Last week, the volume rocker on my Pixel 7 Pro came off. Randomly, without any drop or mishandling.
When I tweeted about it, I learnt that the issue is still quite common after being first reported in February. Google has been aware of the issue, and offered replacements under warranty.
Some users mentioned that they've pushed the rocker inside, and it has stayed stuck. Some have glued it in. In the US, there are cheap replacement rockers available on eBay and elsewhere. A case anyway takes care of this and keeps the volume rocker in place and it works alright.
With all that information at hand, I visited a Google-authorized third-party service center.
Google Pixel service experience in India
One of the major issues faced by Pixel customers in India has been the after-sales support. In fact, many potential customers were wary of picking up a Pixel device for the same reason.
That said, my previous experience has been quite satisfactory. Google had outsourced service support to B2X. A call to their helpline booked a service request, the device was picked up from my home and delivered a few days later with regular email updates about the status.
(Granted, this is an anecdotal experience. I'm in tier one city where a pick-up facility was available (people in most cities had to mail in their devices) and as an outlier, I have several devices at hand, so I didn't mind the phone being away for a week.)
However, looks like Google India finally took cognizance of this widespread concern. A few months ago, on the sidelines of the launch of Pixel 7a, Google announced the launch of 28 multi-brand stores spread across 27 cities in India (essentially, service centers operated by F1 Info Solutions) where Pixel owners can walk in to get support for their devices.
So, I walked in to the F1 Info Solutions store in Gurgaon, and after a long wait and middling experience (story for another day!) with just one support executive for a multi-brand service center that also serviced top brands like Asus and volume-driven one like Boult, my turn came.
Now disclosure. This unit was given to me by Google at the launch. So, I don't have its invoice. That said, the device is in warranty and for most brands, the service executives cross check the serial number to find if a device is in warranty or not.
So, when I was asked for invoice, I explained the same. However, the executive at the counter told me that this was not a Google service center but via Flipkart. In India, Pixel phones are sold exclusively on Flipkart so for most customers, this might not be an issue. Unless someone gifted you the phone and didn't pass on the invoice for the same, that is.
Anyway, so if my phone was treated out of warranty, the cost for phone replacement due to this tiny issue would be approximately ₹18,000. That's bonkers! Even the support staff said that I should look elsewhere for a resolution.
To check this Flipkart arrangement, I shared the details of the Pixel 7 that I bought, and the warranty on it was recognized. Same for the Pixel 6A I bought last year. So, this is an isolated issue. If I had a bill for my Pixel 7 Pro as most customers would do, the replacement would've happened without any charge.
That said, I think that's an unfair requirement for a premium device. More so since all Pixel 7 Pro phones are in warranty at this point of time since it's been less than a year that the phone was launched. Last month, I got my HP Spectre laptop fixed from an authorized service center, and the staff acknowledged the extended warranty on it and serviced it at no charge without asking for invoice or any warranty documentation.
But anyway, it is what it is. I'm a little bummed that a review unit conked off (although not because of my mishandling) and it doesn't make sense for me to get it replaced on payment. I might find a hacky fix, or just slide this one into my gadget storage closet.