11 September 2009

Stupid Orange

*** Update May 2010: You may also want to see my more recent post in which I successfully FIXED a phone with this problem at home! ***

This isn't a rant about citrus fruit (I'll save that for later, stupid vitamin-filled bastards), but rather a complaint about Orange Mobile and their shoddy merchandise and shoddy customer service.

I have been without my phone for the last week, and will continue to be so for next week as well. I've only had the bloody thing for five months, it's a Sony Ericsson C510, but last Saturday it decided to keel over and die. What was I doing that taxed it beyond reasonable limits? Trying to text my Mum. Possibly the most mundane and easy thing you can do on a mobile.

Having done some searching on the web, I realise now that I'm not the only Sony Ericsson owner this has happened to, and there were precautions I could have taken to prevent it. But of course before it died I had to reason to take them, so I didn't.

Basically, either the software or the memory or both decided to fail. I got as far as 'Send message', when it suddenly said "Memory full. Delete a file of your choice? Yes/No". I said yes, and then the phone karked it. It crashed beyond recovery (I had to take the battery out), and then displayed this exciting list of symptoms:

  • no access to the network, or indeed any network. (The manual helpfully said "try changing your location if you cannot access your network." Er, no.)
  • no access to the phonebook, it locked up if you even tried.
  • inability to charge the phone, as when you plugged it in it said "Please use a Sony Ericsson battery" and then refused to cooperate, even when I shouted "IT IS A FUCKING SONY ERICSSON BATTERY" at it.
  • all menu text had changed to black on a black background, so you couldn't read anything. Well, in fact you could, because the highlighted menu item remained white, you just couldn't see any of the other options in the list until you moved up or down. So that made navigation very exciting as you never knew what was coming next.
  • unable to connect the phone to the PC, as the Sony Ericsson Phone Suite programme thingy refused to recognise the phone.
So, all in all, it was fucked.

The helpful information I found on the web blamed a software error, and said it might be resolved if you updated the firmware. Indeed, on the Sony Ericsson site, there was a new version which proudly proclaimed it would resolve certain errors and improve memory access. Well, that's lovely, but it was a bit fucking late now that my phone was dead and I couldn't connect it to the PC to wipe it and reload the software. I also couldn't back up my contacts directory onto the computer, or even onto the SIM, because it couldn't access it.

So after a couple of hours of futilely turning it on and off and hoping it magically healed itself, I took it back to the Orange shop.

Were they concerned, apologetic, sympathetic and helpful? No.

I got some woman, who I assume must have been the store manager judging by her rather casual attire and blasé attitude, and explained that the phone was busted.

"Oh right. Well it'll have to go back to Sony Ericsson to be fixed then. They'll wipe it and reload the software. We're not fixing them ourselves any more, we're sending them straight to them" (a big hint, I think, that other people have had the same problem). "It'll take 10 days."

"10 days, or 10 working days?"

"10 working days."

"So two weeks then. What do I do for a phone in the meantime?"

"You'll have to use an old handset if you've got one."

"I have one, but it doesn't work very well, that's why I bought a new one. Isn't there anything else you can do for me?" (I was hoping for a courtesy phone, which I know they can do because I could see the space on the form for it)

"Not unless you have another old handset."

"So that's a no then. What about my numbers?"

"I'll back them up onto your SIM for you." (starts jabbing with her podgy fingers at the buttons)

"You can't. As I said, you can't access the phonebook."

"Well you'll lose your numbers then."

"Oh. Thanks."

And that was it! No apology, no nothing. I'm now just waiting for a call to say the phone is back and I can go and get it. I'm hoping it'll be before the end of next week, but based on my experience so far it's more likely to be the start of the week after.

So I've got no 3G any more, and I'm stuck with my crappy LG Chocolate which looks nice but works like it was programmed by illiterate paraplegics with severe brain injuries.

My advice to you if you're reading this post because you've searched for Sony Ericsson C510 on Google is to install the Phone Suite programme thingy and back up your phone now. Then, if you know what you're doing, upgrade your software to the latest version. I'm not sure if that means you lose any network-specific customisations (mine had special Orange links built into the menus), but it's probably worth it to keep the phone from dying.

It's a shame, because I loved my C510, it's the best phone I've ever had, and most people have told me Sony Ericssons are really good. Maybe it'll come back in tip top condition and I'll have no more problems with it, but whatever happens it'll be no thanks to Miss Piggy of the Brighton Orange shop.

8 comments:

David said...

LOL @ your comments about the LG Chocolate, I've also got one lying around and I feel exactly the same! Nice looking handset, but that's about it.

Melany said...

Sorry to hear you had an issue in the first please. It is however nice to hear you love your phone. If you have issues again contact us directly and we can look into warranty options with you.

List of support numbers:
http://www.sonyericsson.com/cws/corporate/common/contact/phonelist#Europe


-Melany
Sony Ericsson Answers Team

superlative said...

That's a bit spooky and weird that Sony Ericsson seek out posts about their phones... Sort of good, I suppose, but spooky nonetheless.

Urban Cynic said...

That woman in the shop sounded like she was from the Vodaphoneschool of customer service.

I changed to T-Mobile & their service is brilliant - just a shame I can get one bar (if I'm lucky) at both my old & new address. Will they give me any money off as I have to divert my phone to the landline & go outside to text? will they fuck.

I'll be changing down to the lowest tariff available, putting the sodding thing in the drawer & going to O2for an iphone.

Also - WTF?! Melany from Sony is ON THE CASE!

(ironically your word verification is telfen!)

Russ said...

I have just had EXACTLY the same problem. I feel your pain!

superlative said...

Mine has been fine so far since it was fixed, if that's of any comfort. Basically it needs the latest version of the software loaded onto it, which will wipe anything you had previously on there (including all your numbers).

Hope you'd had more forethought than me and backed yours up!

Mike said...

but how do you update the software if you cant turn the phone on because it wont charge!!

superlative said...

You can't. It has to go back to Sony Ericsson so they can do it for you, until then it's pretty much fucked.

Sorry if you've got the same problem I had. Obviously I know how annoying it is!