As many of my friends know. I am very hard on my electronics. My laptops, my MP3 players, my cell phones and even the TV remote all get abused in various ways.
So, in typical dumbass fashion, over the weekend I dropped my Nexus-1 phone and sadly, even though it wasn’t a far fall - a couple of feet at most - the screen shattered.
(I am travelling right now for work and I forgot my camera cable so I will have to post pics later)
After I was done swearing and calling myself an idiot I called HTC. The service from HTC was awesome, they told me up front a range in price to replace the screen (between 150$-250$) and via email sent me out a pre-paid shipping label to send the phone back. In fact,. just by having my phone serial number they were able to bring up all my account information including email address and T-Mobile billing address.
Because I am travelling, I did not want to be without a cell phone so I immediately pinged all my geek friends that were local to me and as expected one of them came through with an unlocked Samsung Blackjack. While this isn’t the most cutting edge phone in the world, it would work just fine. Before I was able to pick up the phone, I called T-Mobile just to give them a heads up on the impending device change and wanted to make sure that I didn’t need to modify my plan in any way to avoid extra charges. This is where things got really sketchy.
The first person I talked to at T-Mobile told me it would be no problem at all. She said she would put a note on my account and when I was ready to put my SIM Card in the loaner phone simply call them back and let them know. She also told me that there would be no charges as she would just adjust my plan temporarily so that I can still use both data and voice.
The next day I picked up the loaner phone (thanks again Mike you are a life saver!) and popped in my SIM Card. After entering the unlock code for the phone, it connected to the T-Mobile network with no issues. I made a quick voice call to test voice and then fired up the web browser. I was met with an error that I didn’t have a data plan. So I thought I would call T-Mobile back again and make sure that all was still well with me changing the phone.
The rep I got this time informed me that he would not be able to change my plan. Apparently, there is an automated system (I am paraphrasing what I was told) in place that would notify Google that I have changed my plan triggering Google to charge my on file credit card the various fees for changing my contract and “deactivating” my Nexus-1. I explained again that I was not trying to deactivate my Nexus-1 but was simply getting it repaired and needed to use this phone while I waited for mine to return. The rep apologized but said that there is nothing he can do and that I can use the other phone but for voice only. Changes to my data plan trigger the extra charges from Google and according to the rep — T-Mobile has no control over this.
So not only has Google kept my credit card on file, but they also shared my contact and billing details with HTC and T-Mobile. I don’t necessarily have a problem with this, it does make life easier when dealing with each company but during the design phase of this data sharing system how did they fail to consider the broken phone scenario?
Not willing to believe that the three companies who brought probably the best phone I have ever owned to market can actually be this dumb I called T-Mobile for a third time today. This time the rep said no problem and that he would make chances to my account. I interrupted him and specifically brought up what I was told the previous day. This seemed to confuse the support rep and he said that he wasn’t sure if that would happen or not. I asked him to verify. This seemed to be an annoyance to him and he offered to call me back once he knew. That was about 11 hours ago. Something tells me I won’t receive a call back.
I suppose I can live with the broken screen until the new Windows Mobile 7 devices are released and then add my Nexus-1 to the chopping block like I did my iPhone and Blackberry. It’s really too bad that such a nice piece of hardware backed up by what seems to be a great company (HTC) and runs a flexible Operating System (Android) gets tarnished by outright stupidity by both Google and T-Mobile.