I've laid out the timeline. As noted, I visited T-Mobile's offices in Seattle and Tacoma to check up on what could be done about my phone; the stock answer was always, "we've got a patch coming, it will be fixed, hang on."
Yes, I'm the guy who fell between the cracks. I'm sorry if this beggars your belief. Perhaps I'm gullable, and it was relatively easy for the sales folks to persuade me that a fix was on the way (perhaps why I'm an engineer and not in sales).
Remember, for months, no one even admitted publically that there was a real problem, and no one has ever taken full responsibility for it. A recall would have been far too expensive for all involved, and there was a lot of deceipt, both by commission and by ommission going around.
Regardless of all this, t-mobile has absolutely acknowledged that the phone is defective at this point. There is absolutely no question about this. The problem is that they don't want to shell out for a phone that meets my required specifications of parity of functionality, including screen size, interface mode, etc., because this would mean that they are covering for an early upgrade. However, nor are they willing to apply even a portion of the value of the phone (or even a portion of the value of the replacement offered, the Cliq-2), towards a newer model that would meet the basic requirements.
There is no one involved here who doesn't at this point (unlike at points in the past) admit that the phone is defective. However, the T-Mobile line is basically, "You can have garbage under the warranty, or you can keep the garbage you have. And despite what you shelled out, we aren't wiling to apply the value of the garbage towards non-garbage, even though we all know that we sold you garbage."
The "we've got a patch coming" response would have worked for a very limited period, as your timeline records. The first fix was delivered by OTA within a couple of months of you buying the device. After that, what was the reason offered for their refusal to do a warranty replacement? They surely couldn't have been claiming that a fix was still coming in March 2011, after the OTA fix, the Samsung GPSRestore app and the Froyo OS update...?
As an aside, I did recall from re-reading part of your very extensive original post that you appear to misunderstand the nature of the GPS solution offered on most smartphones. You complained about the need to use the wireless network to provide part of the solution, but you seem to miss the point that this is aGPS - assisted GPS - and the use of the network is an integral part of the solution and would be required even if there was no problem with the Vibrant's configuration. Read about it here>.
The Samsung solution wasn't about using triangulation (that is used anyway to provide rough location data before the aGPS cuts in), but about optimizing the assisting data that all aGPS systems need to download in order to get satellite location under way. You need this support in order to allow the device the time to download the GPS almanac and ephemeris data from the satellites. The Samsung application that was issued in November did improve matters for many people, if they ran their GPS outdoors and with a reliable wireless data signal.
You still haven't said in what other ways you find the device to be defective. If it is only in respect of the GPS function, then I'm sorry, but I just cannot find that basis for agreeing with your overall conclusions. Ultimately, it was your choice to keep a device that failed this obviously critical (to you) functional test at a time when you could have walked out of the deal without penalty. That puts this situation 100% in your control, irrespective of what else has happened since.
Of course, TM should have done a warranty exchange after November 2010 and obviously for some reason that didn't work for you. If I was in TM customer service, I would do everything possible to give you a compensating credit against another device of your choice. Frankly, I still think that is possible, if you get to the right part of the organization, which is why I did suggest you keep on trying. Contact the tforce team via email@example.com to see what they can do.
Here's the thing.
I bought a phone that came with a GPS.
The GPS didn't work. Putting a kludge in (i.e., needing a reliable wireless data signal) is a software fix to a hardware problem. It didn't work well, and when the problem is, as appears in my case, to be hadware level, it will work even less well.
What I paid for was not what was advertised in their written documentation. T-mobile indicated that they'd have a fix, then there was no fix, then I got jerked around some more.
At some point (March, 2010), I got sick of fighting it. I may love delving into technical toys, but this one was so broken that playing around with it became nothing but frustration. In addition, the documentation was contradictory, and often indicated that it would invalidate my warranties. At the time, t-mobile was actually advocating against some of the solutions that were later proposed and advocated for (links in my original post). And the in-store personall were less than forthcoming with my options or with viable solutions.
Now, the GPS is fundamental to the use of quite a bit of functionality of the device. From the fact that one of the purposes of buying it was to have an in-vehicle GPS, to the use of all the Google maps based software such as traffic reports to resteraunt finders to direction programs. None of this works without a GPS.
The rest of the functionality is good for the most part. I haven't had a signal issue in the areas I live, and the web capabilities and actual phone capabilities have served well, as has the texting. A few problems with the email clients, but nothing insurmountable. But having that core part of the unit broken (the GPS) and thus not being able to use the phone for a number of things that I wanted to use it for, especially how much those units runs for, is beyond frustrating.
I'd note in closing that escalation paths are extremely difficult to find. When in the store speaking to the manager in the downtown Seattle store, when on the phone to the t-mobile support and not getting satisfactory answers, I've always asked what the next step is, and have been told that there is none. That's why I'm here, making my case publicly.
Positively my last post on this, you'll be happy to know:
I get you are frustrated, disappointed and angry. I get that the GPS functionality is at the core of this. What I don't get, since this is so important to you, is why you didn't return the device when you had the chance and (a) wait until the fix was supplied and proved, then buy it again, or (b) just give up on the device and get something else?
If a function was so important to me, I would buy something that had it working right out the box.
You also haven't indicated whether you are interested in trying to enlist help from TForce. That's up to you of course, but if you want a resolution, rather than just an opportunity to vent, they have shown over recent weeks that they are capable of greasing otherwise sticking wheels. There are, of course no guarantees, but you never know until you try them what they might be able to get done for you.
Again, and for the very last time, good luck!
I don't want to get caught in the middle of this draw out discussion but "elj" if I might add...
I had bad lag problems with my phone a short time after I'd purchased it up-front for $500. I put up with it for a long time. I finally broke down and rooted the phone and installed a 3rd party ROM on it called Bionix-V NextGen V2 by Team Whiskey. It's free.
I no longer have lag of any sort and my GPS locks on in seconds. I know there are several kind souls on this forum who would be willing to walk you through the installation of a 3rd party ROM. This may be just what the doctor ordered to get you back in business.
I couldn't be happier with my Vibrant now that it's no longer running the stock operating system and kernel.
Well, given that I was locked into a two year contract, that rather limited my options, neh?
And honestly, should I have to pony up another half grand for functionality that I'd already paid for? Especially when t-mobile had promised that it would be fixed, then basically told me, you waited too long, you're out of luck now, bud?
Do I need GPS to survive? No. Nor do I even need it to do my job (as I do need the ability to read mails). However, GPS is something that I paid for, and paid a lot for. And honestly, part of the phone appeal was having a fun toy; instead, it's turned into the exact oposite: a bit of hardware that invokes negative feelings towards it and towards t-mobile on a regular basis.
Perhaps I'll persue the t-force angle. After al, I've been in multiple stores, have a complaint with the BBB, have spoken to their support lines, have spoken to a representative on these forums, with no success so far. Of course, it seems that one way or another, I'm giong to have to pay to even have a chance of getting t-mobile to do that which is right.
I've considered that path. Howeve, if I persue it, as far as I can tell, I'm left with no warranty (which, if my rather strong suspicians that it is the antenna are correct leaves me with zero recourse). Also, despite the obvious time investment here on the forums, and the other work and research I've done to try to get this thing to work, I really haven't wanted or had the bandwidth to make a career out of this.
The Android may be an open platform with a lot of customer options available. That doesn't mean that the flagship, highest end phone that t-mobile sold should absolutely require me to root the thing to get the base advertised functionality to work.
I appreciate the implied offer of support should I chose to root the thing and throw on a third party distro.
Like has been mentioned you always have the option of contacting Samsung to fix it.
After all it is them that warranties the phone.
If after a master reset and it don't lock on since T-Mobile don't have any to replace it with that is your option.
I think it is more likely that you ate upset that they are not giving you a free upgrade.
Sooooo you delayed when you knew it was a problem and should have called earlier.
If you'd read my posts, theartiszan, you'd know that I did not delay; that I engaged t-mobile for months, and tried various fixes (and rejected othes on the advice of t-mobile).
If t-mobile had been candid with me (and with numerous customers) when this thing first manifested; if t-mobile had had a dilligent QA department and been honest in their reporting of the problem, this whole thing wouldn't be an issue.
But they weren't.
As prevoisly noted, t-mobile absolutely admits that the phone is defective. They're willing to give me replacement hardware for it, but hardware that is subpar and will not fit my needs. They put a price on that hardware. I'm willing to negeotiate around the value of the replacement phone towards new hardware that has parity with what I have now. I am not willing to trade the ability to read the text on my phone for the ability to know where I am.
I've read this thread elj and i must say
- First not sure why you paid ~$500 AND got into a 2-yr contract. I bought mine just a little later than you (Oct-10) and i paid ~150 WITH a 2-yr contract. For ~$500 there were plenty of phones with NO contract required (including this one i'm pretty sure).
- Although I had the GPS issue AND a "too hot to handle" issue when i first got it, I had no issues with TM sending me a new unit in exchange (even tho' i had bought from an online reseller and not TM directly) . So not sure why you did not try an exchanged unit right away, other than it was your own choice.
- You give some stunted reasons about not wanting to use Kies, however that is/was the only way to update the phone after i first got it - and there was no OTA update to take it to 2.2 if i remember right. Even then, I waited a month and read about people's experiences before I updated
- After my unit was replaced, the heat probem (nearly) went away, the gps fix as well as other gps apps give me a decent gps - i use yelp, maps and a host of other location apps. Never takes long to lock except when i am inside a building. I pretty much never use the "Navigation" app (guess i know how to read a map visually...)- its been uninstalled because it uses space like a hog and interferes with phone usage...
- I've installed a different Kernel (Bali) from XDA which pretty much fixed speed, lag, freeze issues, included great headphone sound (and gps fix too ?) and if I really need to get back into "warranty" its a simple click to replace the old kernel and reboot. You seem to have spent an awful lot of time looking for solutions externally, which if you had applied to solving the problem for yourself (i.e. - custom roms from XDA) might have given you less to vent about.
I dont even crave 2.3 release because once the contract is over, its almost a sure thing that i will be heading for a new phone with ICS - thats the cycle manufacturers and carriers have setup for us - in sync with moore's law - not very different than what MSFT did for dozens of years...And you should be pretty close to the same point - just dont spend $500 this time and you will find a lot less to annoy you.
And really, next time choose the phone on which the feature that yu *want most works the best* and live with the rest specially, if you wont exchange the units when you have the chance.
My son just got an exhibit (not exhibit II which is the latest version) because for him the longer rated battery life (9 hrs vs 4-5 on the latest model) is the important feature after the basic feature of texting and phoning is taken care of (which both do equally well)....and btw after the $50 mail-in rebate, that phone will have cost $4.11 including taxes....slightly smaller screen but it does everything the vibrant does (a little better) PLUS its 4g....and no, TM doesn't even sell the exhibit anymore so warranty or exchange wasn't high on the list of features...but price was because for < $5 if it takes a dip in the hot tub (like his last phone) there will be less to be sorry about.
C'est la vie
I've followed the GPS issue closely, and recently it's been working fine. Seems to help to clear the cache every so often, and you don't need wifi or data. Strange thing is that with my garmin, when I travel thousands of miles, the unit takes much longer to lock on. With the Vibrant, I get a lock in seconds in a new location, but this gradually deteriorates.
Anyway, the GPS works fine, but is less able to resolve location in built up cities with skyscrapers than a dedicated garmin car GPS. I'm on 2.2 (and do suffer a lot of lag, though my wife's phone seems fine). Have considered getting a bluetooth external GPS for around $60.
I don't have any good solutions for regular GPS users. I only use it occasionally, but have been very annoyed that GPS is a pretty serious problem on the Vibrant (and many other Galaxy S variants).
GPS locks and works much better with Wifi off. It is substantially better for me and others have said similar.
WOW You take candy from babies and then tell them why its ok and go home to your bed and sleep with out missing a beat. You also apparently have a lot of money that you earned and don't care about or mommy and daddy give you whatever you want whenever you want. So while your sitting on up there on your cloud let me clue you in on us normal working stiffs that do care about ever last cent we spend. I can appreciate the drop in value on a product such as a cell phone, electronics and even cars its called life use and therefore not it new condition so not worth as much but trust me that's all I'm giving you. There is a difference in reasonable decline in value and seeing how much you can take this person for during round 2. Also if they are willing to give a device in replacement then they should also be willing to give that devices value towards the purchase of something different. I think it is only fair since we are going to be obliviously forced to choose something else and anty up more money in the end anyway's. You know I love my little town where I know everybody I truly dislike having to deal with any big corporation because ethics, morals, values, principles and straight forward honesty do not exist there anymore. I guess when you stop having to look your customers in the eye and shake their hand when you sell them a product you also stop having to care what you stand for.
I've worked hard the better part of 40 years for what I have and I don't throw it around. I didn't get a dime from "mommy and daddy" who were regular working folks themselves and taught me to be sensible with what I have because there are no guarantees in life for people like us. Quite why you have interpreted what I said to justify such a personal response, I can't imagine.
I simply pointed out a few hard facts:
- the original poster would have been much wiser returning the device when he could still get his money back, if the issue was of such a concern to him.
- After the Samsung "fix" failed to improve things, he should have been able to get a replacement device, many other people did - some multiple times.
- After a certain period of time, replacement devices of the same model are hard to come by.
- After you take ownership of an item (phone, car etc), its value tends to depreciate. After 18 months, the phone simply isn't worth the same amount that you paid for it. Thus, the value of any replacement offered now is not going to match the purchase price. You have to purchase premium insurance in order to get a "new-for-old" replacement. Have you ever had a payout for an auto insurance claim? It's not really that much different.
I take no satisfaction in saying these things. They are what they are. I concluded by advising the guy to keep trying so that he might find someone who was willing to go beyond the bounds of the vendor's obligations...but we need to be clear that there are limits on a vendor's obligations...