Ask LH: How Can I Ensure My Phone Gets Repaired?

Dear Lifehacker, Last August I purchased a Samsung Galaxy S3 from Telstra on a $79 plan. I really like the phone, but in the last few months it has started going through random bouts of rebooting and freezing. Am I entitled to a replacement?

Sometimes this happens every two minutes for a day or more; at other times, it works well for a couple of weeks with no reboot. I feel this should be repaired or replaced, but I'm worried that Telstra will either claim it's not covered, deny there's an issue or won't provide me with a replacement phone while it's being fixed. How would Lifehacker recommend I approach this situation? Thanks, Repair Required

Dear RR,

If your phone is on a two-year contract, then it's covered for warranty-related issues for the full 24 months. In other words, there shouldn't be an issue in getting it repaired or replaced.

Here's what Telstra has to say in its mobile phone 'Warranty Information' document:

If you are a consumer under the Australian Consumer Law, our goods come with guarantees that cannot be excluded under that law. You are entitled to a replacement or refund for a major failure and compensation for any other reasonably foreseeable loss or damage. You are also entitled to have the goods repaired or replaced if the goods fail to be of acceptable quality and the failure does not amount to a major failure.

A phone that constantly reboots and freezes is definitely failing to be of acceptable quality -- we'd be very surprised if Telstra tried to stiff you.

You're also entitled to a handset loan or a reduction to your monthly bill while the phone is being repaired (e.g. -- if it takes Telstra half a month to fix your phone and you don't receive a replacement in the interim, your account will be credited by $39.50).

Given that there appears to be a hardware issue, I'd ask for a direct replacement rather than a repair. The first step is to ring up Telstra's 24-hour customer service line on 132200. Alternatively, it might be wiser to head into a Telstra store and deal with a local representative face-to-face -- this is likely to result in a faster resolution and a lot less frustration.

If you can go to the same store you purchased the phone from, all the better -- just be sure to make a copy of your data as a safeguard before handing over the phone.

Check our customer service guide for some tips on getting issues solved quickly. If any readers have their own tips on how to get issues resolved quickly with Telstra, do let RR know in the comments section below.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    I'd be taking the phone to the Samsung Store (There's a few around) rather than to Telstra.

    If the Apple Store is anything to go by, they should do a complete swap on the spot. Not sure if you have to make an appointment like the Apple Store

      Only thing that gets me on that approach, is that it isn't always strictly... legal.

      Not saying that they're dodgy, just that if you have a handset on contract with Telstra, unless they have a contract with Samsung to cover end-users, then if anything goes wrong, you can end up out of pocket. Telstra are under no obligation to cover a phone they don't give you.

        well the carrier provides the 2nd year of warranty and the manufacturer only supplies the 1st year... so yeah...

          Without trawling through a ridiculously long EULA (from BOTH the service provider and from the manufacturer) I would be wary.

          Again, when you get a phone from from a provider, you get it from Telstra, Vodafone, Optus, etc. Samsung/HTC/Nokia *could* replace your device, but then your provider is under no obligation to support the device, just the service.

          Without understanding who is actually accountable for redressing your hardware issues, you can end up being covered by noone.

          IANAL, I've just seen enough people do such things and discover that due to their own actions, the manufacturer and the service provider are under no obligation to cover them.

            I had a problem with my iPhone - jumped on genius bar, booked an appointment, went to the store. Apple Rep said yeah its an issue. Swap over. See you later. All in 10 minutes.

            I don't care who my provider is... Apples customer service is far superior to Telstra... and they are Australian and I can understand them talking to them... not some overseas call centre

            What I mean is basically what you said in the first post. You're better off going through the carrier if you want your 2nd year of warranty to apply. Obviously, the telco is under no obligation to provide warranty for a phone that doesn't match up to their system (if the IMEI's don't match). So even though a quick solution would be to go straight to the manufacturer, it will hurt in the long run if you have more issues later in the contract.

          I'm pretty sure that Samsung give 2 years warranty on most of their phones

    I really wouldn't be so quick to dismiss this as a hardware issue.

    Could very easily be software based. For example, a lot of people have been having issues with random reboots. Further investigation by various people on forums such as XDA determined the cause was the Google Chrome Beta app.

    A cause of freezing could also be wakelocks if you are running Android 4.3. A lot of people have been experiencing this bug.

    Look into it a bit further before handing off to Telstra and being stuck without your phone. If you can't find a probable cause, then hand over to Telstra. With that said, there seems to be a lot of S3 users with your problem. A google search will turn up numerous results.

    Don't go into the Telstra store. Those representatives are only interested in dealing with people buying contracts. They want their commission.

    Best to go direct to Samsung. I rarely ever go to the retailer for anything. Going direct to the manufacturer, always leads to a better outcome. Not necessarily a store. I usually email the company. They reply. Sometimes they send a brand new one out, and I return the old one. For laptops, they send parts. Had HP send me an LCD & a HDD in the past.

      Only if the manufacturer has good representation here in Australia. Going to HTC for anything is a disaster, for example. Unless your phone is a Samsung or Apple I'd be heading back to the telco at first, it's their job to honour the warranty anyway.

      Yeah I have to agree - avoid the retail stores at all cost..

      I tried to get them to help me with a manufacturer warranty on my Lumia 920 purchased outright from them but on Optus, was immediately transferred to a designated person they had to handle such enquiries, where I was told in no uncertain terms they would not be supporting me.

      Not that Nokia were much better, but were legally mandated. Huzzah!

    Had an Optus S3 with similar issues - locking up completely, random reboots etc. Installed Nova Launcher and all problems disappeared. TouchWiz FTL.

      I used to experience lock-ups multiple times a week on my unbranded Samsung Galaxy SII. I installed a third party launcher (Apex Launcher), and the stability improved no end.

      I recommend downloading the handset manufacturer's update software to your PC to ensure that your phone is running the latest software image. This doesn't take long to do and can save a trip to the repairer/retailer. Bugs that cause lockups will often be squashed in subsequent software releases. Incidentally, moving from Android 4.0 to 4.1 also improved reliability on my SGSII.

    I don't work for telstra, but in defence of the retailers...
    Your helpy helperton tips would be actually useful if the store employees were empowered to actually offer straight up replacements that far into the contract. It's not part of the ACL (as far as I know) that the customer gets to choose what they want; the retailer can choose an acceptable solution providing time frame etc is acceptable. There is however, a period in which the customer can get a replacement if it is within say 30 days or so. Usually the stores are required by the manufacturer to have the phone assessed by a trained & certified tech. Even if you called the manufacturer directly, you'd be required to send the phone away. Because we all know that it's not always the manufacturers fault your phone isn't working... some people like to carry their devices in their bra etc...
    BTW does sound like software. Or telstra bloatware lol

    I had the same issues with my Galaxy S3, took it back to Optus and they fixed it no probs (it froze as I was showing it to him). It still does freeze from time to time but not enough to annoy me. Optus did provide good customer service, but don't bother trying to send a message or use the internet if it's windy or the windows are shut.

    my S3 started to freeze up atleast once a day, i bought a new extended battery about 2 months ago and the phone hasnt frozen since. just saying

    Hi
    I had the exactly same issue with s2 bought from Optus.
    I was suggested by Optus to take the phone Samsung service (there is one on Parramatta road in Granville nsw.
    It is much faster this way, however do not expect a loan phone.
    Samsung repaired it twice. When I had the problem the third time, they simpliy gave me a new s2 and did not take back the old phone.
    Hope this helps.

    "The first step is to ring up Telstra’s 24-hour customer service line on 132200."

    ... But my phone keeps rebooting every 2 minutes

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