Amazon Fire Phone Review: Let’s Call the Customer Service…Lacking

It is always dangerous to buy a piece of tech that is the first of it’s kind.  People trust the iPhone 5 because there was an iPhone 4, and 3, and I’m not sure what it was called before that.  Was it just 2?  When trying to decide what phone to upgrade to between an iPhone 5s and an Amazon Firephone, I weighed the fact that Amazon’s device was largely untested.   I talked myself into the purchase by telling myself that as a longtime Kindle and Kindle Fire user it wasn’t really new, but just tweaked.

After I purchased the phone I was told that AT&T did not have the software to move any of my contacts to the Firephone and that I was on my own.  I wasn’t too perturbed.  A little contact list trimming was probably in order anyway.  But, we will still call that hurdle number one.  Hurdle number two came 4 days later when I could not get my wifi to connect.  I hit the help button on the phone which gave me the options to call mayday or visit the amazon website to start a chat.  I was at work so I chose to start a chat.  I will put the full transcript of that chat below so that you can read everything in context if you want to.  But to save you time I will point out the parts that I think matter most.

Initially, I told that if I had a problem with the phone I needed to contact AT&T and that my problem was not “on [them]”.  When I disputed this I was transferred to the Wish List and Registries department.

and then I was transferred to another person who didn’t tell me their department
and then I was transferred to the AIV department
and then I was transferred to the Kindle department
and then I was transferred to a mystery department
and then I was transferred to a mystery department, who told me they were sending me to the Fire Phone department
and then I was transferred to the Amazon Appstore department
and then I was transferred back to the mystery department I was at three transfers ago
and then I was transferred to a Kindle Specialist
and then general Amazon Customer Support

At this last transfer it was explained to me that a Chat option for the Amazon Fire Phone DOES NOT EXIST.  Despite the fact that I was told that I was being transferred to that department.

After this I was sent an email that gave me an option to be called to help fix my problem as it had not been fixed.  I explained my problem to someone who said they were transferring me and then the call disconnected during the transfer.  And then I called back and it happened again.

 

Initial Question: I recently bought the fire phone and this morning I am unable to get my phone to update apps or use the internet. I work in building that has wireless that you have to go through the website and verify. It worked fine yesterday but today it keeps timing out and won’t connect. Despite having regular cell coverage and a data plan I also cannot access twitter, facebook, or email. I have restarted the phone twice but that has not helped
06:49 AM PDT Cathrine(Amazon): Hello, my name is Cathrine. I’ll certainly try to help regarding your concern.
06:50 AM PDT Amy Whalen: hello
06:51 AM PDT Cathrine(Amazon): Can I have the order number for the fire phone?
06:52 AM PDT Amy Whalen: Is that the same as the serial number? Which is B0F1 0701 4262 0GMG
if not, where would I find it?06:52 AM PDT Cathrine(Amazon): On your order history Amy.
06:53 AM PDT Amy Whalen: I purchased the phone through AT&T not through amazon.com
06:53 AM PDT Cathrine(Amazon): I see.
06:54 AM PDT Cathrine(Amazon): You need to contact AT&T with regards to that Amy.
06:54 AM PDT Amy Whalen: It is an amazon product
06:55 AM PDT Amy Whalen: and the help button on the phone told me to bring my questions here
06:55 AM PDT Cathrine(Amazon): Did you purchase it with contract?
06:56 AM PDT Amy Whalen: I did the at&t next plan
06:57 AM PDT Cathrine(Amazon): One moment please.
07:00 AM PDT Cathrine(Amazon): Thanks for waiting.
07:01 AM PDT Cathrine(Amazon): Since you purchase the fire phone to AT&T and since it has a contract you really need to contact AT&T about on that Amy.
07:03 AM PDT Amy Whalen: What I would like to know is if there is a way to reset the phone besides turning it off an back on. There is not a problem with my service there is a problem with the phone itself connecting to the internet and you made the phone. When I bought the phone the friendly picture of the mayday lady was sitting next to it, implying that your customer service would be available if the phone malfunctioned or if I had questions. If this is not the case then I would like to know why it was advertised that way and why the phone itself gives me the instruction to contact you
07:09 AM PDT Cathrine(Amazon): I understand Amy however you purchase the phone from AT&T not on us.
Did you purchase it from our website?
07:10 AM PDT Amy Whalen: I did not which I already told you. Does Amazon not back it’s product if it is being sold through a separately licensed carrier? I didn’t buy the phone in a back alley I bought it in a store
and the phone’s help button gave me the website in order to be in contact with you
07:15 AM PDT Cathrine(Amazon): You can’t connect to internet or Wi-Fi?
07:15 AM PDT Amy Whalen: correct
07:16 AM PDT Cathrine(Amazon): If your Fire phone can’t connect to your Wi-Fi network, or it frequently drops your connection, follow these steps on the link.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201573270
07:17 AM PDT Cathrine(Amazon): Check this as well for basic trouble shooting for your fire phone, check the link:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_v4_sib?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201573230
07:17 AM PDT Amy Whalen: Thank you for the link, but I already restarted the phone which did not help. I am tapping into a company wifi through a guest screen on the website. I sent an email asking if the wifi was down but it is working properly
07:22 AM PDT Amazon(Amazon): Hello! My name is Teresa. How can I help you today?
07:23 AM PDT Amy Whalen: I had been talking with another associate who must have ended the chat. I sent her this as my initial problem – I recently bought the fire phone and this morning I am unable to get my phone to update apps or use the internet. I work in building that has wireless that you have to go through the website and verify. It worked fine yesterday but today it keeps timing out and won’t connect. Despite having regular cell coverage and a data plan I also cannot access twitter, facebook, or email. I have restarted the phone twice but that has not helped
07:23 AM PDT Amazon(Amazon): I am from the Wish List and Registries department of Amazon.com. How can I help you today?
07:23 AM PDT Amy Whalen: Did the last person I was chatting with send me to your department? My question is in regards to my fire phone
07:24 AM PDT Amazon(Amazon): I see that. They must have transferred this incorrectly. Would you like me to transfer you to the correct department for the right help?
07:24 AM PDT Amy Whalen: yes please
07:24 AM PDT Amazon(Amazon): Alright hold on a moment and I will get you over there.
07:27 AM PDT Jyotirmoy(Amazon):
Hello, My name is Jyotirmoy. I’ll be happy to help you.
07:27 AM PDT Amy Whalen: Hello
07:28 AM PDT Amy Whalen: Do you need me to reenter my problem?
07:29 AM PDT Jyotirmoy(Amazon): No Amy.
07:31 AM PDT Jyotirmoy(Amazon): I am transferring your chat to a AIV specialist team,they will assist you with you with the issue.
07:31 AM PDT Ravi(Amazon): Hello, my name is Ravi. I’ll be happy to help you today.
Please be on hold while I look into your previous conversation and help you accordingly.
07:32 AM PDT Amy Whalen: okay
07:34 AM PDT Ravi(Amazon): Thanks for being on hold, Amy
07:35 AM PDT Amy Whalen: Not a problem
07:36 AM PDT Ravi(Amazon): I’m sorry, after checking your issues, I’ll need to connect you to another department who can help you better in this regard. Please be on hold for a few seconds..
07:37 AM PDT Shiela(Amazon): Hi, my name is Shiela, your Kindle Specialist. I’ll be happy to assist you today.
07:39 AM PDT Amy Whalen: Ok, but my question is regarding the Firephone
07:39 AM PDT Shiela(Amazon): I am sorry for the trouble you had in accessing the apps on your Fire Phone. However, it seems that you were transferred to the incorrect department. No worries, let me transfer this chat over to the appropriate team who can further assist you.
07:41 AM PDT Priyanka(Amazon): Hello, I see that our Fire phone team can help you better with this, please hold while I transfer this chat to them.
07:42 AM PDT Nisha(Amazon): Hello, my name is Nisha. I’ll be happy to help you.
07:42 AM PDT Amy Whalen: Hello, Nisha
07:42 AM PDT Nisha(Amazon): A member of our Amazon Appstore team will need to help you with this. Please hold while I transfer you. One of our Amazon Appstore Specialists will assist you shortly.
07:43 AM PDT Felicity(Amazon): Hello, thank you for contacting Amazon.com. My name is Felicity, I will be glad to assist you today.  May I please have two minutes while I go through your previous chat conversation?
07:44 AM PDT Amy Whalen: Sure, but just so you know you are the 8th person I have been transferred to so I would appreciate it if you would try to help before transferring me again
07:45 AM PDT Felicity(Amazon): Amy, firstly my apologies for the multiple transfers.
I have gone through all of your previous conversations and will do my best to assist you.
07:46 AM PDT Felicity(Amazon): Please give me a couple of minutes to look in to the troubleshooting for this issue.
07:46 AM PDT Amy Whalen: thank you
07:48 AM PDT Felicity(Amazon): Amy, thank you so much for your patience.
The errror seems to be with the fire phone connecting to the wifi connection.
07:48 AM PDT Amy Whalen: yes
07:49 AM PDT Felicity(Amazon): I have explained the issue, am getting you a specialist who can check that wifi connectivity on your phone.
07:51 AM PDT Amy Whalen: Are you the same Priyanka from 5 transfers ago because if so, this is very frustrating
07:53 AM PDT Priyanka(Amazon): I’m really sorry about this Amy, apologies for the inconvenience. There seems to be some confusion, I’ll transfer it to the correct team for you, please hold.
07:55 AM PDT Chiara(Amazon): Hello, my name is Chiara. I’m a Kindle Specialist. I’ll be happy to help you today.
I’m sorry to hear that you were not able to connect to wifi.
Let me help you out on this.
07:57 AM PDT Chiara(Amazon): To better assist you on this. Let me transfer you to Amazon customer service so they can connect you to Fire Phone Support via phone.
07:57 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): Hello, this is Bong from Amazon chat support.
07:58 AM PDT Amy Whalen: Hello, I believe you are the 12th person I have been transferred too – can you help me iwth a problem with my amazon firephone
07:58 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): I’m sorry that you got transferred for a couple of times.
Let me do my best to help you.  I believe this is regarding your Fire phone, correct?
07:58 AM PDT Amy Whalen: yes
08:00 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): May I know the main problem when you try to connect the phone to wifi?
08:02 AM PDT Amy Whalen: It is a guest wifi so I go through the website and click connect as a guest and then it fails to load and it says it is because error message: . But that is blank so I don’t know the error message. My apps and email are also not refreshing
I asked if the wifi is down or malfunctioning but it is not
08:03 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): I understand.
I’m sorry for the inconvenience this has caused.
Amy have you try this option?
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201555530
08:05 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): Are you able to access the link?
08:06 AM PDT Amy Whalen: yes I was able to access the link – the wifi is turned on. And it says I am connected to the guest network but it won’t let me access it because it will not complete the action of agreeing to the terms of service on internet
08:09 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): I see.
08:10 AM PDT Amy Whalen: I didn’t have a problem connecting yesterday
08:10 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): Amy I can provide you the email address of our Firephone support where you can send the information you are experiencing regarding your connecting your Firephone to wifi.
08:11 AM PDT Amy Whalen: do you have a firephone chat department?
I was told several times I was being transferred there but I never was
08:11 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): I’m sorry we currently do not have Fire phone chat support and phone support as of the moment. Amy.  No worries our Email firephone support will provide the necessary help you needed.
08:12 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): I’m sorry if you were misinformed by our previous chat support.
08:13 AM PDT Amy Whalen: well that explains that. You have been very friendly so thank you but this whole experience has been absolutely ridiculous and frustrating. Do you also have an email to submit complaints? Not about you, just the 12 people that didn’t help me at all before you and also told me there was fire phone department
08:14 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): I’m checking on the current chat you have and I have the list of the name of these agents and I will have them reported to our management to make sure that this will not happen to our other customer like you.  I’m truly sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you, Amy.
08:15 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): By the way you may find this link helpful in fixing minor problem on your fire phone.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201399100 I hope you are able to access the link.
08:16 AM PDT Amy Whalen: Okay – that was the page I started from when I hit contact us and had this whole mess. What is the email address for firephone support?
Also does the complaint email exist because I would like to know it even if you plan to report this to management
08:16 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): firephone-support@amazon.com.
08:17 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): That is for the Firephone support.
08:18 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): I’m sorry we currently do not have options to email or file a report from our agents.
But I will do this on your behalf to have them personally reported to our Management.
08:18 AM PDT Amy Whalen: will I get follow up about this issue?
08:19 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): This is your email address, right? *******@gmail.com
08:19 AM PDT Amy Whalen: yes
08:19 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): An update will be sent here for you.
08:19 AM PDT Amy Whalen: Thank you
08:19 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): You’re most welcome, Amy.
I want to make sure I have covered all your concern today, please let me know if there is anything else that I can help you with.

08:20 AM PDT Amy Whalen: I don’t think there is. My problem is not fixed but I don’t think that it will be. I appreciate your effort
08:20 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): It certainly has been my pleasure to assist you today.
Again this is Bong from Amazon.com chat support.
08:21 AM PDT Bong(Amazon): Have a good one!
Thank you so much for contacting Amazon.com. Feel free to click “End” chat link to close this window. Take Care!

 

The moral of this story is that if you buy this phone I doubt that Amazon will be there to support you if you have a problem.  I don’t particularly believe that a support department exists at all for the Fire Phone or if it does, that it is functional.  So purchase this at your own peril and if you’re like me you may just return it four days later.

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