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Old 07-06-2012, 11:58 AM   #1
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Warranty rant

I know this has been addressed before, but I want to comment on a disturbing experience I just had with Sprint over warranty coverage on my BlackBerry. I'll tell the whole sordid story and ask my question at the end.

I got a new BlackBerry a month ago and have been having steadily worsening keyboard problems. I looked up the warranty information and it says that:

During the Warranty Period, the BlackBerry Hardware, or one or more of the BlackBerry Hardware components, will be repaired or replaced at RIM's option, without charge to YOU for either parts or labor... Based on an agreement between RIM and the RIM Solution Provider (defined below), this Limited Warranty for the Warranty Period shall be honored by either RIM or the RIM Solution Provider... Any repair or replacement pursuant to this limited warranty could be requested by You from the RIM Solution Provider.
"RIM Solution Provider" is defined as "the reseller or distributor through whom YOU purchased the BlackBerry Solution."

Based on that language, I went to Sprint to find out about having the device repaired or replaced. They told me it would cost $35 to have a tech look at it because it's past the 14-day return period. I told them I'm not returning it because I changed my mind, I'm trying to get warranty service, and the warranty states that the repair or replacement is free of charge. They said that has to be done directly with BlackBerry. I asked for a phone number for BlackBerry, which they gave me.

According to the BlackBerry rep, they handle warranty claims on phones purchased directly from RIM. For purchases from a service provider, the service provider does the warranty work. I told him about Sprint's $35 charge. He said they aren't supposed to do that.

Today, I called back Spring. I told all of this to a superviser at Sprint customer support, and she said that a couple years ago, Sprint instituted the charge for warranty work. I asked her how Sprint could just unilaterally refuse to honor the terms of the warranty. She didn't answer that question, but she did tell me that she would ship a replacement device to me with a return kit to send back the original device.

Even though I ultimately got satisfaction, it still irks me that the fundamental issue remains unresolved: that RIM and Sprint don't agree on whether or not the warranty applies to Sprint customers. I considered the possibility that the people I was talking to (basically low-level support staff, rather than the people who actually negotiate and enter into agreements between manufacturer and authorized dealer) just tell customers what they're told but actually have no idea what the agreement says. How do I know I won't have this same issue again with my next phone?

What I'd like to do is raise the issue at a higher level to both Sprint and RIM. But I don't know how to go about it. I'm thinking about contacting the consumer affairs office of the Massachusetts Secretary of State and filing a complaint; maybe they've gotten other complaints, and maybe other states have received complaints as well, and just perhaps there's a possibility for a class action lawsuit. This is a ridiculous situation that is unfair to the customer.

Do any other users/customers have any suggestions?
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:41 AM   #2
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Sprint trying to screw a customer? That never happens haha.

Sprint is lying to you. Corporate Sprint stores (repair centers) handle all warranties for all phones they sell (minus the iphone, thanks Apple). If it's a hardware issue, and your keyboard issue is, they will fix or replace it within the warranty period, which is one year. Don't let them tell you otherwise. Go into the store and tell them to fix/replace your phone. If they won't do it, call *2 on your phone in the store, get transferred to the cancellation (retention) department. Put that person on the phone with the store manager. It sucks we have to go through this to get service that Sprint is supposed to provide.
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