HTC - When warranties go bad

As a lot of you know, I got myself a HTC Touch Pro 2 a few months ago - and boy - am I starting to regret it. I bought the phone in March - it was returned under warranty in April, and now has to go back under warranty again. Read on for the full details of how HTC support is more than useless in looking after its customers.

The full story: Optus (my carrier) have rolled out an extensive 900Mhz 3G network over most of the regional and non-metro areas - so it makes sense to have 900Mhz 3G support. Sadly, Telstra seem to be the only carrier that has the Touch Pro 2 in Australia - which means it only supports 850Mhz & 2100Mhz. For this reason, I purchased my Touch Pro 2 directly from Singapore - as they are the only location I could find (other than Europe) that has support for 900Mhz & 2100Mhz 3G services.

I purchased my phone on 12th of March 2010. The phone arrived on the 18th of March. Great so far! I unwrapped the box and fired it up and was VERY impressed. I spent hours exploring every new feature. After a few days, I had it set up in a way that was just right for me and was getting very used to using it quickly and efficiently. Then after 2 weeks, the USB port died.

It was certainly a hardware fault. The USB port was not detected via Windows, nor could the bootloader show it connecting via USB. With all my time dealing with HTC devices, I knew this meant a warranty return.

I started off contacting HTC Australia - which then handballed me off to the "Global Warranty Service" area of HTC - which means calling HTC in Singapore. Sure I thought, after reading the Warranty Card. This should be nice and easy. How wrong I was.

First, I'll draw your attention to the HTC Warranty Card. Specifically this part:

9. In the event of Product failure, the Customer should take the following actions: a) Refer to the user manual in order to identify and possibly correct the problem. b) If the problem cannot be resolved by reference to the user manual the Customer should then contact the dealer where such Product was purchased or visit your local HTC website, or HTC service center or for further information. c) Before the Customer contacts HTC service agent, please ensure the following information is at hand: • The model and serial number, IMEI number of the Product. • The Customer’s full address and contact information. • A copy of the Customers original invoice, receipt or bill of sale of the purchase of the Product. HTC will provide the Customer with instructions regarding how and when the defective Product should be returned. HTC will pay costs in connection with both the return of the defective product to HTC and the repaired Product back to the Customer if the Defective Product is within the Warranty Period.

Awesome! HTC really stand by their product - or so it seems. In reality, as soon as you contact HTC regarding the warranty, you realise that not only do you have to pay for shipping directly to HTC, they will also hold your device to ransom until you pay the shipping costs back to you FROM HTC as well! Sadly, I didn't find this out until AFTER HTC already had my device. After lots of arguing with HTC Singapore, they decided to be nice and pay the return shipping costs. To make matters worse, until HTC contacted me to say I had to pay the shipping costs, I couldn't find out if my phone had even been received by HTC!

So after 3 weeks of having no idea where my phone is or even if HTC were going to send my phone back to me, a package arrived with my repaired phone. In the box was a report telling me that they had replaced the LCD module and main board. Essentially, all they left the same was the case. This would normally be good news - however it goes further than that. When I received the phone back, the keyboard didn't fit in its spot properly and felt warped. To add to this, the LED behind one of the keys is always stuck on full brightness. Surely this shouldn't have even passed the QA on the repair - let alone be shipping back to a customer in this shape! That being said, I figured I could live with this - as I really did not want to go through the support process with HTC again!

Now lets fast forward to October. Oh no. The USB port has died again. The exact same symptoms as before. This time however, there is a new twist. The battery drains VERY fast. A full charge that used to last 48+ hours now only lasts 12. This is not good.

I started talking to HTC Singapore again. After a while of talking to them on the phone, I realised that this wasn't going to get anywhere. Anything beyond basic English is well beyond them. They cannot understand why I am annoyed at the whole process and they refuse to do anything but 'ship it back to us, pay us and we'll look at it' - paraphrased from broken English of course. After almost 4 weeks of waiting for them to get back to be via either email or phone, I decided to contact HTC America.

The good news is that HTC America actually understand English! The bad news is that they seem to be just as unwilling to help. After expressing my deep concerns about the entire process, Alan (referred to later as HTC Guy) tells me that in all reality, after paying to ship my device to HTC, I might be waiting 2 months for the repair, then the time for shipping back to me. Oh, and I have to pay for shipping both ways.

So, after about an hour talking to HTC Guy, I finally asked for a copy of the Global Warranty Statement - as it sure as hell isn't the one that is on their web site. After a long time on hold and lots of consulting with a supervisor, I get asked for my return number and they will get back to me with some details of what the actual Global Warranty Statement is - as nobody could seem to find it.

edit: After 24 hours, no reply from HTC at all. For some reason, I am not surprised.

At the moment, all I can see is that the lovely 12 month warranty will consist of 1 month in transit, 2 months at repair facilities, 3 months of being faulty, 6 months of normal usage (if I'm lucky!).

It even got to me so much that I wrote letters (yes, actual postal mail letters!) to both HTC Taiwan and HTC America. Surprise, surprise though - no response to them either as yet.


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