How to obtain an internal part of a cell phone
August 2, 2007 3:05 PM   Subscribe

I have had an LG cu320 phone for about 1.5 years, so it's out of warranty and I stupidly (or arrogantly) did not get insurance for the phone. Now an internal part is broken which has rendered the screen completely white and LG won't send me (the customer) the part and can only suggest I send it to them to repair, which would cost a *minimum* of $35.

The thing is, I know exactly which part is broken, it's a flex cable, and it has a crack in it. Even though I know exactly which part it is, LG is unwilling to provide any sort of price range except that repairs start at $35. I'm currently using an old phone, but this LG phone has better features, which I would like to use again if at all possible. I'm not eligible for an upgrade credit yet so I'm stuck with my old phone unless I can find a way to get this part or purchase a new phone altogether (not really an option with my finances at this point). Any suggestions, oh great Me-Fiers?
posted by pontouf to Technology (13 answers total)
It appears you could buy one off of ebay for around $5 with shipping. Perhaps try it yourself?
posted by dpx.mfx at 3:27 PM on August 2, 2007

There's a listing on ebay with 6 days left, currently at $50 with no bidders. The Buy It Now options are priced at around $100+.
posted by Xere at 3:31 PM on August 2, 2007

Oh, gosh, after xere's post I went back and looked. $5 is for the charger, not the phone. I'm sorry.
posted by dpx.mfx at 3:32 PM on August 2, 2007

Also, why you would ebay a phone, take it apart and fix your own phone is beyond me. Wow. Stooopid today. Sorry.
posted by dpx.mfx at 3:33 PM on August 2, 2007

Response by poster: Heh, thanks so far... I guess ideally I'm looking for a way to get the flat flex cable part... maybe convince a repair shop to order or sell one to me...
posted by pontouf at 3:38 PM on August 2, 2007

Try Radio Shack?

I fixed my cell phone for about $5 with a part from Radio Shack (Verizon was going to charge me a lot more).
posted by roofone at 4:11 PM on August 2, 2007

If the flat flex cable is just a plain one-to-one cable, that slides into connectors on both ends, there's a good chance you can order one from Digi-Key. I bought some Parlex flex cables for a recent laptop modding project and had great success.

If it's soldered at one end, and only slips into a connector at the other end, then you're gonna have to replace the entire component. Call local repair shops and ask if they have any junk "parts" phones of the appropriate model. Or just dumpster-dive, if it's a recent enough model that there might be a reasonable number of them being traded in.

I'm still using a 2002-vintage Nextel because I have 3 gallons of spare parts for it, and it's virtually indestructible so I've only had to dip into the spares twice. I know exactly where you're coming from. :)
posted by Myself at 4:19 PM on August 2, 2007

(You were not stupid or arrogant btw, just intelligently playing the percentages. Often cell phone companies' insurance add-ons are way overpriced and are known as a major profit center for them. If you want insurance in the future you could try a better-priced third party like Safeware.)
posted by lorimer at 4:50 PM on August 2, 2007

Have you ever been inside a cell phone? They're not too hard to take apart, but they can be a real bitch to get back together. The reason for that $35 charge isn't parts cost or the labor involved in replacing the cable, it's mostly because of disassembly and reassembly, and testing.

I think you should spend the money and let them do it.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:25 PM on August 2, 2007

I'd pull out the cable, take it to radio shack and ask them if they have anything like it
posted by edgeways at 6:15 PM on August 2, 2007

If you're on a cell phone provider that uses SIM cards, I say buy a new phone off ebay and use that.

(I lost my old phone a year ago, so I bought a used $10 Nokia 3100. The casing is almost entirely removable, so I bought a new casing and it's as good as new, no suspicious gunk from previous owner. I also bought a brand new AT&T sim card off ebay (so much cheaper than buying from an AT&T store), called AT&T to register the new sim card under my account. Still using both sim card and Nokia phone.)
posted by Xere at 10:13 PM on August 2, 2007

ugh, I meant Cingular. Or whatever they're calling themselves these days.
posted by Xere at 10:13 PM on August 2, 2007

I just checked Safeware's site, and it seems they don't cover cell phones, from the "Get A Quote" dialog page.

Anything further to contradict my findings here?
posted by SlyBevel at 10:47 PM on August 2, 2007

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