Samsung UK’s attempt to dodge honouring Sudden Death Warranty Claims

Since November there have been stories of the Sudden Death Syndrome on the Samsung Galaxy SIII.

The problem is said to effect a limited number of Galaxy SIIIs. Sadly most people don’t get to use the eMMC Brickbug Check app from the Play store to check if they’re effected because, let’s face it, 9/10 users don’t know about, or expect, a manufacturing defect like this to go on without being dealt with.

This means they also don’t know that they should keep their devices regularly backed up because if it’s going to go, that’s what is going to happen.  The preventative measure is to obtain Android version 4.1.2+ for your Samsung as it is a bug specific to the 4.1.1 (and older?) firmware.  There’s over 500 pages on the XDA Developers site so it’s becoming more prominent for sure.

Now, I have read online customers of various countries having problems getting Samsung to play ball with honouring this clearly obvious manufacturing defect under warranty if you happen to have a cracked screen.  The web has brought to my attention people who have had a broken screen for four months so the damage was totally unrelated, but I have personally met with an individual currently being refused the mainboard repair under warranty because of a small crack on the glass at the front of her SIII.  Now, I say glass not screen, because the phone worked fine for 7 months+ after the glass cracked in a tiny spot in the corner, not even near the LCD.  The buttons worked, the LCD was unaffected, the touchscreen was not affected at all.

The size of the crack blamed for mainboard failure

Really though?

Yet here we go, Samsung UK said the following first:

One of our engineers has tested your phone and they have found that it is no
longer covered by the manufacturer warranty because it has been subjected to
physical damage. The following part(s) will be required to repair your
handset back to working order:
GH82-06521A-A/S ASSY-PBA MAIN(COMM)GT_I9300/GH97-13630A-MEA FRONT-OCTA LCD
(SVC)_GT-I9300,BTU,CO; METALLIC BLUE/

The cost of the repair to your handset inclusive of parts, labour and
postage will be 248.77 GBP.

If you agree for the repair to continue on your handset then please contact
the following department to make a payment 02000011455.

What? £250 almost, charging for two parts, one being the mainboard (which isn’t her problem, clearly) and the other being a perfectly fine LCD (just because it happens to be attached to a slightly damaged piece of glass).

Come on Samsung, she’s not stupid.  After consulting with me she heads back to Samsung to get further help.

Their next reply after a back and forth communication and chasing the Service Centre and Customer Services constantly?

One of our engineers has tested your phone and they have found that it is no
longer covered by the manufacturer warranty because it has been subjected to
physical damage. The following part(s) will be required to repair your
handset back to working order:
GH82-06521A-A/S ASSY-PBA MAIN(COMM)GT_I9300/
The cost of the repair to your handset inclusive of parts, labour and

postage will be 167.33 GBP.

If you agree for the repair to continue on your handset then please contact
the following department to make a payment 02000011455.
Woah, so wait Samsung.  You’re charging for the mainboard replacement here at nearly £170 and nothing for the LCD? This means two things:
  • You are agreeing this can be fixed without replacing the LCD as it is an unrelated defect, not driven by the physical damage on the glass.
  • You are charging her for a mainboard replacement which is a manufacturing defect and should be covered under the warranty, irrespective of the glass state.

Let’s face it Samsung.  You know it’s a manufacturing defect, you’ve acknowledged it and offered preventative solutions, but you want to charge her for this.  The crack in the glass didn’t cause the fault after 7 months.  How could it?  Sure, if there had been liquid crystal all over the mainboard it could be blamed, but unless you’re planning on sabotage whilst the phone is still at the service centre, I know this wasn’t the case.

Now the latest they have claimed so far on the phone, not in writing, is the following points:

  • The warranty is not void for the mainboard due to physical damage (Johnny at Samsung UK Customer Services)
  • They will not repair the mainboard under warranty unless the screen damage is paid for first as it is one of their “rules” in the service centre (I heard that as, “money making scams” when told it)
  • The screen repairs cost between £30 and £200 (the individual in this case was quoted £130, which makes no sense as it’s literally a piece of glass that’s broken not the LCD itself and in all honesty she doesn’t need this done!)

So, I can’t imagine there is any motivation behind them saying no to fixing the mainboard under warranty except to ruin the life and bank balance of someone trying to work three jobs whilst studying just so they can make a little extra money.

I owned a Galaxy SII, I own a Galaxy Note II and I’m really considering if this is the right way to go now.  Perhaps the Apple customer service element was right all along.  Perhaps Samsung shouldn’t just be afraid about its cheap plastics but how it treats its customers.

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26 thoughts on “Samsung UK’s attempt to dodge honouring Sudden Death Warranty Claims

    • Hi David,

      I don’t know if you read all the way to the end where I mention I have a Galaxy Note II, but in case you don’t know my phone history, it doesn’t include an iPhone.

      In any case, I have a Note II on EE and I have only got 4.1.1 whereas everyone I know with an SIII can, as you say, get 4.1.2 now. Unless it’s a carrier locked phone where you may experience some delays. In any case, the individual in question may be one of many who hasn’t upgraded yet, because why should they? Samsung doesn’t advise that if you don’t update you will fry your phone do they?

      Also, if you’re actually serious by your comment rather than simply trolling take note of a few other things:

      • I am writing about a company whose phones make up the majority within our family
      • I have an earlier post on the Nexus 4, which will end up in another post on why I decided to go Samsung Note II instead
      • I’d prefer to write about fun things that make my world rather than things that ruin the worlds of people I know, but sometimes you have to have a platform to voice the feelings of others.
      • Hi chiraag, hi all,

        I was wondering if you and your friend had resolved the issue yet? If so please tell me how.

        alfiejbear@hotmail.co.uk

        I’ve had the exact same problem with my s3 phone, bought it about August/September 2012, cracked the screen badly after 20 days. However has still worked spot on for the last 6-8 months with no issues. Suddenly, phone’s in my pocket, i think i hear it ringing, as i go to get it from my pocket it comes out completely dead. I’m completely innocent like your friend so she’s not alone in this exact issue.

        I have contacted Samsung three times, twice the same person answered and then once another person which i then asked to speak to a supervisor- of whom was no help. I was told that my cracked screen would have to be repaired first for a cost to me of £130, estimate. Before they would even attempt to find the exact fault in the phone to see if it was covered under warranty. They would probably lie and void the warranty for other ridiculous reasons anyway, because like you said they’re on a money making scam.

        After feeling like i’ve been scammed i contacted the service repair centers and explained the situation and they told me the same thing, i asked if they would be so kind as to check if the phone actually has the sudden death syndrome ( which i’m 99.999999%) certain it has, of which the man replied after one long ass phone call “No, but look, bring it down and i’ll give you my —–opinion——–“, meaning bring it all the way down here and i’ll say yes just to get a days work out of your screen repair…. i don’t think so…then he’ll tell me he wants another £150 or something to switch the main board…. so that’s £250 when a new handset is only £330.

        A couple of days later i thought about it for a bit and i rang Three, the network i am with because usually they’re great and i’m assuming they’re partly liable due to the fact i was jointly sold the product and contract at the same time from one of their stores. At first they told me about sending it off to a repair center to see if they could fix it and then i mentioned the screen and they said they couldn’t repair it under the warranty because of that….so i said i’m not happy and i think you’re liable bla bla can you give me a temporary phone or an upgrade or replacement. He told me i could have a refurbished S3 for £40 so i was happy enough with that… but then i asked just to double check if the refurbished phone would be under warranty because this refurbished s3 could have the same chip/hardware/software fault and die 2 days later?

        So…. he spoke to a supervisor to check because he wasn’t sure and i came back with an answer of “sorry Mr… i’m actually afraid we can’t give you the refurbished phone if your screen is cracked…is there anything else i can help you with” I asked why and he explained his supervisor just said it’s not possible because of physical damage because when they send it to samsung, samsung won’t repair it for them and so they will lose money on the phone that i send them back….

        I asked to speak to a supervisor ( btw i’ve been speaking to the technical team at Three network)
        And he called me within 24 hours, told him to situation briefly, he basically didn’t want to know, told me how it was going to be the same the previous man had said, i said i’m not happy and he asked me if i wanted to make a complaint and said someone will call me in 72 hours…..(this is the stage i am at now) and he cut me off the phone midway speaking. Nice…customer care their bro!

        So i think it’s weird how Three were willing to help me by sending me a refurbished phone for £40 until he told his supervisor that it had a cracked screen, i really don’t know what to make of that. Someone tell me what they think of that please?

        Also please can someone help me? I don’t want to have to go to the solicitor because it’s too costly but i’m tied into a 24 month contract for £31 a month and gave £29 for the phone itself. It has all my personal photos and information on their which i don’t want anybody else to see. So i don’t want to send it off if possible.

        Am i in the right? or legally in the wrong?

        I bought the phone in good faith that it would be covered under warranty should something like this happen, if this was mentioned to me at the point of sale i would’ve just bought an iphone. It seems quite unlawful actually. AND i was never sent an notification by Samsung or Three about any software updates to resolve the fault so how was i supposed to know.

        Let me know what you all think, i’ll try to stay in this blog/thread if i can.

        If anyone else has had the same issue and had it resolved please shed some light for me

        alfiejbear@hotmail.co.uk

  1. My phone has suffered from sudden death and I have it on an Orange contract. I have been in contact with Orange and am waiting to hear whether they will sort the problem or refer me to Samsung. My handset has a slight dent (deep scratch) in the side just hope they don’t use that as an excuse in my case.

    • I will write an update on the situation regarding the Repair Centre’s movement on this. They are creating a kerfuffle but their Chairman and his team has been hard at work looking for a solution.

    • I’m late coming back to this I know but after messing around with my carrier for a couple of weeks, with orange promising to send me return bags etc. to get the phone repaired by them I took it to a Samsung service center close to where I live and they turned it round in about 5 days. (this was about May time).

      Hope everyone else gets a service this good without having their time wasted!

  2. My Note 2 has just suffered from sudden death and part of the problem is that it is listing the phone as being ‘rooted’ – even though it never has been. It also no longer lists what the device is in download mode and according to the CPW this is common in SDS.

    Having researched this quite thoroughly over the past few days let me tell you that under EU law the manufacturer must give a TWO year warranty – whether the phone is rooted or not.

    Worth remembering :]

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1998801

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31999L0044:EN:NOT

    • Interesting to know that, thanks Jamie. Hers wasn’t rooted either, but it’s really the physical damage they are making much ado about. And really it is over nothing. They can’t confirm to her which eMMC chip is in her phone, and neither can they confirm the screen crack caused any form of failure, but they still wish to use it as an excuse to void warranty and charge for the mainboard replacement. However the issue has been escalated so I will update when a solution has arrived.

  3. Sorry if I was hijacking your thread but I really want people to get the message that they’ve got a lot more rights – and recourse – than some of the shops/suppliers are telling them.

    If you’ve bought a phone that has malfunctioned within the statutory two year warranty don’t be fobbed off by the seller telling you that you’re not covered – they, by law, have to prove that it is your fault – otherwise they have to fix your phone.

    If they start talking about warranties – remember that there are two – voluntary warranty, which is the company’s terms and conditions – and then the statutory warranty that they have to adhere to by European law. Assuming you are in Europe.

    It’s not just about rooting, if you read the legislation.

    Cheers 🙂

  4. So angry, they have done the same thing to me. My fault is described well by this guy here: http://tinyurl.com/p73u3eu but they wont fix it under warranty due to a 3mm crack right in the corner. The repair centre Samsung sent it to (Regenersis) were happy to look at the fault without fixing the screen (The fault pre-dates the crack) if Samsung drop them an email to go ahead but Samsung will not because ANY crack must be repaired before they will authorise any warranty work.

    • I will email you details of the chap at Regenersis who helped her out. She agreed to pay for the crack to be repaired and the work would then be carried out under warranty.

      • My note2 is also dead aftr 9mos of use. I still under the 1 warranty period but when i went to the service center,they are not taking liable if the motherboard is the problem. They said i will for it. Help me..i.think they are making me a fool because i dont knoq my rights. I read to them what is written in the warranty certificate that they will replace the mobile set in whole or in parts but they still not accepting to repair my phone!im very upset because the motherboard Is very expensive!my phone has no physical damage. And i want to claim my warranty privilege. Help me what to do

  5. Useful article Chiraag. My S3 died about 6 weeks ago – sounds exactly like SDS others have reported. It too has had a cracked screen for several months (no damage to LCD). I am one of the 9/10 users who did not know about the eMMC app….

    I took it back to the EE shop and they sent it to the repair centre. I am told it is out of warranty because it has suffered physical damage to the screen. Price for repair £108 for repairing the screen after which the “software issue” (I suspect they mean motherboard issue but they have not put anything in writing) will be repaired for free under warranty.

    Are you aware of anyone having a satisfactory outcome to this issue?

  6. Hello,

    I was wondering whether you managed to get anywhere with Samsung? I am also having a diabolical time with their customer services who are refusing to give me a repair for free. They are trying to charge me a whopping £245 because my mainboard and has failed and like your case I too have a small chip on the edge of the lcd glass.

  7. Same here my s3 died. But I’m a student in Finland now I hope Samsung Finland would be nicer :/
    I would appreciate it if you tell us how you deal with the problem my phone has no scratches on the glass but some glitches around.

  8. Is there any scope for pursuing Samsung wrt the statutory warranty obligations and the fact that a cracked glass screen has nothing to do with a boot loop / sudden death issue on an S3? Surely there’s somethign to go at?

    The thing is still well within it’s 24 month warranty, it failed back in April, 7 months after having it (I suspect mid-android update) and since then we have been passed between provider, repairer and manufacturer.

    At the moment the best we can do is buy out the remainder of the contract (£160), recylce the damn thing as broken (£65 with Phone Recycle Bank) and start a new contract. THe only other alternative is to repair it at a cost of £145 because the only warranty approved official Samsung part is the integrated glass / lcd screen before then sending it off for warranty repair because the phone can’t find it’s IMEI number and samsung won’t of course fix that if the screen is cracked.

    Of course there’s a low cost, risky non-warranty option of ebay glass-only repair which risks damaging the lcd.

    what a load of baloney.

  9. I have an s4 which has suffered the same problem except that the phone is in excellent condition, no scratches or broken screen. It just went black one morning. O2 are currently stating that it has been assessed by samsung and as the octa lcd is damaged it is out of warranty. I am waiting for a further assessment to explain how the phone has been damaged before i refer them to trading standards. Lets see how i get on. I am not prepared to leave it there! Until i read these feeds i had no idea about this problem. Thank you

  10. Hi there. I – like almost everyone else commenting – have the same problem with my S3 and have received the same letter from samsung after the phone was ‘tested’ by one of the Regenersis ‘engineers.’ i am extremely frustrated with all this as I expected a huge company like samsung to provide decent customer service. I was thinking of getting a repairing the mother board only (privately) and then billing Samsung after. My logic is that if the phone works after a mother board repair in spite of still having a crack on the glass, it proves that the issue is a software one and therefore covered under manufacturer’s 2 year warranty. Do you – or anyone else reading this – think Samsung would refund me the cost if I did this? Any advice would be much appreciated.. Also, has there been any progress with anyone else’s phone yet?

    • Hassan, I have contacted other people who have replied with contact details of the guys who sorted out the issue for her. It’s been a year since my post and still people are having the same issue and I urge you to fight it. Escalate the problem all of you.

      I am sorry for not writing a post to update more on this but I think it not wise to clog up my blog with something that is as trivial as this: If you believe you are genuinely right (it’s not the screen crack fault) then pay for the screen to be repaired ONLY if they first agree to fix the mainboard problem under warranty as soon as you have a repaired screen.

      Samsung won’t fulfil warranty claims usually if the screen is cracked but here is something interesting I was told by the person who got this repaired:

      She was given the OPTION to repair the screen by Regenesis. They eventually said (possibly only on the phone) they would fix the mainboard issue under warranty even without the screen being repaired, but she opted to repair the screen anyway as she wanted to hand the phone over to her mother on her next upgrade.

      I can’t guarantee that will work but let me know if you want me to email you the details of the guy at Regenesis who made this happen. Fight for your rights guys.

  11. Hi all. Just to share some experiance with you. My Samsung S7 stopped working after 2 months of use. Sent it to Samsung for repair and they refused to fix the phone. Explanation was “subject to physical damage”. Phone was never dropped or somehow modified (still in a brand new condition) so they are just avoiding to repair it. I would recommend to think twice before buying Samsung’s products as they are made from very cheap materials.

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