Well then, I knew this moment would come.
I’ve been running Mobile Industry Review for almost 5 years now and I’ve never had a problem with review units — up until now.
For those who are unaware, here’s how the process works. If you’re known by the handset PR team, they’ll usually drop you an email to see if you’d like to test one. Sometimes they’ll actually email to ask what your address is and they’ll simply post it to you. In some cases, with companies I deal with regularly, phones just arrive. Other times, I see a press release and I email the chap or lady and ask if I can do a review.
Generally speaking unless there’s ridiculously high demand, a handset arrives a few days later.
Some agencies get an allocation of 5 units (or something silly like that) and you end up getting the handset for 20 minutes before you have to stick it back in an envelope and send it back.
Most agencies have an account with UPS, DHL or the like — or a private courier firm — and they’ll send the devices to you that way. Some of the more enterprising agencies (like Sony Ericsson’s one) will actually enclose a padded return envelope already addressed. Genius. Other times you need to arrange with the agency for their courier to come and pick up the phone.
It’s all straight forward, usually.
The exceptions mostly come from us — that is, the publications — or, in this case, me. One agency thought I’d gone rogue on them when I failed to reply to emails during the time of Archie’s birth a little while ago. I understand that it must be a bit of an arse when you need the equipment back and you’re trying to get in touch with a stressed-to-hell editor.
Some agencies insist you sign a loan form. That form — or contract — means that you are responsible for the hardware and should you lose it, it’s your problem to replace it. This goes with the territory. The underlying concept with all device loans/reviews is dont-take-the-mickey.
I’ve never had to cough up for a phone that I’ve lost or damaged before. It’s just never been an issue.
I made the ridiculous mistake of returning the Acer Liquid I had for review but not paying attention. The PR chap was emailing wanting it back — and he’d emailed a few times before I managed to take the time to get the device, stick it back nicely in it’s box (wipe all my data from it), find a padded envelope, address it, then post it. The good news, nowadays, is that the office reception ladies do the posting. They have a little special delivery label kit for Parcel Force and they take care of it. I wanted to send the device special delivery, because, you know… just in case.
And that’s it. That’s my involvement finished. Handed it to the ladies, the postman comes at 4.30pm and picks the stuff up. Done.
Perhaps 2 months have passed. And now I’ve had a series of emails demanding the phone back.
“I’m sure I sent it back,” I thought.
I checked the office. No sign of the phone.
“I’m sure they posted it already!” I thought.
They did. I’m sure of it.
My problem, however, is that I haven’t had time to go and sit with the ladies at reception and flick through the special delivery book looking for the entry for the Acer. Needle, haystack.
The PR chap doesn’t have it.
So it’s my problem.
I didn’t keep a note of the Special Delivery details. I just can’t be arsed with that. Theoretically, if I spend 30 minutes messing around with the reception delivery book, I can probably locate the entry.
But I thought I’d see how Acer respond to this issue. I thought it might make an interesting post, too.
I’m willing to bet that if this happened with Nokia, it wouldn’t be an problem. Indeed, it doesn’t happen with Nokia. Because *they* send a courier to pick it up. It doesn’t happen with a lot of companies, actually, the more I think about it, because they deal with it all. My mistake for getting involved.
“Shall I buy an Acer Liquid and send it to you?” I asked the PR guy.
“Yes, please send it to Westcoast Asset Management Ltd,” he replied.
Heh. Who is that? I had a look, turns out that West Coast Asset Management handle consumer electronics returns!
I’m sure that’s where I sent the first Acer! They didn’t do a good job with me, did they?
Anyway, to the point of this post. Do you have an Acer Liquid — in fairly good condition — that I can buy from you and send to the chap at Westcoast Asset Management?
It’s pointless, I know. But it’s the right thing to do. That or go and search the special delivery book, find the entry and make it Acer’s problem.
If you do have an Acer Liquid, tell me how much you’d like for it. I’m firstname.lastname@example.org.