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Issue with new mobile phone (HTC Desire)

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Hi folks,

At the beginning of July I took out a new contract with T-Mobile, which included a "free" HTC Desire handset.


Network coverage at home could be better, but it was bad with O2 aswell. We're surrounded by transmitters but something about the spot we're in seems to kill the signal. Anyway... I noticed a bit of a buzzing on the line, which I initially put down to being a signal issue.


Recently though, no matter how good or bad the signal is - everything is accompanied by a buzzing noise. The ringing tone (when dialing out) and every sound that comes from the earpiece in a call is the same. When on speakerphone (which uses a different speaker entirely) everything is as clear as one would expect.


Also, the "haptic feedback" (the phone vibrates when you use the on-screen keyboard) is audible with a kind of crunching noise. That seems to come from the mouthpiece end of the phone though, so maybe not the same issue.


It's my belief that the handset is faulty.


Being such an expensive phone, and being the sort to take care of things, I've been obsessive about keeping it in its case, keeping it dry and so on so I can't see that I've caused the problem... but as far as I can recall the feedback issue wasn't evident when I got the phone.


So, before I pop into the shop to get it sorted I'd like to know the following...


  1. Am I entitled to a replacement handset? They may offer one, but if not, can I throw a tantrum, stamp my feet, throw my toys around and get one under the relevant legislation?
  2. I expect they will offer to repair it... do I have to accept a repair (under the contract they will provide a replacement handset in the mean time) or can I insist on a replacement? (This is somewhat tied to question 1, I know.)
  3. There's always a chance they will just say "not our problem, you broke it" - which I didn't - so where do I stand in that situation?

I've done a fair bit of searching on Google and had a browse around on here but can't seem to find anything that answers the questions directly.


I did see a comment that the procedure for dealing with faulty handsets should be on T-Mobile's website, but having read all the likely documents there I can't find any mention of handsets at all.


If anyone can offer some input into this matter it would be very much appreciated. If you can mention, in your reply, what legislation might apply too, that would be a huge help.


If it makes any difference at all, my copy of the Terms and Conditions (as stapled to the service agreement in the store) doesn't include anything before clause 4.4.6.


Anyway, that's more than enough detail from me, I expect.


I look forwards to your replies.


All the best.

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1. Within 14 days it would be reasonable, if they agree there is a fault, for it to be replaced with one that doesn't have these problems. The acid terst it to try a similar model next to yours.

2. A repair, so soon after purchase should be rejected. There is no requirement for them to provide a loan handset, although it is good customer service to do so. If they cannot accept that there is a problem, it MAY need to go to a workshgop for testing. This is their right.

3. So soon after purchase, the expectation is there is an inherent fault, so this should not be an issue.

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1. It's not within 14 days, unfortunately. I didn't even realise it was a phone issue and not just lack of a good signal for the first couple of weeks. The crunching noise from the feedback is a later problem too.

I know for sure that the salesman in the shop had the same phone so we should be able to establish if there's a fault or not.

I just wish I'd had time to go back with it sooner!


2. They have a contractual obligation (one of the features of my plan) to provide a loan handset so no problems there. It's just up to 4 weeks since I got the phone, which is far sooner than one would reasonably expect normal wear and tear to take hold on a phone that retails at around £400 when bought handset-only. Would you still say it was right to be rejecting a repair at this stage? It seems far too soon in my opinion, but I guess the whole point of posting this was to get other input and see if I'm being reasonable.

I'd be less than happy being without the handset for however long testing would take (especially as this has become my calender as well as just a phone) but if it's the only way... Thanks for pointing that out.


Thanks very much for taking the time to reply.


All the best.

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As a handset-only deal, I think you've got every right to be indignant and to expect a new-in-the-box replacement.


A great tactic is to be reasonable, explain you don't like spending £400 on an inferior product, and appreciate it isn't the shop's fault. However, you really won't be satisfied unless (having confirmed the fault) that you get a new in the box replacement, not a refurb or repair.

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Sorry, I might have confused matters a bit there...


The handset retails at £400, but I got it as part of pay-monthly contract (hence their obligation to provide a loan phone as part of the contract we have).


I mentioned the retail price as it's not like I got the cheapest, nastiest phone I could lay my hands on and was surprised when it went wrong... it's "top of the range" and you don't expect things like that to start failing within a few weeks.


Sorry about any confusion there.


That said, would you consider the expectation of a new-in-the-box replacement unreasonable? Having gone from spending £10 per month to spending £30 per month over 24 months, this phone is, in effect, costing me £480 so I have the same expectations as I would if I'd bought it handset-only, but obviously I didn't, so I'm not sure if the expectations I have are "reasonable" in terms of resolving this issue.


Thanks again for your time, and sorry again for any confusion I caused by bringing the retail price of the handset into things.


Either way that's exactly what I'll be trying to get, and having seen my mother in action (she's an absolute master of being reasonable while getting companies to bend over backwards for her) I appreciate the value of the right approach... I'm just a bit green on the "what I should reasonably expect" front... and that's something you've already been a big help with. :D



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A contract phone only has this value to you - nobody else, so this muddies the waters somewhat. Today's top of the rage in next months 'bargain deal' , so manufacturers know early atopters are willing to pay the price by way if inducements etc, they are also instances where the firmware or other issues have yet to be sorted. If you got the phone for free, you cannot insist on a replacement, but you might get one is you ask nicely. The phone is an 'inducement' to stay or enter into a contract. There are arguments that you are not covered by SOGA, as you never 'paid' for the handset conventionally, but all you need may be a firmwate flash and the problem is resolved.

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That's frustrating.

I guess I'll have to go on a charm offensive to get this sorted. :D


So, if the phone really is faulty, yet I didn't pay for the handset per se, does that basically leave me up the creek without a phone and relying entirely on the goodwill of T-Mobile?


I know what you mean about today's top of the range... although the last phone I got was a Nokia 3310 somewhere in the region of 10 years ago... not exactly the sort of early adopter to flit from one cool phone to the next! :p

I know that doesn't likely hold any water in the real world, but it stings a bit to hear that it has no real value. Harsh, but probably just one of those things I'm going to have to try to work around.


If it only takes a firmware flash I'll be happy enough (you can't beat a new phone though!) but armed with what I've got from this thread and knowing where I stand - I'll be heading out to chance my arm before the shop closes tonight.


Time to be nice, friendly and completely and utterly bare-faced. :D It served me well in getting free stuff when I was already underway with setting up the contract... let's see if it will work so well now.

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Not really goodwill, it's up to T-Mobile/Orange to ensure you have equipment that works as advertised, so if they agree to loan you a replacement, it may well be the same make and model - and not a loan (IYSWIM). No point looking for problems when there may be none - they could have had a batch that did the same for all we know, and they're ready for it!

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Erm... maybe I'm being dense, but I'm not quite sure I see what you mean on the loan bit.

I think I do... but I can't be sure.

(For someone who's meant to be smart, I really can think myself into knots with simple things like that!)

Any chance of dumbing it down a wee bit?


You're right enough about looking for problems when there may be none, of course. I just prefer to have an idea of where I stand and what I can reasonably expect before I go in and either get what I'm due, or chance my arm for what I'm not. :)

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If it is a known fault, and it is a popular handset, distributors often ship out white box (new unbranded) replacements to cover themselves. All the end user sees is their issue being dealt with. Even if you have a replacement phone guarantee, it is not unknown for them to provide the white box option, and tell you not to return it (in the end, the result is the same).


Of course, you could be biologically incompatible with this handset type, and there is no solution! :D

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Ah right - I see now (heck I'd have had to be more dense than I can imagine to miss it after you spelling it out so clearly!)

A white box replacement loan would be ideal as long as it worked.


As for biologically incompatible with this handset, oh I hope not. I've been singing its praises since I got it (and haven't missed a single appointment yet - I even renewed my library books on time - and I almost NEVER remember to do that!)! I'm dreading the day where it packs in completely, as all phones do eventually, and I have to start looking for something to replace it with.


Any idea how to tell if a white boxed phone is new or a refurb?

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Refurbs really are not an issue for the first 8-12 months after launch. It will often NOT have the charger and accessories, and this is why it isn't in retail packaging. There's no foolproof way of telling as even refurbs have the latest firmware and new shells. But do what you need to do BEFORE you leave the store and compare, that way you can get them on your side if they experience the same issues.

  • Haha 1

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Thought I'd post a quick update.

At first it sounded like I was getting the runaround, shop said call customer support and they'd replace it... support said only with a refurb but shop will replace within a month... shop said only in 7 days actually but we'll get back to you.


In the end though, "new phone". Not a white box, a full kit.


I'm happy, the haptic feedback is still crunchy - so I'm guessing that's a "feature" - but the earpiece is now crystal clear and I'm a happy boy.

I chanced my arm at getting to keep the battery and charger from the returned phone as spares would be fantastic when battery life is as short as on the Desire.


Buzby, thanks very much for you input on this one. I hate going into things without some clue about what's going on and where I stand. In situations where I know I can't really wade in making demands I take a rather different approach so thanks to you I've was able to get off on exactly the right foot.



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Anytime! That's what CAG is all about!

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