Phone screens cracking by themselves? Sounds spooky, but that’s what we’ve heard from some Sony Xperia Z customers. The question is whether Sony’s fixing phones for free under warranty.
Smartphones aren’t invincible, even with developments like the scratch-resistant ‘Gorilla Glass’. A drop from your pocket can result in a broken phone, and an unhappy owner. But what if the cracks weren’t caused by your clumsiness? What if they mysteriously appeared?
That’s what some Sony Xperia Z customers have been experiencing. This is a phone that’s meant to be tougher than your average smartphone, with the added benefit of being waterproof. And yet there are reports of hairline cracks appearing as if by magic, without any force being applied. One theory goes that these small cracks are due to the phone overheating, which is then making the phone unusable.
The cracks are beginning to show
In a lively thread on Sony’s forums, Monsoon comments about his Xperia Z:
‘I pulled my phone out my pocket at the weekend and there were two hairline cracks running diagonally down the screen rendering the top 2/3 of the screen useless.’
Scoops99 says they’ve had the same problem:
‘[I] had the phone in my pocket like I have done for the last four months and found the phone did not work, I cannot unlock the phone or enter the PIN. On further investigation, after removing the screen protector, I noticed two hairline cracks coming from the right-hand side of the screen. The phone has never been dropped or bashed.’
When these customers get in touch with Sony, some have been quoted more than £200 for a repair. One of Social Student’s writers said:
‘I was told that there was a £200 fixing fee as the phone was ‘BER’ (Beyond Economic Repair) and was not covered under the standard warranty. If I didn’t want to accept the repair bill, I would be charged £15 for them to send the damaged phone back to me!’
Replacements under warranty
However, some customers appear to be having some luck with Sony. Some forums and unofficial blogs claim that Sony will replace phones under warranty if there’s only a ‘single crack in the display’, and that there’s no evidence of abuse. However, this is not something we can confirm, as we’ve also read comments from customers who say they’ve had difficulty getting a replacement, like Bettyboo on Sony’s forum:
‘I had the same issue within a day of use, screen cracked by itself with a hairline crack and stopped responding. I sent to Sony UK, got a quote back for over £240 and they claimed it was down to physical damage not a manufacturing defect. […] I literally begged and told him it’s not accidental damage but a problem with their screens. He never admitted there was, but promised as a good will gesture they will on this one occasion replace it.’
So, do you own a Sony Xperia phone? Has a crack appeared as if from nowhere? How has your experience been with Sony’s customer service team?
We reached out to Sony for a comment – a spokesperson told us:
‘We are sorry to hear that some customers are reporting cracks in the screens of their Xperia Z smartphones.
‘We build all our devices to a high quality standard, and submit them to rigorous testing procedures. In the case of Xperia Z this has included evaluation against our Global Reliability specifications. Tests carried out include free-fall, bend, pressure, heat and other simulations to reflect the different uses of our products in the field.
‘Xperia Z’s frame is made from glass fibre polyamide, the same tough material that is used as a metal substitute in cars. The glass used is tempered, and has a shatter-proof coating, making it much stronger than regular glass. This along with its proven water and dust-resistance contributes significantly to the durability of Xperia Z.
‘However, damage can occur to any smartphone screen for a variety of reasons. These include, but are not limited to, a screen suffering a sharp knock, exceptional localised pressure, or simply from being dropped.
‘Assessment within our product returns process demonstrates that only a small proportion of reported cases cannot be obviously attributed to an identifiable cause such as those listed above. Our quality control monitors confirm that the return rate of Xperia Z smartphones due to a cracked screen are at a very low level and, we believe, well within norms for the high-tech consumer electronics industry.
‘In cases where no identifiable cause can be found, we have replaced the customer’s phone quickly and without charge.
‘When a customer has an issue with their Xperia smartphone we urge them to call our local customer service centres – the UK number to reach them is 03705 237237.
‘Our customer care and repair centre agents are required to handle all enquiries on a case-by-case basis and try to determine the most likely cause of damage. We will generally repair or replace the device if there are no obvious signs of customer damage.’
‘Once again, we’re sorry to hear that some consumers are unhappy with their devices, or the service they receive from Sony. If any customer has any concerns we urge them to call our customer service centre on 03705 237237 (8am – 8pm Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm Sat). We commit to assess every complaint on a case by case basis to reach a fair resolution as swiftly as possible.’