It has been just over three months since the Carrier IQ “spygate” epidemic engulfed the mobile world. As smartphones and tablets become more powerful, consumers are becoming even more concerned with their mobile privacy as numerous smartphones have been found to track users’ locations, phone calls, text messages and even which websites they visit. While the companies that used Carrier IQ’s tracking software claimed it was for diagnostic purposes, the service was promptly removed from “infected” handsets. Verizon, which never used Carrier IQ, in the past two days has updated two Android handsets to include a new “Remote Diagnostics” tool, which some fear may be the next big privacy concern. Read on for more. More →
In a response to the FCC following a formal complaint, Verizon Wireless has outlined the company’s policy on locked bootloaders. An irate Droid-Life reader became fed up with the carrier’s consistent locking of bootloaders on its flagship devices and decided to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. The reader claimed Verizon’s policy was in violation of the “Block C license,” an agreement the company made when it purchased its 700MHz LTE spectrum. Within the agreement, it is stated that Verizon should not be allowed to “lock a phone,” which many interpreted as a statement that should include a phone’s bootloader. Read on for more and a copy of Verizon’s letter. More →
Amazon received the highest customer service ratings of any retailer in 2011 according to the NRF Foundations Customers’ Choice survey. The survey, which asked more than 9,000 shoppers which retailer provides the best customer service, was conducted by BIGresearch. In 2011, Amazon gained one spot to become the top-ranked retailer while the company’s subsidiary Zappos, which was previously ranked No.1, fell to No.3. Coming in behind Amazon was L.L.Bean, gaining a spot from 2010 rank to come in at No.2, with Overstock, QVC, Kohl’s, Lands’ End, JCPenney, Newegg and Nordstrom rounding out the top-10. More →
Among the top-four nationwide carriers in the United States, AT&T has managed the lowest ratio of Better Business Bureau complaints to customers over the past three years. Earlier this month, the BBB published data collected between August 2008 and July 2011 for the eight biggest wireless carriers in the U.S. The firm then measured total complaints for each carrier against its approximate total subscriber count according to the CTIA as of July to determine each carrier’s “complaint ratio.” Read on for more. More →
Michael Dell is toying with the idea of using Google+ Hangouts for Dell’s customer support. The service allows users to initiate a video chat session with multiple people inside their Google+ circles. “I am thinking about hangouts for business. Would you like to be able to connect with your Dell service and sale teams via video directly from Dell.com?” he posted on his Google+ page on Sunday. The idea was an instant success: 556 people had given the comment a +1 as of Tuesday morning and hundreds more left comments in support of the suggestion. As GigaOm points out, it is currently not possible to start a “Hangout” session from anywhere but from inside Google+ itself. The social network is still in a young invite-only phase, too, so some customers would not have access just yet. Still, Google has said that it plans to offer Google+ for businesses, so perhaps Dell’s idea could come to fruition down the road. More →
Customer service representatives, while often very helpful, are rarely solid sources for unannounced information. At the same time, there have been cases in the past where customer service reps have unknowingly shared information that was intended to stay behind closed doors, and we have a feeling this could be one of those cases. According to Apple enthusiast blog MacRumors, an AT&T rep recently confirmed to a subscriber that there will not be a new iPhone launching in June or July this year. The correspondence was initiated when the subscriber noticed his eligibility date for an upgrade was pushed back by five months. He contacted AT&T to determine the reason for the move, and was reportedly told the following:
Apple has informed us that they do not plan to release the iPhone in the June to July timeframe, though there will be a newer version in the future. Unfortunately, we have not been given a release time for the new phone. We will release this information on our website when it is available to us.
The news lines up with earlier reports, of course, which state that the iPhone 5 will not launch until September or later. Apple’s next iPhone will be an incremental update according to rumors, and it will reportedly feature Apple’s new A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera and a case similar to the one found on the iPhone 4. More →
Among the more aggravating predicaments gadget fans often find themselves in are the scenarios where devices break or accounts get over-billed and phone calls to customer service must be made. The only sure way to make these situations even more aggravating, of course, is to navigate through a maze of key-presses and then sit on hold for 13 minutes before a call is finally connected. Thankfully, services like FastCustomer look to ease the tension a bit by waiting on hold in place of the user and then and connecting the call only once an operator has picked up the phone. Companies like Fonolo have been trying to tackle the same problem for quite some time, but no other service offers the simple UI and the smooth user experience FastCustomer affords — input the name of the company you want to reach, key in your phone number, then sit back while the magic happens. FastCustomer’s Web-based service is completely free for the time being, and it has an app in Apple’s App Store for $0.99. The company is also looking to connect with an Android developer to build a Google-friendly app, but no word on a time line. Hit the break for a video explaining how FastCustomer works. More →
AT&T was dragged over the coals yesterday following the revelation that Consumer Reports readers think AT&T is the worst carrier in the U.S. The bruised carrier issued a statement shortly after Consumer Reports’ survey made the rounds, but it was pretty obvious that it had more in store. Today, AT&T points out that according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), its network is the best in the country — 0r, at least, its subscribers complain the least. In the 12-month period ending December 3rd, 2010, AT&T had the lowest number of complaints made to the BBB among the top four cellular carriers in the country. Verizon Wireless had 34% more complaints during that time frame, Sprint had 115% more complaints and T-Mobile had 207% more complaints. AT&T also says it has an A+ average rating nationally from the BBB, having received 107 A+ ratings, seven A ratings and one A- rating from local BBBs across the country. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
If there’s one thing T-Mobile USA is known for, it’s solid customer service. J.D. Power and Associates found this out as well, as they have just announced that T-Mobile USA is the sole highest-ranking wireless provider in “Overall Customer Care Performance.” Congrats, T-Mobile. Now if you could only expand coverage and launch some kick-ass devices… More →
Now this is a service we can get behind! Fonolo serves one purpose and one purpose alone: Kill phone trees. If you’re not familiar with the term “phone tree” you’ll certainly be familiar with the concept. When something you own isn’t working properly despite your best efforts, you get angry. You pride yourself in being a skilled gadgeteer so the fact that you can’t fix the problem yourself is a bit enraging. Now you have to swallow your pride, cowboy up and call the dreaded “customer care line”. After dialing, are you greeted with a knowledgeable human? Of course not. A digitized female voice simply makes matters worse by asking you all kinds of questions and requiring you to push various buttons for a few minutes before you have the pleasure of sitting on hold for half an hour. Ugh. There is hope though, and that hope is fonolo.com. Fonolo provides you with flow charts for each company in its data base. The flow charts represent each and every option that you would have if you called the customer service line yourself. Simply select a point on the chart (likely “speak with a customer service rep” down near the bottom) and Fonolo will call the company for you. It will automatically navigate the menus and then ring your phone once it has reached the point you specified. Best of all, it’s free! There are also some other cool options such as the ability to record calls and publish them online to give others a taste of what they can expect should they need to call the same company. The catch? It’s currently in private beta. You can enter your email on the homepage to be notified as soon as they’re ready for you and we highly recommend doing so. This is the kind of service worth waiting for.