egzthunder1 · Oct 25, 2011 at 01:31 pm

Sprint’s Repair and Exchange Policies Updated – iPhone Owners Beware!

As you are probably aware, doing most modifications to any device, regardless of brand, OS, or manufacturer, is highly discouraged by most mobile carriers. Most modifications normally will allow people to gain more control over the device that they are using, allowing them to change settings previously hidden/unavailable to the end user. It also allows for installation of certain apps that can extend functionality of our devices, and in many cases provide features that the carriers would normally try to charge for. We are all awfully familiar with this and also with the fact that Repair centers for most carriers have instructions to check for any kind of tampering with the device’s software in order to determine eligibility for repairs/returns/exchanges.  They all have guidelines in place that give them the option, at their own discretion, to either accept or reject whatever you take back to the store.

Well, thanks to an anonymous tip, we just learned that since the iPhone 4S came into Sprint’s unlimited picture, the Return and Exchange policy has been adapted to include this device as well. The wording on it, however, is quite amusing as the section pertaining to the iPhone reads as follows:

iPhone
Apple considers jail breaking an “Unauthorized Modification” which puts the device in the
Red Defect category.
 o If the jailbreaking and modification are so extensive that the device cannot be used or
triaged by the normal processes, then the device must be flagged as Red (Not
Repairable) and are therefore not eligible for exchange.
  • • In eTicket, select Non Repairable Damage as the complaint type, iPhone Jailbroken as the complaint detail and close the ticket.
  • • Ensure your eTicket notes contain thorough details on your findings and that rooting was suspected.
o If the jailbreaking modifications can’t be detected thru the normal processes, proceed as
normal and allow an exchange, classifying the device based on other damage noted.

If you think that this is laughable (at best), you are absolutely correct. However, I am not certain if this is a carrier thing or Apple simply being Apple. While I see the above text being explicit for the iPhone, I did not see anything in Sprint’s document that deemed an Android or Windows Phone device as “broken beyond repair” for being broken. The doc does say that techs should check for the possibility of root being present or having been performed in the past, but states nothing about their eligibility for a replacement. As iPhone users, you guys should probably go to Sprint and complain a bit about the unfairness of this situation. The reason I am saying this is that no matter if your device is malfunctioning (hardware defect), but according to this doc if the technician reviewing it finds out that you have jailbroken it, you are out of luck. Quite frankly, it is ridiculous to put a device in such a category for something like this. Oh, and yes, technicians will check for root/jailbreak as long as the device can turn on. All in all, utterly bad move.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that carriers should change their repair/replace policies to not deny an exchange due to the possibility that a device may have been unlocked, particularly if the defect that is being pointed is covered under warranty? Please share your opinions.

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