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Samsung customer service & mobile phone mount product failure

Have had a gut full of Samsung, and their pathetic excuse for ‘customer service’ and am now referring the matter to the ACCC. In the interest of being the squeakiest wheel, what avenues can anyone recommend for getting this issue heard loud and clear?

The condensed story is:
My husband has a Galaxy S8 phone, and also paid about $50 for a samsung branded car mount, which suctions to the windscreen. You’d think paying for their product would give you remedy, or assurance right? Think again…
When he was driving, the mount detached from the windscreen, and fell onto the dash, cracking the screen of his phone. He raised the issue with Samsung, who instructed us to take the phone to their service centre, which I did on his behalf. A week later Samsung called to say that because our claim alleges that the mount failed, we have to take that to the service centre too.

Fast forward a solid MONTH, we get a call that “they checked the release mechanism and cant find a fault no matter what phone they put in the cradle”. I countered that we never alleged it was a fault with the mechanism, it was a suction issue. So a few days later they called back, to say “we checked the suction too and cant find a fault, but sometimes heat (aka not uncommon on a windscreen in Australia, one would think) can be an issue with the suction, but we do not consider this to be a fault”.

Samsung are denying any liability for the repair, even though they are saying there is no ‘malfunction’ but that the suction can be affected by heat. Gee, that sounds like its ‘not fit for purpose’. In the meantime I had to go pick up the still-broken phone, and had a quote for more than $450 (thats just for parts) if I want to pay for the repairs myself.

Absolutely livid that this is how they treat their customers, despite jumping through every hoop they presented, and waiting patiently for an answer. I will never buy Samsung again, but in the interim my husbands phone is worth nothing until this issue is sorted. The Case Manager at Samsung said there was no appeal process, and nothing could be done, so Im looking for other ways to put pressure on them.

Any ideas/assistance/experience?

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Not gratifying, but suction mounts are notorious for falling off windscreens. My Garmin GPS suction mount falls off regularly in summer, and while this will not assist your current dialogue I learnt to mount it as low to the dash as I can.

Suction mounts are not really fit for use in any warm climate, or possibly any climate since the Garmin also falls off occasionally in the colder months.

My thought is that suction mounts are not fit for purpose and take it from there.

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Hi @CaitlinB,

In addition to the ACCC, it’s probably worth giving your local fair trading our consumer affairs body a call, as they are likely better positioned to give you advice or action on an individual level. We also have a range of articles offering advice on making an effective complaint. Make sure you let Samsung know that you understand the consumer law using language as @PhilT suggested “not fit for purpose”, and be sure to let them know you’ll be escalating the complaint on this basis.

Hopefully, that will spur on the right response. Good luck with it all, and please let us know how you go.

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In some countries it is illegal to mount aftermarket products on the windscreen . Try asking them for a dash board top mount adaptor . Garmin and other GPS makers supply them on request . I would imagine Samsung would be marketing their products in countries where dash board top mounting was the only alternative . /

Try Samsung and if they will not help you check the Garmin website and pick one up from there .

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The problem device is a Galaxy S8 not GPS, but the mounting problems are similar.

Alas some vehicles have dash’s that are impervious to such reasonable devices unless one is happy to drill holes :frowning:

The ‘standard’ dash-top fit is usually a stick on disk that in my experience leaves a permanent mark and the glue needs to be periodically refreshed. The suction device attaches to the disk. 2 potential fails for one phone or GPS, I hope there are not more!

There are also holders that clip into the A/C vents, but at the risk of damaging the vent vanes if not always careful.

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I had a high-end Samsung phone. The screen cracked around the Home button.

I had to go into the CBD to show the phone to their techos. They took photos etc. and concluded that the screen had cracked due to pressure from the Home button, as I had suggested. They agreed that there did not appear to be any signs of misuse.

So I responded, good, you’ll repair the screen under warranty then? The answer was NO. I pointed out that their warranty only protects them against damage through misuse. They agreed. Again, so you’ll repair it under warranty. Again, the answer, NO. Ask why not? Their response, we don’t repair screens under warranty. Another round of, but the warranty says, followed by a solid NO.

Escalated to manager, then manager’s manager. All agreed that there was no evidence of misuse. Agreed that the screen crack emanated from the Home button. Agreed that pressing the Home button was normal operation. Agreed that warranty only excludes misused. But, they all stood firm that they would not repair the screen under warranty.

I was trying to be nice, but was increasing annoyed at being stonewalled. So I said, what option do you give me, report you to the ACCC? The manager’s manager laughed and said sure, you and a thousand others!

I realised that even if by some wild chance the ACCC found in my favour, all Samsung would receive would be trivial chastisement for a billion dollar company. I will never buy a Samsung phone again.

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Have just checked the Samsung Australia website to see if car mounts are an accessory officially listed for sale in Australia through their ‘official’ website. Have been through every phone accessory and can’t find the car mount you may have purchased with Samsung labelling. There aren’t any car mounts, just a car charger.

What does this mean, one of two possible things:

  1. Samsung Australia is importing the mounts and selling through retailers, but not acknowledging it on their website, OR
  • They are a grey import item, imported by the retailer to fill a gap left by Samsung Australia not providing such accessories officially.

If it is the first, Samsung would be responsible for the product failure.

If the second occurs, it is my understanding that the retailer of the product (or grey importer) would be responsible solely for the product failure. It may be also worth tackling the retailer you bought it from…if the purchase location was different from one of Samsung official sales centres.

Also if you have the documentation/installation instructions to see what they say. It may provide temperatures the product may be used, for example 0-60°C…which means that use of the mount in higher temperatures could result in the product failing. Temperatures up to 70°C+ can occur in cars on a summer’s day.

It is likely that the product won’t contain such product limitations indicating…or could be assumed…the product is fit for use under every condition…which means that it should be easy to argue the product is not fit for Australian conditions where high temperatures cause product failure (if the install instruction have temperature limits, then the argument would be less difficult unless the retailer specifically indicated the mount was suitable for all Australian conditions).

It is also possible that Samsung Australia don’t import the product as windscreen mounts for large devices such as smartphone, when mounted on the windscreen could be deemed as illegal under most state transport legislation. The such applies as the device can’t in anyway obstruct the sight of the driver. With larger devices this can be difficult to achieve unless the device is mounted very low on the windscreen and the driver is a tallish person.

Anyway, might be best to do some additional research to confirm who is responsible for the mount…Samsung or the retailer/grey importer (if the product is not really a Samsung Australia product but imported by someone else). This will reduce your grief if the complaint is made to the wrong party, only to be told at a later date this is the case.

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This is the mount, purchased from JB HiFi which Samsung are standing by. They have not once denied responsibility for it, or denied its efficacy, its simply that they are saying they cant replicate a fault in a service centre, therefore they dont believe there to be a fault. That, in itself is flawed thinking. Their service centre ‘inspected it’ but did not find a fault. Arguably one would think that there would be benefits in buying their product over say a ‘china cheapy’ on eBay, however in my experience thats clearly not the case.

Their argument isn’t even that the event didn’t happen (given that they argued that heat can influence the suction), its just that they didn’t see it happen.

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Im so sorry to hear you have had a somewhat similar experience! Im glad i wasn’t met with that level of arrogance! I consider myself rather level headed, but that would have been a challenge I couldn’t abide.

The frustrating thing is that they talk a big game about things having changed since the S7 explosions and washing machine fires, but their method of avoiding problems remains.

I’m just getting warmed up, I know my consumer rights and will be a tirelessly squeaky wheel. Im sure you are too, and I will join you in the ‘never buying Samsung again’ sentiment - maybe we should start a club? lol

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For what it is worth I run Courier Vans that have to have PDA Parcel scanners on board . The PDA I use is an Intermec and it weighs much more than your phone . The mount I use to attach it to the windscreen is a " Ram" brand unit . On my own and my brothers van , I just phoned him , the suction cap has never came away from the windscreen during operation . /

On some runs we have 50+ drops so the PDA is being taken out and in of the cradle to scan parcels yet the suction cup holds . /

You can buy different holders to fit the “Ram” suction arm , IPhone , Galaxy etc . Below is a link to the mount we use .

https://www.netnest.com.au/pos-hardware/mobile-computing-vehicle-mount/ram-mount-suction-for-vehicle-cradle

I’m not sure where you purchase the Ram suction arms as they came with the PDA’s . Amazon or Ebay have them I think .

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Hi @BrendanMays @vax2000 and @PhilT , thank you all for your replies. I have been sure to include the ‘not fit for purpose’ in my complaints to The ACCC and NSW Fair Trading. I have even contacted their complaints department again letting them know that the aforementioned are now involved.

I am absolutely flabbergasted why they would choose this route, when they could (at their cost) just repair it - the effort and time they are going to invest in the ACC/Fair Trading is going to cost more than the parts required at their cost, and that doesnt even cover the fact I will sing their incompetence from the rooftops to discourage any further sales of their accessories (and phones, if they aren’t going to be covered when their accessories cause their demise).

Once this saga is over, the car mount will be binned, because clearly it cant be trusted. Unfortunately in my husbands car, the dash and even the air vents are shaped in a way that make the other mounting options nearly impossible. At this rate, there will be no mounts of any kind in his car. I just cannot fathom how they can stand by the efficacy of a suction mount that doesnt stay in place in heat, if its going to be for sale in Australia.

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Thanks @vax2000 thats good to know, my husbands car air vents are too oddly shaped for the vent holder (which I have in my car) so a windscreen mount did seem to be the only option, and will gladly look at the Ram one you recommended.

Our next phones will be back to trusty iPhone, which we have never damaged in the 8 years we had had them prior to ‘jumping ship’ to S8. I think thats whats makes this so much more frustrating - we stupidly believed the hype and have had more problems in 6 months with samsung than we had in all the time we had iPhones!

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My pleasure to be of help Caitlin . I hope all goes well with the phones .

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I was reading the posts to see if anyone else commented on this - I too have a RAM mount suction cup - in fact I use RAM mounts on two cars and three bikes for phone, GPS, mirrors, etc. Seriously - the RAM suction cup damn near delaminates the glass when you attach it - it would not surprise me if it would support the weight of a small elephant - amazing hardware and not that expensive compared to the other rubbish out there. Never had it fall off, and where I live the windscreen gets very hot …

The advert posted above for the suction mount never mentions it might be heat affected. Fit for purpose all the way.

Saying there is no appeal process is borderline bullying in my view.

I’d rather revert back to a Nokia 2110 than use another Samsung device.

Go the local fair trading, make it cost them …

… and buy a RAM mount.
https://www.ja-gps.com.au/RAM/ram-b-224-1u/
is the one I have … you’ll need an arm and a suitable phone adapter - hopefully not for Samsung :wink: good luck !!
Edited to add - I have no connected with Johnny Appleseed - just a happy customer on a few occasions).

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An analogy I trust will work is trademark/copyright laws. Whether or not one wants to prosecute mum and pop or single person breaches for a copyright or trademark infringement there is no choice because the law does not differentiate between them and a single abuse and multinationals and flagrant abuse. So if a mum and pop transgress the legal system mandates they be prosecuted, or that nobody can be prosecuted again as the ‘owner’ has effectively abridged rights by allowing their claim to ‘rights’ be ignored.

So it comes down to precedent If they fix yours there will be a line of people they will have to accommodate. If they refuse to fix yours they will be able to hang their hats on ‘we do not fix those’ and this was a unique once off case of good will even if the ACCC orders them to fix it and they do.

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Okay found it now on the Samsung Australia website

The other thing ti consider was the mount installed in accordance wth the installation instructions, if they exist?

Was the windscreen cleaned to remove any dust or volitile residues which tend to collect on the inside of the windscreen over time (the blue/grey haze film)? Not doing so possibly would lead to the mount suction plate failing as there would not he good contact with the windscreen.

If the windscreen was adequately cleaned and installation instruction followed, this should slso be included in your letter of complaint as it could be argued that you took reasonable measured to ensure that the product would not fail resulting in the moint falling from the windscreen, thus resulting in damage to the phone. It then can then be argued that either the quality of the suction plate was possibly poor or the mount was not suitable for Australian weather condtions. One buying such a mount in Australia would expect that fhe mount would be suitable and fit for purpose in all expected Australian conditoions.

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Piquing the thought process, do the instructions warn about the suction device falling off in any way? That could be another data point.

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That made my Friday … I’ll post it here - it deserves to be replicated:

The Vehicle Dock is a product that repeat improvements put a mobile device safely. It’s in the form of a neat design and has the ability to adjust a variety of angles. Slim design minimises view obstruction while driving with or without the handset docked. Vehicle Dock is designed for Samsung GALAXY Smartphone Series(4.0" to 5.8") and the GALAXY Mega and fully compatible with them.

Vehicle Dock has suction holder lever for easy absorption and equipped with Button Type Cradle that easy to fix the Smartphone. So It is easy to use and install. Mount your Samsung smartphone on the Dashboard or Windshield using the fully adjustable, multi-angle neck. Also Vehicle Dock possible to adjust the angle, so it can be used felicitously for your application ㅡ Speakerphone cradle, GPS navigation and voice activated Android apps such as S Voice, etc. If you use Car charger sold separately, you can utilise Samsung mobile devices with charging. Vehicle Dock will be the good companion for your smart lifestyle.

So make sure you use it ‘felicitously’ for your application!

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I would just say buyer beware.Something that has suction cups,and your expecting it won’t fall off is just not possible at some point it will happen

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I think the price of $50 was a complete rip off too for the suction mount . Below is a link to a site called DX.com . Check the prices out on windscreen suction mounts . The dearest is around $9 AUS , most are between $3 AUs and $6 AUS and that is posted to Australia .

http://www.dx.com/s/windscreen?cateId=799&cateName=Automobiles%20%26%20Motorcycles&category=704

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