Buying Bargain Nokia Bears Bitter Ironies

It’s time for The Consumerist to play matchmaker.

Jon needs a very trustworthy person in the UK so he can get his Nokia cellphone repaired.

He bought his European model Nokia cellphone from newegg and Nokia US won’t fix it. When he called the UK office, they said they can’t ship outside the country. Aggravating!

Now he’s stuck with a floppy necked cellphone unless there’s a honest Brit left in the world…

Read the rest of Jon’s “gotta open the safe but the key’s locked inside” chonicle…


Jon writes:

    “In mid-December I purchased a brand-spanking new Nokia 6170 from for about $225. I’d spent at least a month looking for a phone I wanted, which is getting harder and harder to do when all you want is a phone that doesn’t have 82 useless features crammed into it. So I went for the 6170 because it looked cool, it was unlocked (so I could pop in my Cingular SIM card, or switch to T-Mobile at a later date if so inclined), and it was a Nokia. I like Nokia’s UI

    it’s clean and transparent.

    Sadly, the company isn’t so well designed. Recently my girlfriend’s cat decided to swat the phone off of a table onto a hardwood floor, screwing up the odd hinge that the 6170 uses. The phone still works perfectly, but now when you flip it open, there’s about 30 degrees of flop in the hinge. It doesn’t lock into position like it should. It’s not a huge problem, but it’s definitely annoying. I want my pretty phone to work right.

    So I call newegg and say I need the phone replaced. They tell me the warranty’s through Nokia, so Nokia has to fix it. They tell me to go to Nokia’s website, where I can begin the process of getting the phone repaired.

    I go, and enter the serial number on my phone so that they can be sure it’s still under warranty. I put it in, and get an error telling me that the number’s not in their system. Whaaaaa?

    I call a support number, speak to a soft-voiced gentleman, and explain my situation. He asks for the warranty number, and puts me on hold for a few minutes. Then he comes back and says, “Let me explain the problem. This serial number is for a European version of the 6170. Where did you buy the phone from?”

    (Now, I knew it was a Euro-version

    as far as I knew, the 6170 was never really offered stateside. did have it on their website as being for sale, but when I tried to put it in my cart back in December, the website would ask for my zip code, and then on a subsequent page the 6170 wouldn’t be available anymore. I probably could have called Nokia and ordered it over the phone, but I didn’t. I’m impatient, and it was cheaper at anyways.)

    I explain that I bought it from He tells me that Nokia USA can’t honor the warranty, that my version of the 6170 is specific to Europe, etc. “But I just need the hinge fixed. It’s the same hinge, Euro or not,” I plead. No go. “Well, can you at least give me a number to contact the European offices?”

    “No, I don’t have that. We’re two different companies.”

    The suckitude continued after I logged onto and e-mailed the U.K. office. They told me that I could send it to them, but that they couldn’t ship back outside the country. It ended with this line: ” We suggest that if you have a contact in the UK then you ask this person to act on your behalf.”

    I barely have friends in the US, and I surely don’t have any friends in the UK.

    As it stands, it looks like I’ll be stuck with my floppy-necked 6170, until I decide to buy another phone that I can’t have serviced.”

Angel, angel, spin me a dream, won’t you, won’t you, help this poor bloke get his bloody phone fixed?


Edit Your Comment

  1. KevinQ says:

    He can’t send a prepaid return package?


  2. Paul D says:

    Serial number’s not in their system?!

    They MADE the damn thing!

  3. RandomHookup says:

    I’m not sure you can send a bloody phone through the mails. Something about biohazards, I think.

  4. matto says:

    I’ve had the most frustrating experiences ever with Nokia, trying to get my 8801 repaired. They are clearly not interested in anyone who isn’t waving a fistful of dough, desperate to buy their latest piece of junk. After the misery that their repair service put me through, I’m never giving them another cent again.

    The sad thing is, like seemingly everything else in the cellphone industry, I’m sure the rest of the manufacturers suck just as much.

  5. tby says:

    Nokia, Sony, Apple, Nintendo, Panasonic, insert-your-favorite-multi-national-electronics-firm-here. You buy grey market you takes your risks.

  6. Grady says:

    Sounds like this a one of the rare cases where buying the warranty from newegg would have actually been a good thing. Reckon it’s too late?

  7. L_Emmerdeur says:

    Motorola does the same thing. I bought the v80 a couple of years back from a Hong Kong supplier via Ebay. After a few months, activating the camera mode froze the phone, so I wanted to get a firmware update. Motorola US told me they didn’t offer that phone here, and that I needed to contact the European Moto people. I asked them if Halle Berry would also have to contact Moto Europe if her Oscar Nominee gift bag v80 went fubar as well.

    I used to love buying cutting-edge phones on Ebay and doing cool shit with them. Enough of these experiences have burned the fun out of this hobby. Now, I get the carrier phone with insurance, and resign myself to abusing their CSRs when things don’t go right.

    And, I can assure you, I’m Greek, and I can multitask at work. I can ruin the day of at least a dozen CSRs in one work day’s time. It doesn’t fix my phone, but at least I get to share this burden of misery with others. And my ranting entertains my coworkers. Everybody wins.