Cell Phone Problems - What Can You Do?

Are you having cell phone problems?  Are you frustrated with trying to get to a live customer care agent to resolve your issues with your wireless carrier?  This section is dedicated to discussing some approaches to deal with your wireless phone issues and/or wireless service complaints.  You can also link over to share your story with other visitors to the site.  Even if you don't get resolution, sometimes seeing that others are having issues, or just plain venting can help us feel better!Cell Phone Problems

Cell phones have become such a huge part of our everyday lives, and the technology behind them is actually quite sophisticated.  You know the expression "it's not rocket science"?  Well, cell phone technology is arguably pretty close to being rocket science!  Seriously, traveling 65mph on the highway, talking on the phone, or using mobile broadband to access the Internet, and seamlessly handing off your call or data session from tower to tower without skipping a beat, is quite a feat of technology.  And try packaging cell phone features, radios, antennas, etc. into small, thin, sleek device that's safe for consumers.  Needless to say, cell phone technology really is a big deal, and arguably goes largely unappreciated!


BUT, that doesn't mean that we're tolerant of constant or nagging cell phone problems.  If wireless providers are going to sell phones, and we're going to pay them our hard-earned money to buy service, we expect it to work well.  While we've come to expect that it won't always be perfect, we do expect a reasonable to great experience.  I see two general areas where issues tend to occur, and I've divided up the discussion below accordingly.

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Hardware Issues
Sometimes smartphones are simply defective.  Sometimes it's a rare occurrence with the specific phone we happen to buy, and sometimes it's a problem across an entire model of phone due to a known flaw or manufacturer's defect.  Some common issues include:
  • Buttons don't work properly when pressed (Less of an issue with modern smartphones that have minimal buttons, but power, volume, and center key buttons can still have issues.)
  • The phone navigation freezes constantly
  • Poor reception/call quality
  • Constant dropped calls (when others using the same network aren't having problems)
  • Earphone jack doesn't function
  • Bluetooth doesn't connect correctly, or frequently disconnects
  • Touch screens are slow to respond or non-responsive
  • Blotches on the LCD
  • ...The list could go on...!

Regardless of the cell phone problems you're experiencing, the approach to resolving them is generally similar.  Note that it doesn't matter whether you have a prepaid wireless or postpaid wireless phone/account; this advice applies to any situation:
  • Google or Bing the issue you're having to see if it's a common occurrence.  I've solved many issues on my own using this method, as a lot of issues are software related.  When it's hardware related, this research can help you validate that fact.
  • Call your wireless carrier and report the issue as soon as it starts to irritate you.  i.e. Don't wait months before reporting the issue, or you'll find that you'll get less sympathy, and also reduce the agent's ability to help you.  If it's a new phone, you're more likely to have a case to make.  After all, if you've had the problem for a long time, and are still using your phone and getting by, how bad could the issue really be?!Broken iPhone
  • When talking to the wireless customers service representative about your cell phone problems, try to get help resolving the issue.  If it can't be resolved over the phone, request a replacement device.  Note that you should expect the same device; don't try to use an issue with your phone to try to get an upgrade to a newer phone.  You'll lose a lot of credibility trying to do that.  If you have information from your Internet search of a known or common problem, be sure to point that out.
  • If you're out of warranty, try requesting a courtesy credit towards the purchase of a new phone even if you're outside of your upgrade eligibility.  Many carriers have a loyalty program that will help people with broken phones buy a new phone at a discount to avoid losing you as a customer (even if you're in a contract!).  I worked at a carrier whose policy was to give back up to 20% of the lifetime spend of a customer in order to keep them.
  • If you're out of warranty and your carrier won't help you, AND you originally bought the phone with a credit card, try calling your credit card company to see what their extended warranty terms are.  Credit card companies often offer good purchase protection and warranty extension programs that don't require any special opting in.  Then you won't need any cell phone repair tips; you'll just get a new phone!  That said, keep in mind that they'll give you back the money you originally spent on the phone (ex. $200), however, if you need to replace that phone at full price, without the Subsidy, it's going to cost you a lot more.  In other words, the money you get back from your credit card company may not actually be enough to actually buy a replacement phone.
If none of these approaches work for you, try talking to a supervisor.  Remember to be nice.  You can be upset and frustrated, but don't get nasty.  Even if you're in the right, and they have access to special policies that can help you, if you make it personal or come across as rude, they're not going to help you.  After all, they're only human, and "the customer is always right" will only get you so far.  Appealing to their sense of what's right, and helping a good customer who will refer their service to friends and family will get you much further!

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Service Issues
Troubleshooting service related issues gets much more complicated!  Here are some common wireless service complaints:
  • You prepaid for service but your phone isn't working.
  • You experience incorrect billing with overage charges (applies to postpaid).
  • Services you paid extra for (ex. hotspot) don't work at all or don't work consistently.
  • The phone doesn't get reception where you live or work, even though the coverage maps show your carrier has coverage there.
  • The wireless provider charged your credit card numerous times without your permission.
  • Etc., etc...

Cell Phone Problems

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