Whether we like it or not, as modern day users of high technology, we have all grown very used to the mobile phone or cell phone. The mobile phone is part of our daily range of “must have” tools that we carry along with us in our pockets or in our ladies handbags everywhere we go. After all, we do live in the age of instant communication and the mobile phone is that important tool that allows us to keep in touch with the office, to monitor our investments in stocks and shares, to talk with our loved ones, and to call for help if we are unfortunate enough to have a car breakdown.
As someone who traveled often, and as someone who view the use of the mobile phone as absolutely essential to communicate, I spare no efforts to follow the latest developments in mobile phone technology and the newer models for most major brands.
Thus, it was during one of my travels to Malaysia that I decided to buy a newer mobile phone which had the blue tooth technology some years ago when it was first released. The established “Sony” with its blue tooth technology, as a newer model of a mobile phone, had a small footprint, a sliding cover that would open to reveal the calling touch pads, was light, and it looked dashing, silvered colored on the casing and just the thing that I needed. Never mind the cost, it was one of the newest models at that time, and there was always a sacrifice in a higher price if ever I wanted newer technology.
So I happily paid by credit card and wrapped up the purchase. Within days I was back in Australia and using the mobile phone happily, until just 6 months later, it malfunctioned.
Whenever a newer mobile phone ever malfunctioned, and especially during its warranty period, there is a cause for concern. Newer mobile phone technology means a higher price, better technology, more durability, longer battery life and better features, but for this SONY model, there was cause for concern because it was my third mobile phone that I had in use, and it was therefore not constantly in use. Why then had it malfunctioned just after a short 6 months?
Checking the warranty card that came with the mobile phone revealed that as long as I could get the mobile phone shipped back to the agent that I purchased it from, I could get it repaired without charges as it was still under warranty.In fact, I could also get service for it as long as I could send it to an authorized Sony Service Center agent within Australia itself, but since I was going to be in Malaysia again, while it was still within the warranty period, I chose to give the distributor who sold the mobile phone to me another visit to get it repaired.
The sales agent dutifully noted the particulars of the Sony mobile phone, and said as it was one of the newer mobile phones, he would need to send it off to the authorized service center to repair it, and would give me a call as to the status of the repair. So I could heave a relief as I thought all things were being taken care off.
In the end, there was a conspicious absence of a phone call from the agent and getting in touch with them, I was told the mobile phone could not be repaired free of charge even during its warranty period!
Now, if you are a mobile phone user, this rings alarm bells…because when is it a warranty for an expensive branded mobile phone is not a warranty?
After all, the Sony mobile phone isn’t a brand of electronics and communication technology to be taken lightly- it is an established brand!
“We have opened up your mobile phone and we find it was mouldy inside. Your warranty is thus voided because of the mould!”, the agent repaired, probably reading from the report from the authorized service center.
Now, first of all, when I purchased the mobile phone, I was told that it was under warranty of 12 months from date of purchase, and that the warranty was even international. Secondly, the mobile phone was never in use excessively or exposed to water or rain. But while it was used in Australia where the climate was a little cooler than tropical Malaysia, the Sony mobile phone was well known for its good design, and I could hardly believe that all mobile phones would become mouldy because of the cooler climate and weather conditions in Mediterranean Australia. There was never a clause that said mould would void the warranty.
In the end, I had to fork out a sum of $200 to clean up the mould and to get the mobile phone functioning again some 3 months later, because by the time it was repaired, I was back in Australia and had to get a friend to retrieve it for me.
Now, the lesson of this experience is simple – Read the fine print of your warranty that comes with every purchase of your mobile phone.Just because what you buy is an established brand, never ever assume that its design is built to keep out the moisture or that it would not become mouldy inside, not even if it is a Sony. I was told it was standard policy to treat mouldy conditions within the mobile phone as a result of improper use of the mobile phone, rendering any warranty void.
While the mobile phone was a newer model, and I had always considered it an important part of my professional tools, there was never any case of mis-use of the mobile phone that could have allowed water to seep inside the mobile phone. If there was any mould, it would only have been the change of weather from the country of purchase and the country of use.
Let my experience be your guide, and pay attention to the fine print of your warranty so that you are sure whether mouldy conditions are covered under the warranty especially if you are going to use a mobile phone purchased overseas where there are different climatic conditions.