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Google Pixel 3 - continue to be sold in Australia, despite widespread call problems

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#1

The Google Pixel 3 (and 3XL) have had widespread reports of call quality issues. I can confirm that mine and my wife’s phone are both affected by this, where the person on the other end can’t make out what you are saying until you restart the phone, after which it’s fine for anywhere from a few hours to a few days before happening again.

We have had one phone replaced under warranty (no one else has been successful with this approach, but I figured I’d try anyway) and unsurprisingly the replacement device has the exact same issue.

There are literally hundreds of reports online, which is likely to represent just a fraction of those really affected, and Google are refusing to acknowledge the issue or accept complaints, and still continue to market and sell the phone in Australia even though it technically would be in breach of Australian Consumer Law to continue to market and sell a phone that cannot be reliably used to make calls.

Multiple attempts by myself and others to hold Google to account have so far failed, but I do not want to give up because that’s what Google will be counting on. They do not have a complaints process, so all correspondence goes to a helpdesk team who either cannot or will not escalate to their management.

This has been extensively documented here - https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/124412355 - and shows that the problem really is widespread and not specific to any mobile carrier or country. Reports in here also suggest that Google are offering a single device replacement (with another faulty device) to customers who report issues, but that is where their offer is ending. I have not verified this myself, so cannot confirm if this is the case.

In my view, this is a shocking display of arrogance and contempt for their customers and reminds me of the 2010 iPhone 4 “grip of death” issue that Apple originally tried to deny.

I have reported this to the ACCC and The Office of Fair Trading in QLD, however they also did not seem determined to assist with this, which I found extremely disappointing.

If anyone else is having these issues, it would be great to coordinate an effort to have this matter escalated as high as possible to get the attention it deserves.


Shonky nomination - Pixel 3 - the phone that cannot handle phone calls properly!
#2

Yes, under the ACL, the phone would be not fit for purpose and you should be entitled to remedy under the ACL. As it does seem to be a problem (possibly hardware and/or firmware) problem inherent with some of the phones…

and as you are on your second/replacement phone with the same problem, you would be entitled to ask for a refund under the ACL.

I would be approaching the onseller of the google phone to which you made the purchase and request a refund (if you paid for it outright) or for the phone to be changed without penality to another model/manufacturer’s phone (if phone is under contract). If the replacement phone is cheaper than the Google Pixel 3 you currently have under contract, make sure they adjust the contract amount to reflect the cheaper phone value.

If they fail to come to the party, it may also be worth lodging a complaint with the TIO…(especially if it is contract phone)

https://www.tio.com.au/consumers

The ACCC has information about how to write a complaint letter …

as well as Choice

Good luck and keep us in the loop of how you get on.


#3

… and with the price of these things, ‘go hard’ !

Indeed - I was on the verge of buying …


#4

Thanks for the advice.

I feel as though even if I get a refund from Google, they still haven’t been held to account for continuing to sell a phone in Australia with a known widespread fault. I guess that’s what has really got up my nose with this.

My interactions with both ACCC and OFT QLD left a lot to be desired, where they didn’t seem that interested in Google’s blatant disregard for consumer rights in this country.


#5

I understand your point but … get the refund.

If this is a known widespread fault then any company will get the message via their sales figures (the effect of all those refunds) and then they might do something about the fault.

With the refund you can also go out and buy a different phone that does what a phone is supposed to do.


#6

I agree. If enough customers also request a refund for the same phone problem, it will impact on Google’s reputation and possibly ensure similar future problems don’t exist/existing problems are rectified.

If others with a Google Pixel 3 rad the posts on this forum, they may also make similar complaints to the ACCC or their local office of fair trading. If a significant number of complaints are received, this may trigger a recall or action by the regulator.


#7

All I have seen/heard about the Pixel 3 has been rave reviews about its camera. It was not until reading this thread that I learned about the calls problem.

In fact, a quick DDG search for Pixel 3 review gives glowing responses like “The best Android phone of 2018” and “The Other Way To Make A Killer Phone”. Hilariously, one of the reviews states that “The Google Pixel 3 is the best small Android phone you can buy…”. Small has been redefined.

It seems to me that a phone that can’t make decent phone calls is not exactly great, but reviewers seem focused on other aspects.


#8

Yep, fair point. They’ve got me over a barrel a bit because the phone is actually really good in every other way and I’d prefer not to exchange it for something else if I can just get a phone that works properly!

But yes, perhaps I am asking too much…


#9

And yes, that’s what they’re clearly counting on. Many people rarely make calls these days, and call quality generally gets little (or no) mentions in product reviews, instead focusing on the screen, the audio, the camera, etc.


#10

Perfect sizing in an image
image


#11

It’s smaller than this …

image

… and way way way smaller than this …

image

… admittedly that’s probably not like for like, although …


Shonky nomination - Pixel 3 - the phone that cannot handle phone calls properly!
#12

So this problem is still ongoing with Google refusing to acknowledge the issue.

As no regulatory body seems interested in this flagrant breach of Australian Consumer Law, I was thinking perhaps this is a contender for a Shonky Award?

How does one go about nominating a company for this?


#SpotAShonky - Expose Shonky products and services here
#13

Go to the SpotAShonky area (https://choice.community/c/spot-a-shonky) and add a new topic eg Shonky Google Pixel 3 (just choose a heading you think works well in that category).


#14

I created a topic over here - https://choice.community/t/google-pixel-3-continue-to-be-sold-in-australia-despite-widespread-call-problems/17516/11 - about the Pixel 3 not being able to properly handle phone calls, yet Google continue to actively market and sell the phone via multiple channels in Australia.

It is a widely reported issue, and seems to impact most (probably all to some degree) customers, but they may not be completely aware of it because it generally only affects the person on the other end.

My wife has a Pixel 3, so I know what it’s like being on the receiving end and not being able to understand what she’s saying when I only get every 3rd word and a bunch of static noise instead.

The main issue is not with the fault itself, because practically all devices have faults, but the problem is with the way that Google has handled the issue… Which is not at all. They replace devices with equally faulty devices and there are reports of them refusing to refund their customers (but will do the aforementioned device swap, which doesn’t resolve the problem).

They do not provide a proper complaints process, so you can only deal with their offshore helpdesk and their floor supervisors, but not with Google management, and their official channel for reporting technical issues (https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/124412355) has gone unanswered for months - literally completely ignored despite the repeated pleas from people to provide a resolution or at least an update.

I have reported to the ACCC and QLD Office of Fair Trading. They both referred me to each other, and the QLD Office of Fair Trading sent Google an email telling me that if they don’t reply to the email then there’s nothing more they can do.

Contacting Google’s managing director for Australia via LinkedIn also resulted in zero response, so I feel as though some sort of consumer action is required to hold them accountable - it’s eerily similar to Apple’s “grip of death” with their early iPhone model, but at least they responded… Unlike Google who seem to think the rules don’t apply to them.


Mobile phones review - Best smartphones
#15

You may wish to point out to Google that their phones are rated well down the current CHOICE mobile phone comparison list (and below cheaper phones) largely because of their sound quality - something CHOICE has now added to its comparisons.

Have you mentioned to the company your rights under Australian Consumer Law, including the right to a refund if the product does not do what it claims? It is disappointing that our consumer rights agencies are unable or unwilling to do the job adequately.