For one whole month now, PalmOne has had my ailing Palm pilot, with no signs of giving it back. Can you help with the liberation?

There are probably few more pieces of truly “personal property” today than one’s PDA, filled to the brim with calendars, personal contacts, notes and digital demarcations of our lives professional, public and private.

So what’s an innocent customer to do when a mega conglomerate makes off with their PDA?

Aforementioned PDA, a slim and sexy TungstenE Xmas present from ’03, wasn’t keeping its charge. After consulting the virtual PalmOne troubleshooting tome online and going carefully through all their advice, I determined that a trip to the Palm hospital was required, and lovingly packaged my Palm as per detailed PalmOne instructions and sent it off. (I need to note this involved a pre-pay of $125.00 plus shipping).

I’ve been checking in on the repair status of patient “S1-96010908” from zipcode 07102, a.k.a. my right hand man with increasing alarm. (You can check in too using this information– perhaps an over abundance of interest in this missing patient will urge the Palm behemoth into doing something about locating it!) Because every time I’ve checked, the answer has been “No record exists for your search criteria. Please try again.”

Now what’s interesting about this is that my ‘ambulance’ of choice was DHL, from whom I have a receipt by none other than PalmOne surgery unit, PIRC in Laredo, Texas.

Naturally you can imagine my alarm after a week or two when, after “trying again”, still no patient shows up in the records. So, as any dependent parent, I spent time looking for ways to find my missing Palm.

Sadly, there will never be an accounting of the hours of my time spent trying to get PalmOne to sit up and notice. They have cleverly cut themselves off from actually dealing with people.

1. I combed the website — having to use both their built in search engine and Google (much better) to track down any place to get help to find my Palm. Interestingly, there was no such place.

2. I e-mailed support with my sad tale. They sent me an autoreply: ‘Out of the office… please try…(drumroll for ironic effect), the very place I had come from and used to check in the missing patient and gotten their e-mail address from. Hmmm.

3. So I took to the phones. Except that Palm have instituted two handy tactics to avoid having to employ too many telecentre handlers. First, make those who call in wait at least 30 minutes, regardless of the time. Second, charge all callers $25.00 before they get transferred to an agent. But no joy, so…

4. I used Palm’s “e-service offering” as advised, to sort out my problem. Only problem is that there isn’t a single customer service/repair online forum. They’re all about topics like GSM, GPS and third-party accessories. Nonetheless, I posted a cry for help here. So…

I am still Palmless — my Palm plus $125.00 being “held hostage” by PalmOne. I can only think that a groundswell effort of me writing to various magazines, better business bureas and online fora and you helping spread the word and the logo for liberating my Palm and getting the story out may hold some hope. So leap on the chance of becoming a cyberactivist for someone you know — me! (See the banner at top right you can use of your websites, blogs and e-mail signatures.)

And if all fails, well, maybe the question isn’t ‘How do I get PalmOne to give me back my functioning Tungsten’, but ‘How much is that quadband Blackberry?’

[The saddest thing is that I have been a longtime Palm supporter from the mid-90s, but really, how much can one consumer take?]



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