His phone has a paperwork problem, but who is responsible?

By | March 19th, 2016

David Wilkinson’s phone has a paperwork problem. But is that his problem — or Samsung’s?

To find out, let’s rewind to the beginning of this handset debacle. Wilkinson bought a Samsung Galaxy S5 from a Certified Refurbished Website.

“Within four days, the phone screen went blank,” he says. “The phone powers up, but the screen is blank.”

Wilkinson asked Samsung to either fix this phone or send him another one. But it won’t. The reason: Samsung’s “customer service” department can’t find my purchase information for the phone.

“They state they need a proof-of-purchase with the IMEI number on it,” he says. “The paperwork that came with the phone does not have that information on it. Nor does the e-mail confirmation data I have. The phone box does, though.”

(The IMEI, or International Mobile Equipment Identity, is a unique 15-digit number assigned to all cellular devices.)

“All I am asking for is for Samsung to fix my phone or provide me with a refurbished phone,” he says.

That seems reasonable. But when we reviewed his paper trail — in this case, the chat log between Wilkinson and a Samsung representative — it suggested the company is trying to help.


“I will file a ticket for you, and you have to send the device to a repair center to get it fixed, and you also have to send the Proof of Purchase along with the phone in order to claim the warranty,” a representative promises.

That gives me hope, and it should give Wilkinson hope, too.

But hang on. Samsung allowed a refurbished phone to be sold through an authorized reseller that stopped working after a few days. Then it put the paperwork burden on the customer who was unfortunate enough to buy a broken phone. Finally, a Samsung rep promises to fix the phone, but how long will it take? Days? Weeks? What does he use for a phone in the meantime?

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Am I the only person who thinks something is very wrong with this picture?

Here’s how it should have happened: Wilkinson should have purchased a phone, and it should have worked for more than a few hours. End of story. Everything else was on Samsung — not him.

Samsung should have quickly honored its 90-day warranty on its pre-owned products instead of asked him for a number its reseller never gave him.

Our advocacy team can’t accelerate the repair process, but we would if we could. We can see this problem for what it is, though. It’s a bureaucratic, anti-consumer mess of Samsung’s own making.

I guess when it comes to bad service, it’s a Galaxy.

Who should be responsible for keeping the necessary records on a consumer electronics product? =

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