Case Studies - Customer Service - Faults (network & hardware issues)

Smartphones, technology and customer service

A newly bought smartphone stopped working and the customer returned it to the store hoping they could fix it. When a smartphone is taken in for diagnostics or is repaired the customer is asked to deactivate the security settings on the device. This helps protect the customer’s privacy when the phone is sent away for repairs.

At the store the customer felt frustrated and anxious as he could not recall the passwords. His passwords were stored on his phone. Unfortunately, the password was incorrectly entered, and the phone locked itself. The store assisted the customer by giving him a loan phone for 2 weeks. The store also told the customer to wait until his phone was unlocked before disabling the settings.

After two weeks the phone was still locked, and the customer felt desperate as he needed his phone for work and for scanning in on the NZ COVID Tracer application. The customer phoned the manufacturer and they assisted him. The phone started working again and the customer returned the loan phone. But after a couple of weeks the smartphone stopped working again. This time the customer tried disabling the setting before taking the phone back to the store. Although the store took the smartphone it informed the customer three-weeks later that the setting had not been disabled. The customer was upset and asked for a new phone but the store advised him that it wanted an opportunity to fix the phone, as per the terms and conditions.

The customer was not satisfied and referred a dispute to the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution scheme. The customer said he was given poor customer service and he was not properly assisted by the provider.

The parties agreed to mediate the dispute. At mediation the customer said he felt disappointed that his smartphone had stopped working and that the store should have advised him earlier about contacting the manufacturer. The provider accepted it could have provided more information and should have realised earlier that the security setting had not been disabled when it accepted the phone for repairs. It apologised and offered some compensation. The customer agreed to give the provider an opportunity to diagnose and fix the phone within the time frame given.