After Darshan Bhanushali’s Pixel 3a XL breaks, Google promises to replace the phone. So why does he owe the company an extra $517? Here’s how to handle a Google Pixel phone problem.
I purchased a Pixel 3a XL phone from the Google Store recently. Four months later, I had some issues with the phone’s headphone jack. I was no longer getting any sound to my earphones.
I called the Pixel support number. Since the phone was less than six months old, it was under warranty. A Google representative asked me to take the phone to a nearby uBreakiFix store. I was busy at that time so I didn’t go immediately.
A month later, my phone’s screen stopped working and there was no display. I took the phone to the uBreakiFix store as suggested by the Pixel phone customer support team. The store contacted Google, which agreed to send a replacement phone.
A Google representative took me through the process of ordering a replacement phone. The process involved me ordering a new phone from the website. They said that there will be an authorization hold on my credit card for the cost of the phone, which I will get back once I return the old phone.
For some reason, Google’s system generated a return label from my address in India. I have lived in the United States for the last three years. The company won’t fix the problem. Now I can’t return the broken phone and now I’ve been charged an extra $517. Can you help me with this Google Pixel phone problem? — Darshan Bhanushali, Rochester, N.Y.
Your Google Pixel 3a XL should have worked well past the six-month mark. The average cell phone should last about four years, give or take. Google’s phones have a warranty that promises they’ll be “free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal use” for a year after your purchase. So you were well within that window.
At least the phone wasn’t missing. We’ve had that problem before.
Had you gone to the uBreakiFix store after the sound on your Pixel 3a XL failed, the technicians might have found the screen problem. Or not. But you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself about waiting a month. You had another six months to file your claim.
The real issue here is the address. It’s a strange issue because you called Google while you were in the United States and a representative recommended a uBreakiFix store in Rochester. (uBreakiFix contracts with Google to fix its phones.) Google could have avoided sending you a return-authorization mail label from India by double-checking your address.
How to fix a Google Pixel phone problem
It looks as if you tried to follow all the steps to a resolution. You started a comprehensive paper trail and kept your correspondence both brief and polite. You were also very patient with the process, considering you borrowed the $517 from a friend. You could have also reached out to one of the Google executives. I list their names, numbers and email addresses on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org.
I contacted Google on your behalf. The company blamed your Pixel phone problem on a “rare and unfortunate error on our system regarding the processing of your return shipping label.” It promptly refunded the phone and provided a correct label.
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I’ve also had a Google Pixel phone problem. My phone cracked even though I had it in an “official” Google case. The company didn’t stand behind its workmanship and I had to pay another $100 for a new screen. So maybe I’m a little biased on this one. But I think a promise of being “free from defects in materials and workmanship” is something that should be taken literally. Your thoughts, please.