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Problem With Samsung Galaxy Portal


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Advanced apologies for the technical nature of this post. Sorry if it flies over any heads or gives any moments of headscratching.

 

In June I got a new contract with 3 for a Samsung Galaxy Portal (aka Samsung Spica) smartphone which has the Google Android operating system. I explained to the sales guy that I needed the phone to assist with my work and that I occasionally needed to check various websites that I administer which are work related. The reason I chose this phone was because the sales guy in the shop was extolling the virtues of Android (which I well know), and answered a big resounding 'YES' to one of my questions: does it support Flash player? The problem is, the version of Android it's running is 2.1 Eclair, and the Flash player doesn't work in anything less than 2.2 Froyo.

 

My initial response was to just update the software on the phone, but it soon became apparent that Samsung aren't likely to release a version of 2.2 for the Galaxy Portal. I went back into the 3 store to argue with the bloke who insisted that it did run Flash, and even showed me YouTube running on the phone. The problem is the YouTube app isn't Flash and if I'd wanted to look at YouTube I could have done this on my old Sony Ericsson W595. Anyway, after refusing to toddle off, I was then told by a manager to go to another website and download an 'unofficial' version of 2.2 and install that on the phone. The problem with this is two-fold - the first problem is that it doesn't support audio (problems getting the drivers to work with the Samsung chipset) which means calls can't be made or received, and the second is it would involve 'rooting' my phone which would then invalidate the warranty, as well as potentially brick the phone. I really couldn't believe his advice on the second point - telling me to invalidate my warranty!

 

Now ignoring the fact that I can't even use one of the websites I need to access which is reliant heavily on Flash, do I have any grounds for mis-selling of contract or phone due to the sales guy stating that the phone could do something which it couldn't? It does what it says on the box, but if I'd known that the Galaxy Portal was only going to be supported up to 2.1 I'd have chosen a phone that would have received at least another update. My argument is with the sales guy, although getting it to stick may be a problem as it was all verbal and nothing was in writing about the Flash issue.

 

If I don't have any grounds against 3, do I have grounds against Samsung at all? I really can't believe Samsung are allowed to get away with refusing to release an update, purely because they want me to buy another phone.

 

Also, asides from that, 3 have recently (less than a month after my contract got underway), changed the plan I'm on and changed the unlimited data allowance (which was actually 1Gb) to 500Mb. Does this constitute breach of contract by any chance?

 

I'd like to state I'm not trying to wriggle out of my contract, but I'm just annoyed that 3 have sold me a phone which doesn't have much, if any support of the manufacturer.

 

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

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OK, Android OS is open source, however the manufacturers only build the hardware into their phones for the current version. So IMO that lets Samsung off the hook... how could they make hardware for an OS that isn't even out yet!

 

You are right, upgrading the OS is risky and would invalidate your warranty

 

The 1 gig down to 500 meg... do you use more than 1 gig? If so and they will charge you for the extra it is to your material detriment and you can cancel. Do so in writing and make sure they agree (else they will fry your credit report!) It is arguable that even if you haven't used over 500 meg in the past, you will be in the future and that their lower limit is to your material detriment. That is the point I would argue with 3 rather than handset issues.

 

This is the Three "how to make a complaint" from their Code of practice

 

Making a complaint:

 

We take any complaint you might make seriously and aim to respond to within five working days. If you have a concern, please contact Customer Services on 0843 373 3333 (calls charged at your national rate) or call 333 from your handset (free) and we’ll do our very best to resolve the matter to your satisfaction.

 

 

Taking a complaint further:

 

In the unlikely event that we don't fully resolve your complaint or haven't responded to you in 8 weeks, you can contact Otelo for help and advice. Otelo is the telecommunications ombudsman– that is to say, it's an independent body that's been approved by Ofcom to resolve disputes between customers and providers.

Otelo may refer the compliant back to us if we haven't been given sufficient opportunity to resolve the matter or the complaint falls outside of the body’s remit. If Otelo accepts a case for investigation, like all providers we agree to be bound by the decision it makes.

You can write, send an email or call Otelo.

 

 

Otelo

PO Box 730

WARRINGTON

WA4 6WU

 

Email: enquiries@otelo.org.uk

Tel: 0845 050 1614

 

Personally I'd prefer to write to their customer services at

 

3 Customer services

Hutchison 3G UK Ltd

PO Box 333

Glasgow

G2 9AG

 

Include your name, address, mobile phone number and Three account number in your letter, and also request a DEADLOCK letter if they don't play ball so you can escalate the complaint to Otelo

If in doubt, contact a qualified insured legal professional (or my wife... she knows EVERYTHING)

 

Or send a cheque or postal order payable to Reclaim the Right Ltd.

to

923 Finchley Road London NW11 7PE

 

 

Click here if you fancy an email address that shows you mean business! (only £6 and that will really help CAG)

 

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The problem with Samsung is not a case of them producing *hardware* that will run with Android, but a case of them providing a *software* update that will allow Froyo to run on the phone - the easiest way to think of this is installing either Linux or Windows on a computer.

 

It's been proven by a programmer called LeshaK that the Galaxy Portal/Spica will more than happily run 2.2, but as the drivers for the Samsung hardware are proprietary to Samsung (in other words not open source) it's causing problems for most of the Samsung Galaxy Portal and Spica community as a whole. It just seems that they've decided to do one update and then dropped the phone only 6 months after it was released. Not exactly great support is it?

 

At the moment I haven't gone over the 500Mb limit as I've been fortunate to be in areas with either open wi-fi or somewhere that I've been given the key for the wi-fi, but as I'm working away a lot at the moment it's only a matter of time before I'm somewhere I can't easily get wi-fi access and I go over the limit. Since I posted this the other day my data allowance has bounced up and down by what seems like random amounts so I've got a feeling a call to their call centre for clarification on what exactly is going on is in order.

 

Could you explain what a DEADLOCK letter is by the way.

 

Thanks for the help :)

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What you're saying, using your PC analogy is if I bought a webcam for Windows XP and the manufacturer didn't release drivers for Windows Vista that the manufacturer would be at fault somehow. I agree they should, but I don't think there is anything you can do to force them.

 

A DEADLOCK letter is a letter confirming that they will do nothing more for you, and inviting you to take your complaint to a 3rd party arbitrator (Otelo in three's case). Any complaint heard by Otelo (no matter who is at fault) will cost three money. A good thread from someone at that stage here :- http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?271232-OTELO-is-there-any-point

 

I'd personally put in my complaint that it was mis sold as it doesn't have the feature that I needed, being advised to do flash the phone to an unofficial firmware that would void the warranty by the manager and you chose the "unlimited" data package as your usage fluctuates and that it is a change to your "material detriment". You've already pointed out a major flaw... it's all been verbal! The change in contract is the strongest point here IMO

 

I've almost fallen foul this past weekend with three.... my partner is with them, and she has seen my Android phone and loves it (I think she wants google latitude to low-jack me :p) so having seen the SE X10 mini pro on offer we went in. They weren't prepared to upgrade her but would start her a new contract, then she'd have to get their customer services to port her number across. Now, chances of getting someone to end one contract, port that number across to an active contract are slim to zero (closer to the zero IMO) so I've sent them a letter asking for an apology and their store staff to be fully trained or send me a deadlock letter. As my request offers them something for free or something that costs I'm guessing they'll capitulate :p

If in doubt, contact a qualified insured legal professional (or my wife... she knows EVERYTHING)

 

Or send a cheque or postal order payable to Reclaim the Right Ltd.

to

923 Finchley Road London NW11 7PE

 

 

Click here if you fancy an email address that shows you mean business! (only £6 and that will really help CAG)

 

If you can't donate, please use the Internet Search boxes on the CAG pages - these will generate a small but regular income for the site

 

Please also consider using the

C.A.G. Toolbar

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Thanks for letting me know what a deadlock letter is. At present my data access is still showing 1Gb of allowance so if that drops over the next few weeks I'll be firing a letter of straight away.

 

Once again, thanks for the advice.

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