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A rather irritating day


First off the bat, lets comment that I have no idea how other places in the world handle things such as a "returns process" and whether the USA or anywhere else is like the UK and have a sale of good act, but can we simply imagine two scenarios...

1) The UK

Customer (me) goes to the local mobile (cell) phone carrier in order to take out a new monthly contract (For info purposes, the market is a Duopoly). The carrier sells a contract that is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination at around £65 a month ($110ish), which includes a bundled new HTC handset (the 'device'). Customer takes the contract, goes home with the device, puts it on charge and returns later to find that the device is entirely dead (through no fault of the customer). Customer returns to the carrier's store with the dead device, and as they have been contracted to supply a working device. They replace it on the spot with a new handset, customer happy. The carrier then sends the device back to the supplier at minimal cost, they replace it with a new handset and the supplier returns it to HTC, who also replace. The customer has had minimal inconvenience, the carrier and the supplier also have minimal inconvenience and cost in returning the dead device to the manufacturer. End to end, the customer, the carrier and the supplier have some, but minimal inconvenience and cost, but through the contracts each have to supply each other, the device works it's way back up the chain and is replaced to each party with a working handset. Problem solved.

2) The 'other country'

Same situation of taking the contract and the bundled device and find it to be dead. The customer returns to the store. The carrier entirely absolves itself of all responsibility and say they are simply passing on the device on the behalf of the local supplier, who do not have a retail presence. The carrier ignores the fact that they were contracted to supply a working device and state they only had to supply 'a device' working or not, the contract cannot be cancelled. Carrier refers customer on to the supplier, who the customer has no contract with, nor prior knowledge of. The customer must make contact with the supplier themselves and take the device to the suppliers location for the warranty to be honored. Supplier takes in the device for 'investigation', customer now has a contract they must pay for with the carrier, and no handset for an indeterminate amount of time while the supplier 'investigates' or otherwise pays a minimum wage (here this means around $150 a month) worker to pull it apart and figure out if he can fix it. Supplier may eventually either return the fixed handset (at which point the customer now has a repaired device and not the new one the carrier was contracted to supply) or eventually replace it. Looking at the best case scenario of the carrier refunding the days during which the contract could not be used the final situation is: Customer annoyed as had no device for a period of time, as well as having to find this supplier, take the device to them and then pick it up himself. Carrier has to deal with irritated customer, also has the cost of refunding the unusable portion of the contract. Supplier has the cost of holding the device, workshops and a guy to 'investigate' the returned handsets...

Now, logically, which of these scenarios work? Am I being unreasonable in being highly irritated and longing for scenario 1, where minimal inconvenience is had by all?

How do we handle these scenarios in other countries? Is it just the UK that have laws to prevent sales contracts being blagged off to suppliers who the client had no previous knowledge of?


  • ZeeZee London - UKPosts: 1,530 Jr Partner
    I've had similar experiences in South East Asia - although this was some time ago, especially the carrier absolving themselves bit. I think it's the same in Russia as well, but in Russia you usually buy your handset separate of your phone plan. Surprising though that this is happening if you bought it through a bundle.

    Personally I'd expect the 'UK scenario' as default. Carrier should handle returns process, just like if you bought it from Best Buy, Amazon, etc.

    Homer: He might have all the money in the world, but there’s one thing he can’t buy. Marge: What’s that? Homer: .......A dinosaur The Simpsons
  • My thoughts as well @Zee‌, but they simply do not want to know. Even after a 'discussion' about how they were my supplier and therefore had the duty of care. However all they are interested in is that they have moved on a device for someone else (the supplier) and they have no responsibility over it's state of working or not. There's no sale of goods act here buddy!

    The best I could agree with them was that the manager of the carrier outlet dropped the phone to the supplier and then emailed me the job note. I'm still paying for something I can't use though and must pick up the device myself after they've investigated / fixed it.

  • ZeeZee London - UKPosts: 1,530 Jr Partner

    That sucks dude. Probably better to get phone and contract separately in future? At least the seller is accountable directly...

    Homer: He might have all the money in the world, but there’s one thing he can’t buy. Marge: What’s that? Homer: .......A dinosaur The Simpsons
  • Aparently not mate, the carrier seemed to believe that if you go to any phone shop at all over here, all they're doing is moving on handsets on behalf of the importer and supplier (+ their own bit of profit margin). Any warranty work or failures *at all* have to be referred back to the supplier (who also happen to be based in the next nearest city, 140km away)

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