Disclaimer: This is a re-telling of my experience with HTC Nexus One support on February 8, 2010 from 9am through 10:30am. I wanted to relay my experience so any potential Nexus One shoppers out there may get an idea of their own experience-to-be if they run into trouble.
I bought a Nexus One 2 weeks ago. Hardware-wise it’s great. Software-wise, Android still shows some of it’s warts from time to time. In a more complete review I’ll clarify warts, but I can sum it up as:
- Not sexy. Still looks like standard Android.
- Stutters/Hickups during animations or transitions
In the last week or so I noticed that on light-background screens (white, light-gray, etc.), I would see a very like “snow” effect on the screen. When I say “snow” here, I mean like the old-school poor-signal-snow you remember from TVs in the 80s, a fuzziness and erratic lighting behavior of the pixels by-the-line:
It was no-where near that pronounced though. You would have to take the snow seen above, and filter it down to 5-10% opacity and THEN lay it over a normal Nexus One screen, and that was what I was seeing. You could sit there watching it flicker.
I showed it to my wife and she noticed it as well.
Discharging the phone stopped the phenomenon for a few mins after bootup, but re-use of the device (reading web, email, tweets, etc.) would make it come back fairly quickly. In under 10 mins. The behavior seemed like some kind of electrical build-up, who’s to know for sure.
I decided to call HTC Nexus One support to get a replacement unit — I’ve had issues like this in the past with Apple, Microsoft, Mitsubishi… a fair share of disparate manufacturers. I expected to talk to an associate, run through a few basic troubleshooting steps then be authorized for an RMA – at which point they would either cross-ship me a new phone or overnight me a return box and within 4 days have a replacement.
That’s not what happened…
While I did receive a human to talk to in under 5mins, his name was “Dave”, we spoke for 45mins. We troubleshot the phone problem by pulling the battery and restoring factory defaults among a few other things.
When it was clear this wasn’t going to cut it, “Dave” informed me that because I was outside my 14-day return window (he clarified that he had counted the days) I could send it in for repair, at shipping-and-diagnostic costs to me ($28 for diag and at least $10 for shipping). At which point an HTC tech would assess and call me with cost to fix whatever was wrong.
I informed “Dave” that today was the 14th day — this was not planned, it just happened to be — at which point we both pulled up our calendars and re-counted the days manually until he agreed with me.
I figured, OK, now I was going to get the replacement process that I expected here — instead “Dave” informed me that I can still pay to ship and have the phone diagnosed for 2 weeks or return it. I had to ask specifically: “What about getting a replacement?”
ASIDE: This process felt unnecessarily complex to me – I have a phone I like, I bought it 14 days ago, and it’s busted. I want a replacement and you can have this busted one back. Why have we been on the phone for 45mins and you have yet to offer this solution? My personal take is that Dave was being slightly combative for his own reasons, but who knows.
“Dave” filled me in that I can get a replacement cross-shipped to me with a $529 charge placed against my credit card that will be refunded in 10 days if they receive the phone and determine the cause of the defect to be a covered one; e.g. I didn’t drop it in the toilet or something.
I’m not OK with this – what stops them from decided in 14 days that the problem with the phone is “not covered” then I have a $529 charge on my card stick for another Nexus One? How long of a fight is it going to be to get that cleared up?
I’m not asking HTC to give me two phones at once, just send me a damn replacement in under 2- weeks. According to “Dave” this wasn’t an option, and all returns had to be vetted by a tech. So what if my tech doesn’t see the error I report or doesn’t use it long enough to induce it? Them I’m 2-weeks without my phone AND get the same damn one back.
I’m starting to feel a lot like this by now:
NOTE: At this point I got the vibe from “Dave” that either he was being intentionally difficult to dissuade this process or just didn’t like me. Regardless of his personal preference, I had hit my limit with how stupid this process had become. HTC’s support seems to all start from the same premise: The customer is wrong, therefor every option they provide you puts you in the hotseat with the bill. There is no mea-culpa or attempt at rectifying your situation quickly. Every option offered put me out either $529 and trusting them to not screw me or 2-weeks without my phone and POSSIBLY getting the same one back if the tech doesn’t determine there is any problem. That is what I mean, their policies all stem from protecting HTC first and foremost, which drive legit customers like me crazy because it makes my life much harder for no reason.
I notified “Dave” that I just wanted to return the damn thing. It became more about principal… HTC would create a much better experience in this processes by just copying what others are doing, I’m not doing to justify this company-first customer support.
REMINDER: I’m not talking about replacing a phone I’ve had for months. I’m talking about a brand new phone I’ve had for 14 days that has a hardware malfunction in it.
“Dave” said OK and promptly started to rattle off policy garbage about charges and process and then… hung up.
The line didn’t go dead, my phone was fine… he just hung up.
I decided “Well, he confirmed a contact number with me twice at the beginning of the call, so I’ll just wait”.
No surprises here, “Dave” never called back. So I called them back and after a short wait got connected to a very nice associated named “Chris”.
When I explained what happened, “Chris” tried to lookup notes from my call and found none. She then put me on hold and went over to “Dave”‘s desk to ask him why there were no notes from a 45min call. “Dave” told “Chris” that his “system has a problem and he couldn’t save them”.
Really? “System problems“?
I think hanging up on customers when you decide you don’t like them and erasing pending support tickets so it doesn’t look like you left a ticket hanging open to your supervisor is probably not definable as “system problems” — this is all speculation on my part as to what happened. But sudden-disconnect + “no saved notes” + “no open ticket for call” from a 45min call suggests to me this is exactly what “Dave” did.
Anyway, I told “Chris” I just wanted to return the Nexus One and within 4mins had that process taken care of.
At the moment I’m returning an electronic pre-printed FedEx shipping slip for the return package. Why the hell couldn’t “Dave” have offered this in the first 10mins, let me ship them back the phone, and while they triaged it, cross-shipped me a replacement? This would have avoided the $529 temporary charge against my card as well as them having 2 phones out at once.
That’s the thing missing from this process and what infuriated me. Instead I got the full “suspicious support tech” treatment that wasted a good portion of an hour.
Customer Support really is a post-sales entity. In my case, I don’t need a Nexus One or anything else HTC puts out bad enough to encourage more of this.