Let me start off by saying that this is not the sort of post I ever imagined I would have to write here. But here I am writing it, I have been left with no other avenue and my hope is that others will see this and share it along.
This all starts on Friday 22nd of November. Sarah, my gf, and I walked into our local branch of Phones4U and bought a Motorola Moto G. All was well, I was excited since I got to play with a new phone for a few days. On my first day of use, over the course of the next few days I discovered a fault with the device. Not the kind of thing that would be noticed by most people, however when it comes to Android phones I am not most people. Allow me to explain.
One of the many wonderful features of all Android devices, be it phone or tablet, is that they allow you install other applications onto the device. This is something that has been around since the birth of Android in 2009. It is a way to install apps from the likes of Amazon or directly from developers. It is very easily found by going into your Settings menu and selecting Security. You tick the box beside “Unknown Sources” and that is all you need to worry about.
I did this as I wanted to install some apps that I had bought from Humble Bundle and was repeatedly faced with this error message.
Over and over again the same message would appear. I spent hours trying to figure out the issue. Things would install fine from the Play Store it was only an issue when side-loading anything. This lead me to suspect that the fault lay in the software of the Moto G. I took to XDA to see if this was being reported by anyone else, and yet it was. I found this post as well as a few others that confirmed that this is indeed an issue. A few workarounds were offered. Then I decided to take a look at the Motorola website and see if there was any information on side-loading apps. Going through their website to the support section I came across this.
To let your smartphone install apps that are not from Google Play, tap Apps > Settings > Security & Screen Lock and check Unknown sources.
There is was, in black and white on their own website. But it was not working for me. I was not that worried about it at the time. Figured that I would look into more when I had a bit more time on my hands and until then I was kinda happy enough to upload files to my Google Drive account and download them as per one of the workarounds. A little annoying but it would do for a few days.
On Tuesday 26th, I was walking past the Phones4U store, since I had a few minutes I thought I would pop into the store and see if anyone else had come across this problem. When I got to speak to someone they said to me what I was doing was illegal, that I should not be doing it. Then their body language changed to say that they no longer cared to try to help me. They would not look at me directly, kept their head down while playing with the phone. They went into the Google Play Store to try to download an app from there. When that was able to be downloaded I was told that it works and there was nothing they could do.
I was in shock. To be told in public, in earshot of anyone that what I was doing was illegal floored me. I could not believe what I had just heard and witnessed in his behaviour. I felt totally humiliated and wanted to get out of there before I said something and started shouting my head off, I have been around long enough to know that course of action is never a smart move. Plus, I know the legal line when it comes to Android devices. I am pretty that I know more about the workings of Android phones than all of the staff in that branch put together.
So I came home and decided that I was not going to let this stand and emailed their head office the following letter.
From: Robert Best <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, Nov 26, 2013 at 8:14 PM
Subject: Disgraceful treatment by a member of staff
I am writing this as a result of how I feel I was treated this afternoon by one of your sales staff this afternoon in your Lisburn branch.
I went in to ask about a problem I was having with my Motorola Moto G. I had bought the phone on Friday around lunch time. Over the last few days I have noticed a serious fault in the device and wanted to ask about it in store.
The fault is the phone is unable to install any application that is side loaded. An error comes up saying that there is a “problem parsing package”.
When I said to xxxxxxx, the member of staff that I spoke to, he proclaimed that what I was doing was “illegal” and that “I should not be doing it”. He then told me that there was nothing he could do and had the attitude of that he could not be bothered with me anymore. What annoys me the most is being told that I was doing something illegal with my phone that was not in full view of other customers in the store. This is a feature that Android has had since the very first Android phone, the HTC G1 released in Feb 2009. Every single Android device that has been released since then has been able to do it. It is something that will carry on being a part of the core of Android.
I can direct you to many websites that allow this as proof that it is indeed a very legal thing to do.
Amazon.co.uk requires a user to do this very action and they direct users to do it on this page
Humblebundle.com requires it for the apps they provide
I have since discovered that this is indeed a common fault with the Moto G. Many users are reporting the same thing with their handsets.
I have been a customer of Phones4U for many years. Until today I have never felt the need to complain about anything. However, I feel that the way I was treated was unacceptable and disgraceful. To be accused of doing something illegal to my device was out of line by the member of sales staff that I spoke to. If this is how you train your staff to deal with an honest, and legal, issue that a customer has I will never return to any of your branches again.
Please note that I have removed my personal email address and I am also removing any personal details including names or numbers in the above email and following emails.
The following morning I get this reply
From: talktous <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Subject: Thank you for your email
Our ref: xxxxxxx
27 November 2013
Dear Robert Best,
Firstly, thank you for your email. We are sorry to learn that you are unhappy with the level of service you have received so far. Please accept our sincere apologies and we appreciate the opportunity to put this right.
To make sure that the issue you have raised is investigated thoroughly, we have passed this to our High Level Complaints Team. They will go into every possible detail with the view to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion and will contact you within 3 working days of you receiving this email. Your reference number to this case is xxxxxx.
Please reply to this email to confirm a suitable contact number and convenient time when it is best to speak to you with their solution. We will then endeavour to contact you according to the details you provide.
We have not located your account with the e-mail address provided therefore please also supply the information below and we will be able to locate all of the details on your account quickly, no matter who in the team you speak to.
Account holders name
Thank you once again for contacting us. We hope that the next time we speak to you, we will be able to resolve the issue you have raised and close the case.
Phones 4u Limited is a company registered in England and Wales under no. 3154198. Registered Office: Osprey House, Ore Close, Lymedale Business Park, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire ST5 9QD
As requested I sent a reply.
From: Robert Best <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: talktous <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 7:55 PM
Subject: Re: Thank you for your email
Thank you for replying to me quickly and taking steps to find our more information.
I can be contacted on the number that phone was sold with, that is xxxxxxxxxxx. After 4pm is more suitable.
The phone was bought in my girlfriend`s name, the following details that you have asked for will reflect that.
Account holders name – xxxxxx xxxxxxxx
Address – xx xxx xxxxxxx, xxxxxxxx. xxx xxx
Mobile Number – xxxxxxxxxxx
Reference/Order Number – I have attached a copy of my receipt for reference below
IMEI number – xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Purchased from – Phones4U Lisburn, Bow Street Mall, Lisburn
Thank you again for looking into this.
I will not include a picture of the receipt here, for obvious reason. I also asked not to be contacted until after 4pm in my email. I wake up and find they had rung me at 12:30 and left me a voicemail.
Their voicemail asked me to ring them as soon as possible in order to resolve this. When I rang them I spent the first few minutes the details about the “account” in my girlfriends name and wanted to speak to her. After explaining that the incident in question happened to me and not her only then did he say that he would talk to me about what happened, but he could not discuss any details of her account. This is something that I want to come back to after I explain what followed.
I was then asked what my issue was. To me it seemed that the person that I was talking to had no idea of my complaint. After explaining it all to him he said sorry on behalf of the company and told me that the matter would be dealt with internally. Also, that would be the end of it. I would never learn what the outcome, if any I am guessing, would be. To be honest I was not very amused by this. I was then asked what I hoping for or expecting and my reply was at the time I do not really know, that I had not thought that far ahead.
Now that I have had a little bit of time to think about this a few things come to mind. Firstly, from the moment I got on the phone this afternoon to Phones4U I felt like they had no interest in what I had to say. I feel just as insulted since the person that I was talking to could not even pull up details of my complaint and I had to explain it all to him. Then he said sorry to me. What difference does someone sitting in an office make. What good is him saying sorry to me with regards the original issue that I had. I do not care to hear sorry from someone who sits on the end of a phone all day dealing with customer complains. He gets paid to sit on the phone and say sorry to people all day. What was done to me in the store by xxxxx was very wrong. It amounts to slander.
I am not a legal expert, I will hold my hands up to that. However in saying that a very quick Google search for the word “Slander” brings back this result:
the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.
“he is suing the TV company for slander”
To be told in public that I am doing something illegal so far out of line I do not even know where to begin. I was made to feel like crap just for coming in and asking about an issue my phone was having. I have been a long time phones for you customer. Over the 10 years or so I have bought many a phone from the Lisburn Store. I normally get decent service. At this moment in time I currently have 2 monthly contracts that I am over half way though each of them which I got from Phones4U. When my friends and family come to me and ask me where to go when they are looking a new phone or contract I send them to Phones4U, since they usually have what you are looking for at a good price. Plus I am one of these people who likes to get phones contracts and the like in a store with a person in front of me, rather than over the phone or on-line.
I would also like to know, why I was treated the way I was? Did he not like the look of me or something? It is something that I have faced in the past. Did I not look like I was serious customer, with a reasonable issue that I was facing with my phone? Was I too scruffy looking or something? Did he simply think he was better than me? I would also like to know what is going to happen. Telling me that Phones4U are going to deal with it internally and that is the end of it is not good enough for me. To me that sounds like you are just going to ignore my complaint.
Like I said I have been a long-term customer of Phones4U. Right now I have no intention to ever walk back into anyone of your stores or recommend you to anyone again. You have lost a loyal customer.
Note a copy of this blog post has been forward to Phones4U.