Nokia "Repairing" Man's Phone For Over 3 Months

Bob sent in his Nokia for repairs. He expected it back in 10 days. It’s been 3 months.

He’s still paying for service with T-mobile, but also picked up a pay-as-you go plan while he waits.

After a string of failed tries with Nokia’s joke of an executive customer service team, “Jay,” “Adrian,” “Milton” and “Jessica,” Bob is pleading his case to Nokia CEO Robert Andersson.

Read his letter inside, and oh, Nokia, how about giving this poor man his phone back? Fixed, preferably. — BEN POPKEN


Bob writes:

April 7, 2007

Robert Andersson

Nokia Head Office
Keilalahdentie 2-4
P.O. Box 226
FIN-00045 Nokia Group
Finland

RE: Cellphone S/N [redacted] ; # [redacted

Dear Mr. Andersson:

You are holding my Nokia N90 hostage, and I want it back. Well, not you personally, of course, but your minions at the Teleplan repair facility in the U. S. They have had it now for three months.

The external display on my phone started to fail in December, with pixels starting to gray out, and the area continuing to spread. When I got back from vacation in Mexico, I checked on your website to see if my phone was still covered under warranty. According to the website (5 Jan 06), it was. I sent it in with the form generated by the site. (See attachment #1; note that it has an RTA number, indicating that it’s presumed to be covered under warranty. It’s interesting to note that when this form is printed, the RTA number is truncated. That leads to several questions: If the repair facility needs this number, do the workers there then have to cross-reference the RTA number with other information on the form to find it? Or do they not need the RTA number, in which case why is it on the form? And why hasn’t someone reformatted this form – say, moving this number to the left edge – so the entire number prints? It’s easy enough to do. But this is not really germane to my complaint, except insofar as it points up what appears to me to be the general inefficiency and haplessness of Nokia customer service.) According to the report from your Repair Status page on the website, it got logged into their system on 10 Jan 06. Despite the sunny prediction on your repair web pages about ten days for turnaround on repairs, apparently nothing happened with my phone for over a month.

In response to an inquiry that I made by email from the web page that allows inquiries about the status of phones being repaired, I got the first of a series of saccharine, idiotic and unhelpful responses from the “Executive Resolution Team.” I got responses from Executive Resolvers calling themselves “Jay,” “Adrian,” “Milton” and “Jessica.” [An aside, Mr. Andersson: You really shouldn’t try to buffalo your customers: That kind of title for a bunch of gofers just makes your customers at least cynical, if not downright angry. Executive Resolution is hardly what I got. And having had a recent chance to speak with one of your Executive Resolvers – more on which later – I am even less convinced of their Executiveness. Their execution certainly leaves something to be desired.] Shortly after that message, I got a response by email from the repair facility (see attachment #2). That message indicated that my phone was not under warranty, in contrast with the initial determination on the web site. Neither did it indicate that the failure was a result of any physical damage. It further indicated the steps that I could take, one of which was to pay a $100 repair fee and a $15 shipping fee. It gave a web site through which I could make the payment, which I promptly did. According to that message, dated 2/28/2007, I was required to take action within fifteen days. My credit card statement shows the payment on 3 Feb (Ref. # 24492157062820026567791, to “TELEPLANWIR 925-279-5757 MN”), well before the fifteen-day deadline. A couple of days after making that payment, I received a phone call from someone at Teleplan, inquiring as to what I planned to do about my phone. I informed the caller, whose name I neglected to get, that I had made a payment and the choice that that payment entailed: repair the phone. He seemed surprised by that, and said that he would have to check.

Shortly after that call in early March, the status shown on the repair website for my phone changed to “Awaiting replacement device.” It has stayed at that status up to the present, 7 Apr. Is the replacement coming from the far reaches of the Empire on the Millennium Falcon with Han Solo? You now have had my phone three months. I have been paying for three months of service through T-Mobile for a phone that I don’t have, and I have resorted to using a prepaid phone, which I am also paying for. The cost to me is mounting.

On Friday, 6 Apr., around midday Pacific Daylight Time, I took time out of my workday to call the “Executive Resolution Team” to see what was happening. Not much time to be sure – not enough to justify a chargeback – but enough to raise my blood pressure. The Executive Resolver with whom I spoke was not entirely clueless, but the quality of the response was marginal. After hearing the details of my case, she put me on hold to check on some information. When she came back, she said that I could either have my phone back as is, or she could look into having it repaired. I told her that she should have it repaired, and that I had already made a payment for that. She seemed surprised by that, and put me on hold to check further. (Left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing?) When she came back on the line, she said that she would have to do some more checking, and would call me back later that day or the next. (Presumably she meant “business day,” because to date, she has not called back.)

If one were cynical, one might hypothesize that this series of events is a strategy on the part of Nokia to avoid having to repair the phone, and have me take it back as is. Almost certainly, the economics argue in favor of this strategy.

This is a very unfortunate blot on the Nokia escutcheon. I think your phones are great, or at least they serve my purposes very well. Your customer service, if this experience is anything to go by, deserves a goose egg.

I remain your sincere, disgruntled and humble servant,

Bob A.

— BEN POPKEN