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My Pixel has a manufacturing defect (9to5google.com)
544 points by ivank on Dec 10, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 344 comments

Google support and customer relationship is horrible. One day I enabled Youtube partnership out of curiosity (it was enabled for my country so I enabled it than on my account to see what it is about). Few days later I tried to login to my adsense account only to find it disabled! Problem is I have never enabled adsense on any website, I do not have or post youtube videos, or have done anything to violate the terms.

I am paying customer of gsuit, gcloud, google music, adwords, etc. I first tried with adsense complaint form, there are 2 of them, one if your account is disabled for invalid activity and one if you violated policies. I tried with invalid activity form because that is what my adsense login page says why my account is banned (evene when I do not have adsense enabled anywhere), but I get automated answer every time that the account is not disabled for invalid activity but for policy reasons and that is that. When I try the policy form, it sends automated answer that the account is disabled for invalid activity and that they can not investigate further...

Because I am paying customer of gsuit I tried support there. Guy from support tried for almost a week to get any human support from google regarding my case and he could not!!! Imagine that, support guy for a paying customer could not get help from inside his own company. That is such a fail for Google. He directed me in the end to the Youtube team to appeal there and wished me good luck.

Google must do something about it, this customer relationship is so bad. Why would I continue to pay for their other services if I can expect that they can ban me from them for no reason and without explanation or support?!

Google is by far one of the worst companies when it comes to support. They really don't care if you pay for their services. In fact, it seems they treat you better if you don't. The whole Gsuite integration they have going on is completely broken. You can't use google assistant or home (completely, some things work), can't use music with family sharing or YouTube red. My gsuite account also have problems connecting with my Android TV. I've tried to ask support but they just say "you're paying for those services"...

If they want to seriously compete with Apple and even Microsoft then they really have to step up their game.

The goal of Google Apps is to allow an employer to own and manage accounts for employees. They are fundamentally limited accounts owned by someone else. Sure: you might be your own "employer" and allocate yourself an account, but that account is still subservient to the organization you set up. With this in mind, what does it mean if an employee of a company pays for a month of YouTube Red by themself and then their employer immediately fires them and deletes their account? What happens to the data stored in such an account that the user will expect to still have if they are working with a social service like Google+ and signed up "as them"? Will they get locked out of the Android TV they own when their employer deletes their accounts? Will all the IoT stuff in their home, from their lights to their thermostat, all stop working when they get fired from their job and their account revoked? The concept just doesn't make sense to use these kinds of accounts for arbitrary Google services; accounts under Google Apps should not be thought of as personal accounts to be used for personal purposes: if there is some business reason for employees of your company to need access to YouTube Red the correct way to support that in Google Apps would be some kind of organization-level per-seat license, not to allow accounts to buy YouTube Red ostensibly for themselves. You should use a personal account for personal things and use Google Apps accounts only for use cases that fit the model of "this is a work account owned by an organization that could lock me out of that account at any second and would not want me using the account to store personal data or for any personal reason", whether or not you happen to have for some reason decided to set up a one-person organization where you own the organization and have granted yourself an account.

The problem is even if you have an Gsuite account added to your phone, it disables a lot of things. For example, I have my university Google account added to my phone. That automatically disables keyboard backup and sync to my personal account. I can somewhat understand the rationale here, because you don't necessarily want private corporate data being stored in the keyboard on a personal account. But Google doesn't make a distinction between Edu accounts and Business accounts for this. For Edu accounts it's a stupid restriction, and should be something the domain admin can override, but can't.

I just want to use gmail with my own domain.

That's basically G-Suite. I've was on that platform for >10 years. It's taken about three of them to migrate away from Google. Glad I was never "all in"

I'm not exactly sure what I'm using. I registered for a free organization years ago for my domain with gmail, and still have that. It says its G Suite in the control panel.

However, using this disables all kinds of google now functionality, and other stuff, as mentioned in the posts above.

You're in the original free Google Apps for Domains program, grandfathered. As the product has evolved, these grandfathered accounts have come along for the ride, at times with new G Suite features disabled behind a "try our paid plan for one month free" button. I don't know how many of these are left (I have one too), but they seem to occupy a weird product nether space that Google probably sees as a minor annoyance.

my company is permanently stuck at ten email accounts for this very reason.

What did you migrate to?

Still in progress.

Keep=>Trello Mail=>self, postfix

It's really a long post, maybe I'll do a write up

Here's what I did. Sign in to gmail using my regular gmail account. In settings "Add a mail account" and provide gmail pop3 and smtp settings with your email address and credentials for your own domain. Now in gmail (signed in with regular gmail account) I have options for which account to send from (I can change the default for that).

At the very beginning, Google advertises it as custom domain service. And I joined due to the feature (I can get my domain email without any harassment of setting the email server). Later Google changed it to business oriented and abandoned users like me.

Eventually, I opened new account with gmail.com address.

> Why would I continue to pay for their other services if I can expect that they can ban me from them for no reason and without explanation or support?!

Exactly. Which should be a huge hint to get yourself off of google services and thereby stop paying them. Like all big corps. their feedback loop consists of:

customer continues to pay -> everything must be ok

Google certainly doesn't represent all big corporations. I've had excellent experiences contacting Amazon as a consumer, and have almost always had my issue resolved with clear answers, store credits if needed, etc.

As a customer. And good on them for taking care of their customers. But then again they're also selling something to their primary customers. Try being a seller on Amazon and see what you think of the customer service. There was a post here just the other day about someone losing all access to their seller account because they changed a name on their personal kindle... that's ridiculous.

Google doesn't interact directly with their primary customers. They provide free services that draw eyeballs to serve up ads. That's it. If they were selling you access to google search (their primary means of income), I would imagine you'd find a much better experience.

We aren't their primary customers, advertisers are. If its free (Google Search, Gmail, Youtube, etc) you are the product.

Parent comment is talking about being a paying customer of AdSense and still not getting support. The problem transcends the 'you are the product' and goes to "no, their support is terrible even for their paying customers."

Look at it from Google's perspective, unless you are pushing volume and have a dedicated account manager, they will not help you, it'd cost too much for them to do so.

It wouldn't cost them too much, they just don't have an incentive. They've got a virtual monopoly on the search market. If there were 5 different search engines with market share split between them all, you can bet that they'd either need to provide superior support or superior margins to maintain their market share.

This is a symptom of a monopoly, not a symptom of the market/an inability to make money while providing support. I mean... let's get real, look at their quarterly income statements. There is a LOT of wiggle room to hire support personnel,

Sure, they could afford to hire support personnel, but they would be deluged with inquiries on day 1, even if less than 1 percent of Google's users contacted them every 5 years.

1% of ~2 roughly billion users = 20 million users. With one request every 5 years that'd be roughly 10k support requests per day. Considering that a lot of the cases can be answered very quickly (or possibly automatically) you can easily handle that with a couple hundred employees. The cost of that would be roughly 1/1000 of Google's annual income.

> The cost of that would be roughly 1/1000 of Google's annual income.

I don't own Google stock but 0.1% of revenue would be a huge number that you just can't blink away. Especially when it is not a one-off whim I mean spectacular moonshot but rather an ongoing business obligation.

I hate that the service sucks but I'd rather they don't waste money like this.

It's going to cost them even more in PR down the line. I'm at the point of not buying an more google products and I know many other people who have had the same experience and sworn them off as well.

Definitely, if there was another viable smartphone platform I'd be all over it, cause Android is a burning dumpster fire that Google has no intention of cleaning up. Funnily enough, Microsoft with the same OEMs (Samsung, LG, HTC, etc) on the same SOCs got the drivers they needed upstreamed so they could provide multi-year updates to their devices.

Google could get the drivers for most Android phones mainlined if they wanted to push the issue, but it isn't a concern for them apparently.

The biggest problem with this for me is the app ecosystem needed. If proper Android app emulation was present then I would love to try an alternative OS, but currently I rely too much on apps that are only available on Android/iOS for which a web app would provide a very poor experience.

Been here. I'm currently going on 2 months without a phone, since Google is still processing my warranty replacement (they promised 3-5 business days at the outset). As a friend of mine says "it's a monopoly issue. Usually if you're not well served you stop buying a service, not the case with Google." https://twitter.com/govind201/status/804559006551244800

Thing is, google has enough customers and makes enough money they probably don't need to do something about it. It frustrates the hell out of me, but that's sadly how it is.

Related: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2016-12-08/google-ma...

Aside from often uncommunicated and difficult or impossible to know implications, of enabling a Google service or feature. Aside from those, often in multiple dimensions (function, privacy, etc.), I am afraid to enable any new Google services or features, because doing so seems so often to be a one-way function with no means of reversal. Once you do -- even just to check something out -- you can never go back.

And then, the whole account-disabling thing. Did they not learn their lesson in that respect with regard to the early Google Plus rollout and all the problems, not to mention bad press, then?

Google doesn't just make mistakes, in such regards, they inhabit them, and they demonstrate a very persistent attitude that there is no problem in all this, in the first place.

I have the Google features I use. As I've mentioned before, I draw the line basically at Google Docs (ok, "Drive", or whatever, now). I don't use much of anything of theirs that is newer.

And, I tend to stick to functionality that they themselves are known for dogfooding and continuing to use, officially, internally.

Hell, even my Nexus 5x was a hassle, with the in my opinion poorly conceived as well as communicated Google Fi "we will take over and eliminate your free-standing Google Voice account/number, with no choice about the matter" behavior.

It's like they have no conception nor care that their users might actually come to rely upon their products and features.

That's a great model for building trust and the value-added customer relationship that goes with it. /sarcasm

Your experience is basically why I use both Azure and AWS, but have never even tried GCE despite their many promising features.

I've had great support experience with both Azure and AWS, but simply don't want to risk needing support on a Google product. Not worth the headache.

Huh strange, I've had excellent customer experience with GCE and Google in general. AWS also has excellent customer support.

Problem is when they find out your in violation of something on some totally unrelated google service and ban you from using GCE also. Not saying that it happens often but it do. On some old unused google account when google music was just enabled for US (they checked credit card address, I am not from US) I payed for the service to try it with friends US credit card. Some months later they disabled google wallet entirely for that account permanently, thereby rendering all their paying services unusable for that account because you could pay for them just over google wallet not with paypal or something.

And they likely do have good support.

I'll just never know, because it's not worth the time to find out (and potentially be wrong) when I can use services from providers with a reputation for good support (and who gave me good support for years prior on their other product lines -- something Google definitely hasnt done).

That, exactly that, is why I have made it a policy to not use any Google service beyond search and ads, no matter how enticing they might look.

They can't kick you out of search and it's pretty hard to hit issues with ads. But the other stuff. Whew! You could end-up with your wonderful Google-powered world disconnected overnight and no recourse to deal with it sensibly. Read stories about people losing their email accounts and more due to issues with other Google services.

One of our clients had an issue about five years ago and that was all I needed to understand that relying on Google can be deadly to a business.

He had over 200 domains parked at GoDaddy. And GoDaddy would place a page with ads on every single domain. These ads were powered by Google (said so on the page). They'd give you some insignificant percentage of the virtually nonexistent revenue.

Google launched a service called "Google for Domains". Park the domains with Google instead and get paid 100% of the virtually nonexistent revenue. So this guy decided "Why have a middleman?" and moved all of his domains to the "Google for Domains" service. This entailed listing them with Google and changing to the provided DNS. As you listed the domains Google went through some sort of a check and approved every single one of them. Presumably they didn't want obscene sounding domains or something like that (even though they -presumably- supported anything GoDaddy would thrown at them).

Three days later all of his Google accounts are suspended. The claim was "unexpected click activity" on the ads they placed on these domains. In other words, click fraud.

So, here's Google accusing a guy --who is doing 7 figures a year with his real business-- of clicking some ads to earn, what, twenty-three cents? The whole thing was surreal beyond all description.

Why did he do this if he didn't need to? Because he wanted to get the hell out of GoDaddy and when this announcement for "Google for Domains" came across his email he told his web person to just move all the domains away from GoDaddy parking. It was that simple.

There was no way to get through the Google customer-no-service wall. No way at all. The situation was final and without any sensible way to seek resolution. That one event, years ago, is what instantly made me decide reliance on Google was the worst business decision one could make. They would have to walk on water for me to recommend that anyone utilize their services outside of search and ads. What a horrible company.

This behavior isn't unique to Google. All the large web companies have such contempt for their users that they behave in totalitarian fashion and offer no sensible mechanisms for customer service or conflict resolution.

For example, if you advertise with Facebook, have no experience and run afoul of some of their nebulous rules your FB ads account could be permanently suspended or closed down. Again, just as the Google case, there is no real path to resolution. You can send in a form that probably ends-up in the hands of a petulant 24 year old child with no manners and devoid of the ability to deal with real human beings and get back a totalitarian "your account is permanently suspended" reply that helps nobody. Yeah, I've seen that one happen too. Once again, what a horrible company.

> So, here's Google accusing a guy --who is doing 7 figures a year with his real business-- of clicking some ads to earn, what, twenty-three cents?

The first problem here is that it's the automation/AI in Google doing these calls. The second one is the question where the fuck are the humans monitoring automation/AI actions ?

So no thanks Google, you can't convince me getting into your AI fairy-tale fueled products in the future.

I've had excellent experiences with Google on the hardware warranty side (Nexus) FWIW.

Cannot confirm that. Google denied warranty for my Nexus 7 because I was in Germany and not in the UK until I got EU customer protection authorities involved.

Note: I bought the Nexus 7 while in Germany through the Google Play Store website.

For me, they required me to send it in (and pay for shipping), then refused to fix it, required me to pay for them to send it back, and when it came back, it was entirely broken (motherboard was snapped in half, before the screen had only a few stuck pixels).

I still bought a few Google devices later on, but I won't let their customer support handle anything ever again. Fuck Google.

They sent me a replacement phone next day air before I returned the defective one, so I would not have to be without a phone.

This was an original Nexus 7, in 2012, a week after launch. It was the worst return policy I'd ever seen.

As a counter example, I had a terrible issue with my Nexus 5x, upgraded to 7.0, phone bricked itself while I was traveling. Got home, contacted customer support at 7 A.M., they informed me that my warranty had expired the day before, literally 7 hours ago. They refused to budge, left a very sour taste in my mouth.

Always escalate is my motto.

Same, I got a full refund for two nexus 4s after over 3 years.

If Google wants to charge Apple iPhone prices, they can't continue with Google level service.

That was literally my thought. Apple doesn't have the best customer service ever, but it's pretty decent and people that have warranties seem to leave happy.

a) if the author speaks the truth (and I have no reason to believe otherwise) that the was never dropped - Google should fix it. That much is obvious.

Now, the b). b) C'mon Google - you know the author is a techie / twitterer / reviewer - of all the people to annoy with customer service, is a person like that really the good choice?

This incident clearly exposes non-positive elements in their customer support culture.

>Apple doesn't have the best customer service

They don't? Who does then?

Now if you want to say they're not perfect and they've had their problems, I would agree with that.

Without a doubt Dell has much better customer focus for technical people. The 4 year support contact w/ accidentally costs the same as 4 years of apple care, but Dell's covers everything except lost and wore down batteries.

Apple requires that you book an appointment at one of their stores, go there, wait on line anyway because there are people who don't want to book online, have someone who can't fix hardware problems look at it, and then say they'll take it but you must give them your file vault password first.

Dell on the other hand after ten minutes of hardware troubleshooting on the phone comes on site with replacement parts. If they can't fix it they send it back for you, and you can request that they give you the hard drive in the machine before they send it. It's very excellent.

I'll second this. Dell sent a contractor to my home on Thanksgiving day to replace a laptop screen on my kitchen table. It took under an hour to replace. I've never seen that level of service from any other company, period.

Lenovo has been exactly the same for me, with their onsite + accidental damage protection. For the same price as applecare, I've more than once broken my laptop screen from a drop, and someone is at my house the next day with a new screen.

Lenovo has been amazing for me too. It's the reason why I buy nothing but them for my company.

I just wish they would do something about their website. I find it to be awful.

Except their build quality isn't on par with Dell and Apple.

I can echo this. Even in India - Dell replaced my wife's motherboard which was slightly out of warranty by sending a tech. support to our home with replacement motherboard.

On other hand - I have written a entire blog article about how shitty Apple customer care in India is - http://gnufied.org/2011/08/30/the-applecare-story/

Dell also send out parts no-questions-asked if you don't mind fitting them yourself, which is pretty great when you know exactly which part you need and what to do with it.

I assume that's why there are so many new Latitude/Precision keyboards on eBay at any given time (people bullshitting their way to getting spares and then selling them on).

When I had the keyboard repeat issue with my XPS 13 the the Dell customer support told me, that I do not have a problem at all and that they would not help me. I asked if I can send them the device so they can check it, but they told me it is not possible to send a device to Dell for repair.

Only after I posted my experience on a public forum I was contacted by a Dell social media person in the US who then organized support from Dell Netherlands.

That has not been my experience with Dell. My new UP2516D kept going black several times a day, with no apparent cause. I couldn't replicate the problem using the laptop with same DP cable, same laptop port on my wife's U2311H.

Dell customer support was hostile from the get-go, claiming "compatibility" problems with my MacBook. Compatibility? What could cause my laptop to be incompatible with the UP25 and yet compatible with the U23? Hogwash.

They finally agreed to exchange the monitor. They sent a refurb.

Since then, I've read multiple stories of people having problems with Dell monitors, using Windows or OS X. A common thread is the DisplayPort connection.

AppleCare does cover worn out batteries though...

I also feel like you are comparing Dell's enterprise support to Apple's general customer support...

He's not talking about enterprise support. Every Dell laptop I've had for the last decade has come with their on-site warranty and I've always purchased mine through Dell's consumer site or Newegg/Amazon.

Wait, seriously? If my consumer Dell laptop dies, they will send a tech to my house free of charge?

Yes, as long as you buy on-site support, which is the same price as apple care in most circumstances.

Interesting... there was this strong anti-Dell thread just last week: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13098954

Dell enterprise support is great. Support for cheap, plasticky, consumer stuff - not so much.

Apples main audience is not technical people. There is your first mistake. So comparing apples support for non technical people to dells technical oriented people support is flawed.

Dell makes it easy to tell the phone/chat support person that you know what you're doing but it doesn't matter how technical you are. A Dell contracted tech will come to your house and replace the parts right in front of you within a few business days. A non technical person just has to spend more time going through the troubleshooting checklist.

Dell's main audience is also non-technical people.

Herman Millar.

"My chair's seat fabric has torn a bit. Is there anything you can do?"

"When did you buy it?"

"Erm, around 6 years ago, I think."

Checks records

"No problem, an entire replacement seat will turn up in a truck tomorrow. We'll fit it and leave your chair good as new. Have a nice day, sir."

Indeed. I have a backpack made by Tumi, it was my brother's bag from around 2001 or so. When he passed away in 2005 I inherited it, and a few years ago I finally noticed it had a little RFID tag and barcoded serial number embedded in it. I went on their website and looked it up, he had never registered it. So I registered it and found that it has a lifetime warranty, even though they stopped making that model years ago, and if it ever has a defect they will fix it or replace it with an equivalent bag. That's some damn fine customer service right there, and it's a shame Google's support is falling on its face when compared to furniture and backpack companies.

This article is one more piece of news that makes me glad I excised Google from my life almost completely (I haven't found an alternative to my Nvidia Shield TV yet, but I'm looking).

Well, with furniture and backpack companies, the tolerance (or "forgiveness") for user error is a lot higher. If you accidentally drop your backpack, it doesn't have a screen or anything that shatters and requires a $150 part replacement. You can't even drop furniture in day-to-day use, really. Moreover, your backpack doesn't have a battery or anything that slowly but surely degrades over time anyways with a meager five-year lifespan.

I can't imagine too many ways that a backpack or piece of furniture can become accidentally damaged by "user error." Remember, so many people try to misrepresent their own mistakes (perhaps because they didn't understand what happened or they didn't realize it was their own fault) as product defects that the phone manufacturers all had to add things like internal liquid sensors to their devices.

On another note, many of my non-technical friends conflate Android OS software problems with device defects (e.g. "my phone died" actually meant that they had 300 running processes because they never learned how to close running apps on Android -- which to be fair is a PRETTY buried feature that doesn't lend itself well to user discovery; the number of people I see that don't realize they have to manually close apps on their Android phone is shocking). It's probably the reason there are so many ways to buy "refurbished" devices.

Needless to say, if Apple or Google started honoring a lifetime warranty, they'd lose a lot of money pretty quickly.

> "my phone died" actually meant that they had 300 running processes because they never learned how to close running apps on Android -- which to be fair is a PRETTY buried feature that doesn't lend itself well to user discovery; the number of people I see that don't realize they have to manually close apps on their Android phone is shocking

Maybe on a 2011 device with 256MB of memory and Gingerbread this was true, but memory management hasn't been a problem on Android phones for a few years now. The memory management has improved in parallel with the amount of available memory, to the point where the device can actually perform worse if the user goes mucking about and closing apps manually. With Marshmallow and Nougat it has become even more efficient.

Eh, not really. On my Moto G 2014 you can consistently crash the system UI if you have more than 2 or 3 apps open, and any further app you open also just dies.

The OS already uses 950M of its 1GB of RAM.

Interesting, I had a 2nd generation Moto G that would only bog down if I had a misbehaving/badly coded app running (Pandora, and basically any app or game that contained ads). It was a surprisingly peppy device for $100.

Sure that was a Moto G? The 2nd Gen Moto G was sold even at the end of its lifetime for 200$.

Yep, I got it from Consumer Cellular back when I used their service, their regular price was $150 but I got it on a promo for $100. That's without a contract, in fact I called and had them carrier-unlock it for me a few weeks after I bought it.

The Linux kernel has used the SLUB memory manager (and Android is just Linux) since major kernel release 2.6.23 so I'm very confused by your post?

Remember, memory is like a keg of beer, if everyone drinks it all, it's gone regardless of how you "distribute" it to people into smaller sized Solo cups or whatever.

I can think of a few things that could help but not solve the problem, but the crux of the problem is that it's still a finite resource:


Working against that, you also have Gates' Law.

Well, Android isn't "just Linux", if that were the case it wouldn't be able to run any Android apps.

Anyway, it's my understanding that Android uses custom heap size limits to help keep things running smoothly. This combined with efficient garbage collection makes for a generally smooth user experience on a constrained device like a phone or tablet. Android will cache, and later kill, processes that aren't being used, to free up memory for active processes. Memory may be a finite resource, but not in the way you described; it's not permanently used up and can always be freed for foreground tasks.

Similar with patagonia - I went to the store to replace my worn out day bag. Worn out mind you - not broken, still functional, just grungy and frayed a bit from years of hard use. The clerk realized I was buying the same bag I was carrying and insisted on processing it as a warranty return. He acknowledged that it was just standard wear and tear, but also that "we have higher standards than that - it should last forever".

I have a Steelcase LEAP, at least ten years old, that was acquired when a local company went out of business. The v1s had a design flaw where eventually a weld would break and the piece of metal that adjusted the front edge of the seat would fall out of the bottom of the chair.

I lived with this for a few years and eventually contacted the local reseller to see if replacement parts were available. Got blown off because I wasn't a corporate customer.

About a year later, I decided to contact Steelcase corporate directly. I described the problem, as well as how I'd been basically ignored by the local dealer. Told them how I'd gotten the chair, and that I was willing to pay for parts. Not only did they apologize profusely, they sent me an entire (v2) seat assembly - in black leather - at no charge, described the changes between the versions, and said it would fit on my chair just fine. It did.

There's a reason I now have four of these LEAP chairs at home.

Yeah, this. I bought a Herman Miller chair from a company that ceased to exist not long afterwards and, several years later, Herman Miller still cheerfully sent me a replacement armrest when I phoned up to say I'd managed to damage it whilst moving office. I was deeply impressed.

I understand that Barbour, the wax jacket company, are fairly incredible when it comes to customer service too. (Nothing has ever gone wrong with my jacket so I've yet to put this to the test.)

> "No problem, an entire replacement seat will turn up in a truck tomorrow. We'll fit it and leave your chair good as new. Have a nice day, sir."

I had to fight tooth-and-nail for an aluminum chair that had scratches all over it on delivery to get it replaced. They blamed me for scratching a chair that I'd paid over $1k!

Restoration Hardware is similar.

If you have a desktop computer, and particularly if you have a Server, Dell was pretty phenomenal (though I presume the same model was followed by HP as well). They will come on site, and, if you have an expedited warranty, they will come on site same day, sometimes within a few hours. When I ran IT, it was great to put a call into them, run through a bit of online troubleshooting, and then have them dispatch (separately for some odd reason) Parts and Labor to resolve the issue. Apple experimented with on-site support for a while, but it never really went anywhere. I guess they want you to come into their stores.

On the flip side, Apple Service is so good that now our IT organization just tells their employees if they have any issue, just go to the Apple Store and work with them directly. So, something to be said about that. And, it's getting to the point that almost all of the major cities I travel too have some kind of Apple Authorized repair - even if they don't have an Apple Store yet.

> Dell was pretty phenomenal

If you had enterprise-grade equipment. Their consumer support was absolutely horrible.

I used to repair Dell consumer equipment at my job, and Dell Complete Care was hands down the best warranty out there.

Dell Enterprise support is still highly variable, depending on the tech you land with. I've had to involve my sales contacts several times when techs wanted to do absolutely crazy things to hardware that was obviously dead.

You can self-certify and manage your own component replacements, which works from small to mid scale. We do this for about 1,000 servers and it works pretty well; no phone calls where you roll the dice for quality of the tech, and I like frobbing hardware from time to time, it's a nice change from hacking C++ or PHP . . .

Costco - Best return policy on the planet. But anything confidently, return anything no questions asked. Solid support line too.

Fry's - Knowledgeable service for consumer goods and online price matching. Apple Stores are full of pretty idiots who love to make you wait.

Dell - Enterprise hardware, and support is great. Apple phone support is painful, if turning it on and off again doesn't help you are out of luck unless you have Apple Care and can wait a week for a replacement.


Buffalo - Great call line. People on the other end know their stuff.

You have been to much different Fry's Electronics stores than I have (and I've been to at least 8).

Fry's Electronics sales people rarely know the product, inventory, or compatibility, and quite often make things up.

I love the store, the access, the inventory - but it's not a place I'd put on the list for knowledgeable service.

I've only been to the Fry's in Austin. I've had nothing but great luck with those guys though. Sucks to hear it's not the same everywhere.

Cannot recommend Costco enough for electronics. Back during the Nvidia solder fails they replaced a high-end, 2+yo HP laptop(Out of warranty) when even HP denied there was a problem. I was stunned, in a good way.

And as stated below, Fry's is a good place for fictitious advice. According to them, XP was discontinued long before MS extended sales of XP for netbooks.

I really hate Apple Stores... wanted to go on a bit of a longer rant here...

I hate the physical stores, I hate the App Store.

1) Lost my power cord while traveling, so I thought I'd jump into the Apple Store and pick up a new one. Should be an in and out thing... took 1.5 hours of me just waiting around the store for them to sell me a power cord. This was in Sydney. Once I actually got to talk to someone, it still took 20 minutes. So painful. "Genius" is Apple for happy little idiot.

2) Tried to buy 8 laptops for a dev team. Bought them all online, went to pick them up... credit card cleared, no errors or messages on the website. Get to the store, "We're sorry, Sir. We can't give you more than 3 laptops per day." Uh? So you want me to come back once a day for 2 more days to pick up these laptops? "Yes Sir, that's our policy." It took a call to some regional corporate sales clown to get them to hand me 8 laptops the same day I paid for them.

3) Every try and roll out software to a team using the App Store as a source for any of that software? Is it the company Apple Account? Is it their Apple Account? Which account has the stupid software licenses bound to it, and how do I set it so I can use the company Apple Account to install the software, but not leave my master password for the company saved on their computer... I don't want to have to give them that password just so they can keep their system up-to-date... rather they just log in and expense software... nope, it's a cluster trying to keep it all updated once you have more than one account providing software. Apple does not care in the slightest about corporate users. I should have some sort of provisioning interface that lets me grant rights to use software licenses I own to their personal accounts... that's probably not pretty enough for Apple though.

1) I desperately want to call b/s on this, but guess that it's possible. Seriously, power cords are on the shelf in every Apple Store I've been too (over thirty, at this point, including a half dozen international stores). Using the Store app on your phone you can checkout without a human involved. Most don't know this I agree, but there is no way I'd wait that long if it were me. I'd be in someone's face in under a half an hour saying "either take my money or I'm walking out".

2) I've run into this before (with iPads rather than MBP), so I know you're likely factual here. The business sales person said if I'd ordered from him, wouldn't have been an issue, but consumer orders live by consumer rules. He did at least tell me that it was two per person, not two per order, so I called my friend who lived near Valley Faire Mall at the time and had him bring four of his kids. Yes, it was stupid, but myself, him, and each of the four kids walked out with two iPads each in our arms.

3) pro-tip: check out Apple VPP. Very easy to sign up for and trust me, it's everything you need and more to make this a smooth process to handle.

Not all stores have anything but the most recent inventory on the shelves. My local one has the old style MagSafe 1 power adapter and iPad Air 2 leather cases, but they are in the back. Worse yet, when I asked about these things recently, an employee said "sorry, we don't have those anymore." I didn't believe him, so at that point I had to wait another 15 minutes for a manager to become available who knew where these things were.

iPad Air 2 leather cases, but they are in the back

I have to chime in "me too" here; it's hard to believe that Apple is this stupid, but they are. No iPad Air 2 cases in the front of the store!

Here's my story, not that it matters much but maybe when Apple eventually goes bust someone will chronicle the litany of stupid decisions they made along the way.

I bought an iPad Air 2 over Black Friday weekend, good price from an authorized seller. A few days later I received it.

I go to the Apple store to select a case. I can't find any. Some sales drone says the cases are in back, since they only have a "limited" amount of display space.

Directly in front of us are a bunch of pegs on the wall. Each peg is capable of holding quite a few cases. But each peg has exactly 1 iPad Pro grey case. There are six pegs next to each other, two rows of three. Each of the six pegs has exactly 1 iPad Pro grey case. Right next to these pegs are a bunch more, each with exactly 1 iPad Pro case, just a different color. Overall, literally dozens of pegs on the wall, each with exactly 1 iPad Pro case.

Yes, the display space is "limited", but they could get a wee bit more inventory out front if they didn't deliberately act like idiots about it. It must make sense to someone but not to me.

I walked out. I wasn't about to stand there while he rummaged around back for something to show me. I went to a local department store and got a decent case for a lot less than I would have paid Apple for one.

It would be understandable if the iPad Air 2 was discontinued. But as of 30 seconds ago I can still go to the Apple website and buy one. So, WTF???

Mind if I ask which store this is? Genuinely curious as even the smallest store I've been to had all types of power cables on the wall. Really wondering why your local store is so different.

Des Moines, Iowa, at the Jordan Creek mall. The MagSafe could have been temporarily out of stock on the shelf for all I knew, though. They've shuffled things around a few times and I don't visit often - around once a year to replace a frayed power cable.

1.) Maybe that's a Sydney Store issue? Never experienced anything close to that myself.

2.) Yeah that's dumb. Maybe it's a stocking thing since it's Australia? Never heard of anything like that in the US.

3.) Almost everything on the mac store exists outside of it as well, but I agree it is somewhat designed more for consumers. You could use deployment tools if the source isn't App Store, or a 'family' account that shares purchases among users. Though I agree that's not ideal. Supposedly they're improving management with some new tools similar to how apps can be managed on iOS.

Was only in the Sydney store that one time, it took 1.5 hours to get a power cord. The line to get service was running out of the store. This was a few years ago, they had tremendous demand since -- if I recall -- they were the only Apple Store on the continent at the time.

The max number of laptops was in Austin, the store in The Domain.

Just looked into the Volume Purchase Program as suggested in another post... interesting but doesn't help me 3 years ago when I had the problem. Glad they've made moves to fix it.

Apple VPP came out summer of 2011, so it existed 3 years ago.

Ok, well then I just didn't know about it then. And for that matter, Apple Support didn't tell me about it when I called them asking for solutions to the issue years ago.

What I liked about HN was that it wasn't Reddit. You feel good because you can downvote me? Hooray, downvotes really add to the conversation.

Not much point in talking with someone who thinks I'm lying. And I don't give a shit about internet points, so keep downvoting me.

Whoever down voted you probably did so because of your attitude (just my guess, obviously I don't know for sure). I suggest reviewing the guidelines of HN!

Frys, hoo boy. When I return things I can usually count on one of:

- Bored, doesn't-give-a-damn drone takes the broken thing and tosses it in a cart. Done.

- Mid-level manager gives me a hard time, and I wind up having an argument and threatening to reverse charges on my credit card.

My favorite episode: I buy a computer, get it home, and it won't even POST. Try to return it. They say, "We can't take this back, it's broken and we can't put it back on the shelf." WTF?

Yeah, you've been to a different Fry's . . .

In the last 5 years, I've had better customer service from Dell then Apple. In fact, in one day, I deal with both Apple and Microsoft customer service, and Microsoft won, hands down.

I'm not going to pretend that Apple's customer service is horrible, but I can safely say that they aren't special anymore. Maybe I've just been incredibly unlucky, but simply put, their customer service is lackluster at best.

Edit: Just to be clear, this is all consumer level support.

Same as my experience. I've had four awesome experiences with Microsoft support.

1. Microsoft Band, a month after its warranty expired (bought in the USA), they still replaced it for free because of plastics wear, a common issue for that version

2. GF's Surface RT: faulty touch screen 1 year and half after she bought it, replaced for free, no questions asked, they even sent the replacement before I shipped the faulty one

3. GF's Lumia 925: she thought the pictures taken by the back camera were yellow-ish, she got it replaced with another brand new 925 for free. Six months later we bricked it trying to install a Windows 10 Insider Preview, replaced for free with a Lumia 830

4. My Lumia 1520, sent it in for repair because the battery was wearing out (it lasted a little more than a day instead of 1 and half/two), got a Lumia 950 XL instead

A friend of mine also got his Surface Pro 3 replaced for free.

Did they ask to hold the full retail value of the device for the advanced replacement? Because when I was having issues with my surface book they asked me to send it in. At that time I couldn't be without the device and I asked for an advance replacement. At that point they wanted to hold the full retail amount until they received the new one.

I went ahead and did it but I struggled since it was not a small purchase price. I received the replacement and sent the defective unit back. Expecting the hold to be released with in 2-3 business days after they received the defect unit. Nope. They ended up holding the money for 15 business days.

I don't know if I'll ever buy something Microsoft again.

No, they didn't hold the full retail value (only 150€), but maybe that's because the device had been out for almost two years at that time

My super impressed customer service story will date me, but it's a goodie.

Back in '99, I bought a DEC Alpha. It was a great machine, although it had its quirks. I was having problems with the new chipset and compiling a linux kernel, and called support. I was about 16 at the time, and it's about 11 pm (CDT) on a Friday night.

I was put through to an actual engineer who must have been working late, and he helped me through the process. It ends up that certain kernel versions only supported certain chipsets.

Nowadays the company and the tech is mostly lost to the sands of time, and it seems good customer service went along with it.

When I had a motherboard issue with a dell laptop, Dell sent a representative to my home office to take it apart, clean it, and replace the motherboard.

I've also had laptops and monitors replaced by other companies on a "we'll send you a replacement, you send the defective one back in that box with this prepaid shipping label, and thanks for buying our products" basis.

I haven't heard of that from Apple.

They USED to do something similar.

When the G5 iMacs had problems with bad capacitors on the motherboards, Apple would send you the replacement midplane with swap instructions, along with a box to return the old one in.

I took pictures of the process: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrbill/albums/1340761

They eventually switched to "take it to the local Apple store or mail it in".

IBM. They call back when they say, same contact through the process. They have a model I've used as the basis at my current company. Customers love it.

But having a Google product doesn't make you a Google customer. We're basically parts of a hot-dog for them.

Sennheiser. I had a pair of reasonably expensive (~$250) headphones and the left ear went a week after my 2 year warranty expired. I knew it was basically just the cable (which was detachable), since it worked with a spare. But the official cable has an angled, custom fit and so it sits flush.

I filled in an online form, printed the pre-paid label, dropped it off at UPS. Within a week, no questions asked, a brand new pair showed up in the retail box (with another box, set of batteries, extension cables).

I've always found returns to manufacturers a huge pain in the ass, this was the first that wasn't.

I had an entirely different experience. I had a similarly priced Sennheiser headset and they were great. I had the exact same issue as well with headset's left speaker stopped working couple of weeks after my warranty expired. I called them up and they said they cannot do anything and I will have to a buy a new one. In the end, it turns out that a connection got loose so I fixed it myself. But I was slightly disappointed with the reaction from their customer service.

Are you outside of Germany? Their support seems to be better here.


Had a high end ("business" not gaming, same class as the MX Master or Performance MX in the current range) corded mouse circa 15 years ago, stopped working.

Called them, they just sent me a new mouse no questions asked.

I had a wireless Logitech mouse that had a failing scroll wheel. It was probably somewhat out of warranty but I did not use it much during the time I owned it, so I tried calling Logitech. After initially stating that they would replace it, they simply stopped responding to my support ticket. That's the last Logitech product I've ever bought.

Dexcom. They sell glucose monitoring devices for diabetics.

People on the support line are diabetic themselves and are using the same monitoring devices to manage their illness so they really know what they're talking about.

> They don't? Who does then?

IME Apple customer service is useless if you try to talk to them over the phone (though less hostile than Comcast), and good but not great if you go into a store. The best customer service comes from small companies selling premium outdoor stuff. For example, Darn Tough honors a lifetime warranty on their socks; OR tends to replace faulty products with no questions; and even REI will replace merchandise for a year. (REI used to do it forever, until assholes took advantage of their policy too often.)

From my experience, it's Logitech.

I'm still angry at Logitech for deliberate anti-support of my Spaceball 5000. The driver handles it fine, but has to be manually tricked into tolerating ‘obsolete’ models.

I can't say anything about having "the best", but Lenovo on-site support is good. Standard with some models and an affordable upgrade for others. After using it a few times I really don't want to go back to having to send a device in, so I'll need good reasons to consider a vendor that doesn't offer on-site. Especially since many faults don't make a device totally unusable.

No shipping delays, no not having the device while they "wait for spare parts", no discussions about access to the OS for testing, ...

If you don't have on-site with Lenovo and a service partner locally you apparently can bring/send it directly there and they'll claim the warranty with Lenovo, that might be a good deal as well if you know a trustworthy local shop.

I think Apple is pretty much the king of consumer level support.

I've read some pretty horrifying stories about Apple (this person had a cracked screen, Apple bricked the phone while attempting to repair it, replaced it behind his back, then charged him 3x -- they also have a required replacement device "security deposit" you must pay up front in order to even get them to attempt a repair):


There's a reason why third-party repair shops like Rossmann Group exist and make a killing doing component and board level repairs on iDevices.

I think that Amazon is best with their Kindle support. You break a Kindle and they send you a new one for free (if it is under the 1 year warranty) even internationally.

If there's a company with better Customer support than Apple I've yet to experience them.

I've had a few issues with devices in the last decade and after a quick check, if it's not a software issue that can be fixed, I'm leaving with a replacement device, even when on holiday it was painless to go into the nearest Apple store and get it replaced.

I rarely ever use the warranty on anything I buy as the process is usually not worth the effort but Apple Care is the only one I'd consider getting since I'll use it when I need, it's easy to find an Apple store and know they'll fix or replace anything with issues.

I am no Apple fanboy but Apple's service is the best I have come across. On a side note I had Google replaced my Nexus 4 because the side buttons became a bit difficult to press after 5 months. It was painless. They send a replacement, I sent them the old one. I was happy.

Indeed. One of the selling points of the Pixel has been a more personal, available and exclusive customer service experience: https://madeby.google.com/phone/support/

This is in contrast with most Android manufacturers who are happy to forget about you after the device has left the shop, and (free) Google online services which have basically non-existent customer support.

It will look pretty damning if Google itself can not build reliable customer service experience even while charging ridiculous prices for supposedly "premium" Android device.

Classic mistake. To boost service they added 24/7 support and remote sceeen sharing. They confused technology with experience. You could offer 5 minute response time on Christmas day and still damage your brand with the kind of service OP received.

> If Google wants to charge Apple iPhone prices, they can't continue with Google level service.

This differs per jurisdiction, but in general you are entitled by law to receive a working device without flaws. In my jurisdiction this even extends beyond warranty. For example, you can expect a car, a door, or a guitar to work beyond 2 years. This law is irregardless of what you paid for the product or what the perceived quality is. The law even extends to software updates (security & reliability fixes).

As for Apple, they managed to ship my MBP 2010 with a broken discrete GPU yet fail to replace it. They also try to scam customers into buying extended warranty which basically is an anti harassment tax.

Does this apply in the US? I'm only aware of mandatory warranty periods in the EU. Personally I think they're a bad thing overall, since they preclude inexpensive short-term-use or disposable electronics. I haven't done a thorough market survey or anything, but last time I was there, electronics were generally much more expensive than in the US.

Keep in mind the VAT is also includes by law in the price in EU countries. This is almost never the case in the US where sales tax (~ 0%-10%) is added on top of the listed price.

> but last time I was there, electronics were generally much more expensive than in the US.

There are various factors:

* VAT is always included unless (if its aimed at business solely, like IBM, then this doesn't seem to be the case, but then that is being mentioned)

* Relatively low EUR. The EUR also isn't doing so well compared to the USD.

* Storage tax. This to compensate the entertainment industry.

* Environmental taxes.

The price you see in store is the price you're gonna pay (excluding S&H but the seller has to inform you on that before the sale is finalized). I find that practical.

> since they preclude inexpensive short-term-use or disposable electronics.

Which I consider a great thing because its better for the environment (although not good enough).

I'm not interested in buying a new phone every year because the software isn't updated anymore, or because the battery isn't allowing me to use the phone for a whole day anymore.

That's why -after burning myself with various cheap and expensive brands- I got myself a Fairphone. No, it isn't perfect and it won't run the latest version of Android, but at least it will have all security & reliability fixes backported. Monthly. At the very least its a step in the right direction, and the Fairphone is leading by example.

> but last time I was there, electronics were generally much more expensive than in the US.

> * Relatively low EUR. The EUR also isn't doing so well compared to the USD.

For a non-Euro holder visiting Europe, doesn't that mean things are cheaper in Euro [the currency] countries? Most companies do not adjust the price of their products often.

They exist in Australia, too. And electronics are more expensive, but so is everything.

Having had a defect on a Nexus device before I would have said that Google already has Apple level service for hardware purchased directly from them. They shipped me a new phone and a box to return the old phone in, super easy.

I find what happened to this individual shocking - I hope this is not the future of Google's support.

Google shipped me a replacement Nexus 5 for free after I broke the screen dropping it. I wouldn't have even called on an issue that so obviously my fault, but there had been reporting that Google was replacing phones in these instances. The rep mentioned that he knew of this reporting, clarified that this wasn't their policy, and helped me out anyway.

While that level of customer service might have been too generous, Google clearly needs to do a lot better that the support they are apparently providing for the Pixel.

I had the same experience. If I remember correctly, when the phone first launched anyone who bought it directly from the Google Store got one free replacement no questions asked. It's still the best devices I've ever owned and with the AOSP Nougat release I find myself just saying "nope" whenever I look at newer devices with the thought of upgrading.

Very strange though. I've had no problem getting advance RMA's on Nexus devices before. I call them, they give me an RMA number and just ship me a new phone with a box and label to ship the old one back. That's the best kind of service in my book.

I guess this problem looks a lot like user damage though. Unless it's a widespread issue, might be hard to convince them otherwise.

> with Google level service.

The one Google exception that I have seen is Project Fi.

They have (24/7?) live chat and email/phone support available. They also have CSR's on /r/projectfi who seem responsive. I've had to contact support several times and had every issue taken care of immediately. It was been a much better experience than Verizon ever was.

I can confirm this - love Project Fi's customer service.

Yep, no way around it, Google is just really bad at people.

Really? Why not?

Their entire business is based on data analysis. If their lack of customer and end user support was analytically shown to be a danger to their profits, they'd take action immediately. Computer says "no problem."

In Japan in the 70s and 80s, analysis showed that it was cheaper for Japan to build strongly reliable cars, because of the distance and shipping costs to their markets. And thus "reliable Japanese cars" became a thing.

Today in California, data shows the opposite, for Google. It's cheaper for them to suck.

It's not personal, it's just data.

I don't think that reputation works that way. The data might say "all good" almost till the point of no return.

By then the executive has been promoted and it is someone else's problem. Not saying that is right, just often that is how it works.

I've found the Nest protect service amazing. Sure technically they're Alphabet not Google.

I complained on Twitter about false positives and how I lost trust in it. They contacted me to say I can get a new replacement of the new version.

So I called them and the person spoke perfect fluent English and it wasn't tin can VoIP line. I was more amazed at those two things than getting a new smoke detector.

All good fast service I wish all tech support was as smooth. It was like being back in time when you got a person and everyone was polite plus your problem was resolved.

VoIP usually isn't a tin can (see VoLTE, Google Voice, 99% of VoIP providers), its just some call centers in international locations use g729 which wrecks audio quality & is not fault tolerant, thus when you get an AT&T rep in Honduras on the phone, he sounds terrible.

The worst is when there's some kind of "ground loop" and you hear audible harmonics of 60 Hz background hum the entire time during your call.

Omg yes, any kind of background hum or distorted comfort noise is the absolute bane of telephony, having experienced it on a few messed up landlines before.

But this is precisely Apple level service. This is how Apple handles design defects like current touch disease:


and how apple 'handled it' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDaPDHvI4Xg

Implying Apple service is any good. (See: bendgate)

And even if Apple service is above-par in the US, it's decidedly average outside of the US. I have a 6s with the aluminum corrosion issue[0], but "cosmetic damage isn't covered". At least when I still lived in the EU I had consumer rights laws to fall back on.

[0] mine looks far worse than this http://forums.macrumors.com/attachments/image-jpeg.641961/

Woah, Aluminum doesn't corode very readily.

Do you work around mercury vapors, by chance? I wonder if it could also be something unusual in your sweat (perhaps from your diet)?

The prevailing theory is that it's a manufacturing defect in a small number of early devices (mostly ones shipped around launch day) related to some flaw in the anodization process. Since it hasn't happened to enough devices to warrant a class action, it doesn't make it on Apple's radar so it's just "cosmetic damage". In some cases Apple Store/Authorized Retailer staff has blamed it on third-party cases or protectors, but I had mine in an Apple case.

To be pedantic, aluminum corrodes very rapidly in air, but the surface rust (aluminum oxide) is stable and shields the underlying metal. Aluminum oxide mixed with whatever dye Apple used, on the other hand…

Forming an oxide layer isn't corrosion. Corrosion results in loss of material like the pitting you see in that photo. You are correct that the oxide layer prevents corrosion, though.

Touché; I've been out-pedanted!

Residue from the manufacturing?

Almost anything corrodes very easily under human skin contact. If you take a pH testing kit, and put a drop on your skin, you'll notice you're pushing fairly acidic levels.

I destroy guitar strings on a near-weekly basis, despite all the anti-corrosion plating tech they have.

No, annodized aluminum is very resistant to corrosion. Guitar strings are made out of steel, which rusts readily and plating doesn't adhere as well to flexible materials like wires.

You use an acid flux to remove the oxidation on aluminum. Guess what your sweat will do if it is acidic enough? Hobo soldering tip 101 - no flux, use your sweat if you can get away with sodium in your solder and your solder has no flux.

My phone was in an Apple Smart Battery Case the whole time it turned bad, no skin contact.

Bendgate was more a problem of BS media reporting than actual hardware issue.

And Apple's service has topped "customer satisifaction" lists for years on end.

Definitely. I'm a big guy, and I've literally stepped and sat on my 6 plus a dozen times (I can be clumsy) over the two years I had it. I compared it to a straight edge before I upgraded and there wasn't even a tiny bit of bending.

Apple service is next to perhaps only Amex, if any. Perhaps.

Try to close your AMEX account, then watch the veil of friendliness drop. I had two accounts and called to close one. The lady yelled at me (yelled!) because I didnt feel like I needed to give them a reason for closing the account beyond "I dont want it anymore".

Along these lines, Discover has also been fantastic in my experience. One of the only no-annual-fee cards that gets you a person on the phone with no automated button pressing.

I've moved all my banking (credit card, checking, savings) to Discover and I've had great experiences any time I had to call them - except they refuse to lower my APR despite great credit. Oh well, I don't carry a balance so it's just the principle of the thing. And for no annual fee, the cash back is quite nice, and it has extended warranty and purchase price protection too!

I'm not a shill, I promise. I just really like my Discover relationship.

As a student currently building credit, they've also been quite helpful with increasing my credit limit when requested or giving me useful feedback on what I should work on before I request another increase.

Not sure I agree.

I've owned 3 different models of iPhone and the premium support (if you pay it) is worth the price, aside from the issue of booking a time I always leave the apple store with my device fixed or replaced, I never have to come back another day and they always take my complaint very seriously (even showing me diagnostics indicating potential other issues I had not noticed).

I cannot fault Apple's customer service at all, in fact, it's why I still buy their phones instead of going through the impressive hoops I used to go through with sony-ericsson and nokia phones.

About 1 month after it was first reported, I bent my phone by accidentally sitting on it, and the Apple Store exchanged it immediately without counting against my AppleCare count.

First google is no apple. Don't expect that level of service. They simply don't care.

Second it's not just with their new phone the pixel they support poorly. Try having problems with google fiber. The stories of them taking a year and a half or over two years to deploy fiber 400 feet or to a house next to a house with it or an apartment already wired for it is insane. I don't think they have they really care about supporting their services or products. They just want you use them so they can monitize your data. Beyond that they aren't interested and it shows.

Their core soul is how to make money off data. That's it. Making the pixel was just another finger to capture more data. Android is a tire fire IMO. Google fiber is fast but pray nothing goes wrong. Any of their other services and you're pretty much on your own. I don't think google deserves to be anywhere as large as it is. But time will tell if they are able to stay relevant.

> First google is no apple. Don't expect that level of service. They simply don't care.

In my experience, Apple support isn't great either, unless you are a paid customer. When I bought the Iphone 3G, it had dead pixels upon arrival, I got a replacement, same thing, then went for another replacement, but at this point they started to argue, talk about "half-dead pixel" (a new concept), etc .. I had to insist heavily and make a bit of a scandal in front of other customers to make them replace my phone, which they did (finally, my 3rd phone also had a dead pixel, this time I gave up).

I also remember dropping close to $2k for a macbook pro 2 years ago, upon arrival the hinge of the screen was loose, this time tech support told me that 'unfortunately', that kind of stuff requires a screen replacement, and that's not going to happen for such a small thingy.

I've always assumed that for the kind of money Apple charge, I deserve perfection, the reality is kinda different. Best way I found to prevent insulting myself too much when I order from them is to falsely claim I am a student and pay with a discover credit card. It's still a robbery but 15% cheaper.

Interesting. I've always had a very pleasant experience with support for my apple devices. To the degree that I've had two laptops repaired for free that were out of warranty. Getting an iPhone screen officially repaired on the spot is something that still amazes me.

In the end, googles lack of support is one of the major factors I'm willing to pay the extra cash for Apple devices. That plus privacy and thought out security.

I think Apple's phone support has been overhauled recently to make it way better. I called about an issue on my new touchbar macbook pro and the person I talked to stayed on the line for about 45 minutes with me, including waiting while I reinstalled macos over the top of itself. After the problem seemed to be resolved he gave me his email address so I could talk to him directly if it happens again. He promised they'd sort it out one way or another.

I believe him - I have no doubt they'll send me out a replacement if the issue keeps showing up.

Its a super expensive laptop so I'm definitely paying for it. But it sure is nice to get a personal, premium experience like that from customer support.

Same here. The fact the above poster got two replacement phones for free is proof they have good service. You think a dead pixel on a google pixel phone will get replaced? Let alone twice. I don't think so.

Apple has good service but they won't repair/replace everything. But i find them more than reasonable when something goes wrong.

> The fact the above poster got two replacement phones for free is proof they have good service.

Not it's not. A replacement for a hardware problem is only good service if the new one does not have the same hardware problem. Replacing a broken part with a broken part is slightly worse than doing nothing at all.

Thought out security?

Apple seems to be on some sort of mission to tie everything to your fingerprint, something that people have demonstrated is easy to fake if you have an image of the fingerprint. There was a massive issue about the FBI getting access to that iPhone but, when they tried to do it themselves (instead of getting Apple to give them a really easy way to do it that they could use in future, which was their initial goal) it was easy for them to do.

Apple is not doing a good job with security. They are doing a good job with PR, including convincing people that don't think about it too closely they are doing a good job with security. Look at it more.closely and you can only conclude that they don't actually care about security, just the perception of it.

> It's still a robbery but 15% cheaper.

How is it robbery when you consented to the purchase?

None of these sync up with actual standard Apple Care. I maintain a fleet of iOS and Mac devices and have never had this much of a run around with Apple support. With iOS devices it's pretty much here's a new one and with Macs they go out for repair and come back just fine. So either you're really unluck, or it's something else.

I feel like its "something else". Anytime I hear stories like this I think of Amazon reviews where clearly someone is doing something incorrectly yet blames the company. Shrug.

How have I done anything incorrecto? Dead pixels show up on my phone when I boot it the first time, is this just the way I opened the package?

Same thing for the 2015 MacBook pro, problem with the screen hinge wobbling since day one. Just Google for it and you will see how widely reported this problem is.

> Second it's not just with their new phone the pixel they support poorly. Try having problems with google fiber. The stories of them taking a year and a half or over two years to deploy fiber 400 feet or to a house next to a house with it or an apartment already wired for it is insane.

Deploying fiber where you think it would be easy to deploy fiber is not customer support...

Aren't they officially backing away from fiber?

Yes, they made a ridiculous marketing speak non-announcement about that about a month or two back.

Yes, it was odd. They are still rolling out in the cities they are in but have given up expanding to other cities. As usual I think they just don't have the will to power through the issues to keep deploying in city after city. Or they are not making as much money off google fiber subscribers data as they thought and it's not worth it anymore. Or they can't find people to actually do the infrastructure construction they need. Hence two years or more just to get service no matter how close it is. But again I expect this from google, I have never been impressed with anything they have done. Sadly.

I think you are right to expect this - they have a long history of dropping support for things that were huge.

If you have never been impressed by anything they have done though you have pretty high standards. You can be impressed and still not want to use it but, it is hard to imagine someone not finding anything they have done impressive.

> First google is no apple. Don't expect that level of service. They simply don't care.

Apple has an appalling history of denying problems with their devices when they know about them and making life hard for people who get third party repairs. I think Apple are probably great while your device is in warranty but, out of it, they seem to be actively making it hard for you to keep using it wherever they can get away with it.

Blaming Google fibers aloe rollout all on Google - that's a new one.

It's a persistent story: Google reliably has the worst customer support of any large company, to the point that Comcast or your local DMV starts to look good in comparison. It's impressive, in its own way.

And as long as their consumer facing products were things like free webapps, they could get away with it.

...but if they want to sell a premium-priced handset, they can't get away with it. It's a USD$750 phone, come on. Telling the user that it's probably just a non-existent screen protector?

Very true. I use Google Fi, but am about to drop it because the support has been horrible. They're friendly, but I constantly miss calls and their support's solution is to ask me to get another working phone to test with and spend a couple of hours filling out diagnostic tests and bug reports. They are also unwilling to do something as simple as send me a new SIM card until I do this.

This, along with they they gave the middle finger to the Nexus line, has turned me from a strong Google supporter into someone who will give a second thought before considering using their services.

Google Fi support is extremely friendly and often almost zero hold time. The actual substance of the support however is very much lacking. Google Fi sent me somebody else's SIM card with my Pixel. It turns out Google Fi pairs a SIM to a specific Google account. So when I booted my Pixel for the first time the email field was pre-populated with someone else's email address (but not the password luckily) and I got a "B010" error trying to activate. This is a very specific error code which I later found out means that I was sent the wrong SIM card (or trying to activate someone else's SIM card). But they didn't have this properly documented so they spent a long time on the phone with me factory resetting it, clearing data for certain system apps, booting in safe mode, etc... before escalating the issue and saying someone will get back to me later. A week later they contact me and say I was sent the wrong SIM and send me a new one. It was a terribly frustrating introduction to using their service. Also seems a needlessly frustrating experience if their support documentation and call back times were better.

A week later they contact me

I really don't understand how people tolerate this. I can't be without a cellphone for a week, my family and I use ours to coordinate many of our activities.

I've not been disappointed when I've walked in to an AT&T or Verizon or Apple store and said "here's the problem ... fix it". And they fix it!

This is exactly my experience with Project Fi. I started having major problems staying connected to a cell phone tower and they were asking me to spend so much time troubleshooting.

I have a full time job, my phone wasn't staying connected to a cell tower in downtown SF for more than 15-30 seconds at a time. I was having a ton of anxiety and Project Fi support was content to let me do their troubleshooting for them. It was very frustrating and Project Fi is still unreliable as hell!

You've galvanized me, I'm getting rid of Project Fi, I'm done with this. WiFi SMS isn't worth this crap.

Get an iPhone. Christ. It's almost as if you people enjoy suffering for the sake of it.

That's exactly my experience as well, and a major reason I moved away from google services in general. I had about as much chance of my cat helping me fix an issue as I did google.

Same here. When my database server died two weeks ago it was shit for me. Until I fixed it, it meant no email, website hosting (not much static content) or telegram bots for me, but at least I can fix it myself. No risk of getting banned or being included in dragnet surveillance when the NSA decides to ask Google for something (I'm not American so protection laws don't apply; I might be a terrorist). Of course that's putting it all too strongly, but there's just no chance of that happening, plus I can help myself. It's like moving out of your parent's place: you have to do more shit, but at least you get to do it your way.

Their support for Google Apps for Work seems passable and, their support for in warranty Nexus devices (which may well be handled by a third party, I don't know) has been decent for the three warranty replacements I've had over the years.

Someone on here was just telling me that their customer service is fine when you're an actual paying customer.

Guess not.

I have heard SOME reports that their support is decent if you are purchasing ad space through their platform. Since that's where the bulk of their profits come from, perhaps that's to be expected.

Just went and found the comment, it was a google fi user using their fi experience to suggest that google's support for self driving cars would be fine.

I think this is a pretty good confirmation that google doesn't know how to support hardware.

If you are purchasing a lot of ad space. You won't be getting any higher level service spending a few thousand a month.

That's not my experience, their adwords support isn't great either.

Waiting to see when this crops up here, and how it'll fly considering Consumer Rights [0]. It falls into minor, so Google will have to:

* free repair, (with a repair notice describing the fault)

* replacement (must be the same condition as the purchase, so no second hand!)

* refund (the same amount you have already paid, provided in the same form as your original payment.)

And of course, the kicker:

> You are entitled to return a product if you believe that there is a problem.

And the business you purchased from has to foot the costs of said return.

All of these things are things Google has tried very hard to avoid, but they're selling the Pixel here, so they have to play by the consumer-oriented laws.

It'd be interesting.

[0] https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees...

Google does not sell the phone in Australia. You are buying it from Google Singapore and it is shipped from Hong Kong. It is charged in Australian dollars by an offshore credit card processor so you will also pay a non Autralian card processing fee. I did and ended up paying more than what they sell for in Australia. If you buy the phone from an Australian store or through the Australian carrier Telstra, yes you have consumer rights and very strong ones. If you bought it from the Australian Play Store, you have no rights except those in the country of origin. For shits and giggles have a try at getting them to tell you where you bought it from, it seems to be a question that is on script 'don't answer'.

The script may say not to answer, but contact the ACCC. You absolutely have consumer rights here, even if purchased overseas.

They shipped it to you here in Australia, so are beholden to the rules.

Valve, Yellow Pages and other overseas companies have been punished for ignoring those rules.

You probably could mention where "here" is.

The link points to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Sorry if that wasn't clear.

They did mention: .au

Australia, judging by TLD

It's probably cheaper for Google to ignore the complaints and foot the lawsuit bill when/if it ever comes due. They have the cash, and it seems like the attitude of companies like Google is to "ask forgiveness, not permission."

Valve / Steam thought that, until their fraudulent refund policy had its day in court.

Their TBD fine could be up to ~$900k US per person they stole from.


* replacement (must be the same condition as the purchase, so no second hand!)

I believe apple & att will replace the broken phone with a manufacture refurbished device.

Under the Consumer Laws I mentioned, manufacturers have more leeway, but a business cannot require you to deal with the manufacturer.

Apple is required, and does if you point out their obligations, to provide a new device if you purchased a new device.

As phones are also guaranteed a "reasonable lifetime" of 5 years, this has led to replacing 4s with 5s and the like.

However, as you mention ATT, you might be American, in which case, almost none of these guarantees applies to you.

Yep. That's "caveat emptor capitalism" at its finest.

If it is not already happening, can we expect more arbitration clauses in purchase agreements, or does the law already rule that out? (There will be different answers in different jurisdictions, I expect.)

Within Australia, Consumer Law overrules any and all conflicting arbitration clauses.

For example, "extended warranties" you pay for are considered useless, and the ACCC recently did a public awareness campaign against them.

Why? Products are guaranteed to last a "reasonable lifetime", where precedent determines reasonableness.

Precedents I know:

* "Dumb" phone, 10 years

* Smartphone, 5 years

* Fridge, 10 years

* Car, 8 years

* Laptop, 5 years

* Tablet PC, 3 years

Do you have to have purchased the items in Australia? I know some people try to only purchase electronics overseas, because they are so much more expensive there.

No, an item sold across the 'net is still being sold to Australia, and beholden to the Consumer Rights.

However, you're pretty much guaranteed to get nowhere unless the company, or a subsidiary, resides within Australia.

But, if in doubt, report to the ACCC, they handle the legal legwork for you, even to see if you have a case.

EDIT: I've had a few Arduinos from dealxtreme be shoddy. The ACCC got them to send replacements.

that... sounds too good to be true. could you provide any references on what the actual consequences of this warranty are?

The guarantees can be seen here [0].

Personally, I've never needed to test it, as mentioning the Consumer Rights Commission is enough to make the worst of businesses suddenly become your best friend.

However, a little research shows:

The ACL will assist if the business refuses to honour the guarantee. [0]

> "If we find that a retailer is not honouring the obligations imposed on the retailer under the consumer guarantee provisions of the Australia consumer law then the ACCC will take action to deal with those issues," Mr Samuel said.

Optus, a sizeable telecom, got a decent fine for hiding stuff in fine print.

> The ACCC has already been busy enforcing a prohibition on false, misleading or deceptive claims, with Optus recently agreeing to pay $178,200 in fines for potentially misleading consumers with some of its phone cap advertising.

There's actually a TV show revolving around this stuff [1], so I'd say its relatively enforced.

[0] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-06-07/broken-but-out-of-warr...

[1] http://www.abc.net.au/tv/thecheckout/

WOW, 5 years for a smartphone? I'm all for longer warranties but honestly that seems excessive to enforce. There's no way an even 4 year old smartphone wouldn't have at least some consumer caused damage. How do they account for that? If I beat the hell out of my phone but still insist there's "a problem" they have to just eat the cost?

Not guaranteed if you caused the damage.

Its against manufacturing defects, and designed to fight planned obsolescence.

EDIT: Most warranties here don't cover consumer-caused damage either. If they do, extended warranty makes sense, but it's few and far between.

Those times look a little exaggerated to me. My understanding is that it will be up to the magistrate to decide what is a reasonable life expectancy of a device. (Based on how the product was marketed and sold)

Yes, a magistrate decides. The times listed already have a set precedent.

What goes into deciding reasonableness usually involves:

* Cost of product vs average income of average household

* Reliability advertised

* Average income of the targeted audience

* Audience reliance upon the product

As a quick example, an iPhone sells for about $1400, which is about 2% of the average income, and is a daily use item.

The device breaking causes disruption to the consumer, and has already cost a somewhat sizeable part of their income.

They're entitled to the time necessary to offset such a purchase, and interest rates and insurance rates are used as the guide here. Both of which use 4.8 years for 2%.

As a counter data point, my Pixel XL's speakers started malfunctioning about 3 weeks after I bought it. I called customer support, waited on hold for about 10 minutes, went through a series of debugging steps with the guy on the phone ("Have you tried restarting the device?"), and then they shipped me a replacement for free.

Also important to realize that the denominator matters. Seeing a murder on TV every day doesn't necessarily mean that the world is in chaos. And seeing a couple of anecdotes about an issue doesn't necessarily mean it's widespread.

That said, if I were the OP I'd be pissed and blogging about it, too.

This was about equivalent to my experiences with the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, which is why I was also mildly surprised with this post. They even adopted an unofficial one-time accidental damage replacement policy after a while.

People with good experiences don't write angry blog posts, so those data points are often left out of the discussion.

Those data points don't matter.

A customer service organization that only wastes the time and money of some of its customers, with no escalation path to get a proper resolution, is still horrible. It doesn't matter that it worked for you.

(Not the user you replied to.)

I agree, but I think that it's difficult to accurately evaluate the quality of a customer service department with these anecdotes because every large company will have the occasional misstep. I have personally heard of bad stories from every company mentioned in this thread that supposedly has good customer support. What's less obvious is whether there is a bias between different types of users. I'm just throwing out a theory here, but perhaps Pixel users are more technologically minded than iPhone users (this wouldn't surprise me) and so they are more publicly vocal about their issues because they are more invested.

For instance, Nexus devices were probably more common among Android developers and reporters on blog sites, so Nexus problems were important to them and were popularized by the online media more than an equivalent problem would be in a more mass-market phone that might be popular in a different country.

tl;dr Every company has had missteps, and I don't think anecdotes provide a clear picture by which to rank them.

I've always had similarly positive experiences with Google hardware support. I dropped a Nexus 5 a year (and a few days) after I'd bought it - only time I've ever shattered a screen. They sent me a refurb replacement immediately, no charge.

Would love to hear if someone actually has had a positive support experience with Google.

My company has faced a bug in their location dashboard for over a year. We support local businesses and often get asked to update their Google business details. We're unable to delegate location dashboard access inside our Apps domain. My partner can send the invite to any gmail account, but can't send access to me inside the company. I can't even access my own company's panel through my paid Apps account.

We've had calls, emails, sent tweets. Repeatedly asked for supervisors or for the issue to be forwarded to an engineer. The typical response is to get blamed or deal with support confusion in India over what we're trying to achieve.

The end result of 'partner' support? They gave a 2 hour notice over a major rebrand to GSuite. The only way they could do it better is send us a postcard simply saying 'FUCK YOU!', and in smallprint 'but thanks for your money and information'. As said in other threads on this topic, Comcast offers better support. That's telling.

I have had mostly positive support experiences for Google Cloud. Granted, my employer is a big customer so Google is making a lot of money out of the relationship, and gcloud is a new and growing platform that you can tell Google is actively investing in (unlike say, Gmail).

High-priority support tickets typically get a very fast response, although it may take several days to debug the issue and fully resolve it. The technical support people are very open about infrastructure issues on their side (although sometimes they don't publicly announce them as early as I'd like). They sometimes even help debug issues in our code when we determine that the problem isn't on Google's side.

We get invited to participate in user feedback meetings (through Google Hangouts of course). During these, we make feature requests that often eventually show up in releases and help prioritize features that are already planned or under development. I've even had one-on-one meetings with gcloud product managers.

Google BigQuery's public issue tracker[0] is also pretty decent.

All that being said, this is a (very welcome) exception for Google. Every time I've had to interact with the support system of a non-gcloud Google product/service I've walked away disappointed.

[0]: https://code.google.com/p/google-bigquery/

To be fair, I'd expect Cloud to have better support since they are competing (and losing) against AWS and Azure.

We won't be in a rush to use Google Cloud, even with the savings.... just knowing they are waiting to pull the rug out from under us once they start to gain market dominance or change course is a massive turnoff.

n=1 but I've had many good experiences with Google so far. I'm a Project Fi user and their support has been very good. Now some of Google's processes are subpar and have caused me to have to use their support (for this and other products) but in general they've made things right.

Amazon's is some of the best I've used.

Apple's can be good but I have had some poor experiences with them that have knocked them down a peg or two.

The jury is out on Uber for me. I've had to fight to get some stuff fixed or done right but they eventually get it done.

I'm not saying that he's necessarily dropped it or that it's okay for the CS rep to have accused him of that, but my 4+ year old Galaxy S3 has the same sort of bubbles in two corners on which it has been dropped so I get why that was the first question asked.

Isn't there a burden of proof to claim the device was dropped ? If there's no visible damage from a supposed impact, then any company can just use this as an excuse.

No they cannot under EU law, they have to demonstrate damage came from an impact.

Anecdotal of course, but my one and only interaction with Google support was a positive experience. This was on the retail hardware side rather than in software/services (IDK if there are different support depts., I would assume so). I bought one of the v2 Chromecasts direct from Google Store when they came out. FedEx delivered it to the wrong address. Called support (which was, to my surprise, easy to find an actual phone number for, and I was speaking to an actual human being. Probably because this was 'retail' related), and after 1 phone conversation and 2 email exchanges he filed a case with FedEx - which required no involvement from me - and i was sent a replacement free of charge. About a week later my across-the-street neighbor knocks on my door and gives me a FedEx package with my name and address on it, it was the Chromecast. Turns out the FedEx delivery driver mistakenly delivered it to his house, which has only a 1-digit difference in Address. Honest mistake, it happens. I e-mail the support guy I talked with before -- to my surprise again, this was a direct e-mail address of his, not a randomly generated 'post only' email, so he actually responded. I explained the situation, and asked where I should ship the replacement one they sent back to. They tell me to just keep it and do whatever I want with it (the guy even specifically said "give it away, sell it on eBay, do whatever"). Granted, it's only a $35 device, and it likely costs Google far less than that, but still - I did appreciate it, and my sister does as well because she got a free Chromecast.

This is something I cannot understand about Google and I think definitely needs to change. Here's the absolutely great thing about customer support that Google hasn't grasped yet: You let your customers talk to you and in turn you get the chance to remedy their problems and allow them to love your brand more. If you're getting a lot of support calls then you can know customers want something fixed and aren't happy. It's a feedback loop that in the end strengthens your brand. Apple has proven this. Since Google has the money, I cannot understand why they don't get this.

If Google won't repair a manufacturing defect, consider a chargeback (assuming you bought it from Google).

Services like American Express have purchase protection, but the limits I believe won't be enough to cover the Pixel. If you were sold a lemon and Google won't hash it out, go ahead and let the card company fight that battle for you.

If enough people start doing this, you can bet Google will double down on customer service as proper cost avoidance.

Initiating a chargeback is tantamount to terminating your Google Account at a random time in the future when they find in your favor.

And that's the problem with google having an ever greater monopoly on everything. Mega corps are no good.

...hmm, you're likely right, but I'm actually quite curious to see if anyone's willing to challenge that in court if it happens given that Google doesn't really give anyone an easy way to migrate an entire life to another service.

Google will let you export all your data. Google "google takeout".

Nice. My google-fu's failing me on finding any services which can import some amount of it and re-establish equivalent services, which suggests either some important details are missing (e.g. account configs) and/or no one's seen a business case for setting up that kind of migration service with any of the other major platforms e.g. Microsoft's cloud apps.


The latter I think.

> Initiating a chargeback is tantamount to terminating your Google Account at a random time in the future when they find in your favor.

Purchase protection isn't the same thing as a chargeback.

> If Google won't repair a manufacturing defect, consider a chargeback

I highly recommend against doing a chargeback unless it's your last resort. Talk with customer support where you bought the phone from first, telling them you intend to chargeback if they don't resolve the issue. Most businesses consider chargebacks to be a form of fraud and it may sour your relationship with the business.

Chargebacks that are disputed can affect your credit rating as well.

I don't disagree with this. All of this is good advice.

That doesn't change my position that this is the perfect impetus for a chargeback should Google fail to address the defect.

That phone was dropped.

Deep scratches are clearly visible, as are bits of concrete or asphalt that are embedded between the glass and the bezel.

The coloration of the plastic bezel is changed where a /buff-job/ was done in an attempt to remove said scratches.

That is a human error problem, not a manufacturer defect issue. I hope they take you to task for lying so blatantly and attempting to stir up trouble. If you've damaged their brand, I certainly hope they sue you for libel.


In case OP deletes the original pictures:



Oh, bullshit. That's lint or something, and those scratches are totally normal. Buffing leaves circular scratches.

It looks better than most phones that have been in use more than a week or two.

To my eyes, they don't at all look "totally normal". That is the wear and tear you would develop after several months (or even years) of normal use.

In this case, the phone does look as if it had either a hard fall, or a hard hit against something.

The person I was responding to was claiming that the guy had buffed the plastic, which is obviously crazy. All I can say in response to your claim that it looks like the phone has had rough use is that I'm pretty sure most of my phones with plastic edges were worn more than that very quickly, through normal use.

In addition to the defect the guy called them about I see unscratched glass, unscratched metal, lint, and some abrasions on one of the three edges of plastic that don't go deep at all (I bet you couldn't feel them) which are probably only visible because the phone is being lit from above. None of this is a big deal.

It's not clear cut. That stuff in the seam could be finger gunk and dust. The 'discoloration' looks like a natural result of the curved bezel and uneven light.

Maybe or maybe not. The glass doesn't look damaged. But it's not really important. Google should not have even asked the question -- just offer to send a replacement.

This is a new phone that they want to be successful, so they need to go above and beyond.

Wow I thought you were being a jerk, but after looking at the pics I'd judge some of what you said as plausible.

Of course, no way is it conclusive, so I don't see how it justifies how the support played out.

The pictures do not support your claim. It looks just like you'd expect a phone to look that has been used for a little while but never dropped with a screen that is coming unglued.

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