Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Motorola Broke My Phone

I have a Moto G (2014) second generation model 1064.  I had been waiting for the Android Marshmallow release because the 8 gigs of space isn't enough for the OS and apps.  I had bought it because it had an SD card slot, thinking that would keep the lack of space in main storage.  I had heard that Marshmallow allowed you to move more things onto the SD card and out of internal storage.

I finally got notification from Motorola via my phone that I could do an OTA update to Marshmallow.  I went for it.  When it finished the update the phone was sitting at a dead android with the error message "No Command".  I did some research online and several people said that if I did a factory data reset and clear the cache it would bring it back.  Some said they had to do it repeatedly before it came back.  I did that and it did not fix it.

I initiated a chat session with customer support.  They did next to no trouble shooting before telling me I was out of warranty.  The only solution they had for me was to buy a "Like New" phone of the same model for $75.  Had they offered the next model year of phone to make up for crashing my phone I might have taken it, but to give me a used phone of the same model when they broke it was insulting.  They wouldn't even admit that it was refurbished.  They just kept saying "Like New".

I asked for a supervisor and she just echoes the stuff the first person was saying.

They both copied and pasted into chat large amounts of text rather than answering my questions or giving a solution.

When your company's update breaks a functioning phone, the warranty should not matter.  Is it ok for them to break my phone if it is out of warranty?

I fought with the phone for a couple of weeks, looking online for how to get it back to how it was when I bought it to try to start over.  I couldn't find anywhere where Motorola had put the factory images for download.

At one point I found a backup of Marshmallow from my model of phone.  I restored the backup to my phone and things seemed to work well, except I could not send or receive texts.  I also noticed that some of the screens were in Portuguese.  It turned out that the backup was of a Brazilian version of Marshmallow.

I ended up having to root my wife's phone, which is the same model, and do a backup of it and restore it to my phone.  This took several days and I was risking breaking my wife's phone as well.

Both phones appear to be working now, but the boot loaders are stuck in an unlocked state.  I have no idea what issues that causes.

Average Users
I am a computer programmer, but don't program Android.  After a lot of research and work I was able to figure out how to get it working, but what about the average user that doesn't understand installing an operating system or creating a backup and restoring it.  How would they recover from this?

It is not right for a company to abandon a customer after the customer followed their direction to update the phone and the update kills the phone's ability to boot.

Will I Buy Another Motorola Device?
I had purchased the Moto G 1st generation.  One for me and one for my wife.  We then purchased the 2nd generation and gave our phones to our daughters.  While I wasn't happy that they abandoned providing OS updates to the first gen phones and were slow to roll out updates to the 2nd gen phones, I was considering getting a couple more Moto Gs this year to get some updated hardware.

Previously I only passively looked at other phones and nothing grabbed my attention that it was as good as the Moto G in that price range.  I now am seriously researching other phones and considering paying a little bit more, just to get away from Motorola.

Will I buy another Motorola device?  Hard to say right now, but I am highly motivated to look elsewhere.  Before Motorola broke my phone and tried to extort money out of me, I was pretty locked in to staying with Motorola.  Now I am very motivated to find another brand.  If I find another brand that I am comfortable with I will take it.  I also, because of my knowledge of technology, am the person my family comes to for recommendations of hardware to buy.  The brand I find will also be the brand my family likely buys.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Crooked Junk Mail Impersonating Southwest Airlines

This is a piece of junk mail is being circulated that attempts to impersonates Southwest airlines by showing a plane and using the word Southwest capitalized.

It has no address identifying where it came from.  There is also nothing identifying the company that sent it.  Just a toll free number to call to allegedly get a 3 day 2 night stay at Hilton or similar hotels.  Not sure how they define similar.  My guess is what you get will not be that similar if you get anything at all for free.

Similar scam was reported here

As the person in the above link requested, please leave a comment here to let me know if you have more information about this offer and/or company.  I would be curious if you got what was advertised and if not what you got instead.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Companies That Leave Me Feeling Like a One Sided Awkward Breakup

Often I get emails from a copy that I tried their online service and felt it didn't work for me.  The emails generally have subject lines similar to "We miss you at..."

I feel like I need to reply to their email with "It's not you it's me."

If I find and click an unsubscribe link will they come stand outside my house hoping I come out and talk to them about getting back together?

Companies, please, you make yourselves look desperate with this site of behavior.  It doesn't make me want to come back. It makes me wonder why you are clinging to me and what is wing with your product that you are being for customers.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Motorola Moto G Technical Support

We recently purchased two of Motorola's new products, the Moto G.  For the most part we are initially impressed with the new phones, but only one of them will connect for transferring files.  I think they call the type of connection MTP.  It would connect as a camera, but that limited it to just the camera directory, so I couldn't transfer to the music directory.

I am guessing I could've transferred to the camera directory and then transferred out of it and into the music folder with the phone itself.

I contacted technical support via chat.  I waited to be connected to someone for about 15 minutes.   Once I got connected they asked me to do the usual "turn it off and back on" and such.  I had already done that and did it again.  No luck.  They gave me a link to some article about clearing the cache or something.  While I read the article and tried to figure out how to do what it was explaining the tech support agent typed to me that I had been inactive for two minutes and they were going to give me one more minute and then disconnected.

The link they sent me did not work for me.  I could not tell them, since they hung up on me.

I don't understand why they were in such a hurry to hang up.  It is a chat window.  You should be able to have several chat windows up, so they could help another customer while waiting on me.  The only explanation I can think of is that there is some metric that some manager is using to measure performance.  They must be tracking how quickly they resolve the call.  That doesn't measure if they actually helped me.

I hurried and went back to chat and sat on hold for another 15 to 20 minutes.  The customer service person quickly walked me through finding my serial number and then quickly gave me a phone number and other information on Level 2 tech support, which I couldn't call until morning, and then hung up on me again.

Level 2
The next morning I called level 2 support.  Level 1 had told me that if I entered in my phone number at the beginning of the call, level 2 would see the chat history and be able to read everything that we had talked about before helping me.

When I called level 2, then asked me for my phone number a second time, even though I entered it in their system via the phone I was calling from.  They then asked what they could help me with.  I asked if they had read the chat history.  They said they had not and put me on hold to read them.

Level 1 support had tried to switch me into developer mode at one point, but didn't know how to do it properly.  Level 2 tried the same thing.

They wanted me through switching it, but also gave the wrong instructions, but I ended up getting it to go anyway.  They had told me to tap About Phone 7 times in settings.  It only took three.  That allowed up to turn on USB debugging.  Once I did that I could see all the folders, even though it still would not go into MTP mode normally.

I took this work around, since it did what I needed, but I was concerned about leaving a phone in developer mode, where the user could inadvertently get into something that could make a mess.  Tech support told me how to turn it off (tap About Phone seven times) and the instructions were incorrect.  All it did was tell me the phone was already in developer mode.  They never could get it to switch out of developer mode.

While in developer tools I notice a switch to turn it off.  It still left the developer tools menu, but once in there it had to be turned on or off, so that was more acceptable to me.  It still did not fix the problem with the phone, but it gave me a work around.

As support worked with me, it was like they were unfamiliar with my phone.  This was true of level 1 and level 2 support.  Perhaps it is too new, but I figured Android Jelly Bean on one Motorola phone would be the same as another.

The bottom line is that Motorola customer service appeared not well trained and more interested cranking a call queue than solid support of their customers.  By the length of time I spent on hold and the desire of customer service to dump calls, it also appears that they are under staffed.  Additionally, I got a work around, but the problem was not solved.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

AVG Search Powered By Yahoo!

In the early days of both of these brand I really liked them.  After this experience, their good name is no longer good with me.

I installed a free license key recovery tool to recover some Microsoft software license keys before we migrated to another machine.

I realize free should've made me cautious, but a guy at work said he used it and wanted me to use it to get the information we needed.  I don't recalled seeing anything that said it was going to install other software or a check box to make it not do so.

As I started to use my Chrome browser, I notice that my New Tab behavior had changed.  When I would create a new tab window for browsing, it would bring up AVG Search powered by Yahoo.  It usually just brought up the recently accessed pages page, but now that was gone.  I would've expected that if something changed it would have brought up my home page.

I checked my home page settings and it was still set to Google.  I also saw that the setting was set to not show the home page, but the recently used pages.

I looked around the browser and around the settings and found nothing that looked out of the ordinary.

I finally saw someone mention to look in add remove programs.  I thought I had, but perhaps I didn't since the browser did not appear to have an ad-ware toolbar on it.  The browser looked fine.

Nonetheless, I opened Add/Remove Programs and sure enough I found AVG Search powered by Yahoo.  I uninstalled it and the problem went away.

This practice is slimy and marketing trickery.  When I install one program and having it not only install another program, but having that program hook into one of the other programs on my machine is a foul marketing practice.

I stopped using AVG because it became a little bloated and Microsoft came out with their own, but I still had good feelings toward AVG.  Now I feel that AVG is a tainted brand and if I ever see the AVG brand on anything I will be steering clear of it and if I cannot steer clear of it I will be very cautious to not trust it.

I don't use Yahoo for search anymore and haven't for years, but I do use it for stock quote and TV listings.  I also use it if I am trying to test that a computers internet settings are working.  After this experience I will be finding another source for stock quotes and TV listings.

I have talked to marketing people and their seems to be a feeling among some of them that annoying and trying to trap potential customers is good marketing, because they might eventually buy the product if you stay in front of them.

Businesses that behave this way end up being blacklisted by security software, email servers, and sometimes phone systems.

The idea that "no" probably means "yes" or at least a strong "maybe" is unacceptable.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Using Your Credit Card Information To Validate Your Identity For Your Free Account

I really dislike that when I sign up for a free service they ask for my credit card information under the guise of  validating my identity.  I always assume they are going to pull an AOL on me and give me the first month free and then automatically start charging me the next month.

This time I was told that once a year you can get your credit report for free.  I went and searched the internet to find where you do that.  I found several sites, which should've tipped me off that they were going to use this to rope me into a service.  I went to one and they asked all sorts of personal information, but i was asking for a credit report, so I allowed it, even though it made me uneasy.

One of the pieces of information they asked for was a credit card, which they said was used to validate my identity.  That sounded reasonable, even though I hated it.

I entered the credit card information and went to their site to get the report.  It did indeed give me the report from all three credit bureaus.  I then noticed things on the site that said "monitoring" like they were monitoring my credit.  They also had stuff about account information.  I was not intending to create an account with a business.  I just wanted my once a year credit history.

I called their customer service number to cancel whatever account they had created and make sure they never charge my credit card for anything.  The customer service representative confirmed that in one week they were going to begin charging my credit card.  I never saw anything about that in the sign up process.  Everything said give us this piece of information or that piece of information in order to find me and get the report.  Nothing I saw said that I was signing up for their service.  Everything was under the cover of getting the report for free.

This is a very dishonest practice and wreaks of bait and switch, but I thought was against the law.

The company that did it to me this time was call ScoreSense.  Their web site is

While their customer service person answered the phone quickly and was very helpful, I should not have had to call them.  If they are offering a free report I don't mind if they then give me an advertisement for their service, but don't hijack my credit card and lock me into a service that I have to call to cancel.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Key Bank - Upsell

It seems like the only business Key Bank is in is the up sell business.  For a while everytime I would go in there to cash a check and get in and get out, the teller would interview about what type of business I had.  At first I thought it was just to be friendly and make conversation while she processed the checks, but then it always started going down the path of some service I might be interested in.

I wouldn't go into the bank at all if they allowed me to take a picture of the check and deposit it from home, no matter if the branch is open or not.

I would've joined a credit union had it not been because part of my business is in another state and it was easier to have branches in both places for me and my business associates to be able to get to the account.

So going into the process I already do not want to be with Key Bank, then when they try to sell me stuff every time I am forced to go in it makes me dislike banks more.

Today I was forced to go in to deposit checks again.  I had heard previously of financial institutions allowing people to take pictures of checks and deposit them.  I asked the teller as I do every so many months.  She said she though they had some service like that, but I might need to buy one of their check machines.  She then said I needed to go talk to their business person at one of the desks.  On my way to leave her to go to the desk the teller tells me to be sure to ask about some rewards program.

I get to the desk and I stay standing because I just want a yes or no and perhaps some brief instructions on how to use the service or a time frame on when they will offer it.  The business lady ushers me to a chair.  Then she describes, just like the teller, how she doesn't know.  She thinks they have that service, but I would have to buy the machine.  She makes a few calls and finds out that they have the service, if we have a machine, but later this year I might be able to scan from an IPhone app.  She seemed to think I couldn't just scan or take a picture of the check.  She gave me some spiel about security issues.  Clearly a web site could validate the check from a photo as easy, if not easier than an app could from a camera on an IPhone.

At various stages of this process of trying to find out about their service she probes me for questions about my business.  She offer me night deposit or ATM deposits, which I don't trust.  I want to see immediately that it has been processed to my account and not lost.

She ended up having nothing to make my check needs easier, so I went to leave.  She felt compelled to make me take her card.  I had no business I needed to follow up with her for, so she wasted the card, which I threw away when I got home.  She also asked if she could call in a few weeks to follow up with me.  The service I am interested is not available, if at all, until September or October, so why do I need a follow up call, other than for her to try to sell me something.  I gently told her I would check back the next time I had to bring a check it.  I was kind to her, but I was very irritated at all of the wasted time and the attempt to get me to waste more time.  I was also irritated at the constant fishing for information about me and my business, which was not necessary in order to answer my question.

She asked my name.  I gave her my first name.  She then pressed me for my last name.

My whole intent is to cash a check more quickly.  What I got was an extended visit to the bank with a salesperson.