The unbelievable Journey of my Google Nexus Phone to Singapore… and back

It started all of with my (by now famous) post How to buy a Google Nexus Phone in Singapore after which I couldn’t resist any longer and finally ordered my own Google Nexus One in a spontaneous move of upgrading my old brick of a mobile phone. If I had only known what would follow I … well .. I didnt. So the unbelievable story of failure on Google and DHL side began. Even though not funny for me at all, I am sure you will have a blast reading it. Enjoy!

Stage 1: Taking the Step to Mobile Phone Future.. I thought

I have a mobile phone that is old.. and big and more or less it works around 5% of the time I am trying to punch something on the over-sized keyboard. Its not an iPhone though, but could be.

Then came Google with the Nexus One phone and I felt like the time finally had arrived to take the step from gadget-mediaevil times to gadget-2001 Odyssey. If I only knew that what should follow was more irritating then a Stanley Kubrick movie and more scummy then the mediaevil times. If only.

But I didn’t, and so my innocent mind went ahead and without much thinking ordered that shiny Google Nexus Phone online, now here comes an interesting twist:

Same Same But Different

Singapore slow PostMy friend ordered one too. But that’s not the twist. The twist is that he ordered one simultaneously with me, sitting beside me in a crowded (with stingy locals using the free Wifi while ordering free cold water) Starbucks and much more of note worthy, even living in the same Condo on the same floor!

Hence, we expected our Google Nexus Phones to arrive at the same time, resulting from logical thinking pared with rational expectations of the delivery fulfillment capabilities of the worlds largest company and one of the most used express delivery operators.

Theoretically Speaking.

2 Weeks later: Nice Phone, but where is mine?

The announced delivery time passed and right on time the phone arrived. Not mine though. My friends only. “Strange” I thought, “but well, its probably stuck somewhere in the office and will arrive tomorrow”.

So I waited. And waited. After 1 week of tracking the package online in Google order system and being in the status of “Pending” a life signal! Finally… but hold on.. why does it say US?

I found out that someone at Google send my phone of to.. “Kowloon Singapore” which would be a Hybrid state of Hong Kong and us and as a result it never left the origin, the place it was supposed to go to didn’t exist on this planet.

So after hours of being stuck in some waiting lines and numerous Emails, it finally got released to Singapore, with the correct address. Meanwhile, my friend already watched a whole Season of “Lost” on his Google Phone and was telling me how happy he was. He’s a nice guy, usually.

Finally its here… but WHAT THE F***?

Three days I waited extremely inpatient for my doorbell to ring. Then it was about time. Dingdong.

I opened the door and right there stood my instantly favorite post delivery person ever, for the next 20 seconds or so.
He pulled out the little package imprinted with the famously colored “Google” letters and almost handed it over to me. Almost. First the taxes I thought. Ok. I knew about it and got my wallet ready. The phone is around 730 S$ so taxes would be somewhere around 60-70 S$. No problem. I felt the phone smoothly in my right palm already. My palm was sweaty.

The postman took out the invoice looked at it, looked at the package and looked back at the invoice. I got nervous. Some wrinkles formed on his forehead and he sighted. Then he opened his mouth.

– “Well, that’s 624.40$ Taxes then please…” … … … silence
– “Sir, 624.40$ please!” But the only thing I was able to stutter right there was a choking “Buut why?”
– “Well, the value of this package is 8000S$ which ends up in 624.40 $ taxes“.

This was it. I did not believe what I just learned.

My magic package and “No, I did not order 11 phones!”

The postman showed me his papers and there it stood. Horribly clear and very officially looking on his invoice. My little package of maybe 20cm x 30cm was said to contain 11 sets of Google Nexus phones. I’m not joking, even though Google’s official policy says that everyone is only able to order 5 Phones in total anyway, there was my little box with not one, not two, no.. eleven sets!

Clearly an accidental doubling of the digit “1”.

But whoever had ever even only the slightest discussion with any Singaporean Official or Cinema Sales person or Supermarket Cashier… knows they are not programmed to think flexible, bend their minds to observe, understand and reevaluate a situation, no, these people know exactly one possible and always correct way, and it does not allow the smallest alteration.

The 1(1) phone that should Never be mine!

After about 10 minutes trying to hammer into the postman’s brain that it is “NOT POSSIBLE” that there are 11 sets of Google nexus one phones inside that tiny package, based on the universal laws of space and physics.. I gave up, did not pay 624.40 $ in taxes and my phone went back to the post office where I know had 10 days left to pick it up again… and pay of course.

I collapsed crying right there on the spot while I heard my friend laughing next door, sharing some jokes over the phone, his Google nexus phone.

Let the War begin – Me against DHL and Google

After I carried myself back into my room this is what followed in the next weeks:

  • 1. I sent about 25 requests to Google to provide DHL with an updated invoice, correcting their mistake. No reply. Problem being that there was no official Customer Hotline at that time yet. (this has changed now)
  • 2. I sent letters and emails to HTC trying to somehow get to Google via this way. No reply.
  • 3. I sent several letters to DHL explaining the situation and bagging for rational thinking and understanding. No success. (Did I mention I hate DHL?)

After 1 week of no reply, no solution and no Google nexus one for me in sight at all I gave up. By now about 1 month had passed already.

  • 4. I send Google another last mail asking for a simple refund and burring the Google Phone symbolical in my mind.
  • 5. I receive a call the next morning. Its DHL. Hallelujah, they received an updated invoice from Google, something must have worked out somewhere at last.

However, it will take another 5-10 days to reclaim the GST from the Singapore authorities etc. Nevermind!!! What are 5-10 days while I am waiting for over a month already. this is customer service to its finest. Anyway, now the fun should start:

  • 6. I get an email from Google the same evening “They are sorry about the problem and they have issued an order to get the phone sent back” NOOOOOOO!!!!!
  • 7. I scream, run to my phone and dial DHL number, after 2 minutes of hefty exchanged words my case gets more hopeless with every second.
  • 8. They confirm that during the day they received the order from Google AND HAVE ALREADY sent the package back on the long way to the US.

I am sitting here, without a Google Nexus One, with my media evil brick on my lap and having to wait for another 2 weeks until my refund will (hopefully) arrive in my bank account..

This was the story of my Google Nexus phone that should never be mine.

PS. If any Google official reads this:

“Do you realize that I send you hundreds of potential customers from Singapore, every day through my links at How to buy a Google Nexus Phone in Singapore” and that I made YOU probably more money by now then those 11 potential Nexus One phones would have cost me to buy. What a shame!”




I presume you will be getting the refund from Google? This is really an NEXUS ONE experience from Google.

Oh the other hand it might be a blessing in disguise. There are so many bugs being reported that I’m putting the purchase on hold. Maybe HTC Desire would be a better option if it arrives in SG.


yeah, thats one horrible story for one angry ang moh… so which phone to get now?


should go to google office look for person in charge of their Nexus One fulfillment and throw a brick phone at his/her head


Should’ve paid the GST then sold ’em on.
900-odd $ in Sim-lim at the moment…


omg. i like your style of writing. though i know its kinda rude to be laughing at your tragedy, but im really amused by your story. so anyway, have u given up hope on this nexus one that was never meant to be yours? cos i was (and still) contemplating on getting mine, which was why i chanced upon ur article. :p


interesting tale there. wonder how the 1 ended as 11…. now i’m paranoid from ordering from google the set. shall wait for our local telcos to bring the set over.


Hi ,
Firstly thanks for helping me get my nexus one. Although i’m not a google employee , i just like the company a lot .. they made an error.. and it does cause a lot of pain. Here’s what i think would happen.. once u hold YOUR nexus one .. the problems u went through would become less relevant ..

Cheers mite

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