T-Mobile Keeps Replacing Defective Phone With More Defective Phones

Some months ago, Elliot upgraded the phone on his T-Mobile plan. He chose the Motorola Defy, which turned out to be a poor choice. At least, it was for Elliot, who enjoys having a phone that actually works. T-Mobile has cast him into smartphone replacement purgatory, where he will be stuck until he gives up and changes carriers, or his warranty expires and he pays for a new phone.

He doesn’t mention the timeline here, but the Defy hit the market less than a year ago.

My first Motorola Defy smartphone I bought online from T-Mobile. As soon as it arrived, I realized that it [was defective]: the speaker wouldn’t work at all. After calling customer support and explaining the issue, I was sent a new Motorola Defy at a cost of $20 plus shipping, which I found outrageous to begin with (that I would have to pay them because they sold me a defective phone). Still, I humbly paid this small fee in order to end the issue entirely.

However, when I received the replacement Motorola Defy, after plugging it in to my computer, I found that the notification light on it would stay on, but the screen would not come back on. I pulled the battery out to do a hard reset. Sometimes, it would take up to four or five trials of taking the battery out to get the phone to come back on at all.

After dealing with this for a few days, the phone began to crash randomly; shutting off at the most inopportune times, like when I was using the GPS function while driving. This wasn’t due to low battery, as it was always fully charged when the crashes occurred. I dealt with this for a few months, thinking I would find a solution in some online forums concerning this problem. I contacted Motorola for support and was told to reformat the phone and the SD card inside it. I did this several times, and found that it never resolved my issue.

After not finding any solution, I, once again, called T-Mobile customer support and they once again only agreed to send me a new version of the Motorola Defy, again charging me $20 plus shipping. I received the new phone (sending back my defective one, as I did the first time), and, promptly after charging it, I began setup for the phone and it crashed during setup, with the screen, again, not turning on despite the notification light being on.

I immediately called T-Mobile customer service and told them about the problem. They then connected me with “R” from technical support. I told him exactly what I told the representative from customer service, and he offered to replace the same phone (the Defy). I told him that this was the second time I’d had to replace this defective phone and he offered me an upgrade. He needed to check with his supervisor, who just happened to be on break. After asking for my number, he told me that he would call me back within half an hour.

After half an hour of waiting for him to call back, I called retention, not wanting to waste my whole evening talking to customer service representatives. They refused to offer me anything to solve my problem, refusing even to send me a replacement, let alone an upgrade to a different phone without Defy’s technical problems. The retention representative said that he was going to contact “R” with my number (which “R” already had), and have him call me back.

After another half hour of waiting, I called technical support, hoping to speak with “R”. No one ever picked up. I stayed on hold for twenty minutes, then heard ringing, and then was disconnected. I called back. I stayed on hold again for ten minutes, finally reaching a technical support representative, and informed her of my situation. She told me she needed to find a supervisor (by now I was feeling a distinct sense of deja vu), and then put me on hold. She came back after about five minutes, and told me she couldn’t find a supervisor (odd how the supervisor’s never seem to be there at the right time), and that she would need to put me on hold again. I was on hold for another fifteen minutes before hearing a ring, and then was disconnected again.

So far, I had been disconnected twice and on hold for over an hour. I once again called T-Mobile, this time calling customer service, as I did the first time. I remained on hold for a few minutes before being connected with a customer service representative, to whom I explained my problem. She offered me the same deal as “R” promised: offering me the same supposed upgrade that “R” had to get his supervisor to approve. In order to get this upgrade, I would have to pay for a new two-year contract and for the actual upgrade cost of the phone. They would not allow me to put the $70 that I paid to upgrade to a defective phone into the cost of the upgrade.

She would have had me pay $150 to upgrade the phone in addition to the cost of a new two-year agreement. This was essentially the same deal as if I were to purchase a new two-year contract and buy the new phone with the discount that purchase provided, meaning that my $70 that I paid to upgrade this phone, as well as the $40+ I had spent replacing their defective products, would go completely to waste.

I denied this “offer”, and she said that all they could do was send me another Motorola Defy, this time at no charge. All I want to do is get some of my money back from this defective phone and purchase a working one, but the people at T-Mobile don’t seem to want to take responsibility for their defective product.

As of now, I am awaiting delivery of my 4th Motorola Defy (my 3rd replacement), which I fully expect to also be defective, as I’ve come to find, from both my experience with this phone and those of others’ I know and those I have read about online, that this problem is inherent to the phone itself.

At this point, I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to pay for a new phone out of pocket, and I certainly don’t want to extend my contract with T-Mobile and have to deal with this poor customer service again. Hopefully my story will stop others from coming into contract with T-Mobile.

We’ve heard that T-Mobile is responsive to well-crafted e-mails zapped right to the mailboxes of executives. (Try to cut this 1,000-word letter down to 300-500 words at most.)