You walk onboard the MRT spying an empty seat and rushed to sit down only to hear a heartbreaking craaaaaak. Yep, you just sat on your iPhone, and now your precious is in shambles.
Whether the sat-down-on-my-phone story, or screen shattered after a hard night of partying, or even your two-year-old niece jabbed a toy into your iPhone's charging port and completely destroyed it story, we've all had accidents with our iPhones before. The big question to ask is "now what?"
Do you take it to an Apple Store to have it fixed? Or take your chances and Sim Lim Square? Or head to your neighbourhood repair shop instead? We have 3 ways to help you weigh your options:
1. Know the difference between authorized & unauthorized repair shops
Apple stores and Apple authorized service providers like A.LAB will almost always charge lesser than anywhere else for repairing your damaged iPhone. For example, an iPhone 6s without AppleCare+ coverage will cost around $189 for any screen repair. That same repair will cost you around $100-$150 more at your local repair shop.
Why does it cost higher at local repair shops? The short answer is — there's a middleman. Local repair shops basically charge extra to cover original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. OEMs are manufacturers who resell another company's product under their own name and branding. They will also add on about $20-30 for labour cost to earn a little profit.
However, if you don't mind not having original Apple parts, you can pay a whole lot less at local repair shops and have the replacement done in as little as 10 minutes too. Apple and Apple authorized service providers usually require that you schedule a repair appointment. Keep in mind that having non-original Apple parts will affect your resell value when you decide to move on to a newer model.
2. Ask about warranty
No matter how smooth a repair goes, parts aren't perfect, and sometimes you may find yourself returning to the store over issues such as a screen coming off its frame due to poor gluing on techniques or specks of dirt inside the screen from the repairer not wiping the screen properly.
Always be sure to ask what a store's warranty policy is on their parts and repairs. This will ensure that you don't end up paying more even after the repair job is done. Warranty policies can differ wildly from store to store; from one week all the way up to 30 days against defects and negligence. Stores with longer periods are the obvious choice; ones that have great policies often take pride in their work and the parts (OEM vs. third-party) that they use.
If you have a history on constantly "abusing" your phone by dropping it or cracking the screen at least twice a month, it may be a good idea to get an AppleCare warranty. This ensures you additional hardware coverage for your iPhone, including up to two incidents of accidental damage from handling.
3. Do your research
Ultimately, it's up to you to do your due diligence. There is really no reason you can't find the best (and cheapest) option available by doing some research and checking out reviews online.
A repair shop is still after all, customer service-based. You can have the best tech guy miraculously revive a rusty iPhone that drowned at Siloso beach, but give the worst customer experience that will get his shop a ton of negative reviews on Facebook.
So read reviews on shops that you're thinking of visiting. This works especially well for shops located at Sim Lim Square. There are forums dedicated to weeding out the sleazy salesmen out to cheat your money. The last thing you need when getting your device fixed is to be treated like an idiot and pay more than what you should. So, do your research!