Remember back in February of 2013 when I dropped my Nexus 4 and shattered its screen? That was the first phone that I’d ever broken. Up until that time I’d always thought my friends and family must have been particularly clumsy or simply didn’t take care of their devices. While that may be true of some of them (you know who you are!), it’s certainly not descriptive of all of them!
Inevitably, everyone will break a phone. It’s going to happen. What happens next, however, is an entirely different story depending on who made the phone.
Let me preface this next bit with my observation and personal opinion that the LG-made Nexus 4 is arguably the most slippery phone on the entire planet! I have had more near-drops with the Nexus 4 than all the other phones and tablets that I’ve ever owned — combined!
My first Nexus 4 met its untimely fate against a cold, cement floor in my garage. I pulled the SIM and popped it into an older Galaxy Nexus to get me by until I figured out what to do with the broken phone. Needing that phone for articles and videos, I immediately placed an order with Google for a new Nexus 4 with expedited shipping. It arrived shortly thereafter. But what was I to do with the broken phone? It was obviously physical damage, which isn’t covered by the warranty. Google told me as much when I called, asking what I should do. Google referred me to LG.
I called LG. Within a few minutes all the pertinent information had been exchanged and a return authorization had been issued — with the understanding that the device would be inspected upon receipt, and options provided to me after the inspection, without any obligation or cost if I decided to do nothing.
Soon after I sent it off, I got an email from LG. I also got a follow-up phone call, making sure that I’d received the message. I was told that the “issue” with my device wasn’t covered by the warranty — which I already knew — but the returns department had inspected it and knew how much it would cost to repair: around $150.
I checked online. I could by the parts and perform the repair myself for about half that, but I wouldn’t have any warranty on the phone afterwards, and I’d have to invest around $30 in specialized tools that I didn’t have. Once I factored all that in, I felt it was worth it to have LG repair the phone for me.
Instead of repairing it, LG replaced it with a refurbished unit — one of the updated models with the little nubby feet. The cost was fair, the turn-around time was excellent, and in the end I was a very happy customer. The experience obviously left a positive impression.
My wife was able to upgrade from her Galaxy Nexus to this Nexus 4, and was quite happy with the upgrade!
I replaced that phone with the all new Nexus 5 when it was released, and retired the old Nexus 4 to my desk drawer. There it sat, making occasional appearances in videos and comparison images on Pocketnow. That is, until my wife’s Nexus 4 also decided to “test gravity”. Her screen broke as well.
Luckily, all we had to do was pop her SIM in my old phone, charge it up, and she was good to go! I placed her broken Nexus 4 in the drawer and forgot about it for months.
Then a good friend of mine thought he bricked his Samsung Galaxy S III. I tried for days to get it back to a usable state. Near the end of the process, when I had exhausted almost every option, I started looking in to possibilities for “Plan B”.
My friend didn’t want to invest much into a new phone (not yet anyway), so I gave him the option of buying my Nexus 4 — if LG was willing to fix it. He seemed okay with the idea, so I started the process.
Just like my previous experience, contacting LG was simple and quick, even after-hours when I called. Again I was told to send in the device and wait for the inspection report, which would include possible costs. Again, I was contacted by phone the day after I’d received the inspection report, just to make sure I’d gotten the email.
Just like before, the damage wasn’t covered by the warranty — just like I expected — and again, the cost of repair was quoted as right around $150.
The Moral of the Story
Here were two similar incidents, separated by around a year. Both involved out-of-warranty repairs. Both were handled quickly, and in exactly the same manner. Those facts, in and of themselves, are impressive enough. What’s somewhat unique is that LG didn’t have to do this. The company could very easily have said “sorry, you broke it, it’s not covered by warranty, go buy a new one”, but it didn’t. Instead it stood behind its product, realized that accidents can (and will) happen, and provided a quick, easy, and affordable alternative to buying a replacement.
Sure, the cost is half that of the original. It’s even close to half the cost of the current model. It’s very close to the full cost of a brand new Moto G. Is it worth it? Some might say no. I, however, feel otherwise. I’ll gladly support a company that has such great customer service. I know what to expect not only from the device, but from the company as well. Those two carry a lot of weight.
Other companies charge for the “privilege” of a “repair service” to do what LG offers for no charge other than the cost of the repair itself. In my experience, those companies don’t offer the same level of service that LG does — but they should.
Regarding my friend’s Galaxy S III, I was ultimately able to get it working again.
It turns out the partition table was corrupt.
Once I fixed that, reverted to stock, got all the OTA updates, and then rooted and flashed his preferred Custom ROM, everything was fine.
UPDATE: Something went awry with our recent return. It looks like the approval to have the phone repaired got lost between our fax machine and theirs. After working with LG, Customer Support is taking care of getting the phone back so the repair can be completed.
Image credits: The I.T. Crowd