Tuesday, 12 July 2005

The Pains of Palm are the Joys of eBay

Since I recently managed to sync my Palm Tungsten T3 with my Mac using the original cradle but completely failed to do the same over Bluetooth, I have been considering buying a second cradle so that I would have one in the office and one at home. Now, I am the sort of person who will go directly to the vendor and buy the original kit at the original price, rather than look for a cheap or second hand alternative anywhere else. Following this logic, I went to palmOne and searched the accessories section for a cradle that would work with the T3. This should have been simple considering the T3 is one of the later models so should still be reasonably widely supported. It appears this is not the case. Since palmOne came out with the LifeDrive and the Tungsten T5, the T3 is not sold anymore, nor are any of the accessories and peripherals, at least on the UK site. Of course, accessories and peripherals for the LifeDrive or the T5 are not compatible with the T3.

Drawing a blank at the palmOne UK store, I had a look on the US one. I found what I was looking for in the shape of a mini USB cradle. Unfortunately, they are out of stock and have no indication as to when they will have more items. My guess is never. So I sent them a short email, which I thought was straight to the point:

I am looking for a second hotsync cradle for my Tungsten T3. The UK store doesn't have anything for T3 anymore. The US store seems to have the "palmOne™ Mini Cradle, USB" but is apparently out of stock. Is there any way for me to now find equipment for my T3 considering it is completely out of the question for me to upgrade it?

I got an answer very quickly:

Dear Valued Customer,

Products sold online at the PalmOne store represent a wide variety of PDAs smartphones and accessories. From time to time, temporary lack of inventory forces us to remove a product or products from our store until we are able to replenish our supply. In the event that you have previously seen a product on our store and cannot find it, please contact our customer support team at 800-881-7256 for assistance locating the item you wish to purchase. If you are waiting for the release of a new product, please check our New Products page at http://store.palmone.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=1408079, or for the latest news on upcoming products and other events visit our Press Room at http://www.palmone.com/us/company/pr/

If this automated e-mail does not answer your question(s), please contact our Customer Service department using our toll free number, 800-881-7256. Our Customer Service is open 24 hours a day seven days a week to better serve you.

Please note: This is an automated response to your e-mail. You will not receive another response. Do not respond to this e-mail.

Best regards,

Customer Support at store.palmone.com

You will note the introduction: Dear Valued Customer and the note: This is an automated response to your e-mail. You will not receive another response. So Mr palmOne, you send me an automated email that doesn't answer my question and you make sure to tell me I will not receive any other email. I have to call a phone number in the US instead. Good job I'm a valued customer! I dread to think what you would have sent me if I was just a standard customer! And by the way, I am not really interested in yourmarketingg stuff thank you very much. However, I'd really, really like it if you could support your older products a bit better than this. Contrary to what you may think, I am not planning to upgrade to a T5 of a LifeDrive anytime soon.

The standard route being completely hopeless, I turned to the primary source on the net for accessories for hardware that is no longer supported: eBay. Sure enough, I found what I was looking for in a few minutes, for a fraction of the official palmOne price**Assuming I am not outbid by the time the bid closes that is. It was quite straightforward to set up an eBay account because, believe it or not, I had never used eBay before. The bid system is also very straightforward so it took me a few minutes to get myself sorted. If all goes well, I should very shortly be able to sync both at work and at home, without having to carry a cradle around. I also know now that the next time I want some accessories for my T3, I won't look on palmOne.

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