I hope the rest of the country does not experience the Note 7 return run around that I did today.
I did not want to take it back in the first place but decided maybe I should after getting a stern sounding robo call and then emails from Costco, where I bought it and Samsung.
You have to understand. We have a special bond.
I bought my phone in three weeks ago in late August. I fell in love. I do remember it getting really hot when I first charged it but its been fine ever since. And its a great phone. Fast, sharp pictures, great video, the phone does everything I hoped it would.
It helped me capture some of the grandeur of Glacier Park in Montana along with a mandatory family pose for the holiday calendar my wife makes each Christmas.
But the message from Samsung and Costco were so dire they changed my mind this week. "Power down your Note7 and exchange it now". What if I ignored their demands and suddenly it caught fire in my pocket? Or burned my house down? I didn't want to be that guy.
So, I called my cell carrier, Verizon and asked for their advice. The woman explained that if I turned my phone in I'd be given a Galaxy 7 (a similar phone just not as good) at no charge to use until Samsung re-issues new Note7's that do not catch fire. Even though I bought the phone at Costco, the Verizon rep suggested I return it to a Verizon corporate store near my home, so I'd get a better experience.
I appreciated that because its a lot closer than Costco.
I went to the Verizon store inside the Lloyd Center Mall here in Portland and explained what I'd been told on the phone. An employee asked his manager, who was nearby, if that was correct because he had not heard about that, offer. The manager said that was indeed the case. Then they excused themselves and went to the back room for a few moments. When they returned, they looked disappointed and announced that since I had bought the Note 7 at Costco I really did have to take it there.
When I asked why the woman on the phone told me otherwise, they said they did not know.
So, out I went to Costco to join the Sunday crowds 20-minutes from my home.
When I arrived, the cell phone sales associate confirmed I could trade temporarily for a Galaxy 7 because I had a recalled Note7.
I described the mix up between the Verizon woman on the phone and the Verizon store workers at the mall. He smiled and said, "they just didn't want to deal with the paperwork."
Which was the moment I decided to write this blog post.
I don't know who is right or wrong but I do know there are millions of people who have a Note7 like me. And if they get the runaround I got--its going to be an ugly experience for Samsung's brand and the carriers and stores involved.
I didn't like having to mentally separate myself from this piece of hardware that's already helped me preserve many fun memories. But then to get a run around made me angry!
Its a pretty basic lesson in crisis communication. Figure out your plan, then make sure everyone knows what it is and can communicate it clearly to customers.
By the way, I still have my phone.
The guy at Costco was careful to tell me he would be happy to exchange the phone for me that moment.
But I told him about my relationship with the phone.
I quizzed him about the danger. He said all the fires resulted from using non-Samsung chargers. He told me I could hang on to the phone if I really wanted until Samsung issues replacement devices.
Done. That's my plan. I'm just being careful not to charge it over night. And if it suddenly catches fire in my pocket next week, you'll know I'm that guy after all.