Brush up on your Latin before buying online

I’ve had my share of bad experiences in buying things online, but not lately. I guess I was overdue.

I got my “new every two” notice from Verizon Wireless a couple of weeks ago and decided to get a Samsung u740 … mainly because it was the only free phone that had a full keyboard. I absolutely hate texting from a numeric keypad.

So I’m on eBay to look at accessories and find a data cable. The item description says it will let me transfer files from my laptop and charge the phone from the laptop. I’m not so interested in listening to music on my phone, but the idea of charging the battery from the PC was an attractive thought because I travel a lot. $9.99 plus $3.50 S&H … not so much … I figured it was worth a shot.

So westongue gets the cable here pretty quickly. But it has a label that says not to connect the device until the driver is installed. And there’s no CD with the cable. A search of the Samsung and Verizon Wireless sites fails to turn up a downloadable driver. An e-mail exchange with Samsung confirms that.

OK, I’m off to the Verizon store to pick up the official version. $29.99 plus tax. It’s got a CD with Music Manager and phone drivers on it, a stereo headset that lets me listen to music and talk on the phone (a plus because my ordinary telephone headset requires a clumsy adapter to connect), and a USB cable – that isn’t the same as the one I got from the eBay seller.

Newsflash: The plain cable I got from westongue doesn’t charge the phone at all. And the only reason the one from the Verizon store does is that it has an “in-line charging port” that allows me to charge my phone “with the charger received with your phone.” In other words, the phone isn’t charging off the laptop. This is just a way to charge the phone and sync music at the same time.

But don’t think the problems are over just because you now have the CD with the drivers. The instructions in the Vcast book tell you to connect the phone to the PC then start Windows Media Player. The phone tells me it can’t connect. The PC isn’t recognizing the hardware and it can’t find the driver on the CD supplied by the manufacturer. I start WMP, and it can’t see the device either.

So it’s getting late and I’m tired. I don’t think another hour of retrying things is going to get me anywhere. I’m out less than $50, but all I’ve got to show for it is a nifty set of earbuds that let me talk on the phone. At least they connect without having to use the clunky adapter.

Buying from eBay? Or Verizon Wireless? Better brush up on your Latin first: Caveat emptor.


About Mark Kelly

Jesus follower, Bible reader, husband/father/son/brother/uncle, rider, hiker, snapshooter
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