how to catch a break with the cell phone company when phone broke right after warranty expired?
March 15, 2006 1:09 PM   Subscribe

my cell phone broke right after the warranty period ended. has anyone had any luck getting a new cellphone or break on their fees, when their cellphone broke shortly after the warranty expired? how did you do it?

Is there any "Hack" to getting Cingular, or any other Cell Phone Place to give you a new phone, or a decent break on your fees, if your phone is broken and it is just out of the warranty period? I actually have been very happy with their service, and I have a ton of rollover minutes built up, that I would hate to lose! It seems that with all the other carriers offering promotions for new contracts, they would do something to keep a happy customer, apparently their customer service dept. thinks otherwise.
posted by dthaspaz to Human Relations (6 answers total)
Generally, they'll give you steep discounts if you're willing to sign a new contract with them just as they would if you were a new customer willing to sign a contract. This is true when your warranty expires, or a week after you get the phone (my mother bought a new RAZR with a two-year contract, 18 months into her old 2-year contract, and within days washed the thing--went right back for a new one, and the new, one-week-later contract simply replaced the old one, being for two years from the date of the new purchase/contract.
posted by Cricket at 1:20 PM on March 15, 2006

Since you're using Cingular, and Cingular is a GSM provider, you can buy any unlocked (or Cingular-locked) GSM phone from eBay (or somewhere else) and put the SIM card from the old phone into the new phone. I'm sure if you look around you could find a decent phone for around $20-$30.
posted by helios at 1:25 PM on March 15, 2006

There should have been a ). instead of a . at the end of that. Oops, sorry. Otherwise, the point stands--in my experiences with Cingular they have three price points for all their phones--a straight-up price (not advertised for most models--I've had to ask), a one-year contract price, and a two-year contract price. Gauge the likelihood of you cancelling with their cancellation policy to decide the best deal--for my contract they charge a cancellation fee of $10/month remaining on the contract.
posted by Cricket at 1:25 PM on March 15, 2006

I know at Verizon if you bitch and moan and "get really serious" about it, they'll usually replace it -- I've done that many times. Most phones don't cost them much at all, anyway.

I've heard Cingular used to be the same way, but lately has changed and become stricter as far as what they'll replace. YMMV, but threatening to cancel, call the BBB, etc., seems to help.

I'll be doing that at VZW next week. Good luck!
posted by SuperNova at 3:26 PM on March 15, 2006

Call them up and ask about "upgrading" your phone. The magic word is "upgrading", not "repairing". They have no need to know that your out-of-warranty phone is busted. They'll probably have an option or two that is a free upgrade. I had to renew my contract at the same time.

I upgraded my phones from T-Mobile a couple times this way; now I'm with Sprint and have no idea if the same thing holds here.

BTW, the original suggestion came from T-Mobile customer service. I called and asked about getting a phone repaired, and they told me to call the upgrade line instead.
posted by chazlarson at 7:29 AM on March 16, 2006

My phone broke on its own accord a few days ago (it stopped recognizing network towers), and after complaining to Cingular on the phone, they were able to give me a "deal" on a phone, paying for a phone under the one-year cost. Still was rather steep for the cheapest phone ($150 range), but as it is my primary phone I needed a new one quick without days-long delays.
posted by itchie at 11:44 AM on May 24, 2006

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