Home > Focus on Japan 2007 > The Squeaky Wheel and All That

The Squeaky Wheel and All That

September 8th, 2007

Something I just realized about my cell phone: those ninnies over at Willcom seem to have slipped me a new battery. The old one was rated at 60% efficiency–it wouldn’t hold a charge for too long, but was enough to last the day on stand-by, which was good enough for me. I only asked that they repair the contacts to the charger, and when I originally went in, they claimed that a battery replacement would cost more than the “point” credits I had built up could pay for.

I’m also pretty sure that they did this in response to my getting upset at having been jerked around. I had never looked at it and noticed, but the battery is incorporated into the back panel of the phone. My phone previously had a lot of scoring and wear on the back before. Now when I look at it, it’s clean and new–on the battery part only.


The thing is, I happened by chance to see that the old battery was still in place after the main repairs had been completed. When I came in to pick up the phone, I checked out the repairs (you can see in the image above that the battery contacts–the gold insets at the bottom–were changed), and happened to note that there was all that wear and tear on the back. Later, when I got upset and let them know it because they made me come back again and again and again, they must have said, “This gaijin is pretty pissed off–let’s give him a new battery for free.”

The weird thing is, they didn’t tell me. Not a word. They didn’t point it out, though they had every chance to. When I picked it up for the last time, I did notice it looked nice on the back, but figured that this was just a change in the casing only. It was only later, when I noticed that the phone held more of a charge than usual, that I figured out what they had done.

Usually, I would expect them to announce such a thing, by way of reiterating an apology and saying, “look, we gave you a new battery.” Maybe they just figured that I’d notice it and appreciate it anyway. Not that I don’t–but I would have just as soon kept the old battery and not dealt with all that hassle. It’s not like I’m keeping this phone for one minute longer than the new iPhone is released in Japan.

One extra note here: did I get the new battery because I’m a foreigner? I hear this a lot from Japanese people I know who are familiar with foreigners in Japan. I hear it a lot: “Oh, you got that service because you’re a gaijin. They would never do that for a Japanese.”

Is this really true? Somehow I have the feeling that it’s not true as often as I hear–that instead, foreigners get these things more often because we ask for them, or complain more loudly. Anyone out there have more experience with this, and an opinion?

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  1. ykw
    September 9th, 2007 at 01:40 | #1

    The contacts on the left phone are worn, and on the right phone, are clean. Perhaps they needed to get you good contacts, and to do that, required a new battery. Cleaning the contacts on the left w/ alcohal, and cleaning the charger contacts w/ alcohal might helps. If there is corrosion (oxide) on the contacts, then that is an insulator, and that will stop the charge. Scrapping that off will help. eBay sells cell phone batteries for $2 to $3 typically. The guy who did the repair may not have talked to the guy at the front desk that talked to you.

  2. Luis
    September 9th, 2007 at 10:45 | #2

    Actually, I’m pretty sure that was not it. The phone came back repaired and recharged, but with the old battery in place. It was only after I complained that they put the new battery in. Also, they had told me previously that the contact repair and battery replacement were two different jobs, and that while the contact repair was something that could be paid for by the “points” I had accumulated over the years, the battery replacement could not be, and would cost about $50.

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