Being mugged and having your brand new phone stolen out of your hand sucks. What could make it even suckier? How about finding out that the phone’s remote-locking system — intended to prevent your device from being used and abused by god knows who — just doesn’t work because the phone manufacturer wasn’t expecting so many people would actually want to use the service.
This is what happened to Consumerist reader Mary, who wrote to us with her story of being robbed of her spankin’ new HTC Inspire 4G on the mean streets of Brooklyn.
After failing to chase the thief down, she contacted the police and then went to HTCsense.com to lock her phone remotely. She even set her device to display the message “Some little punk stole my phone. If found, call the cops.”
Or so she thought.
Later that evening, the police informed her that her phone had been recovered by a good Samaritan who had continued to pursue the thief. We’ll let Mary tell the rest of the story:
I was prepared to show off how my phone was locked and had instructions to call the cops. But it wasn’t locked. Not even a little bit.
Had I not hit “save” when I locked it remotely? I went back to the HTC site to check, and sure enough, it said my phone was locked and that it should be displaying that special message I’d crafted. Lies, I tell you! Lies!
And even worse, there was no option to now unlock it from not being locked. There still isn’t, even though I’ve been using my phone normally for two days. If things had worked out differently, I could be a thief, chuckling over purloined cat pictures or sending rude text message to that person I never talk to anymore.
Not pleased with this fact, Mary fired off an e-mail to HTC customer service, who replied with the following message that said the service is too popular to actually work properly:
I understand you are not able to use all the features of HTCSense.com with your device. Due to greater than anticipated demand for the HTCSense.com services, some of our customers are experiencing stability and reliability issues that are unacceptable. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused; please be assured that HTC treats this as a very important issue and we are working hard to improve the experience for everyone. We hope to have improvements to the service out in the very near future to help some of these issues and we will continue to communicate with our customers throughout the process. Thank you for your patience.
No HTC, thank you for your patience.