Smartphones are complex, costly devices that we rely on for everything from keeping in touch with loved ones and storing our favorite pictures to depositing a check or splitting a restaurant bill. These sophisticated devices aren’t meant to be dropped in a pool, sat upon, or left in the hot sun. So, what happens when disaster strikes and you’re left paying an expensive contract for a phone that no longer works? Do you know if your warranty will cover the cost of repairing or replacing your phone due to damage? What if your smartphone is lost or stolen—will your warranty replace it?
A recent survey conducted by Consumer Action revealed that, while virtually all new and many used phones come with a manufacturer’s warranty, nearly one-third (29%) of survey respondents who own a smartphone said they didn’t know if their phone came with a warranty. And although 69% of respondents were aware of the warranty, they did not know with whom to file a claim. Another survey, by Consumer Reports, found that one-quarter of consumers with a broken phone set out to fix it but ended up having to replace it because repairs were either too costly or inconvenient. Further complicating consumers’ ability to repair their phones is the scarcity of replacement parts and repair instructions, according to the FTC. So, do consumers have a right to repair their broken smartphones?