Horror Story of the week: What Happens When You Are Sent the Wrong Replacement Unit?

Hardware Replacement Mishap – Imagine yourself in this situation:

In terms of mobile device management for your business, have you ever had to send a defective phone away for replacement? Generally the process is simple and the replacement unit is on your desk within a week or so.

What happens though if that is not the case?  Imagine yourself in this situation:


You have a user whose BlackBerry is being sent back to the carrier due to it being defective and it is within the replacement guidelines. You went through the normal process of going through tech support to have it replaced, and when it the replacement smartphone comes in you pass it along to the user without much thought, and tell him to bring you the defective unit so that you can send it back. Before the day is through, the replacement phone is back on your desk.  


Instead of replacing the black BlackBerry unit you originally bought, you now have a bright and shiny hot pink Smartphone on your desk.  You put in numerous calls to the carrier, send the pink device back and wait… And wait.   And wait some more. After a couple of weeks you call your cellular customer service, and no one seems to know anything about your phone. You insist it has been sent in, give them the way bill number, only to find that the carrier hasn’t received it yet, and to call back tomorrow. You call the next day, and the next, and finally the next. Finally someone in your service providers atmosphere has found your returned phone.  But before your next thought can form in your brain, they tell you it will take another couple of days for them to process it. Another week and a few more frustrated phone calls later, you get the issue escalated and finally you get another replacement phone sent on its way. 


A week later a package shows up on your desk. After all of the rigmarole that you went through getting the replacement mobile device, you can’t bear the thought that it is wrong yet again….. 


Defective hardware is an unfortunate occurrence, and the more phones your business has in it’s fleet, the more likely you are to encounter them. Fortunately, replacing defective hardware is not generally this hard. But what do you do if you or one of your users end up with the wrong replacement in their hands?

  • Call your carrier:  If you have a black phone and you were sent another color, first call the carrier and explain to them what has happened. If they argue that the colour sent was based on the serial number they have on file, just let them know that the defective unit you will be sending back will be a black unit and you need the correct replacement unit sent back to you. If you have been sent the replacement unit back due to a DOA, make sure that you specify this when you are talking with the carrier. By the time they are ready to send you a new unit, the 30 days will have likely have passed, and they will likely send you a refurbished replacement unit, instead of a brand new replacement.
  • Keep track of how long the phone is gone: Keep track of how long your user is without a phone. When you talk to the carrier, mention that your user has been without a phone due to the mistake. When you finally get your correct phone, you may be able to request credits to be applied to your account.
  • Note the Tracking Number: Once you have arranged the replacement with your carrier, pop the unit that they sent you into the return bag that came with it and send it back on it’s way to the carrier. The sooner you can get it out the sooner they will be able to send out the replacement.  Keep track of the tracking number of the package. This will allow you to see when the packages has been received by the carrier.
  • Be Persistent: Track your shipment and once it has been received at your service providers end, give them a couple days to process the phone into their system. Unfortunately, you are at the mercy of your carrier until the phone has been put back into their system. You may have to call customer service a couple times and , confirm the unit has been received and get it escalated.Once it has been escalated, you should be able to order your the replacement phone again. Once it has shipped you can get the tracking number and track the shipment to you.
  • Send the defective phone back: Once you have the replacement unit in the correct colour, send the defective unit back to the carrier in the provided packaging. Once more call you carrier and ask for your credits.

While the issue is hard to prevent because it is hard to know how the error occurred,  knowing what you are asking for as well as a bit of patience can get the issue resolved. Understanding the above mobile management tips will definitely help out too.


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