Coby Electronics bet big on the budget tablet market since 2010 and pushed products into big box stores all over the US. Over the course of the last few years the company often would release six new devices and tried to market them under $200 to be appealing towards the price conscious crowd. The company and all of their assets have now been sold for an undisclosed sum and key executives have all been let go.
The Gordon Brothers Group purchased a number of Coby assets a few months ago. GBG specializes in purchasing defunct companies and try to turn them around. In recent years they purchased Polaroid and The Sharper Image, two other companies that have a track record of shoddy products and abysmal customer support.
One of the big losers of this sale are the customers. Coby devices continued to be sold at Walmart, Big Lots, Toys R US and a myriad of other retailers. GBG has no intention of honoring product warranties, as the transaction was structured as an asset purchase, not an outright acquisition. Customer calls to Coby’s support line go unanswered and their main 1-800 number has been shut down. Most troubling of all, products sent in for warranty service in the last few months were never returned or replaced. Presumably, then, there is a big pile of warrantied Coby stuff sitting in one of the company’s warehouses somewhere. Many customers had to actually spend money to have their tablet devices fixed, in addition to having to ship it out. This entire situation has spawned a litany of posts on Facebook and other social media channels about faulty units and no way to repair them.
Why did Coby go out of business when it had an extensive line of consumer electronics and high visibility in the US? A source told us that they tried to aggressively expand too quickly with expensive executive hires, investments into factories and the costs of manufacturing the products. They bet the farm on Android tablets and customers did not embrace their line of products as anticipated.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.