Getting Off Alcatel’s Customer Service ‘Merry-Go-Round’

ABC News Fixer helps reader escape phone error message maze.

April 22, 2014 — -- Dear ABC News Fixer: I bought a smartphone for my granddaughter in November. It was an Alcatel One Touch and it cost $149.88. By February, she informed me of problems she was having with the phone.

The phone has a one-year warranty with Alcatel, so I filled out their form online and overnighted the phone and receipt to their repair site in Texas. A few days later they returned it with a note stating that they were unable to repair it due to insufficient information. They never returned my original receipt.

Luckily, I had made a copy of the form and receipt before I mailed it. I called the company, and the rep told me to write a note explaining the problems and send copies of the paperwork with the phone again. I overnighted the info as requested.

Two weeks later, I got the phone back – but it still wasn’t fixed. I have spent $40 to mail this twice and I lost all the minutes that were on the phone card. Can you help?

- Janet Evoli, Coatesville, Pa.

Dear Janet: You told us that this phone was a real clunker, with problems powering on, shutting off by itself, not charging well, taking dark photos and displaying frequent “Error 101” screens, among other difficulties. First you had tried going back to the retailer, Walmart, but because it was past 15 days, they told you to go to Alcatel and use your one-year warranty.

And that’s where your ride on the customer service merry-go-round began.

We had a little better luck. We got your issue into the hands of Robert Rodriguez, Alcatel’s senior manager of customer care for North America. He made sure you got a new replacement phone, which your granddaughter reports is working fine and contained all her original contacts.

Alcatel is also giving you a $75 Visa gift card to cover your shipping costs and the lost airtime. That’s $10 more than you spent, so we will now consider this fixed!

- The ABC News Fixer

Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.