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DroidX does: have a self-destruct tab. Verizon: you voided your warranty

jddj (1085169) writes | more than 4 years ago

User Journal 5

As I write, my very geeky wife is involved in one of those sisyphean discussions with a phone company CSR.

Until an hour ago, she was delighted that her new DroidX had arrived, and that she was lucky enough to be one of the fortunate few with the latest hot phone.

As I write, my very geeky wife is involved in one of those sisyphean discussions with a phone company CSR.

Until an hour ago, she was delighted that her new DroidX had arrived, and that she was lucky enough to be one of the fortunate few with the latest hot phone.

On the back, in the battery compartment, the DroidX has a little tag that says "Pull". It looks a great deal like the tabs that manufacturers put in electronic devices to protect a factory battery from discharging before purchase. So my wife pulls. When she follows the phone's instructions, the insulation panel with the serial number and other phone ID information comes out of the phone completely, tearing the pull-tab in the process.

So she calls Verizon. Verizon's take: Not only did she "cut the sticker" (she did no such thing, it tore a bit when she pulled it), not only is it "her fault" (for following the instructions printed on the phone), but now Verizon claims the phone's warranty has been voided, and her only option is to buy yet another brand new phone.

And get this: since she's "voided her warranty" by following the instructions printed on the tab, she's no longer allowed the 30-day evaluation period. She's stuck with paying $500 for the phone AND a two-year get-out fee if we want to run screaming from this unforgivable customer service experience. We think. It's complicated. There were a few other options, all of which are lousy outcomes for us, and involved us spending more money on this brand new phone. We haven't even turned it on yet.

Wife's in tears. Son's in tears because everyone else is upset. Can this be the out-of-box experience Motorola had planned for us?

My wife says: "I think we've come to a point where companies have gotten so big they don't have to care about the individual customer. When you're as big as the GNP of a small country, a $500 phone doesn't seem like a big deal. When the policy is written, they try to write it so no one can get around the policy, even when it would make sense. No one is given autonomy to go outside the policy, even when it would make sense. And nobody that has the authority to make a change is even aware that the situation occurs unless it reaches the media. As companies get larger and larger, this is just gonna get worse".

Why do phone companies try so hard to drive away subscribers with top-tier data plans who buy the top-of-the-line phone?

Won't thousands of other people make exactly the same mistake with the phone?

By the way: the tab? It's to pull the battery out of the phone. Don't ask me why they couldn't just put in a little fingernail notch.

Updated July 21 1PM EDT -

Motorola has also confirmed that following the instruction to pull the tab voids the phone's warranty.

We're not the only ones who pulled the tab as instructed.

Updated July 22 4:41 PM EDT -

I'm going to guess that this problem will mainly show up for folks who've had their DroidX phones shipped to them. These phones ship without an installed battery and no explanation for the tab. Folks who buy the phone at the store will typically have the salesperson install the battery, and the first time they'll encounter the tab is in the act of popping the battery out of the phone.

To clarify - we think the phone will work just fine. The part that's made us so mad is that the warranty is now gone. What happens if something does go wrong?

Updated July 24 12:35 AM EDT - Resolved? Maybe...

The Mrs. spoke to a different rep from Motorola yesterday who said "Huh? That doesn't sound right. Hang on while I check with support...No, Verizon is crazy, you didn't void your warranty...".

That sounds pretty good, but he had no way to put it in writing. He did ask the Mrs. to call back Verizon with the Moto case number to help straighten out their support desk, and suggested he'd look into getting Moto's story straight.

That's some relief - the Mrs. is using her DroidX at last, and is mollified, and the youngun is sleeping well tonight.

BUT - we have recent verbal assurance from Moto that the warranty is not void, and prior text assurance from Moto that it is void. That's not the happiest of resolutions. Would like to say we're done, but would rather hear policy from Moto and Verizon that clears this all up.

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I'm an anonymous coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983864)

You, and your wife, are stupid. Really? Couldn't figure out what that was there for? The world is too complex for you.

Re:I'm an anonymous coward (1)

jddj (1085169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32984332)

Hi Coward - goodonya for not signing your name to an ignorant comment. Says more about you than about me.

I work in human factors, so you're in my domain now.

It's really not stupid to pull a tab marked "PULL". It wouldn't have been difficult to mark the tab "PULL - battery" or not mark it "PULL" at all.

  - Smart people designed, built and operated radiation therapy machines that killed people that live in my state.
  - Smart people designed, built and blew up the Space Shuttle Challenger by launching when it was too cold.

These are human factors problems caused when innate human psychology meets poor design:

- Generalizing knowledge in a domain: Wife and I have both seen "pull" tabs in plenty of brand new products where you have to pull the tab out to get the product to begin to work. That's what we thought it was.

- Taking the only instructions at face value: the label "PULL" and "Don't Cut" is used here to mean both "PULL" and "DON'T PULL!". Am I stupid for not getting "DON'T PULL!" out of "PULL"?

Hope your day's going better than mine!


Re:I'm an anonymous coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32985148)

And yet the title of this entry is "DroidX Does:have a self destruct tab".

While I get that you're being clever, the idea that the X is poorly designed, or worse designed to 'self destruct' borders on stupid. If you don't know what it does, don't assume. If you assume and you are wrong, don't complain.

Funny enough, I bought this phone, saw the 'Pull' tab and thought "hm, what does this do?". I lifted up on it a bit and saw that it was connected. Curious. But then I rationalized that it went under the battery as it fit the form of the cavity in which it was installed. A quick test verified what I was thinking. Aren't I brilliant? No, not really. But then again, I don't just go willy nilly pulling on things marked pull. And I would imagine it took a fair bit of effort to rip the thing. Kudos to your wife's determination. This is no delicate piece of paper.

So you can pull the 'smarter than you' routine to your heart's content, but then again my warranty isn't void.

Re:I'm an anonymous coward (1)

jddj (1085169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32985526)

Definitely not trying to say I'm smarter.

When you look at human factors problems, typically "smart" doesn't enter into it in the sense that someone is "not smart enough to perform this task".

In fact, smarts can be a root cause: if everyone on the design team is blindingly smart, they may also be completely blind to the interpretation users make of their product in the marketplace.

This is typically solved with user research (not to be confused with marketing research) and design. Many companies study the out-of-box experience since that's when the user's initial impressions of a product are formed. Ever open an Apple product to find yourself delighted? That's a researched, designed experience.

What first impressions of Moto and Android did this OOB make on my wife? (We both already knew Verizon are asshats).

Re:I'm an anonymous coward (1)

GottaLoveIt (1861490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32985670)

So, you think it takes effort to rip the tab off huh? Maybe you should check out all the people over on the Android Central forums: [] who are saying they did the same thing or ripped the entire backing out altogether. Just search for "Droid X pull tab" - have fun with that.

Only issue I have with your response is that someone obviously did what the tab said do - it says "pull". Dosen't take a lot of assuming to follow clear instructions. When you follow the instructions and it VOIDS THE WARRANTY I'd say that is an issue - not complaining for the sake of complaining.

It appears from reading more on this... Those people who got the phone with the battery installed don't have this problem, it's obvious what it does. It's the people who have the phone shipped to them that are having this issue because the battery isn't installed and so the "pull" tab appears to be one of those tabs you pull in many devices to start an internal/hidden battery. It certainly doesn't appear to be a tab worth of warranty invalidation.
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