Tuesday, March 19, 2013

More phone ranting - the HTC One X

My daughter’s babysitter came late to the smartphone party. She had a basic phone with texting and saw no need for a smartphone. But when her contract with AT&T was up for renewal, AT&T convinced her to upgrade to a smartphone with a data plan. It didn’t take much convincing since everyone in the world has a smartphone. Well, not quite, but that was how she felt. She paid $150 dollars out of pocket, a good deal of money for her and for a lot of people, for a discounted HTC One X Android smartphone as part of her contract renewal and upgrade.  She loved it for almost a month – for a little over the time it took for the 14 day return policy for the phone to expire. After that time, it stopped working. The HTC One X screen now consistently indicates that there is no SIM card being detected in the phone, and so she cannot make or receive calls. But there is a SIM card in the phone. To make this error disappear, she must turn the phone off and back on again. When she does this, the phone works for a few hours before the SIM card not detected problem reappears.
She told AT&T about her issue. They were very nice but said that they hadn’t heard of this problem before. However, they agreed to send her a new HTC One X phone. She agreed. She got the new phone and it worked for almost a week before the same SIM card error appeared on this second phone. Frustrated and unhappy, still without a working phone, she called AT&T again. They said all the same things as before and offered to send her another new HTC One X phone. She obviously balked at that resolution and told them she wanted a different phone. They informed her that because she was past the 14 day return period, the HTC One X phone is the only one she is entitled to unless she wants to pay more money out of pocket for a different phone. She is not going to be eligible for another discounted phone from them until her contract is up for renewal again in two years. Nice, huh?
A quick Google search shows that lots of people with this HTC One X phone are having the same SIM card problem. It’s interesting that AT&T claims to have no knowledge of it. HTC has also been made aware of this issue and they are telling customers who call them to try a factory reset. If that doesn’t work (which it apparently doesn’t in the long term), then to get a new phone. Again, very nice. I’ve read that some people are affixing clear tape to the back of the SIM card to keep it more secure in the phone, and this sometimes fixes the issue. But it’s not working for everyone and really, should you have to do that?
So as a consumer, if this happens to you, you’re out of luck.  Unless, like my babysitter, you break down into tears with a sympathetic AT&T support person who grudgingly agrees to send you a basic phone, free of charge, to hold you over until your contract renewal in two years. Because obviously the fact that you bought a smartphone that only worked for a little over 14 days is your own fault.