Even in an age where you’re expected to regularly shell out hundreds of dollars on a new smartphone, you expect each new pricey device to last at least a year before becoming worthless. Yet, some owners of relatively new Nexus 5X phones tell Consumerist that their smartphones have unexpectedly been rendered useless. Making matters worse, the manufacturer is allegedly giving them the runaround, leaving them without a phone for months.
Reader Emily tells Consumerist that she had owned the Nexus 5X for just over a year when it went into the so-called “boot-loop” mode, referring to a situation where the phone will constantly start up and then turn off in cycles until the battery dies.
The issue, she says, occurred shortly after she updated the phone’s software to Android 7.1.1.
“You can’t get any of your media off the device when this happens,” she explains, “which was a real bummer for me because there were files on there I hadn’t backed up.”
Reader Bryan says his wife experienced the same issue, just seven months after receiving her Nexus 5X.
Of course, as soon as both Emily and Bryan realized their phones weren’t going to work any longer, they contacted LG, who makes the phone for Google.
Bryan says his first course of action was to call LG regarding the warranty repair for the device and the company directed him to an online submission process. The next day, following these submission directions, Bryan says he sent the phone to the manufacturer for testing and possible repair. That was Dec. 13.
Emily tells a similar story. After her phone began to boot-loop in early December, she sent the phone to LG through its warranty program. The company advised her that it would take a few weeks to determine if the phone was eligible for a full refund or repair.
Consumerist reached out to LG regarding the boot-looping issue.
“We are aware that several Nexus 5X users are experiencing issues with their smartphone and we apologize for the inconvenience,” a rep for the company said, without elaborating on why the issue was occurring.
The rep said it was the company’s “number one goal to resolve user’s issues as quickly as possible,” adding that LG is working with Nexus 5X users in the U.S. to repair their phones.
Yet, Emily and Bryan say that hasn’t exactly been their experience.
The Consumer Experience
Emily tells Consumerist that LG reps have been telling her a different story each time she calls.
Shortly after sending in the phone, she called the LG USA mobile customer service line directly and was promised a full refund due to their inability to fix the phone. That was Dec. 22.
Two weeks after first telling her the phone was unable to be fixed and that she would receive a full refund, Emily says the company changed its mind, telling her they wanted to repair the original device.
“This was a huge problem because I had already purchased a new device,” she says, questioning why the company wouldn’t expect her to buy a new phone after being without one for weeks.
Emily says that after several more conversations with the company, she was offered a new LG G5, a device she figured she could sell to recoup some of the costs she spent on a replacement.
As of Jan. 5, Emily hadn’t received the replacement.
“I think the most frustrating thing is that the company had initially accepted responsibility and offered full refunds for the phones, but now appears to just be putting me off,” Emily said.
The Long Wait
Bryan tells Consumerist a similar tale, noting that he has spent several days each week since he sent his phone in more than a month ago with LG reps on chat support.
Unlike Emily’s situation, Bryan says that he was never offered a refund. Instead he was told that LG was no longer repairing or replacing the phones with similar Nexus 5X devices, but with either an LG G4 or G5.
The different phone wasn’t the issue, Bryan says. The problem was LG’s timeframe for getting him that new phone.
He contacted the company on Dec. 23, 10 days after sending in the broken device. At the time, he was told that he could have a G5 replacement in five days.
Two days later, on Dec. 25, he received an email from LG stating his 5X could not be repaired.
“This is concerning since I’ve already had this conversation with them making me wonder if they’ve really put things into motion to send the G5,” Bryan recalls.
And he apparently had reason to be concerned. When he contacted the company five days later inquiring about the shipment of the phone, he found out the new device hadn’t even been built yet. In fact, it wouldn’t ship for another seven to nine days.
“That’s nearly a month without a phone which is unacceptable,” he told Consumerist.
Because Bryan’s wife couldn’t go without a phone for that long, she eventually purchased an iPhone, with the expectation she could sell the phone sent from LG.
The new phone finally arrived the week of Jan. 16, but that just led to another issue.
“The replacement I received was locked to AT&T, not unlocked as they promised in some of the chat transcripts,” Bryan says.
LG’s response? Send back your phone so we can unlock it for you.
He declined and instead sold the phone online.
“While giving up is kind of letting LG off the hook, I just wanted this customer support nightmare to end so selling the phone I had in hand was the easiest solution,” he says. “Overall, this is easily the worst customer service experience I have ever had.”
Not Isolated Incidents
Emily and Bryan don’t appear to be the only Nexus 5X owners to encounter the bootlegging and customer service issues.
One poster notes he and two colleagues with Nexus 5X phones began witnessing their phones boot-looping nearly three months ago.
“Today, my phone froze, and you know the rest of the story,” the owner wrote. “I’m exactly 3 weeks past my Google warranty. One of my colleagues was exactly 1 day past their Google warranty and Google declined to service it. We are both in the process of dealing with LG.”
Another owner notes that after contacting LG and learning he’d have to wait at least six days to get a new phone, he took matters into his own hands.
“Putting my phone in the freezer in a ziploc bag for 5 minutes fixed the issue, at least temporarily,” the post states, however, he updates to note that the so-called fix only lasted about five minutes before the boot-looping process began again.
In many cases, the owners say the issues generally began about a year after the phone was purchased.
“I started having the boot loop issues two days ago,” another customer says. “No amount of cache wiping, factory resets have solved the issue. This is quite infuriating. A phone that is a year old is essentially a brick.”
Others who have experienced the bootlegging issue say their troubles with LG are related to the phone’s warranty.
“My 5X bought on release in Canada just got a bootloop issue today,” another Redditor says. “Six days out of warranty and Google won’t do a thing to help, except have me talk to all to LG.”
The redditor updated to note that LG wouldn’t repair the phone under the manufacturer warranty, unless he paid $140.
“LG is so disorganized on this, and they are clearly flailing when you press them for any details or timelines,” another poster says. “I’ve talked to them four times in the last week, and each time I get told something slightly different.”
Eventually, redditor krozar78 says they decided to have LG send the phone back, unfixed. After several days, they called to inquire about a tracking number, but found no one had instructed that the phone be sent back.
Even when customers do receive a new phone, they have other issues. One owner says they were finally sent a new phone, only to discover through the notice that it was the wrong one — and AT&T version, when he was a Sprint user.
That only caused more issues, as an LG rep told him there was no way of knowing what phone was sent to him. Instead, he would just have to wait and send the phone back if it was incorrect.
“Worst customer service experience I’ve ever had,” the redditor notes.
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