Google's Unbelievable Level of Incompetence in dealing with a Pixel Warranty Issue

kirbyrj

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I purchased a brand new unlocked Pixel 5A for my wife when it released. It was activated using a Verizon based MVNO utilizing the Verizon network. About a month ago, it started to exhibit signs of failure and the screen wouldn't turn on even though the phone appeared to be responsive. There was no damage to the phone.

First, I took it to the Google authorized uBreakiFix near me for warranty work. They confirmed the phone was within the warranty and ultimately replaced the motherboard of the phone at no cost. Great. Thanks for the service. Here's where things started to go south... The replacement motherboard has a new IMEI number (understandable). The new motherboard replacement comes from their "Google Fi" version of the phone and is not whitelisted by Verizon even though the phone is unlocked. Any attempts to activate it are met with "this device is not compatible with our network", etc. I called back the uBreakiFix (who were actually very helpful). They told me that the only part they are able to receive from Google is the "Google Fi" motherboard. They don't separate out the regular "unlocked" vs. "Google Fi." They told me to contact Google directly to assist me with warranty work.

Second, I jump through the hoops on the Google repair website. I explain the issue and they issue me an RMA number. I wrote a detailed letter describing the problem and included it in the box with the phone. I gave them the old IMEI number. I gave them the new number, and I explained EXACTLY what the problem was. They sent me back my phone untouched and said there was no problem with it.

Third, I got on their customer service chat and explained AGAIN exactly what the problem was. I told them that the phone is physically functional, but it won't activate on Verizon. The problem was escalated to a 2nd tier and they approved a device replacement. I sent the phone in and they sent me a new one. The phone I get back has an IMEI that is not compatible with Verizon AGAIN.

All I want is a regular UNLOCKED phone back that is compatible with Verizon like the original phone I ordered. I don't think my expectation is too high here. I don't know where the fault lies with the whitelisting process. Sounds like Google sends them a list of unlocked IMEIs and they are added to the database. Certain ones of their phones don't seem to make it to the whitelist because they are sold for "Google Fi" purposes which doesn't use Verizon. There really should be a way to add phones to Verizon's whitelist.
 

owcraftsman

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Seems to me Verizon would have been my 1st stop to resolve this. What did they say? Of course I pay for insurance on the phone, I think $5 per month, and if it doesn't work I pay 50 bucks and get a new one within a couple days or less.
 

kirbyrj

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Seems to me Verizon would have been my 1st stop to resolve this. What did they say? Of course I pay for insurance on the phone, I think $5 per month, and if it doesn't work I pay 50 bucks and get a new one within a couple days or less.

They won't touch it because it wasn't purchased from them. Not their problem.
 

kirbyrj

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I talked to Google again today. They are playing the blame game with Verizon. They say it's compatible, but Verizon isn't allowing it. Verizon is saying that it's not their problem because you didn't purchase it from us.

Clearly Google has two different versions of the phone on their website. An "unlocked works with all major carriers" and a "Google Fi (unlocked)" version. My original phone was the first and the IMEI was submitted to Verizon to be whitelisted. Every replacement motherboard or phone has been the second which was never submitted to Verizon for whitelisting.
 

OFaceSIG

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I don't disagree with you that Google has handled this ridiculously. Google should have enough of a relationship with Verizon to understand which versions of their phone/mobo are compatible and which aren't. That being said you are also a victim of big giant company crapness.

The only time I ever did business with Verizon was when I was a FIOS customer. They have since sold their Texas territories to Frontier. Big giant firms usually suck fat ones. They always have terrible customer service and policies. I worked for ATT in corporate sales. Horrible two years of my life. I worked for AIG (the definition of too big to fail) for 6 years of my life. Crappy place, luckily I had good coworkers.

I was on Cricket (ATT owned) for cell service and have since moved to Mint (independent but uses Tmobile). I cannot be happier with the customer service and the price. I try to stay away from the biggest players whenever I can. They usually treat people like crap.
 

kirbyrj

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I would use Mint but TMobile service isn't great where I live.
 

kirbyrj

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That's unfortunate. I pay for a year what some people pay for a couple of months.

I've been using Total Wireless. My wife and I get 30GB of data for $60/mo. and 2 lines of service and it uses Verizon towers. Getting Total Wireless to try to add a phone to Verizon's whitelist is even more futile than me trying to do it.
 

Absalom

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OP: It's a ploy to get you on to Google Fi. First, they get you frustrated. Then they get you to hate on your first party carrier. It's win-win for them.

Google-Fi isn't bad. Google as a service isn't trying to lock you into anything or play the psychology game of "oh, you really need this plan". I guess it depends on where you are located, because coverage of those networks isn't the best. Last I checked, Fi uses the T-Mobile (Sprint) and US Cellular networks. I tend to use my phone almost always over Wi-Fi, so maybe I'm not the best judge of Fi cellular on demand.
 

kirbyrj

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OP: It's a ploy to get you on to Google Fi. First, they get you frustrated. Then they get you to hate on your first party carrier. It's win-win for them.

Google-Fi isn't bad. Google as a service isn't trying to lock you into anything or play the psychology game of "oh, you really need this plan". I guess it depends on where you are located, because coverage of those networks isn't the best. Last I checked, Fi uses the T-Mobile (Sprint) and US Cellular networks. I tend to use my phone almost always over Wi-Fi, so maybe I'm not the best judge of Fi cellular on demand.

US Cellular is non-existent near me and T-mobile is spotty due to the terrain. I drive a lot with my job, so I really need the best coverage I can get, and unfortunately around me, it's Verizon based service or bust.
 

Absalom

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US Cellular is non-existent near me and T-mobile is spotty due to the terrain. I drive a lot with my job, so I really need the best coverage I can get, and unfortunately around me, it's Verizon based service or bust.
Yeah, that would do it. I don't have US Cellular near me either. But I can confirm that my Pixel phone handles voice calls really well over Starlink ;)
 

Jonnycat99

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Clearly Google has two different versions of the phone on their website. An "unlocked works with all major carriers" and a "Google Fi (unlocked)" version. My original phone was the first and the IMEI was submitted to Verizon to be whitelisted. Every replacement motherboard or phone has been the second which was never submitted to Verizon for whitelisting.

This is 100% on Google, they need to ship you the correct board (or full phone) and stop blaming the carrier.
 

Nobu

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US Cellular is non-existent near me and T-mobile is spotty due to the terrain. I drive a lot with my job, so I really need the best coverage I can get, and unfortunately around me, it's Verizon based service or bust.
Have you tried a 5G T-mo phone in your area? I've found that sometimes where 2/3/4G is spotty, 5G sometimes has fantastic signal.
 

The_Heretic

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Food for thought for sure, as I've owned a Pixel 4 that was purchased as unlocked and placed on Verizon but I didn't have to deal with a hardware failure other than a battery.
 

CHANG3D

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Have you tested T-Mobile recently? T-Mobile is way different from the T-Mobile of yesteryears. 4G wise it’s only behind by 8% in coverage. 5G is way ahead of the other two combined.
 

OFaceSIG

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Yeah, that would do it. I don't have US Cellular near me either. But I can confirm that my Pixel phone handles voice calls really well over Starlink ;)

I set up mobile calling and text as "prefered" and wifi calling and text as a backup on my phone. The one "kink" I've found with Mint, and I don't know if this is true universally or is a Mint configuration but MMS doesn't flow over data.

I'm on a Mint user FB group and this has been reported many times. WiFi calling and SMS work fine over data. For some reason MMS does not. So that's an issue If you're on Android or interact with a lot of android people. iPhone messenger, signal users, whatspp all flow over data so Starlink would be fine.
 

kirbyrj

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Have you tested T-Mobile recently? T-Mobile is way different from the T-Mobile of yesteryears. 4G wise it’s only behind by 8% in coverage. 5G is way ahead of the other two combined.

Last time I tried was maybe two or three years ago. There were just a lot of dead spots. I think I still have a mint Sim around here I should try it again.
 

cjcox

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Probably need to get a very repairable iPhone
TimLaughsMeme.png
 

kirbyrj

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I ended up with a Samsung A53. 4 years of updates and a comparable experience to the Pixel 5a I'd imagine. It's my wife's phone. She was happy with it.
 
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