A New Record? Reader Receives Four Defective Nexus Ones In Four Months

Four months ago, Steve bought one of the very last Nexus Ones. Remember? The Google-designed phone that was supposed to change the entire mobile phone industry and instead just showed the world that Google didn’t know how to sell tangible objects? Its successor, the Nexus S, has arrived, but it seems that late Nexus One adopters like Steve can only exchange their defective devices for another refurbished Nexus One. This would be acceptable if HTC hadn’t sent Steve three defective phones in the course of a month.

He writes:

I was one of the (un?)lucky people who got in right before the Nexus Ones sold out. I got mine sometime towards the end of July. I had a problem with the device 3 months in — it no longer got anything but 2G GSM (no data, whatsoever). I tried all the fixes for it, different sim cards, etc and they sent me a swap a few days later. That swap worked great, for 4 days. It froze and I rebooted the device…or tried to. It never powered on again. I had to wait a week to get another swap. Out of the box, that one rebooted when it got to the android setup screen, and continued to do so every 2-3 minutes. Waited a week to get another swap.

HTC can’t screw this one up, can they?! Worked great for a few days, and then it rebooted and never powered on again.

All support can do is send me another swap. This all started at the beginning of November, and we’re at the end of December now. I’m moving to Germany in 6 days, and want a working Nexus before I go. Each time I do a swap, I have to wait a week for them to receive the previous one and open a new ticket. It’s ridiculous!

I filed a BBB complaint, only to get someone who can’t do anything other than another swap (which wouldn’t work, it’d arrive days after I leave for Germany).

So, 4 Nexus Ones, broken. I’m an linux engineer by trade, I work for one of the larger linux distros. I’m not incompetent.

So, I paid $600 for 4 months of Nexus One, and hours of my life on support calls. It’s no longer manufactured, so there’s a limited supply of refurbished devices (which don’t seem to last very long!)…and they won’t do anything like a refund or a different device.

I’m stuck with a nexus one that won’t power on and zero help from HTC.

We reached out to HTC’s media relations department, and will let you know what they had to say.


Edit Your Comment

  1. PHRoG says:

    Google sure did botch the whole tangible product thing. Eh, can’t be good at everything I guess? Stick to virtual Google, it’s what you’re good at. :D

    • q`Tzal says:

      No! Google needs to get it’s fingers in to everything. How else will we learn/remember the lesson that Standard Oil taught us?

      I look forward to Google(tm) brand breakfast cereal and power tools!


  2. Mouse Tester says:

    you should file a small claims lawsuit against Google (if i’m not wrong you bought them from Google not HTC) on the basis of being sent four lemons in a row.

    The Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. § 2301 et seq.) should get you a full refund and all court and lawyer fees paid.


  3. yaos says:

    If they run out of that model of phone I’m pretty sure they can’t say “welp” unless they declare bankruptcy and flee the country, they have to give you something.

  4. Ouze says:

    I have a Nexus One and love it. Never had a problem with it. Can’t speak for anyone other then myself though.

  5. Mighty914 says:

    Now that CM Punk is in charge of Nexus, maybe things will be different.

  6. We Have a Piper Down says:

    That’s nothing. I got three defective Samsung Moments over the course of a week–6 total before I gave them hell and got an upgrade to an Optimus S with Android 2.2 for free.

    Just a small tip: mobile providers tend to change their stories about putting you into a different device pretty quickly when you file with the FCC.

  7. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Not a record of any kind. Verizon has the same policy…probably all wireless providers do. My wife’s first LG Env Touch, which was a replacement for 2 or 3 faulty LG Voyagers to start with, became faulty quickly…and Verizon was more than happy to keep giving her “new” Env Touches to replace it – each and every one being mildly defective in some way the day she got them.

    Ultimately what happens is you realize you’re stuck in a contract with a huge ETF and your spirit gets crushed…you simply decide to keep using the mildly defective phone after the 3rd or 4th replacement. There is no longer any expectation of getting the product/service you paid for…it’s not going to happen, and as we know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. We know what the result will be of going back to the Verizon store and requesting yet another replacement phone – we’ll get another mildly defective phone again. So why bother?

    On the other hand, someone at Verizon is looking at the stats and thinking that they must have finally “fixed” my wife’s issues with that last refurbished phone…since she never brought it back in. That means she’s happy right? Yay, happy customer!

    They’ll be all shocked and dismayed when they get dropped (like a prom dress) at the end of the contract, which is coming up shortly.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      No one will care about one lost contract.

      I’m just saying, the world would be a better place if people grasped that companies really don’t care whether or not you leave, because there are hundreds or thousands of willing idiots who are going to take your place, thinking that they’ll get better service than the Other Provider.

      And you’re just going to move to the Other Provider, so they’re not losing anything either.

      All of the providers are terrible. All of them have terrible service. All of them will continue to provide terrible service until everyone just stops using them.

      The only way to show your dislike is to switch to a provider like MetroPCS, Cricket, Tracfone, etc – and even then, the money is still going to one of the Big Four, so you’re not depriving them of income.

  8. tinmanx says:

    Google and I are not in talking terms right now, I’m still mad at them for not sending me a CR 48!


  9. Swervo says:

    Except for the first one, those all sound related to the very old version of Android that those phones ship with. I got a Nexus One for my wife in June and it shipped with a version of Android from November of ’09. One of the most fun parts of that version was that the phone often rebooted as soon as the radios kicked in, usually when making a phone call. There was another, similar issue around that time where the battery would cut off charging at 100% and was supposed to start allowing charge again when it dropped below 90% (to avoid overcharging), but the “allowing charge again” part would fail, so the battery would eventually run down to 0 and refuse to recharge. You can get a secondary battery and boot the phone up on that in a pinch.

    On the plus side, since it’s one of the “unlocked” phones sold outside of the phone company, updating the version of Android on it is incredibly easy, it takes just a few minutes to update to the latest version and most of that is the download time. Find the version you want, copy it to the SD card and name it “update.zip”, boot the phone while holding down the down-volume button, follow the onscreen prompts to go to recovery mode, then tell it to flash update.zip to the phone.

    It’s possible that all these phones are defective, but it really sounds to me like similar issues I ran into with my wife’s N1. It’s worth a shot to try updating Android and see if that fixes the issues.

    On the downside for both companies, I let both Google and HTC know that their phone ships in a basically unusable state and that the average lay-person will not know how to get the phone into a usable state, but neither appear to have done anything about it. I have a feeling that people sharing their experiences with their brand-new $530 phones might have something to do with the disappointing sales figures…

  10. aboxoflogic says:

    I’m waiting on my third Blackberry Torch…

    • tr41nwr3ck says:

      What was wrong with the other 2?

      And yes, Laura probably worked more this week than the last month combined in total articles posted; perhaps she needs some coffee.

  11. jefeloco says:

    I hate to kind of correct you Laura, but Google did change the smart phone landscape with the Nexus One. Prior to its release there was a huge disparity in Android devices that spanned a significant range of variance, which is surprising given how few models actual made it to market before it…

    The Nexus One established a minimum hardware specification set that still keeps up with other, newer devices AND can accept newer ROMs without having to break a warranty by disabling your boot loader protection. The biggest plague to Google in regards to its hardware distribution was allowing HTC to market its own versions of the N1. The HTC Desire and Incredible pretty much sealed the N1’s fate overseas and on CDMA networks, respectively, while allowing carrier lock down that the N1 was trying to make obsolete.

    I feel sorry for the OP, it sucks that he is is this situation with HTC. I learned my lesson from them with my old HTC Wing a few years ago and won’t buy anything made by them anytime soon (or ever).

    • shadmed says:

      She never stated that it changed anything.

      • jefeloco says:

        From her first paragraph, literally her sentence,

        “The Google-designed phone that was supposed to change the entire mobile phone industry and instead just showed the world that Google didn’t know how to sell tangible objects?”

        learn to read the article.

  12. Forrest says:

    I have had 6 original Droids at this point, I had 2 replacements in a row get sent to me defective, and I just decided it wasn’t worth the hassle to send the phone back for a sticky volume rocker.

  13. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    I once got 5 defective 2 tb drives from seagate in a row.

  14. mmcnary says:

    I would put some kind of sticker on the ones I send back. You know, just to make sure I didn’t get the same one again…

  15. Cyclone says:

    I paid $400 for a used Nexus One from Craigslist and I’ve never had a single problem with it. The girlfriend liked mine so much she got one from Google just before they stopped selling them and she’s had no problem at all.

    Maybe the refurbished phones the OP is gettinggetting are just all lemons? Typically refurbs are problem free but giving the fact that majority of the people who bought Nexus One’s are nerds who are pretty capable of fixing devices on their own, the Nexus One’s that did get returned and refurbished are probably pretty screwed up.

    I hope the OP gets it worked out, the Nexus One is a great little phone, definitely the best Smartphone that I’ve ever owned. Better than the WinMo phones, better than the Blackberry’s (when RIM wasn’t a joke!) and better than my 2 iPhones which both suffered from dead digitizers and better than my old trusty G1.

  16. jjcraftery says:

    Sounds almost like the iPhone mess I’ve been in for 3 months!

    I bought the iPhone 4 in October. It was awesome. Until a few weeks in, when it stopped picking up WiFi.
    They sent me another one, (it only took a day) I sent the old one back.
    I was happy again.
    ….For a week, when the “new” one (they give you a mix of refurbished and new parts or something like that, which pisses me off, cause I paid for a NEW iPhone. So why can’t I get another new one? It wasn’t MY fault they didn’t work! But I digress…)
    started randomly turning off, without waking up again, without a reboot.
    So I tried all the fixes Apple suggested, and I finally got fed up (I gave it a month, just to try and make it stop) and went to the Apple store and got ANOTHER iPhone.

    Third time’s a charm so far. *knocks on wood*
    Needless to say, while I was at the Apple store, I broke down and bought the extended warranty, cause even though I JUST got this 3rd iPhone, my 90 day warranty ends soon.

    Anywho…..I know how you feel, Steve!!
    Except all the customer service hours I spent were good experiences. Apple was very cooperative and helpful and patient.

    Hey…I noticed that old popular phones, EVEN broken ones, are going for a pretty penny on Ebay, so at least you might get some of your money back if you try and sell it on there!?