Fixing a phone in Nigeria can prove tedious, especially in these hard times where products and services are soaring daily. The smartest way a person can go about business is to look for cheaper means and opportunities to get things done. During such difficult times, annoying things can happen, like your new appliance getting spoilt or your new phone misbehaving out of the blue. People often don’t remember that their devices and appliances come with a warranty because they bought the products from third-party suppliers or middlemen.
What is a warranty?
A warranty is a guarantee written and issued to someone who buys a product from the product’s manufacturer, promising to repair or replace it if it gets damaged within a specified period of time. This damage here has its definition in different businesses and industries. Most warranties cover production errors that can reduce product quality and durability and not customer inflicted damages. Damages such as water damage, falls, accidents, etc., are not covered.
All electronic devices and gadgets have a warranty. It can be for a year, two (2), or up to three (3) years or more. Given this opportunity, it is wise to use it; I used mine last year when the Oppo A53 I bought in 2020 started malfunctioning.
I noticed a tiny opening at the back of my phone; it looked like it had been pierced with a pin or needle. With time, this small hole began to expand until the point that it allowed tiny droplets of water to enter my phone. Yes, blame me for not using a phone case, but sometimes I get tired of it. It came back to haunt me when my in-built phone battery got swollen up.
Trust me, I didn’t have free money to throw at phone repairers, so I decided to use the warranty. I looked up the warranty policy for my Oppo phone and saw that the duration for replacing the faulty battery wasn’t over. I quickly rushed to get it fixed, and of course, there is no victory without hitting some obstacles here and there. During my phone journey, I had to learn and discover the things I’m about to share with you.
How to know if you are eligible for a warranty
If the warranty covers the damage, you won’t have to pay for the cost of fixing your phone, but you may be asked to pay for courier services. The service shop for Oppo is in Lagos, which means anyone who wants to service their phone with or without a warranty must send their phones there. I sent mine with less than N3,000 for the round trip. Well, it’s not bad as having to pay tens of thousands for anyone to fix it.
Before sending and repairing my phone, I had to go through the following gateways.
1. Time validity
This, of course, should be your first focus. It doesn’t matter if the product is new or old in the market; as long as it has a warranty, it starts counting from the day you bought it. Different phones may have different warranty periods, but I believe the common ones follow an international standard period.
|Headphones, USB cable, Charger, etc.
2. Valid proof of purchase
Most phone companies will require a receipt of the phone to be presented to the warranty, but I don’t think this is compulsory. I skipped this system. They could know the manufacturer’s release date and the E-warranty date provided from the phone’s IMEI number. Don’t throw in the towel if you don’t have your phone receipt. You can try as I did with nothing but confidence (I don’t even have the phone box).
3. Place of purchase
Products purchased outside Nigeria may not be accepted for warranty within Nigeria as products have a country or region-specific conditions. If you bought a phone or product outside the country or within Africa, likely, it would not be recognised under warranty due to location. The warranty policies may be binding in the country of purchase but not in Nigeria.
4. Warranty policy
Your phone company’s warranty policy will be the biggest challenge you will have to face. Since phone warranties are targeted at repairing or replacing production errors or sometimes damages that happen randomly, not all phones are eligible to get fixed for free with a warranty.
Every phone manufacturer has a set of policies of what they can fix and can’t fix. For more information about this policy, it is best to google your phone’s warranty and see if they will fix the problem that caused your phone’s damage. Some issues that phone companies do not consider eligible for warranty are;
- Liquid damage
- Damages caused by falling
- Malfunction of the device due to viruses, malware, etc.
Malfunctions or damage caused by the customer’s carelessness or inadequate use of phone accessories like a protective case, screen protector, etc., will not be covered by a warranty. That means actions that result from customers’ carelessness, such as falling into water or from a glorious height. If this is what happened to your phone, they won’t fix it for free.
You won’t be able to lie about it because their team of technicians are qualified enough to tell how it got damaged. If you lied about it or were simply ignorant, they will call you up and demand you pay for service and material replacement or send your phone back to you.
5. Previuosly opened or repaired phones
Another policy I noticed was that the warranty becomes null and void for phones that have been opened or repaired by non-Oppo staff. If other repairers have never opened your phone, you are still eligible for the warranty, but if it has been, you are not. Yes, the technical team will also be able to detect if it has been opened or touched by people who are not them. In other words, your phone should keep its virginity for as long as possible. I suspect that other phone companies may have similar policies like Oppo too.
What do you need to do?
My phone got liquid damage because there had been a tiny opening at the back that kept expanding. I was able to send it to the service shop through the local Oppo shop in my town, only for it to get to Lagos for the service shop to call my bluff. They reached out to me through the area sales supervisor to tell me that my phone wasn’t eligible to be fixed with a warranty because it got spoilt via liquid damage. And I, of course, refused to accept their refusal.
It was a fierce battle between the service technicians and me. They had opened the phone and found out that the battery had swollen due to the unthinkable. But I wouldn’t bulge; I stated why the phone got damaged because of the opening behind the phone that kept widening due to heat or whatnot.
After days of back and forths, my prayer finally got answered. The technician finally caved in and used my warranty. They would have sent my phone back to me if I couldn’t convince them that it was a technical fault. They agree to use the warranty to replace the battery. Also, your warranty can be used just once, after which you will pay for subsequent repairs.
So, you checked all the boxes, what next?
The next thing to do will be to;
1. Locate your phone company sales office in your area
I bought my phone in Lagos but travelled to Delta and sent it back to Lagos for repairs from a random phone shop I walked into. The lesson of this short story is that you don’t need to go back where you bought it. As long as you go to a branch of your phone company, you can access the care centre or service shop.
2. Contact the Area sales supervisor
The area sales supervisor or whoever is in charge will be the one you have to speak to about the warranty. They will be the ones to vet your phone to an extent before accepting it. Then again, it doesn’t matter how damaged it may be. Even if you can’t switch it on anymore, it’s okay – you are sending it to get repaired after all.
3. Shipping cost
The warranty might offer to fix your phone for free for you, but it might not be possible to take your phone to the service shop for free. When I serviced my phone, I paid to send it to Lagos, and you may too from wherever you are. However, if there is an in-house technician or service shop in your state or region, this may be the case. You may be able to get it serviced and returned to you completely free.
4. Customer service checkup
Repairs take about two to three weeks, after which your phone will be shipped back to you. Most well-established companies will call customers to follow up on fixed devices and how they are performing. A week or two after receiving a phone call from an Oppo customer service agent from Egypt. Some companies may not do this service, but well-meaning companies do. I would have complained if something was wrong, but I didn’t detect any abnormality. If your phone wasn’t repaired properly, this would be another perfect opportunity to make a complaint about it.
Using warranties might be as hard as you think. But, if you are desperate and remember how much you spent buying that phone, you will not think twice about trying to use the warranty. I know and I didn’t hesitate. I’ve been buying things, not just phones, and I’ve never used a warranty. Sometimes there are feats we need to accomplish once in our lives.
So now that you know the secret, you can share this wisdom.