Angie's List: Most damaged cell phones can be repaired for a fraction of the cost of replacing

We can rebuild them. We have the technology.

TAMPA - If you're like most people, your cell phone is within reach at all times – morning, noon and night. But with all that usage, your phone is more likely to suffer some damage.

"Cell phones today have become a life line for most of us," said Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks. "We carry them with us wherever we go which means they are likely to get dropped, dropped in the water, broken, and many times people think they automatically need to be replaced, but they can be repaired. It's something you should check out to see whether it's cost efficient."

Electronics aren't built to last forever, but a reputable repair shop may be able to fix your broken phone. Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of consumer reviews, asked highly rated cellphone repair companies about fixing your gadgets. It's worth weighing the pros and cons of repairing versus replacing before you shop for a new device. Some devices are worth paying to have repaired, and some are not. If the item isn't covered by a warranty or service plan and you aren't sure which way to go, consult a reputable repair service and get an estimate for the cost of repairing. Then you have the information you need to make an informed decision.

Repairman Chris Barclay said the glass screens are most vulnerable. "Most common repairs are going to be the front facing screens and then the batteries. Batteries can go bad in less than two years depending how often they are charged and how they are used. It's just like brake pads on a vehicle. They give you a warranty for a certain time period but if you are a hard driver - hard phone user - it can go out on a faster rate than normal."

Angie's List Tips: Hiring a cellphone repair company

  • How much? Repair typically costs a fraction of the replacement cost of a new smartphone, which often runs $500 or so when not subsidized by a phone carrier. Be sure the estimate includes costs for labor and parts before you sign off on anything.
  • Is there a guarantee? Does the work come with a guarantee? How long is the guarantee? Make sure you have all the details in writing.
  • Match the item to the technician: Finding the right repair shop for your device depends on the experience and specialty of the shop. Look for a repair shop that specializes in the kind of item you need fixed. You want someone who is knowledgeable about your device.

Angie's List Tips: Taking care of your phone

  • Protect it: Invest in a high quality phone case. Check the company's warranty. Some offer a lifetime warranty on their cases so if your device breaks while in their product, they will replace the device for you.
  • Keep away from water: Avoid putting your phone on a table that has condensation. Do not take your phone in the bathroom or out on a boat, pool, etc.
  • Avoid heat: Keep your phone out of the sun and from heat sources like your stove/oven, furnace, chimney, lamps, etc.
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