Talking from both sides of the mouth

Or, Nokia’s customer disservice team.

So, I had previously mentioned on my blog during a rant about iPhones and Podcasts and such that I had previously used a Lumia 920.  This becomes somewhat important to me again because Nokia was in the news this past week for offering a Samsung Galaxy S4 customer whose phone had caught fire a free Lumia as a replacement.  This struck an unhappy chord for me, because I had a pretty damning experience with Nokia customer support that put me off of using their products pretty much forever.  Yes, I will carry a grudge like you read about.  I will boycott products and companies that I don’t feel deserve my money, and I will be loud and obnoxiously outspoken to anyone who will listen when I do.

Let’s flash back to November of 2012, I’ve switched from an iPhone 4 to a Galaxy S3 (and am not liking it very much), and Nokia’s new flagship phone (The Lumia 920) is about to be released.  A buddy of mine is going to the AT&T store to pick one up, and I tag along in the interest of seeing the phone (and contemplating a purchase).  We get to the store and I get a chance to hold on to the phone, and aside from the plastic back that feels a little bit loose, the phone is pretty well built, I really enjoyed the UI, and ended up purchasing one of them out of contract for about $450.  On the ride home from the store, I’m setting e-mail up on the phone and it hard locks, gets really hot, and eats through about 20% battery in something like 10 minutes.  I hard reboot the phone and it starts behaving.

Over the next few weeks, I am introduced to the absolute worst battery life in any device I have ever, EVER experienced.  The absolute best that I ever got out of that phone (and only ONE TIME), I got 12 hours of idle time and absolutely no usage.  Mind you, after having battery life issues initially I turned every single turn-offable thing in the phone off.  I didn’t multitask apps (hell, I even forgot it was capable of doing it because I was so diligent about force closing apps in effort to keep my battery going), bluetooth was turned off, NFC was turned off, every single thing in the phone that I could turn off to enhance battery life was turned off.  I turned on their battery saver utility, never ran Nokia Drive (apparently a culprit for sucking battery life out of these things), and still managed to on average get 6-8 hours of idle.  Other times, the phone would randomly overheat in my pocket and eat about 30%-50% of battery in 15-20 minutes.  A quick search of Nokia’s forums showed many, many people having this problem.  Matter of fact, the Forbes reviewer that reviewed the Lumia 920 had the exact same problem.

I went back to the AT&T store in effort to have them replace the phone, but they were unable because the phone was a new phone, yada yada, I had to contact Nokia to arrange a replacement.  So, I did — and this was just a bad idea.  I should have just sold the phone at this point and called it a day.  BUT ALAS, I did not, and now you have something to read.

I call Nokia and their support is pretty useless — they parrot back to me everything I tell them I’ve done as though I haven’t done it, they ask me to reset the phone the way I already told them I had, they tell me to turn off bluetooth, etc. etc. etc.  Of course, I have already told them I’ve done this, but whatever, I do it again as a show for the idiot on the phone with me.  A few days later (they wouldn’t believe me that this didn’t fix the problem, I had to get off the phone with them and wait for time to elapse before re-calling them about the issue to explain that the troubleshooting didn’t work), and when I finally convinced them that I (and hundreds of other people) weren’t making this up, their only available solution was for me to ship the phone to them for a minimum of 2 weeks (they claimed it could take as long as 6 weeks!) for ‘warranty review’.  On a brand new phone, less than 1 month old.  I explained to the technician that he had his head jammed up his ass if he believed that in 2013 he could ask for someone to ship their primary cellular phone in for review for 2 weeks, and I expressed my surprise that Nokia did not have any sort of advanced replacement program.  They couldn’t even charge me full price for a replacement phone and then credit it back when they received mine.  They pretty much have the worst possible warranty support that could exist in 2013 short of not actually offering to look at the product.  I escalated the issue to Nokia’s executive office and unsurprisingly got the same bullshit back — no advanced replacement plan exists, you need to ship the phone in for 2 weeks minimum for us to review it.

So, fuck that.  I sold the piece of shit on craigslist at a loss ($200 loss, because no one wanted that terrible phone), and went back to my iPhone 4.

The reason I’m talking about this today is to point out Nokia’s inconsistent behavior:

1) Forbes reviewer got a Lumia 920 phone.  Their phone had the exact same battery life issue, and Nokia overnighted them a replacement.  I’d like to remind you, this was NOT a customer.  They paid $0 for the Lumia 920, and they got a free overnight replacement.  My guess is they didn’t have to return either of the phones they received to Nokia.

2) Samsung Galaxy S4 customer’s phone catches fire (allegedly).  Nokia’s twitter account reaches out to him and offers him a free Lumia.  Again, this is not a paying customer.  He paid Nokia $0, and is being offered a free phone.

3) User on twitter complains about their blackberry not working.  Nokia’s twitter account reaches out to them and offers a 2 week trial of a Lumia 1020.  Again, not a paying customer.  He paid Nokia $0, and is being offered a two week trial of the flagship Lumia phone at present.  (A solution, I might add, that would have been great for, oh, say a PAYING FUCKING CUSTOMER WITH A BROKEN DEVICE)

Through all this, Nokia’s support and the idiots managing their twitter account had absolutely no idea why I was upset — they just don’t understand why giving non-customers free phones while completely shafting paying customers is a problem.  A fact they have drilled in by continuing to offer non-customers free phones and phone trials, even after acknowledging (via the VERY SAME TWITTER ACCOUNT) that paying customers have to ship phones into a black hole for service.

So, in short, fuck you Nokia.  Your service is terrible and terribly inconsistent.  You obviously are more concerned with expanding your market share than taking care of any of your customers.  I’m not the only person you’ve screwed, and I’m 100% certain I won’t be the last customer your screw.  I will, however, make it my life’s mission to ensure that no one I ever have a greater than 5 minute conversation with will ever consider your shit brand of phones in the future.

Bad service pays in spades.  Even if 1/100th of the people I bicker to about this never buy Nokia again, I win.  Your lack of support has already cost you one customer, and I will do everything in my power (minimal though it may be) to ensure that as many people don’t buy from you as well in the future.