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back to article Galaxy S firmware update invalidates Voda warranties

Galaxy S owners who accept Samsung's offer of updated firmware will invalidate their warranty according to Vodafone, which wishes to remain the only source of official upgrades. The upgrade is offered automatically by Samsung's Windows synchronisation software, as supplied in the box from Vodafone, and has not been approved by …

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Silver badge

Don't the phone companies realise we don't care who they are?

We only hop between companies for reason of reception, price and when we are dissatisfied with service.

Do vodafone think people will really move over to them because they want to have vodafone crap all over their phone?

Its like choosing an ISP. How many people at work know what ISP they are using? Its all hidden out of the way. No one cares. They wouldn't want 'This connection is supplied by BusinessNetworks' at the top of every webpage.

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Hmmm...

Sounds like a great deal for the customer! Like local loop unbundling a few years ago - you get to play the 'Whos responsibility is it game?' - Your ISP or BT Wholesale? Your mobile service supplier or the handset manufacturer?

Personally speaking I have had enough of mobile service providers and their overly long and high priced contracts for decent phones. I was looking at the Galaxy S in several shops and all said 'no one does 12 month contracts any more'.

The cost of a sim free Galaxy S vs my current monthly (30 day) contract with 'unlimited internet' add on, works out cheaper that either the 16 or 24 month contracts currently on offer. All this with the added bonus of being able to switch to any network after 30 days, plus not having to put up with annoying and restrictive tie ins like this.

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WTF?

vodafone Rhymes with Anchors

that is all.

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Hang on a minute...

Isn't the warranty provided with any new hardware actually a manufacturer's one year warranty (which I think has to be provided to the end consumer by law). Therefore, Vodafone's threat is an empty one - as it may be able to turn away "illegally" upgraded phones as Samsung's intermediary - but consumers should be able to return the units to the OEM to carry out any repairs under warranty.

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Boffin

Not quite

When you buy something your contract is with the retailer or trader you bought it from therefore it is THEIR responsibility to sort out warranty stuff. They may try to "palm you off" telling you to ring the manufacturer's help line or some such but ultimately it is the retailer that is responsible and you can demand that they sort it out for you.

On the other hand the manufacturer may offer a better warranty or service than the retailer does, in which case you can opt to contact the manufacturer directly (e.g. Dyson's in the home 5 year warranty with the vacuums which is better than the standard 1 year "return to store" affair that the retailer would offer) so it could be beneficial to contact the manufacturer, but shouldn't be obligatory during the statutory 1 year guarantee period.

As to whether Voda can void the standard 1 year warranty because of such an upgrade I have no idea (IANAL and all that) but I'm sure its nothing that can't be resolved with a quick test case in the small claims court.

It is worth noting that the Voda warranty is for the length of your contract so they are offering an additional benefit above and beyond the normal one year as its likely the warranty would be > 12 months. In the first year of the standard warranty you could argue the toss, but after that year you would loose the enhanced warranty if you did the Samsung upgrade.

IANAL and YMMV as always!

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Silver badge

No

If you buy it from the Vodafone shop, your first port of call if anything goes wrong is the retailer - Vodafone. Samsung can offer you a warranty if they want to, and if they do, they have to comply with the terms of it, but they are not legally required to give you a warranty.

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Anonymous Coward

IANAL and YMMV

and FIBRIR

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Grenade

Blimey

And geeks continue to wonder why the iPhone is so popular...?

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Gold badge

Mobile crapware

Seems to be standard practice for OEMs to just give into network demands and ruin user experience by letting them customise the OS. Although the precedent was set by Windows OEMs installing crapware on new computers.

Mobile networks are trying their hardest to push their pet projects on the masses, but forgetting that if you make a service that is good then people will flock to it. Bundling a service and force feeding it to people doesn't work.

Mobile networks are never going to provide anything to rival Google. They should just sack all their service software people and pass on the savings to the customer.

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But wouldn't this . . .

. . . mean that the phone companies would stop being a provider of a service and be a content provider, which has a whole host of issues related to it, given that content providers have to adhere to a completely different set of laws than a service provider ??

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Gold badge
WTF?

Voda warranty

So Voda says: "Our warranty allows you to get faulty handsets repaired through us even if you don't have insurance on the condition that your phone is running Vodafone approved software and it is within your contracted period."

And Samsung says that there are some bugs that are fixed by changing the software to version JM1.

So surely the Voda warrantee will change to the new software in order to repair the handset? Doesn't the user doing that themselves at home therefore save Voda a load of money in their servicing centres?

Vodafone, I say this from the heart: FOAD

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Missing facepalm.jpg

Thats all.

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FAIL

Vodafone PR?

They must be using the same clowns as Apple!

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Grenade

Getting with the program(me)

This is going to be a persistant issue for all the operators and one in which their customer (you and me) will be made to suffer.

Ironic, given that the purpose of having (operator) branded versions of the handsets for launch is 'Ye olde traditional' way that the operators have used (and abused!) for the creation of their owned defined 'Customer Expoerience'.

For me the real issue is that, unlike the previous generation of handsets, smartphones are *designed* to be upgraded, be that the OS or the available Apps - The operators haven't yet got the mindset that, if they are determined to steer the Customer Experience, they need to invest in keeping that experience in subsequent releases of the OS and Apps and to do so in a timely manner - Something they would never have had to do with your average symbian-based handset.

To stay in-tune with their Customers, then, operators are going to have to "step up to the plate" and have their own-branded/defined Customer Experience versions of smartphone software releases figured out and deployable in a reasonable time frame.

Finally, if Vodafone's position regarding smartphone software is taken as an example, how are they going to fare if it became necessary to issue a software update quickly to redress a fault that is detrimental to their network?

From a pure Customer and fairness perspective, if software is issued that allows you to upgrade the phone and an operator has sanctioned that software, can they really claim that the end-user's warranty is invalid?

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FAIL

Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations?

Just saying. In the UK at least, warranties are in addition to consumer rights and cannot exclude them. If the thing is faulty, take it back to where you bought it from. Who "owns" the customer is irrelevant.

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Absolutely

And their 'even if you don't have insurance' statement smacks of not really understanding the law too.

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Anonymous Coward

Legal?

I'm not sure Vodafone's position here is entirely legal - I'm sure the law states that within the first year, any warranty claims (for anything) are to be dealt with by the supplying company, even if the warranty is ultimately with the manufacturer. And therefore, as they're not denying that there is still a valid manufacturer's warranty, I'm not sure they'd be able to deny dealing with customer's claims.

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FAIL

Hark! Is that the sound of lawyers approaching?

Way to miss the point, Vodafone. And way to piss off your customers too. You know damned well the software Samsung includes in the box does this; what did you expect your customers to do?

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Can they actually do this?

1. I don't blame Samsung at all for wanting to distance themselves from the mobile providers. Has there ever been an instance where the branded extras are actually beneficial to the user of the phone? Hate Apple as much as you want but the idea of not relying on a mobile provider is very appealing. Heck, having a company that actually releases updates makes a nice change (I'm looking at the likes of LG and Nokia as prior experiences)

2. As much as Vodafone would like it if they could disavow any responsibility in regards to the phone is that actually the case? My limited understanding of consumer law is that as they supplied the phone they are legally obliged to deal with issues. Surely common sense on the part of a judge or already in the law would state that a firmware update from the manufacturer doesn't relinquish Vodafone of their responsibility.

You've got love mobile providers don't you. This, combined with their desire to have no network neutrality for the express purposes of charging content suppliers and they really do rank as one of the scummier business groups.

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Silver badge
WTF?

Perhaps the courts and consumer affairs people would have a different take?

Sounds like Vodafone is catching the Apple disease.

This sort decision screams for a court, or similar, to adjudicate the matter.

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... except....

Actually Vodafone are objecting to Samsung "catching the Apple disease", ie supplying easily-installed firmware upgrades un-messed-with by the mobile carriers. Credit Apple for expressly not allowing the carriers to interfere with the handset (barring network locking during the contract period).

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FAIL

foot --> shoot --> self

stupid vodaphone, a good enough reason to move to other networks or get an unbundled phone not weighed down with corporate crap

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Grenade

Missing the point...

In most cases a manufacturers or resellers warranty offers the consumer LESS protection than they ALREADY HAVE under the Sale of Goods Act...

While taking advantage of a warranty may be a convenient way to resolve an issue if you meet the conditions, under consumer law it is the retailers (in this case Voda) responsibility to ensure that the item is free of any pre existing defect (excepting normal 'wear and tear') for a period of SIX YEARS (Five years in Scotland).

As electronic devices don't generally have any parts which would be expected to 'wear out' under normal conditions this generally means that a consumer can get a repair / refund / replacement if the device fails within 6 years of it's purchase by approaching the seller / distributor with a claim under the Sale of Goods Act.

Unfortunately, although all big companies are well aware of these laws, they will invariably refuse the initial claim and will often not fulfil their obligation until they are faced with the threat or reality of court action, thankfully County Court online has made it possible for anyone to easily take such action for a fee of £25 (which can be included in the claim and recovered from the party at fault).

For a retailer to claim 'wear and tear' on a failed electronic device is almost impossible; they may for example claim that EPROM or other memory components have a limited number of flash cycles (if they are the cause of a failure) but they would have to show that this failure should have been reasonably expected by the user, and since product information doesn't tend to state that your new flashy phone may last less than 6 years as the memory chips will fail or the AMOLED screen will fade, such a defence would not be accepted.

Even in the case of items which are subject to wear, (e.g. home appliances), the consumer can often win full recompense or at the least a partial settlement proportionate to the age / usage of the item in question.

In all of this, however, the thing to remember is that the manufacturer is not the party to claim against, (unless it was bought directly from them), it's the retailer / distributor with whom you have your contract of sale.

Most of the information needed can be found in this guide:-

www.bis.gov.uk/files/file25486.pdf

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Vodafone = :-/

Often mobile phone firmwares are customised by the networks, but this should mean that the firmware is only updatable through Vodafone. This is the case with my Nokia, which will only update via Vodafone's own update system. What worries me is that my wife's new phone is set to automatically check for firmware, but I was given no indication when updating whether the update was Vodafone approved or not. I had assumed that I wouldn't be able to update if the new version wasn't approved by Vodafone but it seems this is not necessarily the case.

I wonder about the legality of this claim of invalidating the warrentee. If Vodafone doesn't make it clear to purchasers of the phone that offical firmware should not be installed, I suspect that they wouldn't have a leg to stand on if a claim was made against them. It's not enough (legally speaking) for a company to simply put stuff like this in the small-print and then claim that users should have known.

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WTF

Sounds great - All I want is a bloody phone that works and I end up in the middle of a legal gangbang

Sent from my IPhone

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FAIL

Software doesn't work anyway

All very well upgrading your firmware, but my phone won't talk to the PC anyway. the Kies software has some sort of a conflict with win7 you need to run an older version of kies or a newer firmware, but you can't upgrade the firmware without Kies (and vodafone won't like you).

Fortunately you can sync everything via google, and the google calendar sync app sticks it all into outlook at the other end. Just need a way to get photos across without taking the back off the phone to get the SD out.

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mass storage mode

No need to go through Kies - mass storage mode works fine for file transfer. Win7 x64 user.

Just need to remember to mount the SD from the phone GUI - it's a two-step process. Plug in, then bring down the notification bar, hit the USB connection notification and choose "mount". Hey presto, two removable drives in Windows.

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Silver badge

Gosh, decisions decisions

A Vodafone update with lots of super new features or a Samsung update which merely fixes bugs...

What, why are you looking at me like that - 360's not going to install itself you know.

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Thumb Down

Hahhahaahhaa

Seriously, the way Vodafone are currently treating their Android customers, they'll have none left very soon.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Reasonable period of time

In relation to consumer protection, and my earlier mentioned dislike of long contracts, at least the 'for a reasonable period of time' clause would mean that your phone is guaranteed in the UK for the full 2 year contract - as your friendly neighbourhood mobile network deems 2 years to be a reasonable period of time...

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Boffin

if you buy a straight jacket

expect to wear it

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title

Yes.... I'm starting to feel that way with the fun surrounding T-Mobile and Android updates.

I think in future I'm going to be paying full price for unbranded phones.

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Sale of Goods Act

There's a caveat.

In the first 6 months, the burden of proof is on the supplier to demonstrate that the goods were of merchantable quality so the consumer can return the goods (or demand a repair) and the retailer has to incur the cost of any investigation they choose to make to support denying the claim.

After 6 months, the burden of proof is on the consumer - which in the case of electronics usually means engaging an independent expert to inspect and write a report. At which point the only economic solution is usually to rely on such warranty as is provided.

I doubt, though, if the supplier could duck out of a warranty simply on the basis that the consumer had applied the manufacturer-recommended update by means of the manufacturer-supplied software that had come in a bundle as part of the phone from said supplier. Otherwise every OTA update on your Freeview box would give Argos an excuse not to take it back. Actually, best not to give them ideas....

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Bronze badge

Regulation

Clearly, the government should step in, first to prevent any warranties from being dishonored for that reason, and then to investigate why Vodafone has not been able to distribute its own version of the JM1 update in a timely manner.

If Samsung agreed to let Vodafone be the distributor of their software to its customers, why are they now attempting to interfere with the relationship of the customers to their carrier?

Of course, it could be that the same model of phone is used by other carriers as well with no such ambition. Requiring carriers to accept all standard manufacturer-approved software updates as valid would be the simplest alternative for the consumer, eliminating confusion by consumers as to whether or not they may accept new updates, and this incident is all the reason the government should need to impose that by fiat.

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Silver badge
Grenade

Operator-branded firmware updates

Has anyone ever seen one which adds features (as opposed to taking them away), makes the menu structure easier to use (instead of making it far too easy to set up a chargeable data connection), makes the UI look better (instead of looking like crap knocked up by someone on work experience), or comes out on time (instead of six months later).

First thing I do with a new Nokia is change the product code to the generic one and run a firmware update, then I don't come across 99% of the problems people complain about.

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WTF?

tmobile

stop you from upgrading the firmware by having some custom firmware as stock..

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Unhappy

It'd be nice if Samsung & T-mobile

Actually updated the i5700 galaxy portal/spica to android 2.1. Neither firm seems to care and blame the other for the.lack of updates.

So I wouldn't touch a Samsung on T-Mobile for this very reason.

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Silver badge
Thumb Down

Don't you just love

Having out of date firmware, that's been crippled to force you to use the service they want you to use, and is covered with "branding"? And if you think they will provide any updates after they stop selling that model of phone (what? buy the new model sucker) your dreaming.

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and another thing

even though im not with vodaphone its putting me off getting a galaxy s and putting me towards the Desire from HTC

im sure i dont speak alone when i say i loathe heavily branded firmware

generic ftw!

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Go

Not any more

They've just stated on the forum thread that the people who installed JM1 via Kies haven't invalidated their warranty.

"We’ve looked into this issue in more detail and want to clarify the position with regards to downloading the JM1 update for the Samsung Galaxy S.

Customers who are prompted to download the official JM1 software through the Samsung Kies PC sync software will not invalidate their warranty.

The prompt for the update is currently being sent to customers who have a handset running the open market version of the software (version I9000XXJF3). These handsets will have come from our initial stock, and were made available to ensure our customers could get the device from us as soon as possible. "

Everyone who's got VF-branded firmware won't get the update until VF have finished making a mess of it. Lucky I got one of the early ones I suppose. Sounds like this was probably someone in the forum mod team getting confused.

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WTF?

this is a non issue..... (typo updated - doh!)

If you have an issue with your phone you do not have to go through Vodafone at all.

Simply call Samsung on 08712 884 882 and they will advise of the repair route (Samsung offer 24 month hardware warranty on their phones).

Who gives a shit if Vodafone won't touch the phone with a 'non-standard firmware' - the manf. still will.

The stupid thing is that the phone will be sent to a Samsung 'authorized' repairer by Vodafone in the event of an issue and not repaired by Vodafone themselves.

I'm not sure if Vodafone's 'authorized' repairer is Samsung or a third party but I'd rather go to Samsung direct rather than let Vodafone sent the handset to the cheapest authorized repairer deemed OK by Vodafone.

All in all this is FUD being spread by Vodafone.......

Thingi

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Silver badge
FAIL

The software is part of the product

IANAL, but...

Vodafone supplies a box that contains a phone, a software disk and other bits and pieces such as manuals, cables and chargers. The merchandise is everything in the box, including the software.

It follows from this that the firmware update that Vodafone is trying to outlaw is part of the normal functionality of the phone bundle. Firmware updating is one of the things that the product does, just as much as making phone calls. To disallow its use is as absurd as saying "the warranty is void if you use the charger that comes in the box".

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