Saturday, August 25, 2012

Netgear offers refunds to owners of faulty CMD31T DOCSIS 3.0 modems

Owners of the Netgear CMD31T DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem have been reporting problems since March of this year, when a Comcast XFINITY network upgrade to IPv6 revealed a deficiency in the device's firmware. As a result, Comcast temporarily rolled back the IPv6 upgrade in Silicon Valley, and removed the CMD31T from their list of supported devices. Comcast's customers were stuck, unless they were still covered by their retailer's refund policy.

Netgear sells the CMD31T with just 90 days of "Basic technical support".Owners could return a defective unit to Netgear for a replacement under their one-year hardware warranty, but that was no solution. As Comcast stated on their device information website at the time:
The retail NetGear CMD31T device has a known IPv6-related software defect. This prevents the device from being provisioned on the Comcast network.
On March 29, Courtney Furia, Account Supervisor at Netgear's PR firm of Weber Shandwick said:
I wanted to let you know that we do not have an update on compensation at this time. We will be sure to provide you with any additional details as soon as they are available.
That was the last response from Netgear, until earlier in August when CMD31T users on both XFINITY and Charter cable systems on the East Coast again reported problems. Netgear continues to claim compatibility, but in May Charter blacklisted the CMD31T. 
Compatible — Compatible with major cable Internet service providers like Comcast®,Charter, Cablevision, and others (Time Warner Cable not supported)1 (source: Netgear CMD31T website)

I apologize this was above my level to assist you with the issues we had today and hope that the corporate contact or netgear can assist you further with this issue.
(source: Charter communications customer service supervisor)
At the request of the EE Daily News, Charter then investigated the reasons for the blacklisting, only to conclude that it was inadvertent - "due to an internal communications error". In a bizarre twist, Netgear customer support then referenced the report we published as justification for denying a refund, in their rsponse to a customer who was still experiencing problems:
My name Maria; I am a Customer Care Advocate for Corporate NETGEAR Inc. ...

I have reached out to my product engineers who work with this device and they have confirmed with Charter that this device is not on the Charter Blacklist. Charter has provided the below information as well from an article about this exact issue:

"Charter investigated the issue, and they now say that the blacklisting was "inadvertent". Charter also added that the customer made a "good decision" by upgrading to a DOCSIS 3.0 device.
To review this information and the article it is located in please refer to:
While NETGEAR is unable to provide a refund, we are happy to help troubleshoot the product so that we can work out a way that it will meet your needs. Technicians are available 24/7, and reachable at the following numbers: 888-NETGEAR (888-638-4327) opt 4.  As the technician had stated, we will happily issue you a RMA for a replacement for your device.
(source:email communication provided to EE Daily News by Charter customer)
Meanwhile, in response to our inquiries, Netgear's PR firm Weber Shandwick continued to deflect the issue, blaming Charter's transition away from customer-owned equipment. After repeated attempts to contact Netgear directly, on August 22, Judy Hoffmann - Sr. Director WW Marketing Communications at Netgear replied, once again referring to Netgear's standard troubleshooting procedure.
Let me reiterate the solutions we have provided.  For anyone experiencing issues with the CMD31T, the 5-steps we’ve outlined below will enable them to check the version of the firmware their device is running. As we’ve said, if customers are still experiencing difficulty, they are encouraged to contact NETGEAR support and we would be happy to replace the device at no cost. 

This should fully resolve your questions and concerns.

1.       Connect your laptop directly to the NETGEAR CMD31T Cable Modem using Ethernet LAN Cable
2.       Open a browser and browse to
3.       When prompted for username and password use the following information:
a.       Username: admin
b.      Password: password
4.       Click on the link “Modem Status” in the left side menu
5.       This page will display the software version. If the software version is V404d, customer should contact NETGEAR support for a replacement

The Charter customer who reported problems to Netgear had already confirmed that his device had V501d firmware. Since the firmware update had not solved the problem, we asked Ms. Hoffman what Netgear replacement the company would offer. 
For anyone experiencing issues with the CMD31T, we are encouraging customers to first contact support to replace their unit.  Alternatively they can return their product to the store where they purchased it if they are still within the store’s return policy timeframe.  If they are out of their store’s return policy timeframe, they can contact NETGEAR and obtain a refund. (source: Judy Hoffmann, Sr. Director, WW Marketing Communications at Netgear)
The contact number for requesting a refund is 1-888-NETGEAR or 1-888-638-4327.

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