The Troubleshooting Never Ends


Last week, my wife told me that she needed a landline with Bluetooth capability for her work, so she could use a headset with it. That should be easy, I thought. But no, few things are ever that easy.

I did some quick research and selected a dual-handset cordless phone system from a reputable brand, and ordered it from Amazon. But there was a problem. Following the instructions, pairing the headset to the cordless phones was simple. Both the phones and the headset said they were paired.

Here’s the problem: No audio on the headset’s earpieces, no voice from the headset’s mic, and the headset “TALK” button wouldn’t pick up or end calls. So I tested the Bluetooth function on the cordless phones with three different headsets, from two different brands. Bluetooth headsets are a business I am in, so I generally have several in my office.

The same fault occurred across all three headsets.

At this point, I know it’s not a user error. I don’t know about you, but I’ve paired a few Bluetooth in my day. Anyway, I went to the vendor’s support website, and logged a trouble ticket: I told them what the problem was, and had tested it with three different headsets, naming the make and model of each.

The response from support wasn’t encouraging:

“Regarding your concern, if you have successfully connected your Bluetooth headset to your VTech phone but there is no audio coming out of the microphone and you cannot answer calls on the headset, try connecting a different headset. If the other headset works, then the issue is with your original headset and you should contact the manufacturer of your headset.”

It’s not often I get to say “Per my last email!!!” but this was a golden opportunity.

Regardless, it was a $76 pair of cordless phones. I’m not going to waste any more time on this. I submitted a return request to Amazon, shipped them back and called it a day. This, after all, is why we have warranties and return periods.

The next day, I learned from my wife that what she really needed was to pair a headset to her laptop so she could Zoom, so go figure.

This minor debacle reminded me of an issue I had years ago when I worked at Sony. I bought my first AV surround receiver — a Sony STR-DA30ES, if you’re interested — unboxed it, and set it up. Right out of the box the Dolby Digital audio wasn’t working. After a frustrating afternoon, I boxed it up and took it to our local repair center. There, the tech bench tested it and soldered a missing connection on one of the boards that hadn’t been done in the factory.

I took it home and voila, it worked! After that initial hiccup, it served me well for many years. I did express my displeasure to my regional manager that my brand-new ES-grade AVR had a factory defect. He just shrugged.

Fast forward back to the modern era, and the lesson I’ve learned is that my troubleshooting skills will never stop coming in handy.