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My HTC WP8 Debacle


Essential Member
Feb 7, 2009
On November 29th 2012, I purchased the new Windows Phone 8X (aka HTC 8X) from a local store called "The Soruce" (replaced RadioShack here in Eastern Canada, is owned by my carrier Bell Mobility). I got the phone as an early upgrade for some $250. Immediately after purchasing it, while using the camera, I noticed it would not autofocus. I figured rather than a fault with the device, it was just my fault for not doing something right. So I continued using the phone and eventually the idea sank into the back of my mind until it was past the 14-day return period. I know this is technically my fault for not returning the device as soon as I realized the issue and I accept that, but the piss poor service I received from HTC during the (3) repair processes is not... Let me explain.

On December 31st I returned the phone to my carrier store to have it sent away for repairs (standard procedure for most phones in Canada). I had to send my LG Quantum away a few years before so I understood it usually took about 2 weeks for a device to return. I opted out of getting a loaner phone for $120 refundable as I'm not a person who can't live without a phone for 2 weeks.

So the issue was the camera not autofocusing, I figured that would be an easy enough fix, the camera would be replaced. When the device returned to the store, the note attached specified that is exactly what had been done. So I put my micro-sim in and fired it up. Guess what? No service. No matter what, the device would not connect to the cellular network (and in the selection area, only showed one network by a new carrier). To add to it, the device had been in a case and was in absolutely mint condition when it was sent away. It returned with scratched on both the back casing and hairline scratches on the screen. This is about mid-January and that pissed me off, so off it went again to have a problem caused by the repair team fixed. Fast forward another 2 weeks and the device returns with the exact same issue.

At this point I almost launch the device into the wall behind the CSR's head. I maintain my cool and have it sent away for a third time (now it's early February). This time I argue with the CSR who's helping me to get a loaner phone for free (it's $120, $20 of which you don't get back). Of course every person who works at the local Bell store except for the manager is a complete p**** so I get nowhere with that. I pay for the loaner phone (which I had previously been told was a Nexus 4) and get some scratched up Samsung Galaxy Gio. Whatever, it works.

I'm convinced the device will not work when it comes back the third time, so I buy a brand new Nokia Lumia 920 in white on eBay with a free wireless charger. I did a little research before as the phone was locked to AT&T, there seemed to be lots of sites on the internet offering unlock services, most had a few positive reviews too. I didn't look hard enough as it turns out most of these sites were scams or didn't yet have access to the code database (which they won't until AT&T ends their 6 month no unlock contract on May 1st). So now I've got a brand new phone which I still can't use. I chose to enable tethering on the Galaxy Gio and download a free texting app on the Lumia, which lets me do everything except call (which I don't do anyway) on my Lumia so long as the Gio is in my pocket or near by.

The HTC 8X finally makes a return just this past week (more than a month, wtf?). Turns out they replaced my phone with a "new" device. It's not new, it's refurbished. The case has noticeable scratch straight across the speaker and Beats audio logo (although this could have happened during shipping). The screen is not seated properly on the front of the device: there's a gap less than 1 mm at the top where I can basically see the insides of the phone and due to this, it sits about 1 mm lower at the bottom, which causes light leaks around the entire bottom of the casing, including the micro-USB jack and microphone. It really looks like an alien at night time. The final thing is the screen: it's not even for the blue phone, it's for the black model. The LCD and digitizer are glued together to basically be one extremely hard to take apart piece (so basically, if you replace it yourself, be sure to buy the combo, not one or the other because it's a mess). Included in that combo is the grill for the earpiece which is a piece of plastic about an inch and a half wide by a quarter of an inch tall and is the same colour as the casing on the phone. But no, this one's black. It looks very boring.

So three months later and I have a half-assed refurbish of a device I now completely hate. I heard lots of bad things about HTC before buying the phone and still chose to, and I made the mistake of not returning the device for an exchange as soon as I noticed the problem with the camera. Those two things in combination lead to the absolute worst customer service experience I have ever had. I will never buy another HTC product, not because they're bad quality (admittedly can't wait to get my Lumia 920 unlocked, that is true build quality), but because their customer service is absolutely abysmal.

As for the 8X... I'll probably sell it to a friend for a few hundred bucks as soon as I can get an unlock code for my Lumia 920... The worst part of the entire deal, for me, is that if I'd waited an extra two weeks I could have got the Samsung ATIV S with a 4.8" Super AMOLED screen and all the exceptional build qualities I've come to love from Samsung.
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Have to confess I've been a committed HTC phone buyer from early XDA days and I've never had a problem and based purely on probability you'd have similar experiance if you bought again. Having said that I know all too well that when on the rare occasion things to go t*ts up they have a habit of remaining in that mode and things just go from bad to worse to suicidal so you have my full sympathy and understanding. Your only hope of ever resolving situations like this rest on finding within the organisation with which you are dealing an individual with more than half a brain who is willing and able to use it. Sadly, such beings are more rare than hens' teeth.
Had this issue been resolved more effectively, I'd consider buying another device from them down the road. I reached out to numerous different support channels and tiers within the company who had no desire to help me whatsoever. The repair center the device was sent to was probably a third party one, which may explain the poor quality of the repairs but is still directly HTC's fault for outsourcing.

If their luck doesn't change, I won't be able to buy another device from them even if I wanted to, because HTC won't exist anymore. Today it was announced they're even dropping their "quietly brilliant" motto which brought them to the top and is now subsequently leading to their downfall.