Google, HTC try to calm Nexus One concerns

Google and HTC addressed concerns that they were not adequately handling consumer complaints about the Nexus One, the new HTC-made device Google has been selling via its new Web phone store. In addition, Google and T-Mobile USA, which offers a subsidized Nexus One, have been working to address customer complaints that the phone has had trouble connecting to T-Mobile's 3G network.

Andy Rubin, Google's director of mobile platforms, recently acknowledged the company needs to improve its customer service for the phone, and did not rule out the idea of having Google representatives provide call center support. Currently, Google offers a Nexus One help center online, support through online forums, and individual support through email.

"We're flexible and prepared to make changes to our processes and tools, as necessary, for an optimal customer support experience," a Google representative told Dow Jones Newswires.

HTC, which is providing customer support for Nexus One troubleshooting, repairs and returns, also said it is working to address customer concerns.

"This is a new business model," HTC spokesman Keith Nowak told BusinessWeek. "And we've seen some growing pains about who deals with which issue." HTC has been transferring customers who have questions about T-Mobile's calling plans directly to the carrier. Nowak also said HTC is working to address the device's possible 3G connectivity problem, but noted the volume of calls it has received about the Nexus One was comparable to other HTC Android devices for T-Mobile, such as the myTouch3G.

Google also sought to quell criticism of its early termination fee (ETF) policies for the phone. If Nexus One customers cancel their service after 14 days but before 120 days, they could face a $550 ETF--$350 from Google and $200 from T-Mobile. Google defended the practice, arguing it was a standard way to recoup the cost of subsidizing the device. The Nexus One is available for $179 with a T-Mobile contract and $529 unlocked.

"This is standard practice for third-party resellers of T-Mobile and other operators," a Google spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal.

For more:
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)
- see this WSJ blog post (sub. req.)
- see this BusinessWeek article
- see this Computerworld article

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