I’ve been with Best Buy for six years and in the Best Buy Mobile department for almost four. In that time I have seen thousands of broken phones, anything from random accidents to phones being worn out over time. On average my team deals with about 20 damaged or broken phones a week. I wanted to share some of the stories we hear daily.
One of the most common causes of death for a phone is the toilet. Yes, the toilet. Oddly enough I joined that club two days ago. My phone rang while I was in the bathroom. I pressed silent and stuck it into my chest pocket. When I leaned over to flush the BlackBerry slid out and bounced around the rim, finishing its descent in the water. On the upside I had my contacts backed up. (Editor’s note: Best Buy’s protection plan does not cover this kind of water damage.)
Cracked screens are incredibly common with smartphones. About six months ago, I had a customer who had broken her charger port. We replaced the phone for her with our protection. The day she picked up her new phone she came back to the store about two hours later. She had slipped on the ice while walking up her mom’s driveway and the first thing to hit the ground was her phone, screen first. Her HTC 4.3” screen was completely destroyed.
Let’s just put it out there: Children are wrecking balls. If you have a young one, they are going to reach for, grab at, cry for and chew on your phone. We’ve seen things like phone speakers ruined from slobber, buttons being broken from drops and screens cracked from a temper tantrum.
Almost two years ago a customer of mine said he did not want the protection plan. I asked him if he was sure, because replacing the phone would be at full retail price. The customer stated, “ I never drop my phone and have never broken one.” Defeated, I accepted his answer and finished the transaction. About five minutes later he returned to the store. His BlackBerry was completely bent. As he got into his car, his phone slid out of his lap into the door molding as it was closing. The rest you can imagine.
One of the most painful stories happened about a month ago. A younger girl was with her mom getting the girl’s birthday present, a new iPhone 4s. After setting everything up the pair walked through the exit doors of Best Buy and somehow the girl dropped her phone onto the concrete not even a foot outside the exit door. She had the phone for less than a minute and it now had a cracked front screen. Luckily mom said yes to the protection plan and so a replacement iPhone cost them nothing.
The last story comes from a friend of mine. His 1998 Pontiac Grand Am GT was known as a thief. It had the seats that tilted back and sat you at an angle so your pockets naturally emptied as you rode. Change, chap-stick, pocket knives all fell victim and phones were no exception. His old Palm phone had slid between the seat and the door frame. When he went to slide the seat back to look under it, the phone remained on the seat track and was pinched between the mounting bracket and slide. Another broken screen along with a jammed slider on the phone.
Ultimately, it’s your decision, as a consumer, to purchase or not to purchase protection. But in all honesty as our dependence on and usage of our phones continues to increase, having to replace a smartphone at full retail price (an average of $600) is not a position I would be comfortable with. Do your research and ask your questions. If you are still not sure ask your local Best Buy Mobile Consultant for their ideas and opinion about your situation.