Smartphone broken: how does the warranty work?

When a smartphone breaks down, many of us turn to the warranty. Indeed, any model bought new in the trade benefits from a legal guarantee of conformity of a duration of two years. It is still necessary to know the procedure to follow in the event of a breakdown. Here is everything you need to know about the different types of guarantees.

When we buy a smartphone that costs the price of a minimum wage , we are very happy to be able to count on the guarantee, which will allow us under certain conditions to exchange or repair our device for free. Unfortunately, for consumers, the world of guarantees is a bit mysterious and complicated. We explain in detail what to expect: under what conditions you can enjoy it, what are the subtleties and good tips. Follow the guide.


Legal guarantees

1. The legal guarantee of conformity

As the name suggests, this is a legal obligation. When you buy a good in store, it is supposed to be in conformity. However, consumers are often poorly informed about the legal guarantee of conformity. It must be said that sellers do not always put all the good will in the world to provide them with clear and precise information.

What you should know is that since the entry into force of the new consumer law in March 2016, this legal warranty is for a period of two years for smartphones and their accessories . Thus, any defect that occurs within two years of purchasing a new product will be considered a defect that has been present since the purchase. In 2016, the Senate studied the idea of doubling the duration of the legal guarantee of conformity for our smartphones . The measure has so far been unsuccessful.

This warranty does not cover smartphones purchased second-hand , which are limited to a period of 6 months. It is therefore no longer for the consumer to provide proof that the device is defective beyond six months after the purchase, but, indeed, for the manufacturer to provide proof to the contrary. Consequently, if a breakdown should occur during the two years following the purchase of a new smartphone, the seller would be obliged to offer you a free repair , whatever the breakdown (camera, battery, charger, etc.).

If ever a seller refuses to repair a defective good, it would then be in the most total illegality and you would be entitled to put it in default by means of a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt.

Of course, this legal guarantee of conformity also has its limits and only covers defects of which you were not aware when buying the product, not damage caused by the user. If you break the screen or  your smartphone falls into the water , you will not be covered. Nowadays, many smartphones are fortunately certified waterproof by an IP67 or IP68 standard .

sav smartphone

2. What is the legal guarantee against hidden defects?

When you buy a new product, it is also guaranteed for two years against hidden defects existing at the time of purchase and which may affect its use. If you find a hidden defect, you can then choose either to be reimbursed or to obtain a discount on the amount of your purchase. Hidden defects are still quite rare on smartphones and this guarantee mainly concerns the automotive field.

Seller warranty

The commercial guarantee also covers breakdowns caused by faults that do not exist before purchase. It makes it possible to replace, reimburse or repair defective goods but does not replace the legal guarantees listed above. It supplements them and remains optional. In fact, this is an additional guarantee offered by the store. But stores are absolutely not obliged to offer it.

This guarantee varies depending on the brand. The most generous offer a two-year parts and labor guarantee. Some like Apple offer a standard exchange during the first months. At Apple we have a year of exchange but also a year of warranty only. To be able to take advantage of its guarantee, it is generally necessary to go to the after-sales service of the shop (contact the online service in the case of an online purchase) with the defective product and an invoice (delivery note or sales receipt may suffice) .

It is important that you are sure that the breakdown is not your responsibility because some after-sales service may charge for the handling of a product. Please note, legally it is normally prohibited to invoice a quote. If an after-sales service requests it, you have the right to refuse it. If the guarantee is refused, these costs remain invoiced. Generally if the guarantee works, the after-sales service deducts this sum from the total invoice.

The brands are increasingly offering additional guarantees. They are offered when the product is purchased. Its terms are set out in a contract between the seller and the buyer. These contracts with all more original names allow the consumer to benefit from support over periods of more than 2 years. It is a decision to make when purchasing the product.

smartphone repair

Before subscribing to this type of guarantee offered by most major brands, we can only advise you to educate yourself. They can be very interesting, some sellers will exchange your defective device for a new model or have it in the store without having to go through the after-sales service box.

Certain guarantees will allow you to have a replacement model free of charge while waiting for yours to be repaired. Others, however, are real scams. We must therefore be very vigilant.

Manufacturer’s warranty

If you find it difficult to reach an agreement with the after-sales service of the store, you can have recourse to the after-sales service of the brand. It is also the preferred solution when buying online. Before sending your smartphone for after-sales service, contact the service by phone or on the dedicated chat services. We warn you, these calls can cause additional costs.

Before contacting the dedicated service, once again think carefully about your responsibility for the breakdown. Ask yourself if the smartphone has a good chance of being taken into warranty. In some cases, a manufacturer’s warranty may indeed lapse. This is particularly the case with Xiaomi’s legal warranty . Make sure the quotes and support are free and if the postage is your responsibility.

Some manufacturers have a network of approved repairers. When you contact the service, the latter will redirect you to one of these repairers. The advantage is that you do not have to send postal items and very often the repairers are very fast. For the most common repairs, in one hour the case is in the bag.


1. Does root void the warranty?

This is a question that comes up often but few people know the answer. According to European law, rooting a smartphone does not void the warranty (phew!). Therefore, if you live in France or another country of the union, you don’t have to worry too much. On the other hand, it is true that in certain countries, like in Canada, the root questions the guarantee.

2. My smartphone returns from after-sales service but it is still broken

Your smartphone was broken and you used the legal guarantee of conformity to obtain a repair, but the device still does not work. However, it is the mission of the after-sales service to detect the failure and to repair the defective device, it will therefore be necessary to send it a second time. Generally, when a smartphone returns faulty from after-sales service or repair is impossible, you will then get a replacement. Note in passing that in 75% of cases, the after-sales service does not notice any problem .

3. My phone is under repair and it still hasn’t been returned to me

Unfortunately, it can happen that after-sales service takes a little while to accomplish their mission. If this should happen to you and you consider that the delay is excessive, you are then entitled to put the after-sales service by asking him to return your smartphone to you within a deadline that you will specify.

At the end of this period, you will then have the right to seize the local judge or the district court. We still hope you never have to get there. Your smartphone may also have been lost by the after-sales service. If this should happen while the phone was under his responsibility, he will have the obligation to compensate you financially.

4. My smartphone has never been dropped but no longer works?

When this type of failure occurs on a device less than two years old that has never suffered the slightest fall or the slightest shock, then the legal guarantee of conformity comes into play directly. The manufacturer or the seller therefore have the obligation to repair it free.

5. The store asks me to contact the manufacturer myself

If a seller refuses to repair a device still covered by the warranty and asks you to call on the manufacturer, well he has it all wrong because by law, it is he who has the obligation to act as an intermediary between the consumer and the manufacturer’s after-sales service. It is therefore obliged to receive the defective device and then take the steps necessary to repair it.

6. My smartphone no longer works following an incident

smartphone breaks

If your smartphone no longer turns on because it fell in your toilet or the screen broke because it struck the ground, then the damage caused will unfortunately not be taken into account by the warranty . Repair will be at your expense. However, if you have ever taken out insurance to cover the breakage, it will normally cover the repair costs. This is particularly the case for the insurance offered when renting a smartphone . However, be careful, most insurance policies do not cover damage caused to a smartphone that has fallen into the water.

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