Oh no! My Samsung warranty defies the space-time continuum

Switching from iPhone to Android can be a nerve-racking experience. Apple loyalists can be fanatical about design and product integration, and it takes a lot to drive them away from the brand.

But Ose Adeyan was ready to switch. Despite having a house full of iProducts, he and his wife decided to buy two brand new Samsung Galaxy S5s. Instead of buying them through Verizon, he walked into his local Staples store, where the new phone was available for $500, with no contract requirement. He and his wife each bought one, paying cash.

“I shopped around, and I knew it was the right phone,” Adeyan tells our consumer advocacy team.

Finding the right phone can be a challenge. Finding the right deal is an even bigger one. And knowing what to expect when something goes wrong must be considered when making such a big purchase.

Because suddenly Adeyan wasn’t so sure about the purchase. Six weeks into ownership of the phones, his wife’s phone stopped charging. Now, it’s an expensive paperweight.

When Adeyan bought the phones, Staples offered a seven day warranty. Of course, when the phone malfunctioned a month and a half later, he needed to rely on the manufacturer’s warranty.

“Staples said they couldn’t help us, and when I spoke to the manager, she connected me to Samsung,” he writes.

But instead of offering to repair or replace the phone, Samsung told Adeyan that the warranty expired in June 2015, six months before he purchased the phone.

“If I’d been told that I was purchasing an out of warranty phone, I would have stayed away from this deal. I paid full price — more than $500 cash for this phone. Now I am stuck with an almost brand new phone that my wife can’t use, unless I pay $110 for repair at a third party location.”

Related story:   The agony and ecstasy of online travel videos

Something about this story doesn’t add up. For one, I don’t care how old the model is. A brand new phone is a brand new phone, and should operate from the time of purchase through the end of the warranty period — and hopefully beyond.

We’ve asked Samsung to review the case, but so far, no response.

We’ve also contacted Staples, who couldn’t give us a straight answer. Staples gave me a range of answers, including there is “probably” a factory warranty, to there is “definitely” a factory warranty. One employee told me the manufacturer’s warranty ranges from “90 days to one year” from the date of sale. And they all told me about the optional, for purchase extended warranty program, which acts essentially like traditional cell phone insurance.

But here’s the reality: Adeyan lives in San Jose, Calif., the same city where Samsung is headquartered. California law applies to both of them, and protects consumers like Adeyan from this type of situation.

Warranties are either express or implied. Regardless of what was intended by Samsung, if Staples made any express warranty about the phone, the manufacturer’s warranty must also be in force.

Sure, Adeyan’s problems occurred outside of Staples’ seven-day warranty window. But the existence of even a short warranty is key. It means the product was not sold “as is,” which is the only way around California’s consumer protection rules.

Let’s face it: Staples’ seven day warranty is really just a free return policy. The quick one-week guarantee is designed to build in a comfort buffer for its customers should they decide they don’t like the phone. If the phone actually malfunctions, the manufacturer still replaces the phone.

Related story:   Oh no, not another Amazon gift card case (oh, yes!)

Samsung is a reputable company and should have a robust warranty and responsive customer service team. They work hard to attract customers just like Adeyan away from the iCompetition.

Samsung’s warranty should begin on the date of purchase and expire after one year. Why Adeyan was told that his warranty had already expired is indeed perplexing.

Adeyan is rather distraught over the situation. On top of losing his $500, his wife has not had a cell phone for more than two months, and can only make calls from the house. Frankly, as someone who uses her phone for pretty much everything, I don’t know how she has lasted this long.

Adeyan would probably do well in small claims court, where he could seek a refund of his money, plus court costs. The filing fee in small claims court in San Jose is currently $30, so Adeyan would have to invest both time and money in the effort to recover what he spent — something he shouldn’t have to do.

Until and unless Samsung steps in to make this right, we have to move this one to our Case Dismissed file.

Samsung, can you hear me?

Who should replace Adeyan’s phone?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Jessica Monsell

A writer and natural advocate, Jessica joined our consumer advocacy effort following a decade of work on behalf of air crash victims at one of the nation's largest plaintiffs' law firms. She has lived in Europe and Asia, but now calls Charleston, S.C. home.

%d bloggers like this:
Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.