Case Studies

Mobile phone buttons ‘fell off’

After nine months of use, a customer requested the provider repair their mobile phone’s damaged keypad.

Customer X signed up to a mobile contract with Provider Y and received a (brand name) mobile phone.  Nine months later one of the buttons on the mobile handset “fell off”.

The customer claimed that the fault developed through ‘normal use’ of the phone. 

Provider Y advised that, as per their terms and conditions and the information provided to the customer, charges applied for the assessment and any repair costs in instances where the type of damage (in this case to the keypad) was not included as part of the mobile handset warranty.

The mobile phone was then sent away for assessment and repair.

When the phone was returned, Customer X was again advised that faults with the keypad were not covered by the Manufacturers Warranty. The assessment had indicated the phone had been ”damaged” and that there had been no “fault”. It was explained that any repair would be at the customer’s expense.

The customer refused to pay the assessment fee and suggested that the button broke away from metal/plastic fatigue as a result of repeated, yet reasonable, use. The customer argued that this matter fell under the Consumer Guarantees Act.

He logged a formal complaint that was subsequently “deadlocked” by Provider Y. The customer then contacted TDR.

In their written submission, Provider Y re-iterated that, as per their terms and conditions and the information provided to Customer X, “…charges apply for the assessment and any repair costs in instances where the type of damage is not included as part of the mobile handset warranty.

Although Customer X has made reference to the Consumer Guarantee’s Act in their written complaint, Provider Y does not consider the act pertinent in this instance. Customer X’s mobile handset has been evaluated by an approved repair agent, who have determined that the damage evident on the mobile handset is not consistent with a faulty handset”.

Photographic evidence was also provided that indicated the button appeared to have been “torn off” (probably by catching the button against a hard edge of some sort) as opposed to metal/plastic fatigue.

Provider Y did not propose a settlement offer in their Level 2 Response. The customer rejected this response and so the matter moved to conciliation.

The TDR Conciliator listened to the two sides and looked at the technical evidence submitted by Provider Y. Customer X was asked whether any evidence (such as an independent technical report) supported their side of the argument.  The customer said they could not provide such evidence.

The Conciliator recommended that the customer should pay the outstanding assessment fee and withdraw the complaint.

Customer X agreed to this recommendation and the complaint was withdrawn.