Google faces deluge of Nexus One complaints

The complaints point to an issue with customer service under Google's new phone sales model

Google support forums are awash with people looking for help for problems with their Nexus One phones -- and unable to find it.

The volume of complaints points to a problem that Google faces now that it has decided to try to push a new cell-phone-buying model in the U.S. Since most people buy subsidized phones from a mobile operator, they turn to the operator when they have problems.

But Google is selling the phone directly to end-users. That means many users are turning to it first, and the search giant doesn’t have the kind of customer support that mobile-phone users are accustomed to.

Google appears to be only accepting e-mail customer queries, to which it pledges to reply in one to two days -- far too long, say most people who are complaining online.

Many people are also turning to T-Mobile and HTC, but getting little help there. T-Mobile is often referring people back to either Google or HTC for answers to questions. HTC is often referring people back to T-Mobile, according to complaints online.

One customer going by the name Roland78 said he was transferred between T-Mobile and HTC four times, spending a total of one-and-a-half hours on the phone with customer service. "T-Mobile also said Google hasn't provided them with any support documents for the phone. Welcome to direct sales Google!” he wrote.

Another using the name SouthFlGuy was also sent back and forth between HTC and T-Mobile after finding no help from Google. "I guess I was under the wrong impression but I thought Google would handle the service on the phone," he wrote.

Several people on one thread regarding poor 3G performance on the phone report being told by HTC customer service people that the Nexus One doesn’t support 3G, although the phone does. Another got an e-mail response in five hours from Google suggesting that the user try restarting the phone to see if that solves the problem.

More than 425 comments are listed on a thread about service eligibility issues. Some of them are from people who say that they ought to be eligible for the subsidized price of the phone but the Google sales site says they aren’t. Many others are simply complaining of a policy that requires even longtime T-Mobile customers to pay more for the phone than new customers.

Yet others on the site complain about placing an order and failing to get even an order confirmation three days later.

Google, T-Mobile and HTC did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

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