Third-party phone repairs

If you’ve smashed, chipped or soaked your phone, or it’s simply not performing as well as it was, you might be wondering if it’s worth having it repaired.

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Does the warranty cover a broken phone?

Not always. Warranties are included as standard with many phones, but the length and level of cover depend on the manufacturer. For example, Apple offers 12-month warranty cover, while other brands’ warranties may last for 24 months. A warranty is the manufacturer’s assurance that you are getting a quality phone. 

Issues like faulty software, a loose component or a battery that won’t hold its charge are likely to be covered. However, If you are the cause of the problem – for instance if you dropped your phone and smashed the screen – responsibility for the fault doesn’t lie with the manufacturer and is unlikely to be covered by its warranty terms. 

Does my insurance cover smartphone repair?

This depends on your provider. Most mobile networks offer insurance for an additional cost when you buy your phone, which means accidents are covered from day one. Most will also give you a courtesy phone to use while yours is being repaired. However, paying for this type of cover over a two-year contract can sometimes prove pricier than a one-off repair, although it’s likely to be cheaper than buying a replacement handset. 

Alternatively, you could choose a third-party insurer, in which case you can specify the level of cover you want. At the time of writing, in August 2020, most policies of this type cost less than £20 a month to cover theft and accidental damage  - although making a successful claim under these policies depends on how the damage is caused. 

Can my broken smartphone be fixed?

A quick internet search will reveal plenty of local businesses willing to carry out repairs on your phone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those repairs will be successful. Don’t be seduced by sales talk and big promises. Here’s a quick summary of the issues you’re likely to encounter and the chances of them being fixed.

Easily fixedPotentially fixableUnlikely to be fixed
Smashed/cracked screenData rescueWater damage
Battery replacementCamera damageSea/pool water damage
Displaced home buttonHeadphone port issuesFire damage

Smashed screens can usually be repaired by any phone repair shop – there are even DIY kits available online, though we wouldn’t advise using them. Battery replacement is trickier, especially if your phone doesn’t have an easy-to-remove battery unit. For safety reasons, make sure that any replacement battery is an official replacement part certified by your phone’s manufacturer. 

Whether your phone will recover from water damage is largely a matter of luck – leave it on the side to dry, try the rice trick, and see if it survived. There’s a good chance that if it doesn’t show signs of life once it’s fully dry, a repair shop won’t be able to revive it, either – although they’ll still charge you for their time. Similarly, fire damage may mean that parts of your phone have melted, so you’ll need to invest in replacement parts rather than just a straightforward repair.

Remember: just because your issue can be fixed, it doesn’t mean that it will be fixed well, cheaply or in a way that won’t come back to bite you later. Apple has even gone so far as to lock out iPhone 11 users if an unofficial replacement part is detected. 

Can you trust phone repair shops?

Not necessarily and it pays to be cautious. Mobile network providers and phone’s manufacturers offer repair services and while these may be more expensive than a neon-lit shop on the high street, you generally get what you pay for. There’s no guarantee that independent phone repair shops will use official parts and their work is unlikely to be endorsed by your phone’s manufacturer. This means that the moment they crack open your phone, any warranty or insurance you have will be invalid.

There’s also the issue of data security – you’re not just handing over a broken screen; you’re leaving the shop’s staff alone with everything that you keep on your phone. Network providers and manufacturers have strong codes of practice in place when it comes to protecting personal data but independent shops may not be so rigorous in applying industry standards. 

High street transactions may also leave you with no comeback if the repairs prove to be shoddy because payments are often in cash with no receipt of the work that’s been carried out. Your network provider, on the other hand, will link details of any repairs to your account, and you may have to sign off any work to which you agree. 

Which phone shops are trustworthy?

Here’s how to make sure you’re going to a trustworthy phone repair shop:

  • They are officially endorsed by your manufacturer: this means they use official parts that won’t invalidate your warranty or insurance. The shop itself should promote this fact, but you can always call your manufacturer’s helpline to confirm the shop’s affiliation. 

  • They are officially endorsed by your network’s local branch: some local branches may outsource their repair work to a nearby shop if they don’t have a repair centre on-site or are overwhelmed with orders. This may add a few extra pounds to your bill compared to going to the repair shop directly, but it means that your network has endorsed the work.  

  • You go direct: going straight to Apple with a broken iPhone or heading to Samsung with a malfunctioning Galaxy means you’ll get an approved repair service with official replacement parts. That said, going to an endorsed third-party repair shop that uses official parts may be a cheaper option.

How much does a mobile phone screen repair cost?

Price is the principal way phone repair shops edge out official repair centres. In general, you can save money by avoiding the manufacturer, but unless the shop is endorsed, you’re likely to get lower quality parts as well. The cost of your repair will depend on your model. Here’s a quick look at a few devices and their costs, as of August 2020:

ManufacturerModelProblemCost
AppleiPhone 11 Pro MaxScreen repair£326
AppleiPhone SEBattery replacement£49
SamsungGalaxy S9 Screen repair (includes replacement battery)£219
SamsungGalaxy S20 UltraBattery replacement and installation£59

Delivery, VAT and service fees may be added to these costs.