Comment: Too easy to blame ‘credit crunch’


According to mobile recycling and repairs companies, demand for refurbished and secondhand phones is booming.

Why is this? It’s easy to blame the credit crunch, or even global warming, but the truth is networks and retailers are failing the customer in one of the most common areas – repairs.

Physical damage at a mobile retail store is, in car terms, often deemed as a write-off, with simple repairs of screens costing anything between £40 and £100.

Spilt water on it? Forget it. As far as the network is concerned, it’s dead and the customer will need to buy a new one. Retailer wins.

But this doesn’t need to be the case. Handsets, even water damaged (excluding sea water) can be repaired, and screens replaced at a fraction of the networks cost.

With the exception of The Carphone Warehouse, all handsets which develop a fault are sent away to be repaired; a process which takes an average of two weeks, with all data on the device wiped; an all round inconvenience to the customer.

As a result, customers are opting to pay for repairs while they wait, or even purchasing refurbished and secondhand devices instead.

This is something which should be provided by the companies, who earn millions of pounds a year from those very customers.

Perhaps it’s time for the networks to have a rethink about the definition of the words ‘customer’ and ‘service.’

Instead of spending millions of pounds opening new stores, maybe it’s time to invest in fixing a problem which already exists, and that causes thousands of customers and staff to experience a service which is anything but good.