Vodafone deserve a shout-out. After wrestling for ages with a 3G device that wouldn't charge (cool idea, you have a device with its own battery so it doesn't need to be physically attached to your computer while you're using it... trouble is, it doesn't always work that easily), I discovered this thread and tossed in a post. The advice given pushed me to pop into a Vodafone store to see about repairs/replacement.
The trouble with casually popping into a telephony store, at least in Melbourne, is that there are inevitably more customers than they have staff to serve. The tight margins these stores must be running at mean there simply aren't techs around to talk to; you have to wait past whoever else is there trying to get something done. Toss in a few language barriers, and it can take a long time to get anywhere. So this is what my day off is spent on: Waiting in Chadstone Shopping Centre's Vodafone store.
Once I was attended to, though, things went pretty smoothly. Sam took my device backstage, confirmed the problem, and then also checked up my account plan (without my ID, which I'd omitted to bring) and reported that it was still in warranty - which was better than I'd expected! Unfortunately that store was out of stock of my device, and the nearest store with stock was in Frankston (!), so I went with the other option: upgrade to the newer device (for $96 across the next year, not too shabby I guess). Since it wasn't the same device, I basically had to pay full price for it (warranty not applicable), which is a bit meh, but better than running down to Frankston to sort this out.
All in all, a reasonable day's effort. This could easily have gone far worse. Granted, everything that I'm happy about here is what ought to be normal and basic expectations, but all too often, basic expectations aren't fulfilled. This time they were, and with that, I am pleased.