Google’s Defective Phone Policy Is Tough If You’re On A Fixed Income

Nexus5_RightWe hear that the newest version of Google’s Nexus smartphone, the Nexus 5, is a fine device. Reader Michael has heard that, too. He wouldn’t know: The phone that he ordered a few weeks ago didn’t work right out of the box. He was stuck. He had ordered the $350 Nexus because his previous phone broke, but couldn’t afford put the total on hold on a credit or debit card so Google could ship him a new phone right away.

He had two choices, according to Google: send back the broken phone and wait for the exchange to complete, or put a hold for the full amount of the phone on a payment card while Google did the swap. He didn’t have the money, and also didn’t want to be without a way to make phone calls, as a person who has ALS. When he told customer service that neither of these options worked for him, they escalated his call to a higher level of customer service…where he was given the same options again.

“I know I could buy an inexpensive phone and wait on the reorder, but I thought Google was a company that took care of its customers. I just want what I paid for,” Michael wrote to Consumerist. “Why should anyone that receives a defective product have to let a company put another 350 charge on [their] account?”

This is a common policy to prevent return fraud, and in most cases isn’t a huge inconvenience to customers. For Michael and anyone whose only phone is in need of repair, this is a large inconvenience.

We passed his story on to Google, and their Nexus team got back to us. They’ve granted an exception for him. “Our help support team has reached out to Michael directly and is sending him a new phone,” a spokesperson wrote to us. “On behalf of the team, I’m sorry this issue was not resolved more quickly.”