One of our staffers owns one of the coveted blue-metallic HTC One M7’s – a Verizon/Best Buy exclusive device. It was bought during the January fire sale that Best Buy had on its remaining stock – brand new, for $199 out the door (plus tax).
Tragically, this week, it encountered the dreaded Purple Camera of Death problem. This is a known hardware defect that HTC has acknowledged. Essentially, early camera sensors in the M7 production cycle, continuing through to the middle of production, are defective. They did not receive enough heat shielding, and the baseband of the phone will literally cook the image sensor. The result – a purple border around each and every photo.
Our first step – call Verizon. They usually have the fastest phone replacement procedure. Although, in recent years, it is not without risk. As little as two half-centimeter blemishes can result in a $299 bill posted to your phone bill… long after you have no option, to reverse the swap, and have to pay it or face your credit score getting dinged… and months/years of arbitration with Verizon.
But still, we braved that route first. No dice. Verizon does not stock warranty replacements for the ultra-rare Blue M7. They won’t even offer to swap it with an M7 of a different color.
So, on to HTC. We called them up, and they quickly answered the phone. We would happily have traded a longer wait time for what we heard.
What we heard, was an outsourced case logger. Someone who just takes notes, and goes through the most basic of troubleshooting steps. To our chagrin, we were told we would have to wait for a callback from another department before even discussing warranty options.
Apple doesn’t do it this way. They own the issue in one call. So does Motorola, and a lot of other phone makers.
After almost ten minutes on the phone, we had a case number. This is where injury gets added to insult. We were told, brace yourself, that it could take up to seven business days to hear back. That’s nine days depending on when you call in – before we could do anything further to warranty this phone.
Mind you, that doesn’t mean in nine days a new phone will be on its way. That’s nine days before we can prove that we bought the phone in the past 365 days (most M7’s are out of warranty, admittedly), and that’s before potentially having to wait a week to mail the phone – possibly across the country. Or worse, waiting for a box to arrive… to pack the phone into… to then wait days shipping it across the country.
It’s nuts. If you don’t have staff capable of warrantying a phone off, don’t have your call center open. It just infuriates customers who need their phone operational immediately. It’s not un-insert-company-here… it’s just bad business to tell a customer to wait nine days with a defective phone before action can be taken.
We’re sure HTC will respond saying that, in most cases, it doesn’t take nine days to get back to a customer. But the fact they even caution that this is possible – is insulting to those still willing to take HTC up on their commitments. We’ve been burned on so many updates, promises, and falls-short with HTC, we’re done for now. No M9’s in this office. And probably no M10’s either.