As asked, here's a detailed timeline of what I went through:
Sept 17th: I placed an order with Nokia via the on-line pre-order system. I got an order number (2908279) and got an e-mail verifying the order was placed. Everything I saw online said it was shipping mid October, so I was set to wait a month.
October 19th: Past mid-October, so I called to see where things stood. The person I spoke to ("John") was polite and informed me that there were manufacturing delays with the phone and it would ship next week. My order was fine, life was good, and thank you for being a Nokia customer. Very nice and polite.
November 2nd: Past the date I was given, so I called in again. The person I spoke to was again polite and informed me that there were software delays with the phone and it would ship by November 14th. I was again told my order was fine, life was good, and thank you for being a Nokia customer. Very nice and polite, but I was a little aggravated that it was delayed another 2 weeks.
November 4th: Missed a phone call placed in the early AM, with the following cryptic message: "Hello Sir, This is Jen with <inaudible> sales. I am calling about your order for anything. We need to speak to you about your order. Please call back, we are open until 6pm eastern time, or I can call you tomorrow, look for me, my name is Jen." No number call back (no caller ID either), just someone named Jen calling with a very thick accent. Having just spoken with Nokia a couple days before an being told it was all good, I didn't associate this cryptic call with Nokia. I had my phone close the next day in case "Jen" called back, but got no calls from Jen or a caller without caller ID.
November 16th: I called again, since again the date I was told it would ship had passed, and spoke to someone else (sure you can find his name from the order number). At this point I was told my order had been canceled, and I would have to re-place my order. The operator blamed it on a failed order system, and the fact that the bluetooth headset was found to be incompatible with the N900. Neither inspired confidence in Nokia. I was then told I could choose to get the new order with same package as before (with said incompatible headset) or a 15% discount, and I would have 2 weeks to review the phone and send it back for a full refund it I didn't like it. I took the later "deal" and got a new order number (154213). I was told that orders were already shipping (and had started shipping on the 4th), and I would get free expedited shipping. I was told to expect an email with a shipping number within 48 hours. The operator was polite, despite my being very upset, and was quite apologetic. I got an e-mail after the conversation with the new order number, and an indicated shipping date of 11.16.2009. While I was talking to this operator, I got an incoming call with no caller ID. Afterward I checked voice mail to find yet another voice mail from "Jen", who this time wanted to talk to me about my order for an "N800". Again no indication of the company she was calling from, or a number to call back.
November 20th: Having not received a shipping ID, I called again and got an operator in the US (I'm guessing, mid-western accent). After looking up my order number, she sighed and noted a lot of people were having problems with their N900 pre-orders. She looked over my order and noted that everything looked ok, and that it should ship as soon as stock was available, probably in the next week. I checked email shortly after the call to find an email showing that my order had been "released for shipment". I don't know if that was this operators doing, or if it was a coincidence, but I was happy either way to see some movement.
November 24th: At about 11:45pm I got an invoice saying my card had been charged for the purchase of my N900 from Nokia. At about 1am, I got another email (time-stamped seconds after the first one, but delivered hours later) that had a tracking number. The tracking number showed that the package was picked up for overnight shipment at 4pm on the 24th, and would arrive before 3pm on the 25th. The invoice showed I had been charged $1 for expedited shipping.
November 25th: At about 2:30pm I got my package and started playing with my new N900.
If I could say something directly to the sales people/company, this is it:
1> If you call someone about an order, leave a call back number! Even if it's a generic 800 number, leave the number so people can call back to find out what you're talking about.
2> When you're going to cancel someone's order, especially a pre-order, you need to notify that person in every way you have available and let them know what they need to do. Nokia had my online account name, an e-mail address, and my phone number. The online account showed the old order as valid until well after my new phone arrived. I never got an e-mail asking for me to call Nokia. And the call I got was cryptic and had no callback info.
3> If you're a company of any repute, don't block your caller ID info. Often when you setup a PBX you can make it tell the phone company just about anything you want for caller ID. If your company is doing calls for Nokia, have it put out the generic 800 number for Nokia. At least that way it's clear who the call is from. Many people don't answer calls with blocked caller ID.
I can tell you, had I not been for the politness of the person I called when I reorderd (and the 15% discount AND a guarantee of full refund on return within 14 days), I would have hung up without placing another order on the 16th. After laying out several hundred dollars for a device, sight unseen, then going through two shipping delays and an order cancellation without notification, I was about fed up with Nokia. I almost went with an HTC product, but after having had great service and SDKs from Nokia for my previous phone (a 6230 that I was using until my N900 showed up), I decided to give them the chance to prove themselves with the hardware.
I can also tell you that I'm quite happy with the N900 now that I have it. There are a few little glitches, but nothing that can't be tweeked with some minor software updates. And really, I expected that for a new first-try cross-over device. I think it was a poor choice to market it as a cell phone, vs as a tablet/PDA with cell capabilities, but that's an argument for another thread.
2009-12-08 6:59 - edited 2009-12-08 7:02
Nov 30th, 10:40am - N900 order placed through NokiaUSA's website, total cost $613.13
Nov 30th, 9:25pm - Received order shipment notification with FedEx tracking code. Order (199901).
Dec 1st, ~5pm - Package received with great excitement, charged it up, installed some apps, finally made a Skype call and noticed I couldn't hear myself on the other end. Tried the sound recorder app to verify there was no audio, spent 2 hours fiddling around with alsamixer trying to get output to no avail. Did a reflash, no dice.
Dec 2nd - Called Nokia customer service, waited nearly an hour for repair/replacement department. I told them I had a faulty microphone and needed a replacement, she insisted I be transferred to tech support.. I was transferred to a tech, waited 15 more minutes, she suggested I press the mic-mute button while in a call which of course did nothing. I explained what I had tested, she finally transferred me back to repair/replacement. I waited another hour on hold before repair/replacement picked up, they finally gave me an RMA (37536). I thought she had indicated they would be cross-shipping a replacement and stated I had 6 days to send my old unit back. My FexEx return shipping label arrived via email shortly after, the email clearly indicated they don't cross ship. I sent an email to Nokia inquiring as to whether they cross-ship or not, since I thought I had received conflicting reports though now I think it may have just been a language barrier issue. To this date, I have yet to receive a response to that inquiry
Dec 2nd, ~2pm - I brought my defective unit to the FedEx store that afternoon for shipment to Nokia/Brightpoint in Plainfield, IN.
Dec 3rd, ~3pm - FedEx tracking indicated the package was delivered to Nokia/Brightpoint, signed for by "Agasper"
Dec 5th, ~9am - I receive email notification stating my package had arrived at Nokia/Brightpoint. "Once we've validated and approved the items we will process the refund or send a replacement."
Dec 7th, ~1pm - I attempt to call Nokia and find out any sort of status regarding my replacement, seeing as I should have simply asked for a refund. I follow the phone-menu and direct myself to the repair department, my call is quickly answered and I tell them I want to know the status of my replacement and if they'd like my RMA. The man tells me he needs to transfer me (doubleyoo-tee-eff?), he then puts me on hold, I wait through 15 minutes of that terrible overdriven jazz music and hang up in frustration.
I've tried the repair status lookup thing on the Nokia website but it has no knowledge of my device whatsoever. If I can't get answers tomorrow I'm going to contact my credit card company and have them dispute it, as much as I hate to do that, but $615 is a chunk of money.
Called again today to see if I could get an update, they had no information other than it may take up to a month for a replacement to be sent (even though their online store ships nearly immediately, and has them in stock). I said I either need a replacement shipped today or a refund, to which I was told they would have to check (?) and they would call me on Friday to inform me whether I was allowed a refund.
So, I filed a chargeback dispute with Mastercard.