“Can you fix my broken screen?”
We get asked this a lot, so I’d like to take a few paragraphs and answer it, if that’s okay.
Can we? Yes. Will we? No.
Now… for a company that strives to be an exceptional provider of customer service and is currently in the midst of redefining what “Tech Support” looks like, you might think we’re being jerks and/or hypocrites.
If you have a moment, let me explain the “why” behind our answer.
ESD = Electrostatic Discharge
What that equates to is the shock you get when you touch something after rubbing your feet on the carpet. Most folks don’t realize that shock you give to the back of a loved one’s neck while giggling maniacally is actually in the realm of between 1,000 – 2,000 volts. The reason it’s not dangerous is because the thing that kills you in electricity is amperage, not voltage.
Anyway, while we won’t die from static electricity, electronic devices are quite the opposite.
When you look at a typical cell phone, for example, you’ll find that a lot of those circuit boards are built to use up to 12 volts. Just 12. At 12 volts, you can’t feel anything transfer from you to the device, but it still does the same type of damage a lightning bolt does to a tree during a storm.
In short, static electricity destroys devices once you open them up.
This, of course, begs the question…
“Don’t you know how to deal with this?”
Short answer? Yes.
We have equipment here to alleviate the risks associated with the repair of most computers. We have straps that create a grounded line from our bodies into the earth through the electrical system in our office. This means that the static discharge will flow through that strap and away, making the repair environment safe.
Which leads to…
“Then why can’t you fix my broken screen?”
Cell phones are much more sensitive to ESD than computers given the voltage the circuits are meant to carry. Because of this, most refurbishment places–or even major retailers (that I’ll not name specifically) that perform repairs in-house–have specialized tools for the repair of these devices.
It’s also the reason why most all of those companies offer either a mail-in repair option or a replacement unit when a glass is shattered. The amount of components exposed and handled during most screen replacements is extreme, which increases the chance of breaking other components in the phone while fixing the screen.
What this breaks down to is that when someone does a repair like this outside of a specialized facility monitored by the manufacturer, it typically voids any manufacturer commitment.
In short: a third party screen replacement can make it so that you can’t get a device replaced or repaired by a manufacturer afterwards. This means that another issue, such as a bad speaker, would require you to buy a brand new phone out of contract even if the issue would normally be a $30 repair.
This is the sole reason that Tech Geekery doesn’t do screen repairs or most phone repairs despite the technical know-how.
Do The Right Thing
We don’t do these repairs because we believe strongly in finding people the right solutions. A screen replacement may be cheap now, but it could cost you an extra few hundred dollars.
We’d rather get you in contact with the manufacturer or advise you to pick up AppleCare+ or something similar during a purchase instead.
Do the right thing. While there is money to be had in this market, it’s just not money that we’d like to get. We’d rather forgo this cell phone repair market entirely than violate that motto.