PhoneCan: Who We Are

I came across an interesting online exchange this morning, and thought it was be a good moment to describe who is, and why we’re different. This isn’t a memo, it’s a mission statement.  Now, show me the money.

Just kidding.


The most popular phone sites you go to are based on news and rumor.  If something has been announced, you’ll find it there.  If something has been alluded to, you’ll also find it there, in the same format as news.  In some ways, phone news sites are a lot like celebrity news sites: someone heard someone say something else about so-and-so, and now it’s on the news.  Maybe there’s a blurry picture of so-and-so.  And as always, someone has something to say about so-and-so  in regards to that “news,” even if it’s not true.  "So-and-so” can be Tom Cruise, or the Verizon iPhone - either way, the article reads about the same.

Some sites are geared toward more technical people trying to do things with their phones that neither the manufacturer or the service provider recommends.  They often don’t do well with new people trying to make their phone do something, as they’re often geared more toward the type of person who already knows how to do things, such as hacking phones.

Other sites are online forums for people to discuss the issues - a place that breeds the very passions I recently wrote about.  Customer may make their way into these forums all the time, seeking help in preparation for a change, visit to a store, upgrade, or repair.  In some cases, they may have had issues with a previous visit to a store for help.  Or, they may just want to avoid having to spend time somewhere when they might be able to fix it themselves.  They seek help online, and find themselves in territory populated by industry insiders with little patience, or people who go online to vent because they can’t do it with customers in front of them.  Customers occasionally find the people who frequent those forums to help others.  When they find the right person, they find help.  But when they put themselves out there, they inadvertently invite the others with grudges.  Seeking help on an online forum can be rewarding, or entirely damaging.

Then, there are the handful of places which try to help people from the novice to the expert.  These are far and few between, in relation to all that’s out there, but enough of them exist that they’re not too hard to locate.  They might be hard to distinguish from all the other junk out there, at first, but once you find them, you come back to them.

Let me show you part of an exchange on the Sprint Forum page.

Customer #1:

So I give $130 of my hard earned money to Sprint each and every month. Why is it that Sprint can’t hire competent people in their stores? Why do they try to pin phone problems on the customer?

So I went into the Sprint store because my Instinct stopped reading SD cards. They told me it was because my music was stored as .WAV files. My files aren’t .wav files, they are WMA files. The tech claimed that no phones support WMA and it was user error.

The manual clearly states the following are supported:


- MP3
- AAC (m4a)
- WMA (unprotected

I understand that you don’t manufacture the phones, but why couldn’t you have listed to me? Why must I make multiple trips? Why such contempt for the customer?

Forum Commenter #1:

Is it all SD cards or just that one?? If you haven’t, try another SD card. Second if you know a problem like that can’t be fixed over the phone why would you bother calling into tech support for something like that anyway?

Forum Commenter #2:

There you go blaming the customer again.

Forum Commenter #1:

I wasn’t blaming him for how Sprint handled the situation. I was just curious why he put himself in that situation. Just seems that would be like me calling Time Warner if the internet port on my PC stopped working..they arent gonna be able to do anything and I’m probably gonna get off the phone more pissed off than when i started. 

What sprint tech support should’ve done is say, sorry about that but that isnt really something we can handle, you should take it to a service center. 30 second phone call and an hour visit to the service center maybe and problem solved.

that reminds me…now off to call time warner to make them fix my bill!

Customer #1:

Looks like you have a reading comprehension problem. I said that I took it to the service center. It was the service technician that called my files .wav files and tried to send me on my way with no satisfaction.

I’m very likely to take my business elsewhere after this tech screamed at me in a store full of customers and made me look stupid. Of course I tried other cards and of course I know that WMA files work with the music players of MOST phones, the instinct included.

Forum Commenter #3:

Go elsewhere goodbye. Go and spend 3 times as much with another carrier. Have fun. I love Sprint. And will have them forever. The stores are great. They always help me out. You might be the one with a piss poor attitude. Ever think of that?

Customer #1:

I have a piss poor attitude because the tech at a Sprint store didn’t even know what file types are supported on the phones they service? Are you kidding?

And you’re probably right. I’ll spend 3 times as much at T-Mobile with 3,000 minutes, unlimited text on all 3 phones and unlimited internet on my primary line for $109.99…yup…that’s 3 times more than I’m spending now.

Forum Commenter #3:

Go look over their coverage map and then come back. Enjoy dropped calls on 9 out of 10 calls. T Minus is the worst. But nice try. BUDDY.

Customer #1:

I’ve used T-Mobile for a number of years with my business phone. Try again guy. They have fine voice service.

Forum Commenter #3:

Sorry could not hear you? You were breaking up with your T mobile service. T Mobile is horrible. Go post on their forum. Enjoy seeing coverage issues as their main topic.

Customer #1:

So first I was going to pay 3 times as much. Then I was going to experience bad reception. Now I’m going to have to listen to complaints on the T-Mobile forum? Guess that’s better than listening to a bunch of fanboys. Why don’t you hang it up?

Forum Commenter #3:


Forum Commenter #4:

good comeback

There is a lot more to this conversation that brought “Customer #1″ to complete frustration.  In essence, he asked a question and vented on a forum, and in return was attacked by forum regulars.  The only commenter who wasn’t out to insult the customer was “Forum Commenter #2.”

This is the type of online interaction that prompted me to start, and this is the type of interaction that brought Menno in to write with me, and will soon bring in other writers.  They, like me, are all fed up with treating someone in need of help like trash.  We’re fed up with focusing on rumor and guesses to the point of wanting nothing to do with an online site.  We’re done with the rude treatment of someone asking a valid question, venting about an experience, or just looking for information.  We wanted a place to help people.  We started down separate paths, but we’ve come together to make PhoneCan one of those rare sites you find where you can ask any question and get help.  You won’t find rude and belittling people, like what you see above, at this PhoneCan.

Our intention at PhoneCan is to bring you real news, real editorials, real advice, and real help.  As we develop our site, we hope to bring in more and more people.  We hope that when you need help with a problem, or need a question answered, you’ll come search for the answer with us.  If it’s not on our site, we invite you to submit a question to us.  We will gladly answer the question as quickly as we can, and to the best of our ability.  You’ll receive an individual response, as well as being able to see YOUR question and answer posted online.

We are here to help you.  It’s what we do in our daily business, and it’s what we can to do for your here.

Please, visit us often.  Come to us when you need help.  Let others know about us.

Thank you.

Epik, Menno, Coleslaw, Guru, and the team.

P.S. See, I told you it was a mission statement.