I’m appealing to the search engines with the title of my post today, because this is what I was hoping to find when I turned to Google for help with my FreeStyle Libre a few weeks back.
I was about halfway into a sensor that I had purchased, when suddenly my reader stopped working. The screen wouldn’t start up when I hit the home button. There had been a few instances in the days leading up to this where my screen had blacked out for five or ten minutes at a time, but it always came back to life. I might also mention that this culminated on a Saturday morning, and I soon learned that I wouldn’t have access to customer service until 8am on the Monday.
When my reader still wasn’t responding well after an hour, I was frustrated. I reached out to @FreeStyleDiabet on Twitter with no reply (I’m not too sure where in the world this account is based).
FreeStyle Libre showing an error message and now refusing to turn on. Any advice? @FreeStyleDiabet
— Frank (@FrankSita) July 9, 2016
I tried charging the battery with no success. I got an idea from the instruction manual that the device might be temperature sensitive, and kept it in my pocket while I was sleeping one night with no luck either.
I had no idea where I would stand in getting replacements for my reader and the $95 sensor I couldn’t make use of. Abbott were a little coy at the blogger event in Sydney regarding faulty sensors, and we were told that it would depend on individual circumstances.
When I got in touch with Customer Service on the Monday, they shipped me a new reader and replacement sensor on the condition that I send the faulty one back via supplied packaging. The replacements arrived via express delivery two days later, and I started the sensor up once again.
The replacement sensor, however, was wildly out of range. Most of the time, the readings on the Libre were far higher than what I actually was. I was constantly seeing numbers in the mid to high teens (and even 20s) after meals, and this really took a bit of a mental toll on me. I was pricking my fingers almost as much as I would without it, because I couldn’t trust the numbers. I was driving myself crazy, thinking about the prior two sensors I had used and whether the readings were this far out (and it didn’t only happen when glucose was high!)
— Frank (@FrankSita) July 17, 2016
I gave customer service a call once again, explaining my problem. I was reminded to factor in the 5-10 minute lag time, which I was confident I had. I was then asked to provide three Libre readings and their respective finger stick readings, and I was put on hold to do a control test. The customer service rep then came back and told me that he would send me a replacement sensor free of charge because I was reporting readings higher than the acceptable difference of 1-2mmol.
I was really impressed at how quickly I was issued with a replacement sensor over the phone. I had meter reports prepared prior to calling, almost expecting that I would have to send through evidence of inaccurate readings. Both times, my replacement products were shipped by overnight express to my doorstep instead of the usual 6-9 day delivery window.
However, I would have expected customer service available to me on weekends, even if just for a couple of hours. I also think that Abbott need to be more realistic about their products developing faults. The returns policy, which you can read here, is rather brief and doesn’t give the customer a feeling of confidence or support when the tech fails.
That being said, I am super grateful that Abbott resolved both of my problems with very minimal hassles.