Vodafone Gave Me Refurbished Device as Warranty Replacement without Warning and Were Rude about It, What Can I Do?

Hey guys want some advice.

I bought a pixel 4 last year, its 11 months old and for context has a 24 month warranty. I bought it from vodafone.

I gave the device in for warranty because it would randomly restart and bootloop, bluetooth was spotty, speakerphone didnt work. It was buggy overall. I asked if I could just get a refund and they said no. So I gave it for fixing. They got me to sign a form and said I would get a copy but I never did. The form mentioned nothing about refurbished devices though.

3 days later I get a call saying my device is ready for collection. I go and they show me a new box which they open and show a device with all the new wrappings and get me to sign a form that I accept it.

Now I take the phone and get to my car where I finally see the underside of the box where it says refurbished. I wasnt happy with that so I took it back to the store. The person serving was helpful and started opening a case. The clock struck 5:30 and the manager comes over and asks what theyre doing. Then she tells me I have to leave the store because they need to do a stocktake. I ask for what happened in writing so I can come back later which she refused to give. She started saying I signed I accept the phone so I have to take it and leave or she would call security? When I tried to say anything she cut me off and said no ifs no buts you have to get out. Made me feel like a criminal it was horrible. This was at Vodafone indooroopilly.

Anyway besides the point, looking at ACL, it seems like if they were to use refurbished devices they would have had to advise me before accepting my original device, AND they would have had to provide me with a notice of repair which they did not. Am I wrong?

Further, looking at ACL judging that this is a major failure of the device I should have had the choice of a refund right? What would you guys do in my situation. I raised a case with Vodafone support but I am worried I'll get the screw around there too.

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  • https://www.vodafone.com.au/support/notify/complaints

    Complaints isn't usually the same team as Support. Try them directly.

  • Send a letter of demand and then lodge a claim with QCAT

  • +21 votes

    You gave them a year old faulty second hand phone and they replaced it with a fully functional refurb which is unacceptable?

    Is it just me or does the sense of entitlement becoming ridiculous?

    • Mate i bought it from them brand new and it still has a whole year of warranty. I can see where you're coming from but I dont know, a used device in exchange for the one I purchased new doesnt sit right with me.

      • Oh, I thought the issue was the rudeness of the manager not the refurb unit itself. Then no, refurb replacement is normal and completely reasonable. Even Apple do it.

        • Fair. It was the rudeness which sealed the deal really. Had they been nice about the refurb and explained it accordingly and also told me beforehand I would have appreciated it. Not the outcome I really want but I guess if its a best case scenario what can I do

      • They could of taken a month to fix your old phone and the refurb would of been newer.

        Year old Camry with a bad gearbox you think they’ll give you a new car?

        • Don't think you have given much if any thought with your response.

          The gearbox would be repaired and OP would have HIS car back, not a car that had been 'refurbished'.

          • @Snake 4: I think the issue (and an issue a lot of people have) is the perceived value of refurbs. Many people hear refurb and picture a device that's old, used, and generally down on it's luck.

            A lot of refurbs are actually devices that were replaced under warranty and have since been repaired. They'll generally be reasonably new, not much used (as some would be ones that were DOA, so essentially unused), and have been cleaned and completely repaired.

      • The challenge you'll have is that while you bought a brand new phone, that was 11 months ago. It ain't brand new now.

        Without knowing the wear and tear on your old phone vs. the refurb one, and for the purposes of this conversation I'll assume they are similar, it may well be that this is a reasonable outcome in the eyes of the law.

        By all means I would push my position … although the incident at the store won't help your case … but manage your expectations.

        • The challenge you'll have is that while you bought a brand new phone, that was 11 months ago. It ain't brand new now.

          are you telling me my 1958 Ford isnt under warranty? I thought it would be new forever ???
          Fek ozb is great place to learn stuff.

      • isnt this what apple does?

  • +9 votes

    Is it just me or OP is not as innocent as they seem? There is no reason the Manager would threaten with Security unless OP was rude and aggressive towards staff.

    • You know what I questioned my own behavior after that. I was not rude that I am aware of until they mentioned security, at that point I did say get f***ed. Which I shouldnt have said but it all just seemed absurd to me. Until the manager came over the whole thing was pretty friendly with the rest of the staff. Maybe I am rude and I am just not self aware?

      • +7 votes

        I mean if you did say "get f**ked" then I am lead to believe you were not so calm and nice before either. Maybe you really did not realise, considering that you felt lied to and upset.

        I would ask for a copy of the form you signed when you gave in the phone. But also I would check the warranty policy with google too, pretty sure they might mention refurb in their too. Nearly every brand does it and it is normal. Just so you know, with most refurbs, the exterior components, including the battery are brand new. They reuse parts such as the motherboard and camera, etc. Everything is tested and passes the same test standards as factory before being offered as a refurb.

        Infact you are better off, you have a new front and back, and a new battery. No more microscratches (they occur regardless) and who knows, there may be a fault with your motherboard. It would've been replaced with a refurb motherboard anyways.

        Replacements parts are often refurb too

      • Are you sure you didn't ask them to go outdooripilly?

  • Refurbished can be as good as new (almost).

  • Mate - this is the sort of stuff you get here from the new breed of users.

    Was it a major failure - look up your rights and go from there, and good luck.

    Annoying thing from what you posted was the way manager used closing time against you to end discussion, and you should know sign nothing before you properly inspect.

    Historically vodafone are really dodgy so good luck

  • Unfortunately all phone manufacturers do this. I remember I bought a new brand new iphone from a retailer that failed on day 1. The retailer wanted me to take the brand new phone to Apple who would have changed it for a refurbished one. Obviously I refused, but in your case its a year old phone so it's not so unreasonable. The refurbished phone should look brand new, and I know with Apple you get a new warranty from the date they replace it, not sure about Vodaphone though. I have had the same circumstance with Microsoft with a Surface Laptop. I also think it sucks, but that is how it works.

    • thats dodgy as.. thankfully apple sends you back to the retailer if its 28 days or less now as thats DOA and is eligible for a swap over with a new device

  • The form mentioned nothing about refurbished devices though.

    Take your $2000 iPhone into Apple for 'repairs' and 9 out of 10 times you'll get a refurbished device, regardless of age.

    Its just the way its done.

    I asked if I could just get a refund and they said no. So I gave it for fixing.

    Did they not 'fix' your phone? Is it not working still? Is it in WORSE condition?

  • -2 votes

    Ask them to do the minimum required by law. Repair it, Replace it, or Refund your money. Be polite but firm.

    Ignore the people here saying it's normal, it is not.
    All you are doing is asking for the absolute minimum required by law.

    Just put it in an email for a paper trail.

    You can also report it to Fair Trading in your state and ACCC.

    Do the reports not for your self but to stop people getting screwed in general.

    If you are a choice member this would be a great time to ask them for help.

    • Absolutely agree - if you don't care about your so called rights don't bother.

      That way when they are all gone you won't miss any of them, and clearly that's why americalia is in full operation.

  • Take the refub and move on.

  • If the phone works fine then just accept it’s considered good as new and a refurb replacement is industry norm.
    That manager on the other hand needs dealt with.
    They provoked you into going off and swearing and that’s not on.

    There’s no need whatsoever for you to take any responsibility for your bad behaviour, that’s all on the manager.
    You need justice. You got anger that needs released in a channeled manner.
    Stitch them up. Write a formal complaint to Vodafone.

    Embellish the story and focus on the facts.
    The manager aggressively approached you discussing your phone replacement with another shop assistant.
    The manager, interrupted the conversation and began talking to you with a raised voice, refused to listen to you, continually interrupted you when you tried to explain your issue.
    You were denied any right of reply.

    The manager informed you that you’re opinion was if no relevance or significance and was not worthy of their response.
    Then added the store was closed and you were trespassing.

    When you asked the manager not to talk to you that way, they lost their temper and threatened to call security and make false allegations to ensure you were evicted from the store.

    This behaviour is unacceptable to you as a customer and you are providing Vodafone with the opportunity to respond before you post your experience on social media.

    You also now intend to seek legal advice on Vodafone’s deceptive and misleading compliance with the Australian Consumer Act regarding consumer guarantees for purchases with a major flaw.

    • Embellish the story

      How about no?

      As someone who has worked in customer facing jobs my whole career, I would hate to think someone would do something like that for zero personal gain.

      Really describes who you are as a person if you're prepared to do that.

  • I was so pissed off at how Vodafone treated me about something that I left them mid contract and paid out my contract on the spot. They got me for the contract but I haven't been with them for years so in the long run treating customers like shit is short sighted. Been with Telstra ever since. I figure customer service is worth paying for if we rely on our mobile devices being connected to phone and internet 24/7.

    • +1 vodafone were useless and unhelpful when i had a warranty issue.

    • Agree. I had a broadly similar experience (two in fact) with Optus years ago.

      Lesson learned, move on and never do business there again. I moved over to Telstra probably 10-odd years ago and haven't looked back.

      Yes, I pay more than I would with other providers, but to be honest, their service just works far more consistently in my experience than the others and the staff at the local Telstra stores are actually incredibly helpful (call centre still sucks, but I guess you can't have it all).

    • I am on Telstra now … their customer service is not worth the extra cost
      I reckon they are all from the same batch… Optus, Voda, Telstra… etc etc … customer service is their biggest failing across all networks

  • You give them a year old broken item and they give you a perfectly working item of about the same age……

    What are you complaining about?


    • Until he saw the box said refurbished, he thought the phone was new.

      He clearly wanted a new phone, but even if the employee in the store was allowed to 'open a case', it's not likely he'd have got one.

      In summary, (refurbished) phone is fine.

  • You’re the rude one being in the store when it closes at 5:30

  • Its not unique to Vodafone
    and its not unique to google.. Samsung, Apple, they all give refurb's as replacement
    Its the manufactuer who supplies the replacement device.

    What a LOT of people do not realise is that the warranty decisions is actually made by the manufacturer not the carrier.

    When a device is submitted for repair and its deemed non repairable the manufacturer has to authorise the swap.. they then also have to supply the replacement device.
    Vodafone is simply acting on your behalf.

    Vodafone service hold stock of replacements (and yes these are often refurbs) and seek authority to supply to you from the supplier (in this case Google)
    (They even run an express swap program in 2 stores but even these swap devices are refurbs)

    Vodafone do not repair phones, they are forwarded from Vodafone to the manufacturers authorised repairer (who often uses refurb parts)
    The phone is then returned to Vodafone and then to you via the store.
    your old phone will probably be refurbished or salvaged for parts for the next repair.

    Some thing else people seem to miss, the warranty on your replacement device is 90 days or what ever was left on your original manufactures warranty (which ever is longer) the amount of people who would come in thinking they had a fresh 1 or 2 years used to blow my mind.

  • when a problem is major the acl talks about refund or replacement from the retailer - this is different to the manufacturers warranty as way too many posting here know.

    expensive phones that die within their warranty period are covered by the acl.