I’m not a tech blogger, much less an activist. I usually never write reviews about tech gizmos. I just buy devices that I think will be useful, and if my expectations aren’t met, I just quietly move on to some other product.
But after the experience that I’ve had with HTC over the past month, I simply can’t help but shake my head and attempt to put my thoughts on paper, in an attempt to convince myself that I’m not going crazy, and the world is not really as ridiculous as HTC has led me to believe it is. Enjoy.
Bought a brand new flagship tablet from HTC, soon after the device launch. It’s been treated carefully, in excellent condition, when 1.5 years later, it stopped being functional. After being in heavy use for 20 minutes, the display and sound would go berserk, and stop working. At that point, the only thing I can do is to power the entire device off, let it cool down for a couple hours, and hope it works again eventually. Through trial and error, I was able to figure out that light reading and web surfing was fine, but running any multimedia apps, such as games, is impossible to do for more than 20 minutes without the device crashing.
I called HTC support, followed all their suggested steps of factory-resetting the device, to no avail.
I called HTC support again, opened a ticket and mailed the device in to them for diagnosis. Using mail-tracking as they recommended, using my own shipping materials and money, all of which came out to ~$20. A week goes by, and they eventually contact me and tell me that one of the parts on the device is defective, which is what is causing the problems. They tell me that they will have to charge me $100 to fix it.
I bought the device brand new, 18 months ago, for $350. It’s bad enough that HTC sold me a faulty device that stops working so soon, and put me through all this inconvenience, but they also want me to pay an additional $100 just to get it in working condition.
Fine, I’ll go ahead and do it. I give the customer service rep my credit card number. She tries it, and after 5 minutes of me waiting on hold, tells me that their payment system is down and they cannot process my payment today. I ask her if I can pay online, and she tells me that because of my situation, it will have to be over phone. She tells me she will call me back the next day.
One more day goes by, and she calls me again. I give her my card details again, after another period of waiting, she tells me that they are still not able to process it. Apparently it’s because my shipping address is different from my credit card’s billing address. I tell her that’s expected; I use a different billing address on all my cards, and offer to give her my billing address. However, she tells me that HTC’s system literally doesn’t allow her to enter in a different billing address, to process the payment.
Fine, let’s just change the shipping address, and use my billing address as both the shipping and billing address. That’s inconvenient for me, because I’m not currently staying at my billing address, but at least it will allow them to process the payment. She puts me on hold for another few minutes. Eventually, she returns and tells me they can’t do that either. Their system literally doesn’t allow her to change the address, while the service ticket is open.
Ok fine. Let’s close the ticket, change my address, open a new ticket, process the payment, and initiate the repair. She puts me on hold for another few minutes. After a while, she informs me they can’t do that either. The system automatically forces the device to be shipped back to my house, if they close the ticket. I’ll then have to wait a week for it to arrive, and then send it all the way back to them again, just to get it repaired.
Can’t you just close the ticket, open a new ticket, and put the device under the new ticket, without going through this entire song and dance of shipping the device all the way back to me, and having me ship it back again? No. The answer is no.
I ask her if I can talk to her supervisor. She refuses to transfer me to her supervisor. I ask her if I can talk to a someone from the tech team. No, she refuses to transfer me to anyone. I’m not allowed to talk to anyone except her. I ask her if there’s anything she can do to resolve the situation. No.
I ask her if she can at least acknowledge that there is some problem in their system. No, there is no problem at all. Everything is working exactly as intended. Because my billing address happens to be different from my shipping address, there is no way for them to process my payment, and there is no way for them to change the address associated with the ticket without shipping the faulty device all the way back to me, and this is exactly how the HTC customer support system is intended to work.
Look, there has to be some kind of backdoor, or human override, or someone I can talk to, or some way to get this issue resolved, right? The answer is no. There is literally no way for them to process my payment in any way. There is no way for them to skip the payment either, on account of their dysfunctional system design. Literally the only thing they can do is to ship the device all the way back to my house, have me change my address to match my billing address, and then ship it all the way back to them again. There is no other way for me to get my 18 month old faulty $350 tablet repaired. And this is exactly how their system is intended to work.
In case I need to say this out loud: I have no plans of ever buying from HTC again.
Update: After having my tablet shipped back to me, I sucked it up and sent it to them all over again. This time around, instead of charging me $100, they have decided to charge me $240 to get the exact same problem fixed. After spending multiple days trying to contact them on the phone, I was unable to get any rational explanation on why the cost of repair suddenly jumped from $100 to $240. Given that I have no plans of spending $240 to get my 1.5 year old $350 tablet repaired, it looks as if my device will never be in good working condition again. I just wish someone could have told me this multiple months ago, and saved me all the countless phone calls, emails and USPS trips that I’ve had to make, for absolutely no reason. Thank you HTC.
Ticket number: 116242879644