I Signed Up For Samsung’s “Ultimate Test Drive” And All I Got Was A Defective Phone With No Way To Return It

A few weeks ago, Samsung announced a new promotion called “Ultimate Test Drive,” wherein iPhone users (and only iPhone users) could sign up to receive a Galaxy smartphone and try it out for a month, for just a $1 processing fee. Consumerist reader Alex figured he might as well take Samsung up on its offer, and signed up to get a Galaxy Note 5 for the month. He’s now stuck with a Samsung phone that doesn’t work, no way to return it and the company hasn’t responded to any of his requests for help.

Alex signed up for the promotion and received his phone on Aug. 28. After a few days, he noticed that the phone seemed to be defective — it drained from 100% full charge to zero in about two hours or maybe less, which isn’t what you want in a phone. He says he’s tried reaching out to Samsung via email with no response, as well as calling the number listed for Samsung Promotions, but that no one answers and the voicemail is full.

He’s also out of luck when it comes to trying to get the actual phone back to Samsung: as part of the test drive, the company said it would supply participants with a prepaid shipping box to return phones when the time came. But Alex didn’t receive any such packaging, so if he wants to get it back within the 30-day limit for the trial, at this point he’d likely have to fork over the cash to send it back himself.

Alex says though it’s unlikely Samsung intended to send out defective test drive phones, it could’ve happened to others — and those people might be stuck without a prepaid way to return those devices as well.

He adds that he’s upset to be “wasting time enrolling, setting up and now reporting” the issues he’s having, without a word from Samsung.

“It’s unlikely this is the type of poor experience Samsung wants its customers to have,” especially with one of its flagship devices, Alex adds.

In the meantime, he still has his iPhone 6, which he’s gone back to using, so at least he’s not totally without a phone. He just has an extra one he can’t use and doesn’t want to be charged for after the month is up.

We reached out to Samsung to ask what he should do with the defective phone, as well as what actions others in his situation should take to get it resolved, and after this post went up, a spokesperson from Samsung said the company has now resolved Alex’s situation, and said Ultimate Test Drive customers with issues should call the hotline at 1-800-578-4452 or email info@samsungultimatetestdrive.com.

However we’ve heard from another customer who’s had a tough time with Samsung’s promo, and he also hasn’t had any response from either the customer support email given by the company, and cannot reach anyone through the hotline as he says the voicemail box is — yup, you guessed it — full.

Jacob writes that his problem isn’t with a defective phone — the issue is, he never got the Samsung Edge+ he signed up for on Aug. 21, though his card was charged the $1 processing fee.

“After a few days of no contact as to when my device would ship, and reading countless blogs of people already having their devices, I called the number Samsung provided but no one has ever answered and I was only able to leave a voicemail twice because the mailbox was full every other time,” Jacob writes, adding that he emailed customer support twice so far with no response.

“It’s extremely frustrating to say the least and has soiled my taste for Samsung even before I’ve had the chance to test their device,” Jacob adds.

We’ve gone back to Samsung to see if there’s an explanation for this shoddy customer service, or if the company is attempting to address issues in a more timely manner than simply coughing up an email address that no one responds to and a phone number no one ever answers.

If you’ve had a similar experience, let us know: email tips@consumerist.com with the subject line, SAMSUNG TEST DRIVE.