Nokia Lumia 920 / Windows Phone Support is Broken

About three months ago I purchased a Nokia Lumia 920 to replace my Samsung Focus. Since investing in Windows Phone I have made a pledge to not buy contract phone. I never liked the idea of being held hostage by the carrier with subsidized phone contracts. When I purchased the phone I plugged in a Fido micro SIM and it worked without any problems until...

Freezing Up

After a few weeks it started to randomly locking up when idle -- most often while charging at night and occasionally while sitting in my pocket. Not great because locking up prevents incoming phone calls which is part of the reason to carry a mobile phone in the first place. It was good to know that I have not been the only one to see this problem.

I reached out on Twitter and heard back from the Windows Phone Support account. After exchanging quite a few tweets I was getting concerned by the lack of concrete progress and sent the phone to Nokia at my expense for repair.

Blacking Out During Calls

Nokia's outsourced repair company, Flextronic, made a half-assed attempt to repair the phone by reloading the software. It appears they forgot to actually test the phone though because it came back with a new problem -- blacking out during phone calls:

Unlike the locking up this problem is what I would consider a critical failure. How would I access my voice mail without being able to type in a PIN? What about all of those IVR systems that required me to put in an extension or choose an option? I was out of luck. Back to the folks at Windows Phone Support on Twitter where they suggested that the proximity sensor might be an issue:

Great suggestion and once again others appear to be experiencing the same issue. This was also confirmed by my sister-in-law who purchased a Lumia 920 on my recommendation (talk about egg in the face with all of the issues!). The eventual conclusion by the Windows Phone support folks was that I should have it sent in for repair.

Roger That, You Are On Your Own Fido!

Remembering that I paid full price for the product from Rogers I thought they might be able to help. Rogers Twitter team suggested that I take it into the store. I had my doubts though and explained that I'm not the average customer being an off-contract purchase and with Fido.

But I went in anyways hoping that they would be able to deal with it because, after all, Fido and Rogers are just two brands under the same company. I stopped by the Burlington store on Appleby Line and explained the situation to Jennifer. She was ready to help me when I dropped the bomb that I have no relationship with the Rogers brand and that I'm a Fido customer. At that point she explained that the repair system is based around a Rogers account for which I have none. To make matters worse she explained that they do not exchange phones - only send them into repair. She also suggested that based on her past experience they would likely do the exact same thing they did last time - reload the software.

Nokia, Hello, Anyone?

So here I am stuck with a phone that is unable to fulfill basic phone functionality outside of my car which luckily has an on-screen dialer. Nokia's Twitter support account has not bothered to reply either at this point with my last tweet suggesting that the last time I sent it in for repair I did not get a proper diagnosis:

So what now? As far as I am concerned it is your move Nokia and Rogers. If Rogers wants exclusivity they need to figure out how to deal with warranty repair issues regardless of having a Rogers account or not. Nokia built the defective device so it is in their court to take ultimate responsiblity. I really want to like this phone but the quality issues harken back to the frustration of trying to get support with my unlocked Samsung Focus. What is different is in this case I have done nothing but use the phone as-is, no unlocking whatsoever.

Fido, on the other hand, needs to get a new social media team because all they try to do is sell me a new phone:

Microsoft needs to pay attention to this as well -- if this were an iPhone I could walk into any Apple store and walk out with a new phone with little fanfare. Instead I'm out $50 in shipping charges just to have the software reloaded and lots of time and frustration with a device that I'm now embarassed to carry around.

Help?!

UPDATE: Rogers Doesn't Want To Help

The folks at Fido's Office of the President graciously offered to pursue the issue of how to get support with Rogers. Dominic called today to tell me that Rogers, however, will not help me. The message here is that if you buy an off-contract phone from Rogers don't expect to get any help if you don't have a Rogers account. That's great to know so I can set my expectations even lower for the folks at Rogers. Nokia, what say you?

UPDATE 2: Nokia's Service Recovery Team Comes Through With a Replacement

Yesterday Fedex dropped a package off at my doorstep. It is a brand new Lumia 920. This all happened because I continued to push that a) having me send in the phone again at my expense is unreasonable given that they did nothing to fix it the first time, and b) no one would guarantee that the problems described above would be addressed if I did send it in. Someone at the Nokia social media team finally offered the escalation path I needed:

Shortly after emailing na.ps(at)nokia.com I received a phone call from the Service Recovery Team - their phone number is 866-665-4298 in case you are experiencing the same issues. The folks there were gracious enough to offer to ship me at their cost a replacement phone. At this point I need to follow up on how they want me to send the defective device back as no return instructions or shipping label were included. But nevertheless I am very happy to be back on Windows Phone and being able to put the Google Nexus 4 back to its original purpose - an Android test device.

What is equally frustraiting is that while the Service Recovery Team is in contact me about a replacement phone the Nokia Canada Customer Support Team continued the position that I must send it in at my own expense with no guarantees that the problem will be resolved. I had reached out to them through the repair complaint form and I am surprised that a channel meant for escalation is so poorly empowered to the point that they are ineffective and a waste of investment IMHO. Only once I informed them that the Service Recovery Team had reached out to me that they confirmed that this is the team I should be working with. Is the company that disconnected that they cannot manage customer requests in an integrated fashion?

If others are experiencing similar issues with their Nokia Lumia 920 I hope that the tales of my journey will help them reach a conclusion. For my sister-in-law who is experiencing the same hardware issues with her Lumia 920 I have asked the Nokia Service Recovery Team to contact her about a replacement as well. The effort I had to put in to get the clearly documented defects resolved were much more than I expected. It frustrates me because the platform will only succeed if quality hardware and service exist -- a great OS will not succeed on its own. If carriers and manufacturers cannot step up then Microsoft will ultiamtely fail to gain traction in the mobile space. Had I not been there to help my sister-in-law through the same issues she would have likely given up on her first exposure to Windows Phone and returned to her old iPhone and that is how market share is lost. I hope Microsoft and Nokia will consider doing an internal retrospective on the case - you cannot leave issues like this alone because the platform will infact die by 1,000 cuts as the saying goes.