Cell phone repair shops offer better option to insurance


Let’s say you’ve signed up with Verizon or AT&T and you get an iPhone or an Android at a subsidized promo price of $49 or $199 or whatever it may be. Then six weeks later, the thing breaks, you drop it, it falls in toilet, whatever.

What do you do if you buy a smart phone and it breaks while you’re in contract?

The wireless provider will say, “Well, you should have had insurance.” But now its too late for that anyway, and you’re quoted somewhere in the range of $600 or $700 as the replacement cost. (The deal is wireless providers pay big money to smart phone manufacturers and then subsidize the handset at ultra-cheap prices. They make their money by locking you into a 24-month overpriced contract.)

Here’s a thought: Try a local cell phone repair shop. They’re spreading like wildfire across the country and typically specialize in Android and iPhone repair. Their most common repair is replacing cracked screens.

If you go to one of these shops, the repairs tend to price out somewhere between $50 and $150. That is cheap money compared to the alternative of insurance through your wireless carrier. Plus, cell phone insurance is junky and overpriced anyway. It usually has a high deductible and you probably get a reconditioned phone.

Recently, my executive producer Christa broke the screen on her smart phone and got it repaired for $50 at a local shop. Then she dropped again and it was dead, but that’s another story!

Editor’s note: This segment originally aired Sept. 2, 2011.

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