The Phone handset from hell.

By | February 12, 2014

Hi guys, I figured I’d post this here somewhere public thats visited by tech enthusiasts to highlight some of the failings in both carrier customer service and Nokia’s declining service over the years.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t prevent me from getting an MVP status or similar later in life as the Windows Phone OS worked quite well, just the hardware service was terrible.

Many years ago I used to service Nokia equipment (Car handsfree kits) and Nokia service was always prompt with devices being either replaced on the spot, or fixed within a few days.

This is an open letter to Vodafone (The carrier) Nokia (The Manufacturer) and Fonebiz (The Service Agent) after I got stuck with a handset that Vodafone had crippled the features on. Failed and it took Nokia/Fonebiz over a month to return the wrong phone.

Anyway, feel free to read and comment on the letter below. I’d be interested to see what other users think

have you had a Lemon that was an uphill struggle to get fixed?

Update: Looks like one of our readers @WarWraith managed to get a reply on twitter.
Awesome to see people manning the twitter account at midnight.
https://twitter.com/WarWraith/status/433582332390281216

Second Update: After a bumpy start, I’m now in discussion with Fonebiz who are taking the matter up with Nokia direct.
I have yet to have a formal reply from either Vodafone or Nokia.

Upon speaking with a manager at Fonebiz I discovered they replaced the phone as it was taking too long to order a replacement part and were unaware the replacement wasn’t the same

Third Update 14/02 15:00: Nokia and Vodafone have both requested contact details in Public forums. Neither have yet contacted me via email.
Vince from Fonebiz however has been VERY forthcoming and keeping me upto date, Lets hope he encourages his customer care team to do the same in the future.

The current proposed solution is for a “Sales Pack” to be dispatched direct to me from Nokia. Lets see how this goes.

Fourth update: Vodafone are now discussing options with me via email.

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To all parties concerned.

I’m posting this across multiple avenues, social media and other outlets as I’ve frankly as a consumer I think I’ve done more than my fair share and I’m now at the point of passing this to consumer affairs.

I signed a 2 year contract for the Nokia Lumia 925 “32GB limited edition” handset after discussion with Vodafone sales people advising the phone was very similar to the Lumia 1020 which Vodafone had not acquired rights to at the time. I performed my research and found the device still supported items such as “Nokia Wallet” (NFC Payments) and Datasense.

Vodafone had also posted articles on their website over 12 months earlier saying they would support said technologies.

I also discussed some concerns with regards to data backup with the in store sales person and was advised “everything is backed up to the cloud” (obviously referring to Skydrive)

Once I received the device I attempted to get these technologies to function only to find that they were removed by Nokia at the request of Vodafone (Datasense) or simply didn’t offer the required equipment (a Secure-SIM for NFC payments) despite advertising their “coming soon” support in February of 2012

I expressed my concern to Vodafone support and after pointing several representatives to Vodafone’s own Blog posts and media releases was simply met with ‘We don’t know about that’

This was quite annoying for me as NFC and NFC payments were one of the key reasons I chose to renew my contract with Vodafone and purchase a Lumia handset but I figured I wouldn’t get anywhere with it and accepted that ‘It might come soon’

During a family holiday late last year My Nokia Lumia 925 handset failed leaving me without a device whilst I was interstate, Upon attempting to contact Nokia Care I was advised that Nokia would need me to post the device in to them rather than having the device exchanged at a Vodafone or Nokia outlet, obviously being on holiday I didn’t have the required proof of purchase (that Vodafone would not email or fax to me) and would have to wait until my holiday ended.

At this point I performed a “Hard Reset” of the device, restoring the firmware to an original state and restored my backup. During this time the phone still exhibited the aforementioned fault resetting itself constantly whilst I was trying to recover my data from backup

Upon restoration of the backup, I found that only my text messages, theme colour and a “list of installed apps” were backed up. Not quite what was indicated at the time  of purchase and that if I hadn’t backed up each app individually each time I used it, the data would be lost. Unfortunately this was the case and I lost a fair amount of data from the device.

I then escalated a formal complaint to Vodafone via email on the 29/12/2013 (Ref:02409672) requesting they review the terms of my contract stating the device selected failed to meet the criteria I had spoken to several Vodafone representatives and an authorised retail outlet about before renewing my contract. I offered to return the handset and exchange for a similarly priced unit or return the unit and start a new contract or to terminate the contract entirely

Vodafone’s response was simply along the lines of “We’ll need to wait until your phone is assessed before being able to make a decision on replacement etc. If it’s not repairable you’ll given a new one.”

After some email exchanges highlighting that a new unit would still not meet the needs I expressed at the time of contract renewal I was offered in essence a $160 discount off a new handset repayment plan should I take a new “Phone Payment Plan” out on top of my existing contract.

It was also at this point it was discovered that 4G codes hadn’t been turned on on my service despite me having a 4G device.

I figured I wasn’t getting anywhere with Vodafone and was now lumped with a device I could no longer trust/use and attempted to accept the credit offer of $160, which was not applied to my account as this was only to be applied if I spent more money with them.

It was at this point I decided to wait until the Phone was repaired and attempt to sell it at considerable loss and started using my old handset.

I contacted Nokia care again and requested a service of my handset, I attempted to obtain my proof of purchase from Vodafone and they advised as the unit had been purchased “in store” I would need to speak with the store owner.

After obtaining the retail stores details, discussion with a sales representative, Escalation to the owner I was told Vodafone could email me the proof of purchase and the store would not. Again I contacted Vodafone Customer Care only to be told *again* I could not have this sent to me as Vodafone didn’t have it.

I visited the store directly after confirming their opening hours were until 7PM on weeknights. I arrived at 6:30 to find the owner attempting to close the store (all the rollershutters were closed) Thankfully they re-opened and printed off a copy of my proof of purchase.

Again I contacted Nokia in hopes of a local repair facility and was advised I needed to ship the device to “FoneBiz” in Sydney.
As per Nokia’s instruction I obtained packaging to secure the device at my cost and shipped the item to “FoneBiz” via the return label provided by Nokia using Nokia tracking number 206183

The unit was Shipped on the 21st of January at an Australia post office in Kew. Online tracking on the item indicated that the phone was received by FoneBiz on the 23rd of Jan. However tracking on the Nokia website simply listed the phone as “Your Nokia product is on it’s way to Nokia” as of the 28th. 5 Days later.

Attempts to contact “FoneBiz” direct were useless. On 4 occasions I waited on hold for over 30 minutes attempting to find out of my phone had arrived safely or if I needed to begin investigations with Australia Post. I contacted Nokia Directly and they offered no update. I emailed Fonebiz direct with no reply and contacted FoneBiz’s retail outlet here in Melbourne who advised my my Phone didn’t exist in the Fonebiz system at all.

On the 31st Of January Fonebiz emailed me with simply “You handset for IMEI number 356717055627938 has been received at Fonebiz under job number NCD1315850 and is currently in process.”

After this it took 7 days for the handset to be “Serviced” (replaced with the wrong unit) and await dispatch.

On the 10th 3 days later I contacted Fonebiz via their 1300 number, to find out why my device hadn’t moved from “Waiting for dispatch” to “dispatched” and was advised I would receive the unit the next day.

Finally 2 days later (the 12th of February) I received the phone in the original package I had sent it in, with considerably less padding and the replacement device loosely moving about inside the package. I opened and powered up the device. Confirmed the unit appeared to function correctly and discovered that the replacement unit had half the storage of the original one.

It was at this point I decided that Nokia and Vodafone were failing to deliver a reasonable duty of care and wrote this letter.
So in summary.

The Device does not have some of the Key features I purchased it for.
When I questioned the “Data backup” on the device I was mislead to believe “All” my data would be backed up which in fact it was not by the sales person
Vodafone, The Retail Store or Nokia would not assist me in simply replacing the faulty unit that failed within 3 months of purchase, instead sending me on a rollercoaster ride, with Nokia’s authorised service agent losing track of the phone, failing to provide updates in a timely manner and finally replacing the handset with a different model a month later, or 2 months after the unit originally failed.
During which all the time I am paying for a handset I cannot nor no longer want to use.

 

The issue here is two fold

Vodafone refuses to acknowledge that their retail store sold a device in error when certain features discussed were not available and assurances that were made were in fact, not true.

Nokia/Fonebiz have exercised an extreme lack of care whilst handing repair/replacement of the unit and I now have a model of lesser value.

I am posting this to all parties involved so each may take responsibility for their part. I have spent countless hours troubleshooting a faulty device, following up with Vodafone, Chasing up Nokia and their service agent Fonebiz to attempt to repair a phone that has failed via no fault of my own.

The resolution is simple.

Nokia\Fonebiz need to dispatch the correct model ASAP within a REASONABLE time frame

Vodafone, Accept that your agent’s sold the device under false/misleading pretenses and allow me to cancel this contract or return the device and select another handset bundle from Vodafones offerings.

 

5 thoughts on “The Phone handset from hell.

  1. Enno

    You’ll likely get little traction on anything promised by the store staff. For the most part these guys can lie with impunity and later simply either deny having made statements or allege that you misunderstood them at the time. Short of recording the conversation, you will be unable to other than assert the contrary, which leaves any independent arbiter with a case of he said/she said.

    You may get some traction on the more provable things, web pages, missing features and the like. Save copies of the web pages and record URLs as these things have a habit of disappearing over time (see if the archive.org has captured copies maybe…).

    Good Luck,

    Enno.

    Reply
  2. James ArberJames Post author

    Vodafone, Nokia and Fonebiz have now all begun communication with me. I’ll post relevant updates as they come. Stay tuned.

    Reply
  3. James ArberJames Post author

    Update above: Fonebiz and Nokia are teaming up to solve their end, just waiting on Vodafone to respond to my email from last night but looking good so far.

    Reply
    1. James ArberJames Post author

      Hi Andrew.

      Unfortunately no. Vodafone didnt really come to the party.

      Nokia bent over backwards in the end and shipped me a new in box handset.
      Vodafone only offered me a 4GB data pack instead of helping with a handset that actually did what was advertised. so I ended up just selling the phone and buying a Galaxy Note 3.

      Reply

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