Never had that problem
OK, knock on wood but I never had problems with my iPhone. Sorry to spoil your rant with some personal experience.
However, I do not claim my own personal, not from say-so-or-internet-chat-derived experience is representative, just that I *personally* have yet to experience problems with the iPhone 3GS. It just works, and does what I (again, personally) need from a smart phone. About the only thing that annoys me is that you cannot disable the screen turning, but I can live with that.
However, there is maybe a reason for that lack of problems: I rarely buy a new product immediately. That's why I use Windows XP, slightly aged but patched versions of Ubuntu and OpenSuSE, and that's why I have an iPhone 3GS instead of the iPhone 1 or 3G - I let others do the beta testing.
I get God knows how many conversations about any new technology like Windows 7 where the underlying subtext always leads to "but it doesn't actually all work and I don't quite how to fix that and I know you're technical and into computers and I actually fully expect you to rescue me from the crap I have inflicted upon myself but I don't really want to say so because it would mean you could ask me for a favour" - which firmly get redirected to "I'm no longer that deep into technology these days".
So I'll happily wait a while while the fashion victims fall over themselves to pay premium prices so they can show off to each other. And afterwards I buy what I *need* and know that works for me. Same with a new iWhatsit, I'm not going to speculate or read every publication about it - I'll see it when it appears..