Everyone knows that the C905 has had, erm, issues. Even Sony Ericsson has been adult enough to admit that the hardware design gave rise to a range of problems related to two separate ribbon cables that can disconnect; causing earpiece and other screen problems.
As a fan of the phone, I’ve now made it to my fourth model. Most people haven’t been that forgiving, so they have an uphill struggle to restore faith in their brand from dealers, operators and customers alike.
My latest C905 was a 2009 build (week 4) that worked – but always had a niggling fault with the slider. Put simply, it rocked slightly to left and right. Okay, so all sliders will do this after a while – it’s wear and tear – but they still work. On here, the rocking action meant the keylock kicked in as if you’d closed the slide completely.
Suddenly, a bit of wonky plastic is a cause of major frustration with the keylock coming on and off constantly unless you hold the slider still using a finger.
So, it’s off to Sony Ericsson for repair.
Except Sony Ericsson doesn’t repair its own handsets, they use another company. Normal practice; there’s no story here. To start the repair process off, you go to the website and send an email explaining the fault. You should then get an email saying it needs to be sent off, to its authorised repair centre, called Kuehne+Nagel.
They’re a worldwide logistics firm that seem to have their fingers in a large number of pies, and the company is responsible for more than just Sony Ericsson. Orange is another large client, and it was Kuehne+Nagel that managed to take eight days to send me out a replacement SIM card – but I’ll save that rant for another day.
Fill in the attached Word document and package it up to send to a freepost address. Tempting as it is to throw your phone in the mail there and then, you’ll want to take it to the post office and invest in special delivery (with insurance) to ensure they get it, or you’re paid out if they don’t.
Sony Ericsson say you’ll be sent an email with a tracking number once it arrives at the repair centre, so you can keep track of the repair during the estimated 4-5 working day turnaround. No email never arrived, but the Royal Mail could confirm it had been received the very next day so that was good enough for me.
Two weeks later and a letter arrives to explain why I haven’t received a nicely repaired C905 back yet. It’s ‘Un-Repairable under the Manufacturer’s Warranty’. On the job sheet that is enclosed, there’s a much more detailed explanation: ‘Unrepaired due to unauthorised engineering’. Oh, that’s cleared that up then.
Does that mean they think I opened it up? They failed to provide any evidence, which might be because there can’t be any, as I’m the only person that ever owned the phone from new and I don’t generally take phones apart and break warranty seals (which, if there is one – sorry, I can’t now check – would still be in one piece).
To add insult to injury, the letter then offers to ‘environmentally dispose of my handset at no charge’ to myself, or I can opt to buy it back instead. If I don’t reply within 28-days, it will go to that great phone graveyard in the sky.
But would the phone really be disposed of? A phone that still sells SIM-free for the best part of £350 online…
A check on Mazuma Mobile suggests the C905 has a value of £117 in working condition or £50 if broken. Now my C905 was working, bar the wonky slider and the annoyance of the keylock kicking in, but let’s assume the worst case scenario; £50 of value (£55 if I want Argos vouchers). That means Kuehne+Nagel is simply stealing my phone! Where’s the offer to buy the phone back from me at a price ranging from £50 to £350?
Of course, an appeal has now been lodged via Sony Ericsson and I should hear back in the coming days to see if I’ve been successful. Successfully appealing to possibly get my phone back without being fixed? Appealing to get someone qualified to look again and suddenly realise it wasn’t opened? Appealing to see if they’ll fix it this time as a gesture of goodwill to avoid acknowledging that this is a seriously issue that could affect many other people sending faulty handsets in for repair?
I can’t wait for my phone call next week…