Tiny handheld devices that carry the world: Cracking into warranties on screens


Aka the day I managed  to crack the screens of both my beloved touch phone and iPod.

A college kid’s worst nightmare: a cracked screen on their smartphone. (CU Independent/Amy Leder)

Not even a day before, I accidentally threw my iPod at a brick wall – I have a large gesture box and a loose grip, what can I say? Not even a scratch on my pristine screen. The next time I drop that iPod two feet onto grass and BAM. Screen: not so pristine. I went inside to mourn the damage and managed to drop my phone this time, on carpet. BAM. Screen: also not so pristine. Are you fucking kidding me? How is that even possible? Carpet. Grass. Not exactly brick walls. Consider me befuddled and annoyed.

Reaction: predictable. A lot of cursing and damning my klutziness.

So what does one do when the world ends? For a while I sat there, sprawled on my dorm room floor, staring heartbroken at the two screens. My finger-swiping and tapping are frustratingly hindered by deep seated cracks. My crystal clear screen shots look like they’re breaking into a million crystals. Apple and Android have forsaken me. This was what I got for split loyalties to the two companies.

And that’s when it occurred to me: warranty.

Regrettably, I’m a penny pincher to the highest degree. At the time, the “All Encompassing Warranty” offered at the register was turned down in good conscience – until I walked out the doors and remembered I’m a klutz of the worst kind. My mind promised what we all promise ourselves when we forego the warranties. I’ll be really careful with it.

And I was. For a while.

I combed through the Apple one-year warranty that came with the iPod. There’s a nice little line of italics stating, “This warranty does not apply: (a) to damage caused by accident, abuse, misuse, misapplication, or non- Apple products.” A cracked screen falls under “damage caused by accident,” of course.

After reading this discouraging legal print, I made a visit to our local Apple store on 29th Street. Inside there are bright lights, a crowd of people is positively drooling over technology, and the iconic Apple logo is popping out at me from every corner. Ohhh yes. This is the place to be. These people can help me; I just know it.

But trusting that little voice in my head has led me astray again.

Though the woman helping me was horrified at the damage, she quickly explained that there was nothing Apple could do. At least, not for a price. For $99.99, Apple would give me a brand new iPod touch. It will be white and have 32G, just like the one I have now. It will be devoid of all my music, pictures and apps, but those are easy enough to add back on.

All in all, I’m relatively satisfied with that offer. Spending $100 to replace a $400 investment is something I can live with.

Unfortunately for me, my Android phone isn’t as forthcoming. Sticking to my true penny pincher form, I bought a “Pay as You Go” Android from AT&T in order to stay away from an expensive contract. No, I didn’t buy the warranty on this touch screen venture either.

Not buying the “All Encompassing Warranty” means I cannot return the phone or have Android replace it. Under the limited, one-year warranty it came with, I don’t get any useful coverage at all, it seems. The AT&T site specifically states multiple times, “Phones with physical or liquid damage are not eligible for warranty service.

The only option AT&T left me is to purchase a brand new phone. That will be another $150 out of my pocket.

Funny how all these devices come with a “Limited One Year Warranty,” and we naively feel safer in our purchases. Why are we given a warranty that won’t even cover an accident? Accidents are clearly our number one enemy. Yet, as much as I’d like to say, “Screw you” to the companies (and don’t think I haven’t), the fault is my own. My Mr. Scrooge mindset has gotten me into this mess.

For a little bit extra, I could have gotten two years coverage on both, my phone and iPod. With them, everything would have been taken care of lickety-split. My suggestion to readers is to get that pesky insurance plan. The one-year warranty doesn’t cover shit. In the long run, the expensive warranty is to your benefit. Don’t be like me and learn this the hard way.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Andrea Harper at Andrea.harper@colorado.edu.

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