This story was originally published and last updated .
I have strong feelings on foldables—I think they’re the future, but I also think you should absolutely not buy one right now. As cool as foldables phones like the Galaxy Z Fold2 might be, the technology is still very new. These phones are expensive and prone to more hardware issues than traditional flat phones. Because I am a giant nerd with questionable decision-making skills, I bought a Galaxy Z Fold2 for $2,000 shortly after release in spite of all this. It was great! Until it needed a repair. It’s been a month now, and I still don’t have the phone back, thanks to the combined incompetence of UPS and Samsung.
The Galaxy Z Fold2 has a big, 7.6-inch folding display, the top layer of which is a special flexible screen protector. Samsung advises you don’t remove it, so I never did. However, the edge began peeling up around the crease after about a month of use, which allowed air bubbles to infiltrate the display. And yes, that’s an annoying issue for a $2,000 phone to have, but I went into this with both eyes open—I know this is new and imperfect technology. I wasn’t worried, though, because the phone comes with “Galaxy Z Premier Support.”
In case anyone is curious, this is why I had to have the Fold2 repaired in the first place. It developed bubbles along the creased part of the screen. pic.twitter.com/X07635Iqbr
— Ryan Whitwam (@RyanWhitwam) December 14, 2020
I figured I would just call up Galaxy Z Premier (you get a card with the number in the box), send the phone off, and someone who knew what they were doing would replace the screen protector. Easy, right? I called, got the UPS label, and sent off my phone. A few days later, it arrived back at my door with a new screen protector. Instead of a satisfying resolution, I had a phone with even more air bubbles under the screen protector. In addition, there were scratches in the (very soft) material where someone had used a tool to try and push one of the bubbles out. So, repair round two.
When I attempted to send the phone again, UPS lost it following the Samsung-scheduled pickup. I still don’t know what happened specifically, but the device was never scanned into the system after I handed it to the UPS driver at my front door. Though my faith was shaken, I assumed Galaxy Z Premier Support would be able to handle this. Surely, phones go missing sometimes, and there were systems in place to address this. I reported the missing package to UPS and Samsung, and then I waited. And waited. I was told these investigations could take eight business days, and there was the Thanksgiving holiday in there.
Me, handing a phone to the UPS driver. UPS initially claimed this never happened.
Eventually, UPS canceled the investigation, claiming I had never given them the package. Luckily, I have a doorbell camera, so I was able to convince UPS to complete the search. In the end, they didn’t find the phone. Okay, so Galaxy Z Premier Support will take care of me, right? It’s got “Premier” right in the name! Samsung told me to hang tight, and someone would reach out and get things sorted. I was told this or something like it several times over the next two weeks; sometimes it was supposed to be an email and other times a phone call, but it never happened.
Early this week, I was feeling a bit fed up and decided I’d make one more round of calls. UPS said it could not reimburse me for the lost package because Samsung provided the label, so I should talk to Samsung. However, Samsung said the shipper lost the box, so I had to get my money from UPS. With both companies pointing the finger at the other, I decided I’d exhausted my options as a “normal” consumer.
My Galaxy Z Fold2 needed a screen repair last month, so I sent it to Samsung. Unfortunately, UPS lost it. For the past month, I’ve been in a back and forth with Samsung and UPS, waiting for them to decide who’s going to reimburse me. Today, I got my answer: No one, apparently.
— Ryan Whitwam (@RyanWhitwam) December 14, 2020
You see, I am not a powerful person by almost any measure, but I can exert influence on the folks handling PR for smartphone makers. So in this one way, I have a little bit of power. I suspected pitching a fit in public or asking PR to intervene would have gotten this resolved quickly, but the Fold was a personal phone, and I didn’t want to ask for special treatment. However, with no other options remaining, I tweeted.
I have since been in contact with Samsung PR and have fielded a flurry of calls from Samsung support, leading me to believe I will get this resolved sooner rather than later. That’s good news, but I shouldn’t have to publicly shame the company to get this fixed. That’s not even an option for most of Samsung’s customers who don’t have a few thousand Twitter followers or contacts at Samsung’s PR firm. Someone else in this situation would probably be out two grand.
UPS clearly precipitated this situation by losing the box, but Samsung is the one who sold me a $2,000 phone with “Premier” support. Currently, Samsung claims a replacement phone will be sent in the coming days. I’ll update this post when and if this situation is resolved. However, I’d caution anyone planning to drop $2,000 on one of Samsung’s fancy foldables: there’s nothing premium about the premium support.
I now have a replacement Galaxy Z Fold2. It took Samsung about 36 hours to get me the replacement after I posted about this on Twitter. Don’t get me wrong—I’m happy to have the phone back. I bought it so I could write about foldables in a more knowledgeable way, and not having it for a month threw a wrench in my plans. At the same time, this should not have taken a month to resolve, and I should not have had to publicly embarrass Samsung to get it done.
Presumably, Samsung could have replaced my lost phone in 36 hours at any point during this month-long process. Honestly, that’s the kind of customer service I’d expect for a $2,000 smartphone with “Premier” support—after confirming it’s lost, they should be able to get a phone in my hands within a few days, not a few weeks. And I don’t care who eats the cost between UPS or Samsung. All that matters is that someone else’s screw-up doesn’t cost me $2,000.
If you look at Samsung’s marketing for Galaxy Z Premier, it makes it sound pretty ritzy. The official site talks about “on-demand concierge care” and “white glove support” for your expensive new smartphone. But you know, words have meanings, Samsung. This is not an accurate description of Galaxy Z Premier service. As far as I can tell, the people on this team don’t have any more power or knowledge about the product than Samsung’s general support line. I’m not sure if I’ll continue buying Samsung foldables, but I won’t be leaning on Z Premier support in the future.