How likely is it that I've voided my warranty?
September 26, 2014 5:03 AM   Subscribe

I bought a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone a year and a half ago. The screen stopped working today (not due to an accident or any other trauma) and Samsung are sending me a return envelope to get it repaired. However, I had the screen replaced by a third party after smashing it last Christmas. It was replaced with a Samsung part. Does this mean my warranty is void?

I'm trying to figure out whether it's worth sending the phone back to them (it's likely to be about two weeks until I've got a working phone again, based on their estimates) if they're not going to be able to repair it now under the warranty as I had a part replaced by a third party previously.

I'm going to need to get a new phone in the meantime, and I can't tell whether I should spend £5 on the cheapest non-smart phone I can find and use that for two weeks while waiting for the repair, or if I should just cut my losses now and get a Moto G or other cheap smartphone and use that for the next eight months until my contract is due for an upgrade.

Both options cost money and involve hassle, and I'm generally more hassle-averse than I am cost-averse - if it's likely that the Samsung repair centre will open my phone up, find the whole front unit was replaced by someone else a while back and refuse to fix my phone/charge me for the privilege, I'd rather suck up the cost of a cheap smartphone now and save myself the bother.

I could phone Samsung again to clarify - but I spent half an hour on hold with them already today, and I'm generally pretty anxious about making not-absolutely-necessary phone calls (so, yes, I'd much, much rather ask the internet for a guess than call them again to find out for certain). I totally forgot about the repair until after I'd finished talking to their service representative.

The terms of the warranty state that it doesn't cover repairs/phone opening done by a third party, but it's worded in such a way that I can't tell if this means that they won't pay for such repairs as part of the warranty, or if the warranty is void following this kind of repair.

Does anyone have a feel for how likely it is that they'll refuse to fix my current phone, or is this not likely to be an issue? Has anyone had a similar experience?

posted by terretu to Technology (8 answers total)
Most likely yes you did. Will they notice? I don't know. Someone's they just replace the phonewithout repairs. If you did 3rd party repair before why dont you go that route?
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:08 AM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: For clarification: I did third-party repair before because the damage to my phone was entirely my fault and I knew the warranty wouldn't cover it. I'd prefer either to get it covered by warranty this time or buy a new phone because I don't want to spend more money on a phone that's beginning to show its age but wouldn't mind spending money on a new phone if I'm going to have to.
posted by terretu at 5:14 AM on September 26, 2014

If it's the US, they're actually not allowed to void your warranty due to repairs, unless they can reasonably show that the repairs themselves caused the failure. That'd be considered a service tie-in and warranties aren't allowed to have that type of clause.

I've never worked with Samsung but I've never had any problems with warranty after manually repairing something as long as I didn't screw up and break it myself.
posted by doomsey at 5:25 AM on September 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

You should return the Galaxy S3 for repair under warranty and buy yourself a new good phone (not a low end phone, but a phone you actually want). Then if Samsung repairs your Galaxy under warranty you sell it on the used market. If Samsung says the warranty is void, you tell them not to repair the phone you scrap it. Either way you get a good new phone, and you don't have to know in advance whether your warranty is void.
posted by alms at 6:56 AM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have replaced the screen on an S3 myself. That would be my suggestion. Try it yourself first. The parts were cheap compared to the cost that Verizon was going to charge me. I assume you can get parts wherever you are. There are tons of YouTube videos that walk you through the process of repair step by step. Phone worked great for a while, but after about 4 months I got a new phone so not sure about the LT prospects.

If the screen just stopped working and the power still comes on and there are no obvious cracks or reasons for screen not to work, it could just be that the connection for the screen, the ribbon came loose and just needs to be put back in. That is a 5 minute job of unscrewing the back and snapping it back in then putting the back back on. Could bring it to the local guy who fixed the screen last time and ask him to see if it is just a loose connection.

Otherwise, I think alms has a good plan.
posted by 724A at 7:01 AM on September 26, 2014

This is just my opinion, and not based on anything, but I think they almost certainly *can* deny your warranty. Whether they will or not is another question.

I doubt that they'll fix your individual device. Usually companies just swap it out with another refurbished device of the same type.

I have no experience with the Samsung warranty process.
posted by cnc at 8:38 AM on September 26, 2014

If I understand this, The part you had replaced by a third party has failed and you want the OEM to replace it.

They probably will, but they certainly don't have to. It isn't even their part anymore.
posted by bensherman at 10:38 AM on September 26, 2014

Given that a 3rd party put in a spare part that failed, Samsung could argue that they have no obligation other than to honour the warranty on the spare part, which (at least in AU) is generally far shorter than the product warranty and wouldn't necessarily include fitting anyway. It may be that the 3rd party didn't fit it properly or even that it wasn't an OEM part as claimed.

I would, in some ways, be more likely to go back to the 3rd party given that they did the work and supplied the part.
posted by mewsic at 4:33 PM on September 26, 2014

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