Thursday, June 28, 2007

Motorola honors my supposedly voided warranty

My wife, last year, upgraded her old phone to one of those RAZR phones. It's a thin silver flip-open phone with flat buttons. A nice enough phone, but several months after owning it the hinge broke off. A plastic bit actually cracked from the case and the little screw holding it together fell out. Otherwise it still worked.

So she took it in to Cingular, our provider. They refused to fix it because we didn't have a phone protection plan (and instead tried to get her to buy a new phone). They also refused to send the phone in to Motorola because the phone was physically damaged, voiding an warranty, so it would cost up to $150 for repairs. When she asked what options there were, he told her she should just superglue the hinge back together.

Upset about this, I called Cingular and explained that this was not an abused phone, just apparently a very cheaply made one, and asked what I can do to get it repaired. I also told her what the in-store rep said. According to the Cingular CSR, they could do nothing because it was physically damaged, but also told me that supergluing the phone would have definitely voided any warranty. Good to know. She also said we could send in the phone for repairs by paying a hefty repair fee.

So left with a broken phone and no help from the provider, I called up Motorola. They were more than happy to help and gave me the address to send the phone in to. We sent it off in certified mail with a polite and detailed letter and waited. Within a few weeks the phone came back repaired under warranty!

The moral of the story is to check all your options and contact everyone related to your product for a resolution before handing over any cash for something you feel should be done for free.


Anonymous said...

See? The problem was with Motorola, not with Cingular. Why call your service provider for a hardware issue? Would I call my internet high speed cable operator if my computer broke? Pardon if IU sound facetious here. I used to work for a mobile telephone maker and we would get these calls sometimes, even when we had a "known issue" with a particular phone, we could not "admit it"...and of course this hush hush trickles down to the service provider as well.

Beyond the Consumer said...

A very good point. But cell service is a bit different from a computer with an Internet connection. When you buy a cellphone, usually the entire experience is with the provider. Even with hardware issues, like a broken antenna, the provider would give you support, which probably involved sending it back to the manufacturer for you. I think the reverse would be true also, if the manufacturer told you it couldn't be fixed under warranty, take it to the provider and see if there is anything they can do.

It's a shame that a known issue couldn't be communicated to customers. Thanks for the comment!