Here is my quick Lumia 900 story. I walked into an ATT store in April this year to kill some time while waiting for some take out next door (Sticky Fingers, that place is awesome!). While walking around I noticed the Nokia Lumia 900 device, the first Windows Phone I had ever seen in person, seriously! I had heard some buzz about the device online, saw some advertisements, and decided to take a look at it. First impressions, the OS was much faster than my iPhone4, I thought the People Hub made sense, the Nokia Maps and Local Scout were nice features. It even had MS office integrated to work with SkyDrive (OneNote! iPhone app had corrupted some notes). I thought the email layout was much better. I did a little research on the net later that night, and decided to purchase next day and let my kids play games on my iPhone.
During the next several weeks buzz started to stir up about Windows Phone 8 (WP8). At first I didn’t pay much attention. I figured my Lumia 900 is only a few weeks old, shouldn’t be a problem. As more and more information started to funnel out through tech sites, blogs, and wpcentral, it started becoming more clear that I may have bought a phone that, while great in its own right, would be in a dead platform in six short months from release.
Eventually it came out that, no my Lumia would not be able to upgrade to WP8. There would be all new hardware for WP8, including a new Nokia Lumia 920 with wireless charging, a better camera, a new OS, and for the same price I paid 6 months ago. Oh and by the way, you aren’t eligible for a phone upgrade for another 14 months. If I just would have waited! But alas I didn’t know. I still enjoyed the Lumia 900, but it soured me a bit that I couldn’t upgrade and take advantage of the new features.
On Friday, the new Nokia Lumia 920 went on sale. Today I decided to call up ATT, ask politely for an upgrade, and see what happens. I had nothing to lose, right? I’m very glad I did, here is how my call went.
I dialed 611, went through the prompts to get to a Customer Service Representative (CSR). I told her that I wanted to buy the Lumia 920 at upgrade pricing, I explained not knowing about the OS going EOL, how I bought the phone in the spring, and expressed politely my disappointment in not being able to upgrade until NEXT November. She empathized with me, explaining she had sold this phone in stores and that they didn’t even know the Lumia 900’s wouldn’t get WP8. She put me on a hold to consult a manager. About five minutes later, she told me that unfortunately the only way I could get an upgrade was to add a line at $9.99/mo. Obviously I didn’t want to do this. I again emphasized my point, I didn’t want anything for free, I wanted to pay ATT for a new device and renew my contract for two more years, and requested to speak to a manager.
The CSR obliged and I was forwarded to a Customer Service Manager immediately. The manager explained to me that this was not ATT’s fault. Nokia and Microsoft made this decision and this it was not ATT’s issue and was sorry about my situation. He was exactly right. ATT did not make this decision and was not at fault. Their only responsibility is to ensure that I have cell service for my voice and data (whether the higher-ups at ATT had knowledge of this is irrelevant as customer service and sales most likely did not) I acknowledged his point and restated to him politely my points. I explained again having a phone with that short of lifespan after purchase was a bummer. I also mentioned my longstanding relationship with ATT and that all I wanted to do purchase new hardware and extend my contract with ATT. I also said in a nice way that surely this wasn’t that big of a deal for a company ATT’s size, but the unsubsidized price of $600+ versus $99 is a HUGE deal for a married guy with small children.
I was asked to hold while this was discussed with another manager, when he came back I again was told I could add a line for $9.99, but also get a $240 instant rebate to cover that cost. Before I could decline the offer, he got word from a different manager that he could approve this for me. I would have to purchase the phone through customer care center, which is fine by me.
To sum up (TLDR) with a 30 minute call to Customer Service I was able to get upgrade pricing, all while not being rude, and with the help of some great reps they agreed that the customer is right. A rarity in today’s world. I omitted their names for privacy in this post, but again a great customer service experience. Good enough for me to take time to write a post and let others know about this.
I think ATT should offer upgrades for existing Lumia 900 customers if they ask. They will extend contracts for customers for two more years, get the extra activation fee charge, and make customers happy, which will translate into social and word of mouth positive image. Something the oft-battered company can use more of.
The only caveat to this story is I have to wait for the phone to be available. At the time of this writing all of the Lumia 920’s are sold out. But I have a contact and my account is notated, so when they are in stock, all I have to do is contact them and I’ll get my phone shipped to me, $99 + $36 upgrade fee on the next bill. I’ll update this article if anything changes and/or when I get my Lumia 920. Going with Cyan this time to break the all black smartphone cycle I’ve been in for years.
So to all the other Lumia 900 owners that enjoy their phone and want to upgrade, take the chance and give customer service a call. Who knows, with a polite attitude and the right reps, you too can upgrade your phone and find that the customer is still always right…
UPDATE: Emailed my rep, saying people are getting their phones in stores. He called me immediately, walked me through the purchase process. My Lumia 920 Cyan is on order, currently showing as back order, but will ship with priority shipping ASAP. Wireless mat will indeed come, shipping at a later date.
UPDATE2: Phone ordered Sunday 11/11, called Wednesday 11/14 to check status said it would ship out later that night. Called back Thursday 11/15 as no status change still not shipped. Rep told me that phone is now backordered and that a company memo was released on Wednesday, the rep I spoke to should have know this (grrrrr). I made it known I was unhappy (politely) and asked to have the activation fee waived and if she felt extra happy, to price match Walmart $49 for the phone. The Rep was able to get my activation fee waived, so now TCO $99 + tax and my time. Will update when the phone ships.
Final Update: Phone shipping notification received Monday 11/19 and arrived today 11/20. Setup was quick and painless. I may do a review after using it for a few weeks. First impressions, amazing screen, very fast a fluid, using it within 15 minutes of it arriving.