Today marks a new low for all of the drama surrounding the (lack of a) release of the Verizon Samsung Galaxy Nexus. After a few delays and endless rumors of possible launch dates and causes for said delays, a few lucky individuals managed to get their hands on the elusive Galaxy Nexus over the weekend and earlier today from third-party retailers. People across the Web were sharing success stories of snagging a Verizon branded Galaxy Nexus at either RadioShack or Best Buy.
However, that fairy tale comes with a nasty ending. Supposedly, at least one Best Buy Mobile location has reached out and contacted guinnkevinr, a member of the Android Central forums who purchased a Galaxy Nexus yesterday. What could Best Buy possibly want? Their phone back, of course. Well, it isn't their phone anymore, guinnkevinr technically purchased it. It is now legally his, says his receipt. Regardless, since the phone was not supposed to be sold yet due to a "software problem," they reached out to the buyer and have asked him to return it.
It's not often you hear of Best Buy – or any company, for that matter – begging for a device back. Just as any returned item, a returned device hurts the current day's sales, and in this instance, could deter a future customer. This makes me believe that there could be more to it than just a Best Buy Mobile manager jumping down a consultant's throat.
Could this be Verizon's doing from behind the scenes? Possible, but also doubtful. Otherwise, we would have probably heard of more customers being contacted. Either way, it's worth considering where Best Buy and/or Verizon will stop to get this device back. Some have speculated that Verizon could blacklist the device's equipment serial number (ESN), rendering the device unusable. Personally, I don't see this going that far. I'm no legal expert, but that sounds like the perfect mix for a nice civil suit, and I don't think a few devices slipping through the cracks a little early is worth that to them.
What it likely boils down to is a Best Buy Mobile employee who made the mistake of selling a phone that hadn't released yet. In order to even do this, the employee has to override the system as the transaction will fail to complete on an unreleased product – they had to know something was up. The manager eventually found out and tried to correct the issue after the deed was already done. Rather than owning up to the mistake, they reached out and tried to make it "unhappen."
So, Best Buy wants the phone back. But why? Why is this such a big deal? People managing to score – sometimes a little coercing is necessary – a product before its official date has happened hundreds of times before. Yet, in all other instances I've ever heard of (even a time or two from the Best Buy Mobile I used to work in), products sold before their official launch date were soon forgotten. Sure, the employee who made the blunder may have been written up or been on the receiving end of a verbal lashing, but it ended there. It was never a huge ordeal. So why is it now? It doesn't seem like Verizon cares too much about this phone anyway.
Also, what's the "software problem" with the LTE-capable Nexus that makes it so unusable? I can't count on my hands the number of other Android phones that have shipped with software bugs in the past six months. And we've yet to hear of any major problems from the oodles of people who bought them over the past few days. I figure if it were something terribly blatant or serious, these customers would be begging Best Buy and RadioShack to take these things back. However, assume they simply haven't stumbled upon the issue just yet. If the customer is made aware of the problem and wants to keep the phone instead of returning it and waiting it out, that is on them. And could they not just perform the update once it's released?
It seems to me that this whole thing is being blown out of proportion.
The point here is that by Best Buy calling a customer back, for one, makes the customer feel as if he has done something wrong. It was the employee's mistake. To ask the customer to bring back something he has – as far as we know – legally purchased in good faith just seems wrong. The least Best Buy could do is offer guinnkevinr something for his troubles, possibly a gift card or a free case for the Nexus if once it does release.
As mentioned by guinnkevinr in the thread he posted, he's torn on what to do, and rightfully so. Should he take it back? Should he keep it and see what happens? More importantly, what happens if he doesn't return it? And was Best Buy in the wrong for reaching out and asking guinnkevinr to return the phone in the first place?
If it were me, I wouldn't take it back, if only for the bragging rights – not unless they offered me something for my troubles, of course. But it's a sticky situation that could go one of two ways. My guess is that it will blow over and nothing will happen.
If guinnkevinr goes through the trouble of returning this phone (that means wiping this one, setting up another in the future and returning to his old phone for the foreseeable future) and it officially launches this week or even next, that's a lot of trouble for nothing. If, however, Verizon takes legal action against Best Buy and jobs are at stake (which I wouldn't count on), then it's a totally different ballgame.
Tell me, readers. What would you do if you were in guinnkevinr's shoes? Would you return the phone or keep it? What would it take for you to return a Galaxy Nexus (and oh, is it sweet device!) after you finally got your hands on one?