Tried the reset thing to no avail.
The plot thickens...
I have a j5 create JCA374 hub. You plug into the laptop USB-C and then you plug the normal USB-C wall charger into the j5 hub and it passes the power thru and adds 2 USB-A ports, and hdmi port, and an ethernet port to your laptop.
When I plug in the hub with the powercore+ plugged in - it charges the laptop like it's supposed to.
So, I have a workaround for me and I don't have to send this thing back to Amazon. Hurray!