I purchased a Galaxy Nexus for my girlfriend directly from Google specifically to avoid dealing with the carriers and their history of BS. 21 days after the phone arrived, it stopped charging. I tried every troubleshooting step Google, Samsung and the forums offered. The consensus was that the phone was defective as many users on the forums had to have them replaced by their carrier. So I call Google and they state that their return/replacement policy is an abysmally short 15 days; after that I have to deal with Samsung. Remember, all carriers now have 30 days to return/replace defective devices, and even after that point, if the device is truly defective, I’ve known many to replace it anyway.
So I call Samsung. Their solution: send it in and I might have it back in 2 weeks. This is not a viable option as you can imagine being a 20-something without a phone these days is impossible. In response to my concerns, Samsung suggested that I should pay T-Mobile for a loaner. As if this was T-Mobile’s problem. (Another brilliant solution was to purchase new batteries and run them down until I was able to send the phone in).
I thought this was absurd, and being accustomed to Apple’s level of customer service, I went back to Google to plead my case thinking that surely they’d see reason and do what was right. I was again told no, I had to deal with Samsung since it was 7 days beyond the replacement period. I was then informed that Google had received word from Samsung that my device was out of warranty (mind you they hadn’t even laid a hand on the device; I also have the email documenting this).
At this point, I went nuclear. I gave them two options: As the retailer, send me a replacement device and I return the defective one (I can’t tell you how many retailers have been flexible on policy when the product is quite clearly defective). They do that, I’m a happy customer. I even tried convincing them that they’re losing money when my girlfriend doesn’t have a working phone; she can’t search or use any other Google services and see all those ads.
OR they can send me back to Samsung, at which point I do a charge back on my credit card for being sent damaged/defective goods, and cease to use any and all Google products because if Google can’t stand by the product I paid $330 for, how can I trust they’ll stand by the products I’m using for free?
Google told me there was nothing they would do.
In the end, I learned a few things: American Express’ customer service is awesome when settling disputes; the de-Googlefication of  your life is easier than you’d expect; and sometimes it really is better to go with the Devil you know and buy it straight from the carriers.
If Google wants to Play (see what I did there?) in the retail space, they’d better learn to handle customers like me.
My girlfriend’s iPhone 5 will be arriving soon.