Google warranty repair flat-out lost my phone three weeks ago and refuses to do anything about it

By | June 7, 2022

Three and a half weeks ago the screen on my Google Pixel 5a phone conked out — I could call my phone and it would ring and I could even get in my car and make calls using my car’s dash screen and my previously paired phone, but no matter what, the screen stayed black. After lengthy calls with Google product support, they eventually decided that I should send it in for warranty repair. Google sent me an RMA shipping label and form and I promptly sent it off.

It was received three weeks ago. Google’s tracking page showed it being received, inspected, and returned all on the same day, and I was watching the tracking site — it went from “on the way to Google” to “received, inspected, and shipped back” all in under an hour. It doesn’t take rocket science to realize that there must have been some kind of glitch on their end… first, because there’s no way it could have been received at their loading dock, opened and routed to a technician for an inspection, inspected, and returned in that short an amount of time, and second, if they actually had inspected it, they would have noticed the screen wasn’t working at all.

I never did get a tracking number for the allegedly on-its-way-back-to-me package. I wrote Google and asked “what’s going on” and for three weeks now I’ve been getting one email after another saying “we’re investigating, please be patient, we’re closely monitoring this, we’ve escalated it to a dedicated team, we’re closely monitoring this, we understand that this is frustrating, please give us 2-3 more days, please give us 2-3 more days, please give us 2-3 more days” ad nauseam.

If Google product support had determined that my phone was hopelessly bricked they’d have had me send it in and they’d just have sent me a replacement phone. But because the phone is lost in their system and from all evidence they’re never going to find it, I am out one phone and am continuing to pay Verizon for service I can’t use. One would think they’d just close out the case and send me a replacement phone, but apparently they’re happier endlessly stalling me and making excuses and doing absolutely nothing at all.

I had been dutifully buying a new Google Pixel phone every two or three years and had been generally happy… but now I’m seeing the legendary “other side of Google” — the part that ignores the old “don’t be evil” mandate Google used to follow. There’s no way in hell that I’m ever buying another Google product.

Does anyone reading this have any advice about how to light a fire under them? I could try taking them to small claims court but that would drag on for quite a while. Are there websites or publications that investigate stuff like this for hapless consumers like me — the kind that the manufacturer knuckles under to in order to avoid bad publicity?