Thursday, August 17, 2006

Whose problem- my network provider or my handset maker?

Ok, so today I decided that my long reported synchronisation problem between my Nokia N70 and PC should be nipped in the bud. It's become a major productivity problem. As I sit here typing this, I'm losing the battle and, after an hour on the phone with Orange, my grip on the will to live.

You can read more here, but to summarise, the phone synchronised fine for about 6 months. Now, Nokia PC Suite (version 6.6.16) says that it is connected to the phone (and indeed you can browse around it in File Manager), but when you select Synchronise > Synchronise Now (which isn't ghosted by the way) the system tray icon flashes for a while, but nothing otherwise happens. When you click Settings, you get no response at all.

Nokia's FAQ troubleshooting is very limited- it says something along the lines of "make sure you are using a Nokia cable". I am. I'm using a CA-53. It came in the same box as the phone. So did PC Suite.

To check that is wasn't the cable, I purchased a Bluetooth USB and that brings me to the same problem. I have to therefore assume the cable wasn't the problem. Just to rub it in, a first time use of iSync on the Apple worked fine over Bluetooth. I have therefore to also assume that the phone is fine.

I've tried uninstalling and reinstalling PCSuite. No progress. Same problem.

Although I didn't buy the phone from Nokia, they obviously are more likely to have the knowledge to support me, so I went to their website. I posted my problem on their discussion boards where, it seems, there are many disgruntled users. In fact, what has solved the problem for some people hasn't helped others so there are clearly many causes of the problem. The attitude of the Nokia's moderator on these boards is not exactly 'can-do'. They steered me to the support page where I had to describe the problem all over again. Why the moderator couldn't flag it up on behalf struck me as lazy. So, after typing out the problem as helpfully as I could, what happened? The page wouldn't submit. There was a web site error.

OK, so I resorted to the phone number. After selecting the appropriate options I was invited to ring a premium rate number where I'd be charged 75p per minute to have the pleasure of reporting that my phone doesn't work. All is forgiven Microsoft- at least you guys listen, tell us when we're buying a beta and to expect flaky product and immature support.

At this point I decided that I'd tried everything reasonable under my own initiative and that I should take up my consumer rights with those whom my contract is with- I bought the phone from Orange. Orange say that they aren't trained to deal with problems relating to Nokia's PC Suite. I can understand that, but surely they have some responsibility, as the phone retailer, for the product being fit for purpose? Afterall, it was Orange that decided that they would help with the phone and not the associated products (which were all in the same box), not the consumer. Could they take up my grievance with their supplier, Nokia? Not according to them. Orange provide the network. Nokia supply the phone and accessories. I need to go to Nokia. I'm sure that my contract is with Orange- I bought the phone from Orange. Orange provided the phone.

I have to say that Orange graciously offered to credit £5 to my account so I could call Nokia. That really is a great offer on the part of the Orange employee but I was concerned that my accepting it would compromise my statutory rights.

If you have a problem with your TV, you take it back to the retailer. They would liase with the manufacturer. Obviously, not with phones.

So, I'm resolved to live out my lacklustre relationship with my N70 until my next upgrade is due. Nobody is interested in helping. And this, I believe, is why the take up of smartphones isn't what the industry had hoped for. They're simply not 'consumer' enough- as a product or service. I'm a tech nerd and still can't do it.

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