Note: The following story could influence you not to buy a HTC Desire..so read with caution!
Since the first HTC phone arrived on the Dutch phone market it’s my phone brand! Back in the early years of the 21st Century I started with the Orange SPV (for what I heard the first Windows based smartphone on the Dutch market). Every year when I could renew my contract I selected another Orange branded HTC (back in that time they operated under the name Q-Tek in the Netherlands), so I used many different HTC phones.
I hear my dad sometimes tell me that in his years everything was better! Normally I just start smiling, but the technology nowadays of course can’t be compared with the technology back in the 60-ties or 70-ties! One thing was definitely better in my ‘early-HTC-years’….the service they had!
A phone is a piece of electronic equipment…and just like a computer electronics can fail (sounds familiar right?). When I had a problem with one of my earlier HTC phones the warranty was great and the service was even better! You called HTC (in the Netherlands) and if the failure was reported within your period of warranty a courier would switch your phone for a (repaired?) new one. Most of the times (over the years I had I had several ‘troubling’ phones) the courier showed up the next day! So great service indeed!
Bad luck with my Desire
With my current phone I had some bad luck. Within the first month of my Desire I dropped it on the floor, too bad for me. But after a call to HTC it could be repaired. Of course it wasn’t covered by the warranty, so I paid for the repair. No problem, because it was my own mistake. Because HTC told me I had to contact their repair center myself, I also had to send it in myself (normally a courier picks it up at your home/work address).
The first repair job
I received a ‘trace’ code from the post office (so I could trace the delivery at the service center). When I checked my tracing code the next day I saw that the package was already delivered at Dynafix (the repair center for HTC). When I called Dynafix after a couple of days to ask when the phone would be repaired, since I was unable to logon to their service website to check it myself, they told me that the phone was lost. It did arrive at their logistics department (I even had a signature of the person who it was delivered too), but they lost somewhere in their internal distribution…. A week later then it was received they found the package and start the repair….
This was also the time I was able to check the repair status, but it didn’t change so I called them. Ow..did I tell you that Dynafix told me that my phone would be repaired in about 1-2 weeks, keep that period in mind! When I asked them why the status was on ‘checking your phone’ for over a week they told me that they’re waiting for parts. Because of the popularity of the HTC Desire they didn’t have a glass cover on stock. They ordered a glass cover in Taiwan (or Thailand..I’m not sure) and the delivery could take 3-4 weeks…
Of course I wasn’t very happy because they promised me 1-2 weeks repair time, but hey….such things can happen. No problem at all. In the end it took them 3 weeks in total to repair my phone (incl. one week they lost my phone)…
The WIFI problems
No problems with the service so far, except for ‘disappearance’ of my phone… HTC was one of the first company’s besides Google to update their smartphone’s OS from Android 2.1 to 2.2 and I received the update a few days before I went on vacation. Installed the update and went to St-Tropez for a nice vacation! Of course I was able to use internet (Wi-Fi) during my stay, but this is where the troubles came in. During the next 10 days I had troubles connecting to the Wi-Fi network, but at that time I thought it had something to do with the bad reception and the access point in general. So when I was back at home I tried my Wi-Fi connection which worked great before the Android 2.2 update, but I had the same trouble at home which I also had in the South of France.
The second repair job
So after a factory reset and some testing I called HTC to report an issue. They told me it would be picked up by a courier, but in 2010 the HTC service degraded and I wouldn’t get a temporary phone. I had no choice, or my phone wouldn’t be fixed, so in the end I agreed. Again I received a ‘track & trace’ number so I could check the repair status at the HTC website. During the next week I checked the status every day…and every day the status was telling me the same “We are testing your phone”. Because I couldn’t imagine they had to test it for about a week I decided to contact HTC again. When I asked the customer representative why the status was still showing “We are testing your phone” after almost a week he had to call Dynafix to verify the status. After a few minutes he told me Dynafix didn’t have the parts in stock, so they had to order the parts in Taiwan (or Thailand, I’m still not sure). This time they had to order a Desire mainboard, which was giving the problems. I asked the HTC service guy if he was sure, because I couldn’t believe it. I asked if this was the normal procedure: parts were never in stock, but that was not the normal procedure. In a normal situation parts should be in stock at Dynafix, I just had bad luck. To express my feelings I tweeted about the repair time. HTC_NL reacted by sending me a DM asking me for the IMEI number. After I DM-ed them back they told me someone of the customer support department would contact me by phone. The next day they did. Too bad the woman on the phone understood my problem, but the Desire was a very popular phone and the parts were not available throughout the world, so at the moment they had to be ordered at the factory. So the repair could indeed take a couple of weeks.
Fixed or not to fixed
After another 14 weeks I received my phone back and they told me the problem was fixed (they switched the mainboard), I could even see they did because my phone had another IMEI number and they loaded the latest fixes on my Desire. I was really happy that finally my Desire was all fixed…but that didn’t last for long!
I started to reinstall all my apps and moved most of them to my SD Card, but when I tried to pair my phone with my car kit I experienced that my problems weren’t fixed at all! I didn’t believe it at first, so for the next few days I have spent checking and factory-resetting my phone for a couple of times and even one time without installing any application. But the problem stayed : Bluetooth pairing with my car kit and the connection with my WIFI access point didn’t work the way it should. I was able to setup a WIFI connection (with several different access points at different locations), but when I tried to browse the internet or download an application. So last week I decided to contact HTC Customer Support again to ask them what they would do to fix it. The answer was an expected on : We would like to pick up your phone to let it be repaired. I told them that this was going to be a problem if they, again, wouldn’t give me a spare phone (like back in the good old days). The customer representative guy couldn’t decide that, so he would escalate my issue (after I explained my issues with HTC, the issues I described in this blog post) to the escalation department. And again it felt great to tweet about it (and again the tweet is in Dutch). They would contact me probably next week he promised. And he was right…last Monday the escalation woman contacted me again (it was the same woman I talked to during the first escalation). I really don’t understand why the fuck the call it the ‘escalation-department’. In my humble opinion the escalation department comes in when the normal customer support guys aren’t able to fix the issues. The escalation department then fixes the problems making the angry customer an happy customer again. But not the HTC Escalation Department…the woman told me the only solution for me would be to let them pick up my phone and again I would be without a phone for another week or two. Because I had already had a not very good experience with the repair center (Dynafix) I refused and asked if this was the only solution, mentioning my bad experience with Dynafix. She had to talk about it with the escalation manager and would contact me within a few days. Today (Wednesday, September 23nd, 2010) she called again with some bad news. They really would like to investigate the problem, because I was the first person in the world with these kind of problems (am I? Let me know if you have similar issues in the comments below or via e-mail!). The only solution they offered was that they would pick up my phone and it was not possible for HTC to give me a spare phone for a few weeks. What kind of escalation department is this? I explained to her that a HTC Desire wasn’t a cheap device and nowadays it’s not possible for a guy like me (IT Pro, Gadget freak) to be without my smartphone for more then a day…
Even when your TV is broken the TV shop (or even the TV brand itself) would give you a spare TV, or even switch it for a more expensive one *hint* as you can read in my two Philips blog posts. But escalation isn’t what it had be, the only way HTC would fix my Desire was for me to loose my phone (without getting a spare one)….and that wasn’t an option for me.
So I told HTC that the huge positive ‘HTC-Vibe’ I spread would come to an end…and I would take the time to write a nice blog post about it (the story you just read). I’m not sure what to do next, but if HTC just would be a nice company again and letting the escalation department just do their job and taking service serious again. Maybe then my next phone will be a HTC device again…but for now?? The chance my next smartphone would be an HTC is even smaller then the change it will be an iPhone (and the people who know me, know how small that chance is….). Ow…and eh….my wife also has to look for a new smartphone in the next couple of weeks..hmm…would se be the one in our family to own a non-HTC Windows Phone 7 (or Android) device…or would I sell my Desire for a good price (you can still claim warranty hehe)..and buy a non-HTC device myself..time will tell!