Consumer Reports

Giving You the Right to Repair Your Smartphone

Consumer Reports looked at the challenge consumers face when trying to repair their devices

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

It’s an all too familiar story- dropping a phone and trying to decide whether you would want to repair your phone or purchase a new one. 

New phones tend to be more expensive- costing more than thousands of dollars. Fixing a broken smartphone might be the best option, but it’s easier said than done. 

“One time I left my phone on the back of my car at Trader Joe’s parking lot, drove away, realized I left it there, came back and it was smashed in the middle of the street,” said a person surveyed by Consumer Reports. 

Despite such high figures when purchasing a new device, Kaveh Waddel, a Consumer Reports Tech Editor said most people did not even consider repairing their smartphones.

“When we surveyed people about this a few months ago, a lot of people said they don’t fix their smartphones when they break because it’s too expensive to do it. And a lot of other people said it’s too inconvenient,” Waddell said. 

Finding replacement parts, instructions and tutorials for fixing these electronic devices are also very scarce, according to Waddel. He said that newer phones are made with glued-in batteries and specific screws, making it tougher for people to access and repair their phones. 

Manufacturers claim that fixing broken devices through independent repair shops will be a lower quality, and even dangerous, according to Consumer Reports. Instead, Consumer reports said manufacturers urge consumers to get their products repaired by their authorized technicians. 

Consumer Reports said if you repair the phone yourself or take it to an independent shop, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll void the warranty. In fact, there are other third-party shops that are approved directly by the manufacturers.

“Lawmakers in a number of states and Congress are considering bills that would make it easier to repair your own things, including your smartphone,” said Waddell. 

Recently, Apple said it will make some parts and repair manuals available for customers and repair shops and Microsoft has reportedly said it would work to make some of its devices easier to fix. 

In the meantime, Consumer Reports said that if you have a broken phone, the next step you should take is to compare prices between repair shops, check if you have any insurance through your credit card and see if the device is under a repair plan like AppleCare. 

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