I have generally had good experiences from online vendors despite a long and varied history. Anyone looking for a good deal on an unlocked GSM phone is bound to come across a wide range of online storefronts. GSM is the technology used by carriers such as Cingular and T-Mobile. Their phones use a SIM card, a tiny chip that holds information identifying the phone number, identity, and sometimes even address book of the phone. To change phones, you can simply take the SIM card out of your old phone and pop it into the new phone…assuming your phone is “unlocked.” Many phones sold by carriers come “locked”, so they can only be used on a single carrier. Unlocked phones have the advantage that they can be used on any other GSM network (including carriers in other countries). The only caveat is that the some carriers use different frequency, but there is a growing population of “quad-band” phones that support all the currently used frequencies. One such phone is the Nokia 6131 flip phone, for which I’m working on a review. Despite not being available through any carrier, it is available unlocked through many online stores and is a great option for someone looking for a feature-packed compact flip phone.
One store to stay away from, however is myworldphone.com. To be fair, I’ve ordered several phones from this company without incident, but when I opened the box for the latest Nokia, I knew something was amiss. The box was not sealed and the packing job seemed unprofessional. There was no clear shield on the screen that normally has to be peeled off, one of the great joys of unwrapping new electronic gizmos. To my surprise, it quickly became apparent that I had been sold a used phone that was masquerading as new. Several SMS text messages were already on the phone, as were some pictures that were clearly not taken by me.
Any store worthy of its name would immediately take the phone back and offer profuse apologies, but myworldphone.com is apparently not in that category. After several emails went unanswered, I waiting on hold several times only to be instructed to call back on a different line. When I finally spoke to a “manager”, they tried to walk me through their website by instructing me to click on links they didn’t exist (had they loaded the website up themselves while rudely talking to me, they would have seen that the page they were referring to had been renamed). Instead of simply taking the information over the phone, they had me download a form and fax this over to them. Even after going through this excessively tiresome process, I found there was no reply to my request for a refund, even after several emails. It was only after I filed a formal complaint via PayPal.com that I was eventually given an RMA number. After following the similaly convoluted insructions for including the appropriate documents and forms in the return package, I waited for my refund.
Fortunately, I had sent the package via the USPS certified mail with tracking. I could confirm that the company had received the package, but I had no response. Several emails later, including via the PayPal site were not helpful. A formal request to escalate to PayPal‘s management proved equally useless – PayPal is notorious for offering buyers little, if any, protection. Eventually, was able to reach someone via telephone who promised that my refund would be sent by the day today. Whether this is true or not is unclear, but one thing that is certain is that I’m going to steer clear of myworldphone.com in the future, and I recommend you do the same.