Ask LH: If I've Dropped My Phone, Does That Void Subsequent Warranty Repairs?

Hey Lifehacker, I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 Active with a cracked screen and its earphone jack recently broke. I've been told that because the screen is broken the warranty is void and they refuse to repair the earphone jack. Is the warranty really void? Thanks, Smash It Up

Dear SIU,

As we've noted in the past, getting a damaged phone repaired for an unrelated warranty issue can be tricky. You'll need to demonstrate that the faulty earphone jack isn't a consequence of the screen breaking (consumer guarantees don't cover damage that has been caused by the owner.) In other words, you can't expect the supplier to simply take your word for it.

Unless you happen to be a smartphone engineer, proving that the two issues are unrelated is going to be difficult. Unfortunately, the fact that the earphone jack stopped working at a later date doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't damaged in the fall. Instead, it could have been a delayed failure.

One option is to get the cracked screen fixed by a mobile repair shop. This won't be cheap but it certainly beats forking out for a brand new phone. Once it has been repaired, contact the original supplier about the phone jack issue (while obviously keeping mum about the screen replacement.)

Just be mindful that the new screen probably won't escape detection when you send it in for repair. If you're lucky, they won't bother to question it but you're going to be taking a bit of a gamble here. If any readers have alternative suggestions, let SIU know in the comments section below.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    Your warranty is pretty much gone, any claims will be a fight as it needs to be proven the damage wasnt caused by whatever damaged the screen. This will take a LONG time if my claim was anything to go by, I received a note3 with a dead on arrival headset jack(bad grounding) and was left wondering if the replacement handset i received from my provider would be out of my pocket for almost 2 months while it was away for testing.
    Maybe look into a bluetooth headset so you dont need the jack?

      +1 for bluetooth.
      Can be issues with signal conflicts and recharging/pairing can be a hassle but overall they're fantastic.

      I've had a cheap one from e-bay - it's worked for about 2-2.5 years (while, like, 10 wired earphones have broken in the same time), I don't need to worry about being plugged in or close to the computer/phone, I've got a built in microphone, and the sound quality's pretty good.

      Just make sure you get one with a decent battery.

    This might work with lesser brands like ZTE but it certaintly doesnt work with Apple iPhone, the new HTCs/LGs and Samsungs. You wont get a repaired phone you'll get a quote for a "refurbished" model.

    Source:
    3 years selling mobile phones for Telstra & Optus.

    The local tech store does phone repairs, then their customers come into our shop to claim warranty all the time. Knock off screens are pretty easy to spot nine times out of ten and then we have to listen to "I didn't know having my phone pulled apart by a small town technician would void my warranty" speech.

    Bad advice, having worked at the Fruit Store I can tell you they know when a screen has been replaced with non-genuine parts and having the screen repaired will automatically have them refuse service.

    Now admittedly you might be able to argue this away the same way you could doing the unrelated issue way, you're probably entitled eitherway but the former is much easier and much more likely to succeed.

    And if it doesn't? You haven't just repaired the headphones of a broken phone.

    In some cases, household insurance covers broken phones. I replaced an old netbook that got damaged by having bubble soap spilt on it and all i paid was a $100 gap and the insurance company replaced it.

    Just talk to your insurance company and if you have the right coverage you might be able to claim.

    I put a phone in to Telstra for a busted audio jack.

    They denied immediately on grounds that the screen was cracked. It was actually just a scratch, which was pretty obvious - it went over both the glass and metal surface. When I asked for a reevaluation, they made a big deal of "giving me the benefit of the doubt". My impression is they really don't want to service warranty claims. I doubt a replacement screen would fare any better.

    I'd expect that for smartphones, insurance is a way better option than warranty.

    I had almost exactly the same issue. Harvey Norman would not do it. I threatened to take them to the ACCC, but lost patience when they said more or less "okay, if you must" and just got them to send it back.

    Send the phone away for warranty repair.
    If they send it back, they send it back.

    OR drain the battery completely, leave it in a draw for a few months so it has zero charge whatsoever and then the battery won't charge. Take it in for that issue, saying the screen still works. TA DA!

    I'd say that you have a "duty of disclosure". With any warranty. Keeping "mum" would be...
    Lying,
    Illegal,
    Wrong, and
    Immoral.

    Smash It Up, I see this as an instance of a Divine Influence telling you to upgrade to an iPhone 6.

    Similar situation with me. My screen smahsed and I got it replaced. Shortly after my camera was defective. I took my phone back to my service provider for a warranty claim and did not disclose that I had my screen replaced (they didn't ask me). Phone will be assessed and hopefully I will get a brand new one.

    I resently got my iphone 5 lcd fix at a local phone fix store but 3 days after that i dropped my phone and the screen and lcd broke again, putting it back to the same state before it was fixed. However i was given a 30 day warrenty with my purchase (its been a week since). Will my warrenty still cover my phone even if its my fault i dropped it and broke it again?

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