June 26th, 2010

I'ma rub on tha walls kitty

AT&T Warranty Woes

On July 8th, 2009, I bought an HTC Fuze smartphone from AT&T's upgrade site. For the most part, it's been working nicely. However, earlier this week, the corner of my screen protector got stuck on something in my pocket and it pulled off. Underneath it, the phone has a rectangular-shaped oil slick looking mark. It takes up about 3/4 of the screen. Remember seeing oil in puddles in the parking lot, and it's all rainbow colored? That's what my screen looks like. I can still read the screen just fine as long as I'm not looking at a dark website or something like that, but since I have a manufacturer's warranty til July 8th of this year and I pay $5 a month for insurance, I took my phone over to my local AT&T store today.

The clerk looked at it and was baffled. He said I have two options: I can send it to Asurion, the insurance company which AT&T contracts out with, but it'll cost me $50 to just get it looked at, despite my paying $5 a month for 11 months now. Apparently they don't make my phone anymore, so I'll likely be given other options to choose from. My second option is to try to send it back to HTC under the manufacturer's warranty. They'll send me a another phone as soon as mine's in the mail. However, if HTC decides it's not a manufacturer's defect, I'll have to pay the full price of the phone. The clerk said it was likely, because HTC probably uses checklists to look for damages on phones, and because the way the screen is screwed up is unique, it'll get marked as user-damaged. Then I would have to pay around $300 to HTC for a refurbished phone, and most likely one I don't particularly want. That's the cost of a new phone.

I asked if I was eligible for an upgrade at this point--not having to deal with the warranty people seemed worth about the cost of a new phone. The clerk said I'm not eligible for an upgrade until March 8th--18 months after I purchased the phone--as AT&T has changed the old 12 month upgrade eligibility rule to 18 months. I'd have to pay full price for a new phone.

Anyone have any advice? I'd really like to get this fixed, because it seems like the "oil spill" is getting worse, and I'm worried perhaps something inside the phone is leaking or the screen is giving out. Having a touch phone with no screen defeats the purpose. I would switch carriers, but my little sister just upgraded to an iPhone, so I'm stuck with AT&T for another two years.

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