The solar charger that doesn't.

*Update below*

Almost a month ago I bought the World's Most Powerful Hand-Held Solar Charger online.  At least this is what they called it on their website.

A few weeks later it arrives.  The only directions with it were a small piece of paper that said to plug it in to charge it fully, drain the battery, charge it fully, and then drain it, and then it would be ready to use.  No other directions were provided.  No mention of solar charging.  This should have been a hint that I obviously missed.

The cord that came with it was loose and wobbly when connected, so I used my own cable and followed the directions.  I drained it by using it to charge my own phone.  As a battery pack it charged really well.  It had a flashlight which did not work.  I emailed the website, about this, but never received a reply.

After charging/draining, I set it in the sun.

And waited.

And waited.

It never charged.

I took it on our trip to D.C..  The charger sat in the hotel window for 3 days straight and did not charge.  I took hiking with me a few days later and left it on top of the car parked in the sun, it did not charge.

I emailed the company, and did not receive a reply.

Monday I emailed the company that my credit card was charged for the non-functioning solar charger.  They replied.  A really nice polite reply that said that Outdoors Hiking should be in touch.

I got tired of waiting so I called the number on the Outdoors Hiking website.  I did not get a nice polite customer service person.  I got a man who said they checked all chargers before shipping and that it should work. And that I needed to watch their video on how it worked and it would take 40 hours to charge it.  I could send it back and they would test it.  If it worked for them they would ship it back because "You bought it, you own it".  Wow.

During the call I neglected to check their website to ask them questions like:

  • If the website says it ships from China and you are in New Jersey how do you check them first?
  • Why does it take 40 hours to charge?  Most devices charge in less than half that time.
I also should have reminded them of their "Why buy from us" policy:

Excellent customer support
We really care about our customers. That's why we always do our best to make your experience with us as pleasant as can be. We respond to email and phone queries as quickly as possible, and also offer a Live Chat service during business hours, so feel free to ask any questions you may have.

I'll update this later, but I think it is safe to say I will never order anything from and I would strongly recommend that you do not either.  Maybe they'll make good, maybe my follow up email to their credit card processor will have a better outcome.  We'll see.  Meanwhile it's headed out in the mail tomorrow.

I received an email from the company that handles OutdoorsHiking's credit card company.  The woman explained she only does email once a day and that I did not need to mail the charger back. I should see a refund in a few days.   A week later I emailed her back to ask if I needed to do anything else since I had not seen a refund.  I had a refund the next day.  I'm out the shipping obviously, but I received the cost of the charger back.  I was told twice I should be receiving and email from the and they never contacted me. I'm still in the market for a good solar charger but I'm not planning on ordering from ever again.


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