Winsett: Tips on cell phone repairs

Cellphones are everywhere these days — even in restaurants and around the dinner table. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
photo Jim Winsett of the BBB.

Q. My teenager broke his smartphone. Does BBB offer tips on cellular phone repairs?

A. You drop your cellphone and crack the screen or, worse yet, it becomes submerged in water. What next? If your cellphone warranty is expired, replacements for damaged or destroyed phones through cell companies can be expensive. As a result, many repair companies have popped up that specialize in cellular phone repair.

BBB advises consumers that, unfortunately, not all of them use quality parts and/or know exactly what they're doing. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a third party cellular repair company for phones and tablets.

If they aren't listed at and other rating sites, it may not be a good sign. Check for an official website, Facebook, or Twitter page and see what other people are saying about them. If you can't find an online presence, we consider that a red flag and advise to look for another option.

Pricing is a deciding factor for many when they're debating whether they should get a device repaired or use an upgrade, if available. A reputable repair shop should be open about their pricing. A good sign is if they actually list pricing on their website or Facebook page.

Cheaper isn't always better. While it's always nice to snag a good deal on something, a repair is not a good place to compromise. If someone offers to perform a screen replacement or other repair that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Knock-off and counterfeit parts on the internet are cheaper for a reason, they generally have an extremely high defect rate. It's also less likely that the repair company is going to warranty or stand behind their work.

Don't ever be afraid to ask a repair company what kind of parts they use or where they were manufactured. Phone repair businesses should be very open with consumers that ask about where parts come from, reliability history and warranty/guarantee. If they won't tell you where they get their parts, at least make sure they warranty them for a reasonable period of time.

Any reputable repair company should be forthcoming about how long it will take to repair your device and provide a receipt for your record. While repair times may vary by company, most knowledgeable companies can do most Smartphone repair while you wait unless it involves heavy diagnostics. Just keep in mind that if there are people ahead of you, it can increase the wait time.

Ask about warranties or guarantees after the phone is repaired. Be sure the repair business will stand behind its work.

The bottom line is there are lots of repair companies out there who do exceptional work and treat repairs as an art form. If you are not comfortable with a company, walk away and find another option.

Jim Winsett is president of the Better Business Bureau in Chattanooga.