Julie’s Gear Diary – 2005-10-27

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Help, is there a shaman in the house?!

I have somehow offended the powers of Palm and now I seem to have a Treo 650 curse on my head. You think I’m crazy? I think not! Just listen to my tale of woe and you’ll see what I mean. If anything, the pathos will definitely make you feel better about your own gadget karma ;o)

It allllllllll started back in March. I purchased a hacked Sprint Treo 650 that could work on the Verizon network. I received it, I used it, I loved it, I wrote about it. Life was good. Then in July the Cingular (GSM) coverage in my area suddenly improved enough that I was able to finally ditch Verizon and go GSM. At this point, I decided that I just wanted to use a small phone and not a PDA / phone combo device for awhile, so I put the Treo on the shelf. I ended up trying a couple different Nokia phones. First the 6230, which was a small full featured phone, but I didn’t like the 5 way nav button. I traded it for their el-cheapo 3120 while I looked around for something better. One month later in August, the something better turned out to be the ETEN M500 Pocket PC Phone. Cool phone, poor signal reception. Sold it after a month and bought an Audiovox SMT 5600 from eBay to try out. This phone also had lousy reception in my area, so it was promptly returned to the eBay seller. A few days later I snagged a Nokia 6682 from eBay. This phone had excellent reception (gotta luv Nokia) and lots of smartphone type features.

In the mean time, I had posted my hacked Treo 650 on eBay. I made sure to specify in the auction details that this was a Verizon phone, I didn’t know how change it back to Sprint and I would not support changing it back. It sold within a day to someone that was obviously illiterate because the first thing they did was take it straight to a Sprint store to activate it. ARGH! Of course it wouldn’t work because it was now a Verizon phone. They called me (note to self: quit including your business card with the items you ship to eBay bidders) and complained. I tried to explain that they were probably S.O.L. and that there is way more to converting the phone back to Sprint than just asking them to activate it. You have to completely overwrite the ROM, etc. The guy said that he had researched it and blah blah blah… and that the guy at the Sprint store said I had to call and release the phone. Since I have never had a Sprint account, I told him that was ridiculous… but I finally gave in and got the ESN# from him for the phone and called Sprint. After talking to at least 3 different people / departments and spending at least an hour on the phone with them, I learned that they did not have that phone in their records (no big surprise) and that this guy would just have to use the phone with Verizon (even less of a surprise). So I called him back and told him. At this point he told me that Sprint said the phone had a fraud alert on it and that he would get back to me. Days go by, I trade emails with a couple other family members of the person that bought this phone, trying to beat it into their thick skulls that this was a Verizon phone now. Finally I get tired of dealing with them and tell them to just send it back to me and I’ll refund their money. The wife tells me that if this phone has been involved with some type of fraud that she’ll have to report me to the authorities because her dad had spent years in the law enforcement profession. Ummmm…. ok, whatever. They ship it back. I refund their money the same day. Of course the story doesn’t end there folks… A couple days later I get an email from one of the family members telling me that they never received the refund. That the checking account associated with that PayPal account was no longer active. I forward my email receipt from PayPal and tell them to contact PayPal about it. A few days later they contact me saying they have never received money from PayPal before, and don’t know what to do, can I help them? I tell them to call PayPal and quit contacting me. So far I’ve not heard from them in over a week (knock on wood).

Through the Treo/ eBay drama, I was using the Nokia 6682 as both a phone and a PDA, but it was just too hard to enter data into the phone using the number pad, so yet again I decided to sell. And… I decide that I’ll go back to the first smartphone that I really enjoyed using: a Treo 650. I buy a LIKE BRAND NEW Cingular Treo from eBay. It arrived this past Tuesday night. The LIKE BRAND NEW phone looks like the back of it has been dragged around a gravel parking lot. It’s all scuffed up. But, the screen is super bright and the reception appears to be excellent, so I kind of decide to just live with it. Does the story end here? Do my Treo and I live happily ever after in smartphone bliss? Ummmm….. I think you know better than that! So I get a call on the “new” Treo yesterday (first call) and the person on the other end of the conversation can’t hear me… at all. I sound like the Verizon commercial dude “Hello? Can you hear me now?” I call them back and same thing. I try calling via different phones and still no one can hear me. Can I cry now ? So last night I contacted the eBay seller and after some heated emails, he agrees to allow me to return the phone. His first offer was a $20 refund. Yeah right! It’s boxed up and ready to ship back today. Argh! Sooooooo, I’m back to using the 3120 as my phone and the hacked Treo 650 as my PDA until I can get a working GSM Treo.

So do you believe me now? I’m cursed I tell ya…

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