As I write, my very geeky wife is involved in one of those sisyphean discussions with a phone company CSR.
Until an hour ago, she was delighted that her new DroidX had arrived, and that she was lucky enough to be one of the fortunate few with the latest hot phone.
On the back, in the battery compartment, the DroidX has a little tag that says "Pull". It looks a great deal like the tabs that manufacturers put in electronic devices to protect a factory battery from discharging before purchase. So my wife pulls. When she follows the phone's instructions, the insulation panel with the serial number and other phone ID information comes out of the phone completely, tearing the pull-tab in the process.
So she calls Verizon. Verizon's take: Not only did she "cut the sticker" (she did no such thing, it tore a bit when she pulled it), not only is it "her fault" (for following the instructions printed on the phone), but now Verizon claims the phone's warranty has been voided, and her only option is to buy yet another brand new phone.
And get this: since she's "voided her warranty" by following the instructions printed on the tab, she's no longer allowed the 30-day evaluation period. She's stuck with paying $500 for the phone AND a two-year get-out fee if we want to run screaming from this unforgivable customer service experience. We think. It's complicated. There were a few other options, all of which are lousy outcomes for us, and involved us spending more money on this brand new phone. We haven't even turned it on yet.
Wife's in tears. Son's in tears because everyone else is upset. Can this be the out-of-box experience Motorola had planned for us?
My wife says: "I think we've come to a point where companies have gotten so big they don't have to care about the individual customer. When you're as big as the GNP of a small country, a $500 phone doesn't seem like a big deal. When the policy is written, they try to write it so no one can get around the policy, even when it would make sense. No one is given autonomy to go outside the policy, even when it would make sense. And nobody that has the authority to make a change is even aware that the situation occurs unless it reaches the media. As companies get larger and larger, this is just gonna get worse".
Why do phone companies try so hard to drive away subscribers with top-tier data plans who buy the top-of-the-line phone?
Won't thousands of other people make exactly the same mistake with the phone?
By the way: the tab? It's to pull the battery out of the phone. Don't ask me why they couldn't just put in a little fingernail notch.
Updated July 21 1PM EDT -
Motorola has also confirmed that following the instruction to pull the tab voids the phone's warranty.
Updated July 22 4:41 PM EDT -
I'm going to guess that this problem will mainly show up for folks who've had their DroidX phones shipped to them. These phones ship without an installed battery and no explanation for the tab. Folks who buy the phone at the store will typically have the salesperson install the battery, and the first time they'll encounter the tab is in the act of popping the battery out of the phone.
To clarify - we think the phone will work just fine. The part that's made us so mad is that the warranty is now gone. What happens if something does go wrong?
Updated July 24 12:35 AM EDT - Resolved? Maybe...
The Mrs. spoke to a different rep from Motorola yesterday who said "Huh? That doesn't sound right. Hang on while I check with support...No, Verizon is crazy, you didn't void your warranty...".
That sounds pretty good, but he had no way to put it in writing. He did ask the Mrs. to call back Verizon with the Moto case number to help straighten out their support desk, and suggested he'd look into getting Moto's story straight.
That's some relief - the Mrs. is using her DroidX at last, and is mollified, and the youngun is sleeping well tonight.
BUT - we have recent verbal assurance from Moto that the warranty is not void, and prior text assurance from Moto that it is void. That's not the happiest of resolutions. Would like to say we're done, but would rather hear policy from Moto and Verizon that clears this all up.