Feeds

HTC's UK repair centre suffering long delays, confusion

Smartphones just not a prestige product any more

High performance access to file storage

HTC has admitted its UK service centre is failing to repair and return handsets on schedule, but tells us the problems will soon disappear thanks to its new service centre.

Until then some HTC customers are being asked to wait almost two months for fixes that were promised in 10 days, and they are the lucky ones. Others report that HTC lost their handsets entirely, only for them to turn up a week later along with promises of deliveries which never arrive, and collections that don't get collected.

The details of what's going on remain unclear, but it is obvious that HTC has been critically unprepared to provide the kind of warranty support necessary if you're going to compete on price for the latest high technology goods.

Here at The Reg we get a lot of complaints about the quality of mobile service offered by operators and manufacturers, and we read every one to see if trends are emerging. Every company has a disgruntled customer or two, but once the complaints start to mount up they might warrant investigation, and when they start arriving faster than we can read them then we really have to try and find out what's going on:

"We recently upgraded our service centre ... and are doing everything we can to get our customers' HTCs back into their hands as quickly as possible" is what HTC told us, but it seems that the upgrade has cost customers dearly.

"We must apologise for some confusion cause [sic] yesterday," is what the company told a customer who had already waited six weeks for his repair. "We accidentally advised you your device had an outstanding quotation. This was in error and your device is due to be inspected at the end of the week when warranty status will be confirmed by the engineers in our new repair centre." Hardly inspiring confidence.

The problem seems to be with that new repair centre, which isn't properly equipped with the parts needed to get the phones working again. Persistent customers are being advised of this, when they can get through to someone who knows.

Staff are, eventually, telling callers that the relocation has left the company with a 30-day backlog on repairs. That's 20 working days, so expect to add six weeks to any quoted repair time from HTC, and to be without a handset for that time.

Many customers will find this unacceptable, and others might decide to buy products from a company that can offer repairs with greater celerity, if they can find one.

Smartphones used to be premium products, with a price and level of service to match. A decade ago your correspondent dropped his Ericsson R520 (the UK's first Bluetooth handset) and the company sent a motorcycle round with an immediate replacement (and I wasn't a powerful journalist back then either, just someone with more money than sense as the R520 was a very expensive handset). But as the technology has gone mainstream, the products have become increasingly price-sensitive, and manufacturers have had to shave all the costs they can.

Customer support is also more difficult to provide than many companies imagine. Even Google got it horribly wrong in trying to provide support for the Nexus S, before giving up and handing such things over to Samsung, which has some experience in the area.

HTC used to be a manufacturer, not a brand. O2 sold HTC handsets for many years, and provided the support for them too. These days HTC wants to have its logo on the shelf, but is ill-equipped to provide the backup services expected by the end users.

This new service centre, and the problems associated with getting it going, might just be an inevitable hiccup in the creation of a new consumer brand; other companies have made the transition so there's no reason HTC shouldn't be able to do it too, eventually. But customers will end up paying a little more for their kit, and they'll always be a cheaper alternative.

Other Asian brands are lining up to get noticed in the UK, notably ZTE and Huawei, neither of which has experience in supporting and servicing end users. Not all those brands are going to survive, and hiccups can always be the precursor of something worse. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.