwitch again. I will continue to use UBNT APs but only if bought from an approved distributor.