customer service

Headphones on the G1

[This is here as a public service to other frustrated G1 owners]

In December, when I wrote about my first impressions of the G1, one of my biggest complaints was that it had a completely non-standard socket for headphones. It came with a set of headphones which fitted the socket, but they were some of the worst and most uncomfortable headphones that I had ever tried. I lasted less than an hour using them.

But soon after I got my G1, I started to hear from other people who had got a different headphone adapter in the box. Instead of a pair of headphones with the dodgy “not quite USB” plug on them, they got a pair of headphones with a standard 3.5mm plug togther with an adapter to convert from 3.5mm to the dodgy “not quite USB” socket. This is clearly a better package as it allows you to use any headphones with the G1.

I emailed T-Mobile customer support to see if they could sent me the nice adapter. They said that I could get one from a T-Mobile shop. I went into three or four shops. None of them knew what I was talking about. In one of them the manager unboxed three G1s to see what was in the box. In all three cases it was the crappy old connection that I already had.

I emailed T-Mobile customer support again explaining what had happened and asking why they had sent me on a wild goose chase. They apologised and promised to look into it.

At this point, I should point out that T-Mobile customer support really aren’t very good. You’ve got a good chance of getting someone in a call centre in India who really hasn’t got much of a clue about what you’re talking about. They have an intensely irritating habit of repeating a paraphrased version of your query back to you in the mistaken believe (I assume) that this will somehow be useful to you. They are also told to reply to all requests with a phone call. Even ones that they receive by email. Even ones, I’ve discovered, that start with “PLEASE REPLY BY EMAIL – DO NOT PHONE ME”. I like to deal with customer support by email so that I have a permanent record of what I have been told.

Sorry about that diversion. I found it theraputic. Where was I? Oh yes. They promised to look into it. Then they promptly forgot about it. Three months later I wrote to them again, explaining that when someone tells me that they are looking into something, then I expect to get a follow-up at some point.

They replied, apologised and said that they would look into it and get back to me. Which, to their credit, they did. A couple of days later I got a mail saying that they couldn’t change the offer they had made me. This was strange as they hadn’t actually made me an offer. They went on to say that if I bought myself the adaptor that I wanted, they would refund the cost.

Before they could change their mind, I went onto the HTC web site and bought one of these. I forwarded the order confirmation to T-Mobile and they phoned me (grr!) to tell me that they had credited the amount to my account.

So there’s the happy ending to the story. After about six months of trying, many visits to T-Mobile shops and many frustrating email conversations with T-Mobile customer support I got what I wanted. I can now listen to music on my G1 using my favourite headphones.

If you’re trying to get a decent headphone adapter out of them, feel free to point them at this blog entry. If they do it for one person, they should really do it for everyone who asks. If by writing this I can make someone’s interaction with T-Mobile less painful then that would make me very happy.

Let me know how you get on.

Update: I should mention that there’s another option. The G1 supports stereo bluetooth headphones – so just buy something like this and there’s no need to plug anything in.

3 replies on “Headphones on the G1”

The adapter you bought from HTC looks exactly like the one that came in the box with my G1. I did nothing special to get it, other than order the G1 from the T-Mobile web site.I’m just sayin’.

You’re the third or fourth person I know of that got the “good” adapter in the box. And they were all (I think) people who bought from the web site.I bought from the web site, but very soon after the phone was released. I suspect they changed the adapter pretty soon after release, but the shops and warehouses were full of old stock which is still being sold to unlucky people.

Heh, ironic that the free and open Adnriod phone makes you use a proprietary adapter in order to plug your headphones in, yet the closed and proprietary iPhone comes with a standard 3.5mm socket …*cheeky grin*

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