Understanding DJI’s Return Policy: Should I Buy Direct from DJI?

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Although DJI drones and accessories are some of the best that are available in the market today, it does not mean that they do not have their fair share of unsatisfied customers. There have been several instances of buyers encountering issues with their newly purchased DJI drone products. Whether it’s because of a manufacturing defect or simply a case of buyer’s remorse, what options are available for a buyer to return or refund a DJI drone? If you find yourself in this situation, then read on as scrutinize the details of DJI’s Return and Refund Policy

Standard return and refund

If you purchased your product directly from the DJI Store, then you have exactly 14 calendar days upon delivery of the product to request for a return and refund. This covers scenarios where the items were found to have manufacturing defects or if the buyer simply changes their mind about keeping the product. In either case, you need to submit a return and refund request to DJI via their usual support lines.

If you want to claim a refund for a DJI product, you need to make sure that the product will arrive to DJI in a condition that allows them to resell it. This means that the product, labels, and packaging should not have any wear or damage and that it is unaltered from its original state. A product returned to DJI for refund claims should include all accessories and attachments. The buyer must also be able to present a legal proof of purchase, such as a receipt or invoice. For best results, refund claims should be made for products that are unopened.

Standard replacement service

A product replacement can be requested within 14 calendar days of receipt, should the following conditions be met:

  1. The product suffers performance failure due to manufacturing defect.
  2. The product received does not match the original description of the production in one or more significant respects.
  3. The product has suffered substantial damage during transit, provided that it can be proven that the product was damaged as it was issued by the carrier.

Should you have received a product with manufacturing defects, you will need to submit a detailed account of the malfunction, as well as describe any attempts to troubleshoot or recover the product. Take note that it is possible to extend the 14-day period if you contacted DJI within 14 calendar days, informing them of the malfunction. In these scenarios, DJI may offer troubleshooting advice. If these do not work and the period when you kept the product exceeds 14 days, then you may still be eligible for the return policy depending on when you first contacted DJI.

Take note that this replacement policy will not apply if the drone has been damaged by external factors such as fire, strong winds, or lightning strikes. It will not cover damage due to pilot error, signal loss, exposure to moisture, or intrusion of any foreign bodies such as sand or dust. Any unauthorized modification or tampering of the product will render the replacement claim void, so make sure that you only make attempts to repair the drone when advised by DJI.

If you are returning a DJI product for replacement, you need to ship all the standard accessories that came with the product including the user manual, the charger, and any cables. The product needs to be shipped in the original packaging and must come with the valid proof of purchase.

If you are returning (or refunding) any software, either as an accessory or a standalone purchase, you only need to provide DJI with the relevant product keys. All DJI software are accessed via electronic download, and they can easily cancel or limit your access to the digital keys of the product. DJI may also ask you to sign an electronic letter of destruction as part of the refund and replacement process for software products.

Is there any other way to extend the return and replacement period when buying direct from DJI?

Yes, there is an option that DJI offers that will extend the return and replacement period up to 30 days, which is DJI Select membership. To be eligible for membership in this club, you need to have made a successful purchase from the DJI Online Store first. Details of the DJI Select membership will be discussed later on.

What if purchased my DJI product from another retailer?

Take note that the standard return, refund, and replacement policies described above only apply for products purchased directly from the DJI store. If you purchased your DJI product from Amazon or from any physical store such as Best Buy or Target, then you need to refer to the refund and replacement policy for that particular store.

Some stores have return policies that are very similar to the one implemented by DJI. For instance, Best Buy has a standard return policy that allows full refund and exchange within 15 days from the date of purchase. Special order products such as drones and DSLR cameras are subject to a 15% restocking fee, although this does not apply to all states. If you have an Elite membership, Best Buy can extend the duration of the return policy to 30 days.

Target also has a very friendly return policy for a full refund or exchange within 90 days of the date of purchase. This duration can vary according to product, and these changes will typically be indicated in the product’s receipt of packing slip. Similar to any other refund or exchange policy, Target may refuse to accept a product that is opened or otherwise damaged.

A very good provision that many retailers include in their policies is an extended holiday duration for refund and exchange claims. For instance, Target only starts the 30-day duration on December 26 for products purchased between November 1 to December 25. This puts into consideration products that were given as gifts during the holiday season. Amazon also has similar holiday return policy which extends the duration to January 31 for products purchased between November 1 and December 31.

Extended holiday return policies are a great way to provide customer service and assurance, especially for products purchased during Black Friday or during the holiday rush. So far, DJI has not implemented any similar holiday return policy.

Warranty claims

In addition to DJI’s standard return and replacement policy, you can also request for after-sales service should your drone get damaged due to circumstances covered by the DJI limited warranty. The warranty period varies for each type of DJI drone and the specific part affected by the damage. For instance, the gimbal and camera of the Spark only has a 6-month warranty, while its flight controller is covered for 12 months. Certain drone parts, such as the frame and the propellers, are not covered by the limited warranty.

The limited warranty covers any damage that your product may suffer due to manufacturing, material, and workmanship defects.  This will only be valid if the damage occurred during normal use of the product as described by the user manuals, product specifications, in-app notifications, official correspondence with a DJI representative.  As expected, the limited warranty will not apply if your drone has undergone any unauthorized modification, or if it was damaged due to pilot error, signal loss, or other external factors. You will need to present a valid proof of purchase when you request warranty service.

When you make a claim against the limited warranty, DJI will likely attempt to help you diagnose or resolve your problem by telephone, e-mail, or online chat. This will likely only involve downloading and installation of software updates. If these attempts do not resolve the problem, you will be required to ship your product to the nearest DJI service center. If the circumstances are covered by the limited warranty, DJI will provide the repair or replacement service at no cost.

DJI Care and DJI Care Refresh

There is another option for owners of DJI drones who want to protect themselves from the burden of repair and replacement costs. DJI Care and DJI Care Refresh are the two in-house drone insurance policies offered by DJI. DJI Care was the first policy offered and is currently only available for drones older than the Mavic. For the Mavic and all the other drones released later, DJI Care Refresh is the only option.

DJI Care works like a traditional insurance policy and covers circumstances outside the scope of the limited warranty. For a one-time premium payment, DJI will provide repair services for your drone should it get damaged due to an accident, pilot error, or signal loss. The cost of the repair will be charged against a fixed amount as determined by the policy available to your drone model. This means that you can request for repair several times, as long there is remaining balance in your policy.

DJI Care Refresh works a little differently. Instead of providing a fixed coverage amount, DJI Care Refresh will give you the benefit of requesting for a replacement unit should your drone get damaged. Take note that the replacement unit can be a refurbished drone, although DJI guarantees that it will have the same level of quality and reliability as a brand-new drone.

If you choose to get DJI Care of DJI Care Refresh for your newly purchased drone, keep in mind that it can also be refunded if the product covered by the policy gets returned. As usual, you need to provide a valid proof of purchase when claiming a refund for the insurance policy, as well as a proof that the drone to which the policy is bound to has been returned.

Should I buy directly from DJI or from an authorized retailer?

It is easy to see that 3rd party retailers such as Amazon or Best Buy have much better and more customer-oriented policies than DJI. Aside from having longer return periods, these retailers also offer special holiday return policies that are especially considerate of customers who purchased products during the Black Friday sales and those who purchased DJI products meant to be given as gifts. If you think that there’s a chance that you might change your mind about keeping a DJI product after you have purchased it, then it might be a better choice to buy it from a retailer. Buying from physical stores also makes it easier to return the product and to get replacement units, as you would not need to go through the inconvenience of packaging and shipping it yourself.

If you choose to buy a from a 3rd party retailer, make sure that you are buying from a retailer that is authorized by DJI. Doing otherwise may render your warranty claim invalid. Although the limited warranty only covers damage due to manufacturing defects, you will never know if a problem will manifest before or after the 14-day return policy period.

What is the advantage of buying from DJI?

With 3rd party retailers offering the benefit of more flexible return policies, you might be wondering: what’s the point of buying directly from DJI? The argument is not as one-sided as it seems, as DJI also offers a few perks.

1. DJI Select membership

DJI Select is the premium membership club of DJI that will only be offered after you make a successful purchase directly from the DJI Online Store. Membership costs only $29 per year and offers great value-for-money if you intend to buy DJI products regularly.

Being a DJI Select member comes with a lot of great perks including prioritized shipping, five 20% off coupons for DJI accessories, 50% off the DJI Care, DJI Care Refresh, and Osmo Shield insurance policies for your next purchase, and an extended 30-day return and replacement period.

All products purchase using the DJI Select membership will enjoy faster repair service, allowing for a turnover that is 1 to 2 business days faster than usual. DJI Select members also receive Birthday coupons, as well as exclusive deal offers and other gifts.

2. DJI Credit

All purchases made directly in the DJI Online Store returns a 1% rebate in the form of DJI Credit. This is virtual currency that is stored in your DJI Account which can be used on your following purchase. If you find yourself buying DJI drones and accessories regularly, the 1% rebate can build up over time, giving you huge savings.

3. Tax-free purchase

When you buy a product directly from DJI, it will be shipped directly from their facilities in China. This means that you will not need to pay any sales tax, instantly giving you a 10% price reduction compared to buying it from a US-based retailer. It does not matter that the drone will be shipped all the way from China since DJI does not charge for shipping costs. The 10% savings is especially significant when buying one of the higher-end DJI drones in the above-$1000 range.

Final thoughts

Retailers offer return and replacement policies to allow customers to turn in their newly purchased products should they find that these products come with defects or are not worth keeping. When you purchase directly from DJI, they will offer this offer this policy for a standard period of 14 days. This can be extended in special circumstances, or if the buyer has an existing DJI Select membership.

The inadequacy of DJI’s return policy is only highlighted when it is compared to the return policy of 3rd party retailers such as Amazon, Target, Best Buy, or Costco. These retailers offer much longer return periods – from 30 days up to 90 days. This gives customers more time with the product before they need to decide on keeping it. Moreover, these retailers offer special return policies during the holiday period in consideration of purchases made during Black Friday and products bought as holiday presents.

To be fair, buying directly from DJI also has its advantages, especially for buyers who regularly purchase DJI products. The premium offers made from DJI can generate huge savings for repeat buyers. With DJI Select, you also get to enjoy premium repair and shipping services.

As a final message to all buyers, we encourage you to read the fine print when it comes to your big-ticket purchases. Drones can be very expensive machines, and you would not want to find yourself with a defective drone or a drone that you do not want to keep. The same can be said for expensive DJI accessories, such as the DJI Goggles.