Looking for a low-priced Christmas gift?
That's where budget Android tablets come in, and once again they are turning out to be some of the hottest sellers this holiday season, with prices as low as $39.
But every year, people end up disappointed by tablets that lock up, fail, or even blow up.
Bad battery pack
A few weeks ago, Kimberly Bryant showed us the inflating battery pack that destroyed her cheap RCA tablet.
"The battery started inflating and the casing started to come apart on the tablet," Bryant said.
Last year, Stephanie Pence complained after she bought her daughter a $75 tablet that didn’t work from day one.
"We noticed the speaker was busted on this, it made a crackling noise."
Won't hold a charge
Pamela Givens, meantime, bought an $80 dollar Coby tablet a year and a half ago.
"I had it for 2 or 3 weeks, and it wouldn't hold a charge," she said.
By the time she tried to return it, Coby had gone out of business.
Many complaints online
A Google search would have red flagged any of these tablets.
Right now, complaint sites like ConsumerAffairs.com are filled with dozens of complaints about RCA 7-inch tablets, with many of them claiming the battery exploded like an airbag or puffed up like a balloon.
But there is good news: RCA has now agreed to replace Bryant's puffed-up tablet free of charge, and UPS has informed her the new tablet is on the way in time for Christmas.
All three women say they're going to beware cheap no-name tablets from now on.
"I guess it’s kind of a case where you get what you pay for," Pence said.
Bottom line: You'll find stores advertising Android tablets for less than $50 right up till Christmas Eve.
But Google those tablets for complaints before you buy one, so your recipient is not disappointed, and so you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the E.W. Scripps Co. Like John Matarese on Facebook and follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)