Humberto Saabedra is the Editor-in-Chief of and an occasional columnist for He can also be found musing on things at @AnimeNewsdotbiz

10 responses to “Sprint TEP/S&R Changes Next Week”

  1. Larry

    Sprint is withdrawing a service promised on its web site:

    We will cover the manufacturer warranty for mechanical or electrical failure at a Sprint service location for one year from the date of your device’s original activation.

    Needless to say, charging $35 is not the definition of “cover the manufacturer warranty.”

    Arguably, this withdrawal of service should permit customers to cancel service ETF-free, though I’m sure Sprint will kick and scream.

  2. Larry

    I should also point out that until Sprint changes its web site, it cannot possibly charge the $35. As Sprint’s own bills clearly state, their web site is the authoritative documentation of their services, policies, terms, and conditions. Needless to say, internal “playbooks” and such are meaningless because they do not represent the official and public agreement between Sprint and its customers.

  3. Christopher Price

    The carriers have generally agreed that in-store warranty service is totally optional. As such, this is not an ETF-out.

    Half of the big four don’t even offer any device warranty service in-store.

    Part of the reason why Sprint cut the $35 fee was because a couple of the OEMs (Sanyo and HTC in particular) had relied on Sprint to handle warranties, making it difficult/impossible for customers to get warranty service without jumping through (at times, impossible) hoops.

    Today, Sanyo Mobile is now part of Kyocera, and HTC has taken over warranty obligations from PCD for the most part, so Sprint can resume charging $35, and pointing to the manufacturers to free warranty services.

    Is this good for the consumer? Of course not. AT&T and T-Mobile offer direct, drop shipping of replacement devices, typically within 24 hours. Verizon continues to offer in-house warranty services.

    There is one silver lining: Customers that drop/break their phones will once again be able to get replacements for dirt cheap, even if they have no insurance or TEP coverage. In that arena, Sprint blows away every carrier in America. Even Verizon charges at least $50 for such replacements, and T-Mobile and AT&T offer no such replacement services.

  4. Larry

    Sprint has now posted its new policy, which appears to say that the $35 charge only applies if the device is out of warranty or if the repair is not covered by the warranty:

    Sprint provides the following at no charge: Manufacturer warranty for mechanical or electrical failure for one year from original activation date. Device unlock/reset, phonebook swaps and software updates.

  5. Christopher Price

    Sprint’s clarification certainly changes things. Before, this appeared to be a revert to their 2007-2009 era policy where warranty in-house fell under the $35 fee regime.

    Now it appears Sprint is trying to take a lead in the warranty side of things, further bolstering Sprint’s position as a premium brand (versus their budget brands; Virgin, Boost, etc).

    My main concern is that, while this may help improve customer image of Sprint in the long run… Sprint probably should do something in the short run to promote this. It may create a lot of free rider problems to run an ad that says “hey, we’ll replace your phone for $35 if you break it”, but short of that, I don’t see Sprint winning a lot of PR points in the general public in the short run.

  6. JJ

    Sprint has to make sure that the repair centers follow the rules. I went into a repair center 2 weeks ago because the kickstand on my evo stopped working and the repair center said that the kickstand not staying closed was not covered under the repair or replace warranty. They said it was physical damage. Of course it was clearly visible in the sprint brochure that under the policy it fell under wear and tear. The repair center would not do anything. It took me 2 hours on the phone and a sprint customer rep manager finally agreed that it was wear and tear and sent me another phone. In the meantime the repair center completely ignored me as a customer and sprint as far as I know didn’t do anything. Hope they fix this big issue.

  7. Chuck

    Weird. says in warranty repairs/replacement is covered. However, internal trainings and S&R systems are saying to charge $35 even if the device is under warranty but the customer has no TEP or ESRP. Very confusing.

  8. Christopher Price

    Thanks for the tip, Chuck. We’ll touch base with Sprint and get some clarification.

  9. Sprint Clarifies Warranty Changes to |

    […] $35 replacement fee that we first covered last week, is for devices that have been physically damaged, but are likely repairable by Sprint’s […]

  10. Christopher Price

    Hi everyone, we’ve gotten a response from Sprint. You can read it in our new article: