How can there be water damage if there was NO WATER??
August 13, 2009 7:22 PM   Subscribe

Wireless provider says my phone has water damage--it never touched water/liquid. What to do next?

About 2 days ago, my cell phone (Samsung A767 through AT&T) started cutting out when I was talking. Now I can't hear anything, not even a ring. Supposedly people on the other end can hear me fine. The rest of the features of the phone work fine. I just bought this phone in May, so it's still under warranty.

I took the phone to the AT&T store, and they said they couldn't do anything for me--there was water damage. This phone has never come into contact with water or any other liquids. It is either in my purse or pocket at all times, never on the counter, the bathroom, etc. I do, however, live in the Pacific Northwest, which is a particularly moist and rainy environment. Googling finds a website full of complaints that this phone claims false moisture damage.

Now what? We've had this account with AT&T for over 10 years and never required a replacement until right now. Surely that should count for something?
posted by moojoose to Technology (9 answers total)
I don't know what you can do next, but just to fill you in on why they are saying that it is water damaged: your dot is red. (I didn't read this article, just googled and saw the pic of the red dot).
posted by about_time at 7:46 PM on August 13, 2009

Right...interesting though is that the dot isn't completely red and is still white in places. Looks like litmus paper to me, which could change from any kind of moisture in the air.
posted by moojoose at 7:51 PM on August 13, 2009

Oh AND the dot isn't kept under the battery, just directly under the battery cover.
posted by moojoose at 7:52 PM on August 13, 2009

Yeah, there was a question here in the last week or so about an iPhone with the same "problem".

I've had an "iTouch" for exactly 1 year. It has never been used outside, it is kept in a headphone case (big, over-the-ear noise-cancelling Sony's) - I only use it on flights and listen to music via my stereo normally.

Yet, when I checked the headphone jack (because of this thread), sure enough... it's "red".

So fight it - tooth and nail.
posted by jkaczor at 7:53 PM on August 13, 2009

Has anyone actually prevailed in one of these water damage indicator scenarios? I get the impression that you're kind of screwed, unless you find a drone who is willing to take pity on you. The indicator may give false positive results, but AT&T has no reason to believe you (though I believe you). My work Blackberry's water damage indicators have tripped, though I know it has never gotten wet. Thankfully, it still works.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:02 PM on August 13, 2009

You're pretty much SOL. You can try can find looking for other users with the same issue- it might be a known defect/repair issue which you can try to explain to AT&T/Samsung.
posted by wongcorgi at 9:58 PM on August 13, 2009

I had a phone replaced a few years ago by Verizon. I'd called the guy to make sure it was covered and that they'd replace it, then tripped over there and he tried telling me the water damage thing, which I knew for a fact was not true. The dot may have been red, but the phone had never touched water in any sort. I stayed polite and firm with the rep and he just said screw it and replaced the phone. I may have lucked out, though.
posted by Tu13es at 6:01 AM on August 14, 2009

I have been reading more and more about this scam. The problem is that their indicators are apparently extremely sensitive to humid environments. Not just "Florida"-humid. More like, "moist palms in pocket with iPhone"-humid. Just Google "water damage phone" and see the hundreds of similar stories.

Fight it tooth and nail. These fuckers are trying to weasel out of their warranty period.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:51 AM on August 14, 2009

I went through a similar process. My SE k790a stopped working to which I sent in for factory return. They claimed water damage. I denied, sent back to them. They sent some vague pictures of what appears to have might have been water damage. My indicator was white (not red) and there wasn't any real sign of WD. You have to threaten but it might not be enough. Won't ever by SE again.
posted by stratastar at 8:32 AM on August 14, 2009

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