How to Determine the Warranty Status for Your Smart Phone

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Ever wonder what options are available other than trekking back to the carrier (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon or T-Mobile) store for an “exchange” or “refund”, when your newly bought mobile device is damaged or malfunctioning? Not sure who to turn when the mobile device you bought from eBay, online or from friends starts to act strange? Where can you go when the screen has cracked on your 4 year-old phone? Smart-phone factory warranty information is often miss-understood, however, by learning the basics such policy can save you big dollars when it comes to warranted repairs on broken iPhone or broken mobile phones.

The Basics of a Smart Phone Factory Warranty Policy

Before you can begin you need to check the sections below to see if your broken cell phone is under or out of warranty. It is critical to define what status your broken cell phone falls under, as it will provide different services and eligibility.

Time frame:

Every mobile device you purchase (including smart phones) comes under a manufacturer’s warranty which will specifically guarantee said device will function as it was advertised. However, like any legal warranty clause, it is common to have an accompanying time frame for legitimate claims submission. Most OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) deploy a 12-month warranty policy which has become an industry standard. To you it means, upon purchase it should cover the initial 12 months beginning from the day the smart phone was bought. For an exact timeframe, you can determine this by adding 365 days from the listed date on your sales receipt. The original receipt should always be kept as proof of purchase. Do not solely rely on in-store data or bar codes on packaging boxes, since it does not serve as evidence. Detailed warranty booklets and leaflets are normally available within the packaging box.

Nature of Malfunction:

An OEM’s warranty is applicable only to the parts and products it manufactured; any post purchase add-on or after-market parts are not warranted. A factory will honor its obligation when a manufacturing defect has occurred on their product through normal usage. Examples below are malfunctioning cases where warranty coverage will be recognized:

Susan’s brand new (just bought) Motorola Droid X had a blank screen when Susan first powered up the smart phone and it persisted through subsequent power ups.

Ted’s 4 month-old Samsung Fascinate is experiencing no voice from the speaker or crackling sound during normal calls.

Pete’s 9 month-old Blackberry Bold has keyboard issues (the letter “A” button is un-responsive) when typing text or emailing.

When Did Your Smart Phone Become Out of Warranty:

A factory warranty policy will be voided when intentional damage was evident causing the defect or malfunction; as such, these are cases of “CID” – Customer Induced Damages. Manufactures will NOT honor their policy for these damaged devices, because it was intentionally damaged. There are 3 typical factors to determine CID/non-covered phones, they are: (1) LCD or screen cracked or evidence of liquid intrusion or water damaged cell phone, (2) Device bought and sold outside its normal sales channel, and (3) the expiration of a policy timeframe based on manufacturing date. Examples below are cases to demonstrate out of warranty facts:

Mary’s toddler was playing with her AT&T iPhone 4 when the device was dropped and produced a hairline screen crack on the LCD display. As a result, Apple will not honor the free repair because it was an induced accident, because it requires Apple out of warranty repair.

A student spilled beer onto his T-Mobile HD2 during last night’s graduation party causing his device to short out, therefore it could not be powered on. The device’s LDI (liquid damage indicator**) was also tripped.As a result, HTC will not honor the free repair because it was an induced accident.

Katie wanted to submit claims on her malfunctioning VerizonSnap after 16 months from the initial purchase date; hence the warranty will not cover it, as it exceeded the 12-month OEM warranty. As a result, HTC will not honor the free repair because it had passed the effective coverage timeframe.

Corey, a “tech nerd,” installed a custom O/S onto his smart phone for modifications and caused certain functions to fail by unlocking his iPhone.

Susan purchased a gently used Sprint Epic 4G from E-bay and demanded service, but she was declined as the limited warranty is extended only to the original owner, not subsequent or 3rd buyers. Only a certified pre-owned handset from the carrier (i.e. Sprint stores) will have a 90-day warranty coverage as a used product from a proper sales channel. Any phones purchased in after market or any other non-authorized distribution/re-seller will not enjoy the benefits of factory warranty.

* * LDI = Liquid damage indicator is a small piece of litmus paper placed in certain locations of a mobile device for indication of water intrusions. The paper will turn pink upon excessive moisture contact and alert examiners of past liquid damage.

Solutions for Phones needing Out of Warranty Replacement & Repair

Instead of retiring your phone into your desk drawer or throwing it away, what are your options after determining your broken or damaged phone is out of coverage?

(1) Request repair service at OEM/factory repair sites and they will provide original parts and guaranteed workmanship, however, they are usually associated with higher repair cost. It is common to cost over $150 for LCD replacements. You can contact the factory info below:

Apple out of warranty program – 1.800.694.7466

HTC out of warranty program – 1.888.617.1113

Blackberry out of warranty program – 1.800.331.0500

LG out of warranty program – 1.800.243.0000

Samsung out of warranty program – 1.800.726.7864

Motorola out of warranty program – 1.800.653.5350

Nokia out of warranty program – 1.888.665.4228

Sony Ericsson out of warranty program – 1.866.766.9374

(2) Get service at a local street level cell phone repair shop. You can locate these in your yellow pages. Although they offer cheap repair solutions, the workmanship and parts quality vary greatly.

(3) You can claim the mobile phone insurance, should you opted for this extra option with your monthly billing contract. Such insurance policy can cover your lost and damaged phone(s) by paying a deductible. They are generally provided through the carriers for a monthly fee of $7-15 per handset; depend of your brand and model. However, you must have an active policy when accident occur and numerous claims within short periods of time can get you black listed. The insurance company will ship you a refurbished replacement phone.

(4) Sell as scrap item on eBay, however, you need to have a functioning eBay account and all the necessary steps of conducting an auction for shipping and handling.

5) You can sell to for the quickest and easiest solution. Our web tool will appraise the value of your handset and provides FREE out-going shipping. We will issue you a check within 7 business days upon receipt. It is the easiest method of recycling your unwarranted broken handset. Tell your friends and family about our service and click here to begin your money for phone process.

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