I have been a fan of the Philips Sonicare line of toothbrushes until recently. I upgraded to the FlexCare model based on its claim of being their best toothbrush yet and the fact that it came with a sanitizer. However, it didn’t come with any guidance on how to maintain the internal (read: not replaceable) battery. It died at just over 2 years after purchase (it has a 2 year warranty) and when I reached out to Philips to see if they would repair/replace it in good faith to keep a loyal customer, they refused.
The Chat Agent even cited the fact that it should last at least 5 years and attempted to point to some unhelpful documentation, insinuating that it provided guidance on how to maintain the battery. My annoying chat conversation with them, below.
So Buyers beware that this is Philips’ position, it is clear that it is not in their best interest to instruct their customers on how to extend the life of their product, and they act accordingly.
I'm very careful when it comes to batteries and generally like to know how the batteries of a given appliance or device like to be treated (for example, today's SmartPhones like to be full or topped off constantly and it's hard on the battery to get completely drained). Conversely, laptop batteries should be "conditioned" monthly - a complete drain down to dead, and then a full, uninterrupted recharge).
The top-of-the line Sonicare FlexCare came with no such guidance, despite costing close to $200 and having a non-replaceable battery (I hate that - such a waste).
Pearl: Hello, how are you today?
Me: Hi Pearl. Just fine, thanks yourself?
Pearl: Doing great, thanks for asking.
Me: Good to hear it.
Me: I had a question about my FlexCare toothbrush
Me: it is no longer turning on
Me: is there anything you can help me with on that?
Me: I've only had it for 2-3 years and I heard they should last 4-5 years
Pearl: I apologize for your recent experience and will do my best to help you with it.
Pearl: could provide me with model number, serial number and your unit's date of purchase? The HX model and serial numbers are located on the bottom or inside the well of the toothbrush handle.
Me: let's see
Me: Serial: 080221
Me: Model: HX6930
Me: and I don't have an exact date or purchase but I think it was the fall of 2009
Me: so not quite 2 years, if I'm counting correctly
Pearl: Thanks for the information.
Pearl: Do you have the purchase receipt for this unit?
Me: hmmm, probably not
Me: I might be able to contact Costco to see if they can pull it up if it is critical, but not sure if their records would be retained for that long.
Pearl: Does the light come on when the handle is on charging base?
Me: no it does not
Pearl: Have you tried a different wall outlet? Just to make sure that the outlet is working fine.
Me: Yes, I have. The sanitizer comes on as well so I know it is getting power.
Pearl: As per the serial number, the unit is not within warranty, the Sonicare toothbrushes are non-repairable, my best suggestion would be to purchase a new Sonicare toothbrush and I can offer you a coupon code for 15% off and free shipping on purchase of the unit through our Philips online store.
Me: What does the serial number tell you? Can you tell when it was purchased? If so, when?
Pearl: It shows as purchased in 2008, if you have the purchase receipt I would request you to fax it to our entitlement team to validate the warranty on this unit.
Me: I see. And how long is the warranty good for?
Pearl: The sonicare units come with a 2-year warranty period from the date of purchase.
Me: I see. I just checked the FAQ and it did say that the batteries cannot be replaced but that they should last for many years.
Me: I don't think 3 years is "many years" - that's very disappointing.
Pearl: That's correct, it lasts for at least 5 years.
Me: So why did this one stop working after 3?
Me: I remember trying to find out in the manual how to keep the battery in good condition and it did not give any tips.
Pearl: It is advisable to deplete the battery and then recharge it for 24 hours.
Me: How often?
Pearl: The fully charged handle lasts for 1 week.
Me: I see. is that stated anywhere in the manual?
Pearl: I'm checking it for you.
Me: thank you. because I always wondered and tried to look for it
Me: now it's dead.
Pearl: http://www.p4c. Philips.com/cgi-bin/dcbint/cpindex. pl?scy=US&mid=Link_FAQs&view=aa12_view_partial.html&session=20110713180056_22.214.171.124&list=aa12_list_partial.html&slg=AEN&ctn=HX6932/10&dct=FAQ&refnr=0082677&faqview=1
Me: I clicked the link. doesn't say anything you explained.
Me: did you want me to read anything in particular?
Pearl: "Our rechargeable toothbrushes last for a minimum of 2 weeks without charging and are therefore convenient for travel."
Me: I see that, too. it doesn't say anything about recommending that one depletes them and then charge for 24 hours.
Me: it just says that it's convenient to travel with
Me: I have to say that this is very upsetting. you could easily put these recommendations in your official documentation (manuals) so that your customers can actually get "many years" out of the life of a product that they paid a premium for. I paid nearly $200 for my Sonicare and what you're telling me is that one year after the warranty expires, I have to go buy another one.
Pearl: The HX6930 comes with the Lithium Ion battery so if you leave it on the charge it doesn't affect the battery, however, with our experience it is better to deplete the battery before recharging it.
Me: Can I buy only the handle or do I need to purchase an entirely new set?
Pearl: I'm sorry, you would need to purchase the entire unit as we don't sell individual handle.
Me: Of course you don't.
Pearl: What best I could do is offer you a free brush head after you purchase a Sonicare unit.
Me: I was really hoping that Phillips would show some good faith and say, yes, it may be out of warranty, but our product is not repairable nor replaceable by our own design, nor do we provide any valuable recommendations on conditioning the battery for lasting use. I was hoping that they would send me a new brush handle for no charge or at a significant discount. 15% or a free brush head is insulting.