Dear Lifehacker, I've owned a Samsung Galaxy S3 for 18 months. It worked quite well until the dreaded (and seemingly common) freezing and rebooting problems. From my understanding this is a problem that should be covered under warranty as I'm on a contract. However, before contacting Optus my phone's screen got smashed.
After the freezing incident, I put my SIM in an old phone to use temporarily and forgot about the S3. Through my own neglect it ended up with a massively broken screen that only shows random-coloured lines. I can still tell it's doing the starting-and-rebooting trick though. As it's still under warranty, can I take it to Optus and get it replaced for just the rebooting problem, while ignoring the screen issue? Thanks, Dropped It
There seems to be a lot of this going around with the Galaxy S3; a friend of mine recently experienced the same freezing problem. There's obviously no harm in asking for a replacement. The tricky part will be convincing them that the freezing isn't a consequence of the phone being smashed.
There's also a strong possibility that the phone's internals were damaged in the fall, which will be immediately obvious upon inspection. You can't retroactively ask for an issue to be repaired when your own negligence has since rendered the phone unusable. Your predicament is somewhat similar to how jailbreaking an iPhone voids the warranty even if the problem you're trying to get fixed isn't related.
One possible solution would be to contact Optus and inquire whether the freezing issue is covered under warranty, without mentioning the smashed screen. Once you receive confirmation, you can then have the screen replaced by a mobile repair shop to avoid awkward questions. This is unlikely to be cheap but it certainly beats forking out for an entire new phone. (If Optus decides to repair the phone instead of replacing it, you would've had to get the screen fixed anyway.)
If you decide to go down this route, you'll still be taking a bit of a gamble though. The new screen will almost certainly be noticed and may be called into question -- so the risk is up to you. The lesson here is that you should always chase warranty repairs promptly, before other issues have a chance to arise.
If any readers have suggestions of their own or have ever been in a similar predicament, let DI know in the comments section below.
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