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In August, I purchased a Samsung M520 phone from Sprint. The phone worked for a few weeks, but then it stopped receiving any signal. I took the phone into the Sprint store, which told me that I should contact Samsung for repairs. About a month after I received the repaired phone, it stopped working again. I asked Samsung to replace the phone, but they stated that they would only repair it. After a few months of going back and forth with Samsung, I have had enough of this phone!

James Kirk, New York, New York

OYS responds: The sales reps at the Sprint Store apparently misinformed Kirk when he initially took in his malfunctioning phone. Sprint encourages customers to explore all available repair and replacement options through their authorized repair center stores before contacting the original manufacturer. You can find a Sprint Authorized Service Repair store by visiting Sprint Store Locator.

In general, if your phone malfunctions, you should first consult your carrier's tech support before sending it to the manufacturer--even if, as was the case here, the manufacturer offers a warranty. Repair service offered by a carrier tends to be quicker (Sprint promises 1-day turnaround as opposed to 7 to 10 days for Samsung), and you can deal with a customer service representative face-to-face.

If, like Kirk, you choose to contact the manufacturer and your problem still isn't resolved, OYS recommends notifying your carrier immediately, as it may offer other means to resolve the issue.

After we alerted Sprint to Kirk's problems with his phone, a member of its customer service team contacted him and offered to replace the phone with either the same model of phone or a newer model.

Missing Contact Information

Larry Friedman of Miami, Florida, purchased Genie Backup Manager from Genie-soft's Web site, but never received it. When no one responded to his e-mail, he contacted us for help. On its site, Genie-Soft lists e-mail addresses for general sales support and for its founder, Muayyad Shehadeh.

We did some searching and sent messages to several e-mail addresses that we found on Soft411.com, a software information site, and on Alexa.com, a Web information site. We received a response from a Genie-Soft sales rep. She said the company had e-mailed shipment tracking information to Friedman. He received the software a few weeks after he ordered it.

If addresses on a Web site don't produce results, try search engines. Sometimes you'll find other addresses. As always, check your spam filters when you don't hear from a company, and consider asking your ISP if it is filtering mail from a particular company's domain.

Product Recall: Coby Electronics Rechargeable Batteries

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Coby Electronics announced a voluntary recall of the rechargeable batteries sold with the TF-DVD 1020 series of portable DVD/MP3 players. The Commission stated that the batteries can overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Though no injuries have been reported, customers should stop using the player with the battery; they should use the player only with the included AC adapter. Customers can contact Coby for a free replacement at COBY - Consumer Product Safety Information.

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