Angie's List: Cellphone Warranty

If you are like most people, your cell phone is within reach at all times, morning, noon and night. But with all that use, there is a good chance your phone could be damaged.

But when does it pay to consider repairing your cell phone, instead of replacing it? Friday's Angie's List report has the answer.

Elias Quintana relies on his cell phone to help with his day-to-day activities, but it's been a little tricky lately with a broken screen.

"Within the same week it happened,” explains Elias Quintana. “One day I dropped it getting out of the car and the next day I dropped it in my apartment and then the day after that I dropped it outside somewhere."

"Cell phones today have become a life line for most of us,” says Angie Hicks the Founder of Angie’s List. “We carry them with us wherever we go which means they are likely to get dropped, dropped in the water, broken, and many times people think they automatically need replaced, but they can be repaired. It's something you should check out to see whether it's cost-efficient."

Repair typically costs a fraction of what you would pay to replace your smartphone, a new one can run about $500 when not subsidized by a phone carrier. A common repair such as a cracked screen can often be fixed for less than $100. But sometimes fixing just isn't cost effective, like paying to replace your phone's motherboard.

"We're seeing more and more companies that will do cell phone repair, but the key here is finding someone who specializes in the make and model of your type of phone so that they have the right expertise," says Angie.

The best thing you can do to avoid repair or replacement costs? Take care of your phone.

"Investing $100 or $50 in a high quality case is going to be the best thing for you,” explains Chris Barclay a cellphone repair man. “A lot of people don't want the bulk of it, or they don't like the color of it, and that's not the purpose of the case. The case is to protect your investment so you don't have to come see me."

So do your research, and make the right call. If you have phone insurance, be sure to read and understand exactly what it covers.

If you have a phone case, check the company's warranty. Some offer a lifetime warranty on their cases so if your device breaks while in their product, they will replace it for you.

Electronics aren't built to last forever, but a reputable repair shop may be able to fix your broken phone.
As cellular phones become more of a necessity, more repair shops are surfacing, hoping to give a second life to your dead device.

Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of consumer reviews , asked highly rated cellphone repair companies about fixing your gadgets.

Common cellphone repairs:
• Cracked screens
• Water damage
• Battery replacement

Sometimes the problem proves as simple as a loose wire or cracked screen, but occasionally the motherboard is fried, which is often not cost effective to repair.

Repair or replace? It's worth weighing the pros and cons of repairing versus replacing before you shop for a new device. Some devices are worth paying to have repaired, and some are not. If the item isn't covered by a warranty or service plan and you aren't sure which way to go, consult a reputable repair service and get an estimate for the cost of repairing. Then you have the information you need to make an informed decision.

Angie's List Tips: Hiring a cellphone repair company
• How much? Repair typically costs a fraction of the replacement cost of a new smartphone, which often runs $500 or so when not subsidized by a phone carrier. Be sure the estimate includes costs for labor and parts before you sign off on anything.
• Is there a guarantee? Does the work come with a guarantee? How long is the guarantee? Make sure you have all the details in writing.
• Match the item to the technician: Finding the right repair shop for your device depends on the experience and specialty of the shop. Look for a repair shop that specializes in the kind of item you need fixed. You want someone who is knowledgeable about your device.

Angie's List Tips: Taking care of your phone
• Protect it: Invest in a high quality phone case. Check the company's warranty. Some offer a lifetime warranty on their cases so if your device breaks while in their product, they will replace the device for you.
• Keep away from water: Avoid putting your phone on a table that has condensation. Do not take your phone in the bathroom or out on a boat, pool, etc.
• Avoid heat: Keep your phone out of the sun and from heat sources like your stove/oven, furnace, chimney, lamps, etc.

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