Pricewatch: Readers’ queries

A long-running problem with a faulty iPhone is finally resolved to the customer’s satisfaction

Broken iPhone: some texts would say ‘sent’ but never arrived while others would say ‘not sent’ and would then arrive

Broken iPhone: some texts would say ‘sent’ but never arrived while others would say ‘not sent’ and would then arrive


The long and winding road to get a phone fixed

A reader called Niall bought his 17-year old daughter an iPhone 4S in November 2012 at the 3 Mobile shop on Patrick Street in Cork, after which she moved to that network. At the end of the October this year, she was having trouble sending and receiving texts. Some would say “sent” but never arrived while others would say “not sent” and would then arrive. The upshot was that she could not trust the system.

“She called in to the 3 store and was told that upgrading from iOS6 to iOS7 would solve the problem. She did so, and after a week things were still not right,” he writes. Then Niall called into the shop on November 11th and explained what had happened.

“I told the woman in the shop that on checking my records over the weekend I had found that the previous Friday had been the one-year deadline so the warranty had expired. I was told that there should be some leeway and that they’d send it off and ‘see what happens but it should be okay – it’s only a few days over’.”

So far, so good. His daughter brought the phone in to the 3 store on November 15th having been away that week. She signed the paperwork and was asked for an alternative number, so she gave her mother’s.

The following Tuesday she got a text message stating that the phone had been received by the repair company, Fonemenders. Then, two days later, she got a text that read: “Unfortunately your device is not covered by warranty. Estimated cost of repair is €200. Please contact us for confirmation to proceed with the repair.”

A number of calls came through, which she could not answer as she was at school. She forwarded the text asking for the money to her dad. He called Fonemenders but only got through to voicemail, so he called the 3 support line. They could not help him, “as I was not the registered owner, but they said they would talk to me if my daughter gave them verbal authorisation. As soon as I got home we called 3 again, gave the authorisation and explained that the phone had been returned to 3 for repairs under warranty but was now incurring a charge. After 20 minutes they said they could not help me. I asked that the conversation and my dissatisfaction be noted on the file.”

Again Niall called to the 3 store and reminded them of the assurances they had given about the warranty. “The woman I had been speaking to responded by saying the phone was out of warranty. I asked for a manager, who was of the same opinion. I asked for a contact with more authority and was told I couldn’t be given that information.”

Eventually he got through to Fonemenders, which told him that Apple had extended the warranty and it and 3 had tried to make contact by phone and email with his daughter. However, all she had received was a text stating it was not covered by warranty.

Fonemenders acknowledged it had sent the wrong standard text. Fonemenders then said it needed authorisation from 3 to carry out the repairs under warranty.

“I went to the 3 store and was told the employee who had sanctioned the extended warranty had left the company.”

Niall then came up against a series of brick walls, so he contacted Pricewatch.

We contacted 3. Within 24 hours they had been in touch with our reader to say they would fix the phone at no cost, and they had offered Niall’s daughter €50 credit to make up for the trouble.

In a statement, the company wrote, “in this kind of situation, we will always work with the customer to fix their handset without delay. In this specific case, there was an unusual breakdown in communication, which caused a misunderstanding at our end and delayed the process. We have apologised to the customer for the delay and inconvenience caused. The issue has now been resolved and we have given the customer a gesture of goodwill to make up for this misunderstanding.”

Niall is delighted with the outcome.

‘Irish Times’ readers sure know their muesli

A couple of weeks ago we reviewed muesli and inadvertently upset several readers. At least half a dozen people made contact with us to say that the best muesli on the market right now is to be found in Lidl.

It is made with 50 per cent fruit and nuts – the highest fruit and nut content in the four reviewed products on this page was just 35 per cent – and was cheaper than any of the four.

Flahavan’s Muesli also had it supporters, with several people insisting there is no way it can be topped. Our inclusion of Alpen upset some people as they thought it was too sweet and a world away from what a proper muesli should be.

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