Ah, the saga continues. Remember that scene in Fight Club where they make the "recruits" wait on the porch?

Tyler: Right, if the applicant is young, tell him he's too young. Old, too old. Fat, too fat. 
Narrator: Applicant?
Tyler: If the applicant then waits for three days without food, shelter, or encouragement he may then enter and begin his training.

That's what I imagine it's like out at DJI support HQ. If you don't know the rules you could end up waiting in purgatory for quite some time. So after submitting an email/support ticket with DJI LA and waiting three days with no response and no encouragement, I decided to give them a call and see what options I had for getting my bird repaired.

818-235-0789

Waiting on hold was much better this time around. Instead of an hour on hold I only had to wait for 20 minutes. (+1 DJI for getting more people working the phones). Oddly enough, I got the same exact rep (Thomas) that I spoke with back in April. After explaining that my Inspire was literally doing the exact same thing it was doing when I sent it to them the first time, he was polite, apologetic and actually made me feel like I might matter. While looking over the ticket he mentioned that his manager had been looking at it just a few hours before, probably because it was a "second time around" issue.

He watched the video I uploaded to youtube and we both agreed that it was strange. I reiterated that the only thing I did was take it out of the case and turn it on. I also asked how this could be happening if they did actually "test fly" it before sending it back to me. He had no idea, but then said the magic words, "We're told not to offer this except in situations like yours, but we're going to get you setup with an expedited RMA." Awesome.

Shipping back to Los Angeles... again

This time around DJI did pay for a shipping label, which was emailed to me along with the new support ticket (+1 DJI for picking up the shipping - both ways). I also had the box and packing material leftover from receiving it back from them just a few days ago so I was able to use that too.

Due to my work schedule I had to wait a few days to send the Inspire out. UPS picked it up on Tuesday, June 23rd and it was delivered to DJI LA on Tuesday, June 30th.

Finished in record time

Around 5:30pm on the 30th, I received the "Checked In" alert and the very next afternoon (July 1st) everything came through in a flurry of activity... repair notice, tracking notice, and the "how would you rate this service" notice all came in around 3pm:

Dear Joel,
Your Inspire 1 has been repaired. The technician replaced the flight controller. Your craft has been updated, test flown and is fully operational.
Make sure to calibrate the compass in every new flight location. The compass is very sensitive to electromagnetic interference, which can cause abnormal compass data leading to poor flight performance or even flight failure.
Do not calibrate your compass where there is a chance of strong magnetic interference, such as magnetite, parking structures, and steel reinforcements underground. Do not carry ferromagnetic materials with you during calibration such as keys or cellular phones. Do not calibrate beside massive metal objects. You should receive a tracking number in a separate email within 1-2 business days.
http://www.dji.com/product/inspire-1/download
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact DJI customer support.
Sincerely,
DJI Repair Team

Replaced flight controller

Replaced the flight controller... what the hell? How was this missed the first time? Important to remember this all started with a firmware update - nothing more. The paragraphs about magnetic interference have me wondering... could this somehow be my fault? (getting an Nvidia shield cover too close to the body?) or perhaps during shipping the box was upside down near some magnetized UPS cargo rollers? Who knows. I've always calibrated my quadcopters in the middle of my yard with empty pockets and nothing metal around. Guess I need to be ultra-anal about what gets near this thing. I don't know. Just hoping to holy hell I can get it operational and in the air when it finally shows up.

Tax day to the Fourth of July. That's a long time - just shy of 11 weeks.

Overall, this entire experience has been shitty - although the second time around was a night and day difference compared to my first. I'll go so far as to extend DJI an "atta-boy" for service and doing a number of things right this time, but this "expedited service" really should be the standard way everyone gets treated with an RMA. Paid shipping, good communication, fast turn around times. Not rocket science.

The more I think about it, the more it slightly pisses me off - wondering why they're letting some repairs sit for 6-8 weeks but others can be pushed through like this, almost same-day. My guess is volume/parts - I have no idea how many repairs they're handling but it can't just be a couple here and there - probably more like hundreds to thousands. I'm no gambler, but if DJI had the resources to provide this kind of service for every customer I bet there'd be little to no complaints about their service. Meh. I can't complain... just happy knowing it's on its way back and hopefully repaired for good this time.

So that's that. Now it's just a waiting game until Monday - fingers crossed.

Update can be found on this page.