A Battery Of Mistakes

, , , | Right | June 17, 2020

I work at a cellular store. It is almost closing time and it has been a rather long day. A woman walks in holding a cell phone, so I get up and go through my usual greeting.

Customer: “My phone will not turn on.”

I take the phone from her and examine it. It is an extremely popular model that is built as one solid piece, meaning that it can’t be taken apart without special tools. It has some unusual-looking damage which I choose to ignore for the time being.

Customer: “The phone is only a few months old and it won’t turn on. I think it just needs a new battery.”

I examine it closer and realize the damage is localized to the seam between the front and back half of the phone. I have a guess and decide to probe.

Me: “Um… ma’am… did you try to remove the battery?”

Customer: “Well, yes, of course. I couldn’t find any place to pop the back off, but I just slid a knife in there around the edge and pried it off. I checked online and found instructions on how to remove the battery, but the screws were too small so I just put it back together and came here.”

I notice that not only was the back removed, but it has been super glued back on, so it will be completely impossible to service.

Me: “Well, ma’am, the phone has a one-year manufacturer’s warranty against failure, but unfortunately, since you removed the back, I won’t be able to file it as a warranty claim, since the warranty is rendered void if the phone is taken apart by the user. I would be happy to troubleshoot the phone, but if I can’t get it to work, the only other options are to buy a new one at full price or file an insurance claim if you have insurance on your plan.”

Customer: “Well, I don’t have insurance, but this is ridiculous! How was I supposed to know I couldn’t take the back off? I just need it fixed or replaced, so let’s just submit it under warranty!”

Me: “As I just told you, I can’t, since you voided the warranty.”

Customer: “That’s absolutely ridiculous! That can’t be correct! If that is true, then why was I able to find instructions on doing it online?”

I am a little annoyed by now.

Me: “Ma’am, the Internet has information on how to do almost anything, but that doesn’t automatically make it a good idea.”

Customer: “So, you’re not going to help me at all?! This is the worst customer service I have ever had! I am going to report you to corporate and they will get me a new phone and I’m sure they will have something to say to you!”

Me: “Well, ma’am, I’m sorry I was unable to assist you, but I assure you they will provide you with the same information I did. Here is their number if you would like to speak with them.”

She grabs the card and storms out. As she is leaving she turns and yells out:

Customer: “I’ll make sure you’re fired for this!”

I never saw her again and never got a call from corporate.

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