I’m going to get a cellphone. What do I need to know?

2. Learn about warranties and repairs

Most new phones have a manufacturer's . A warranty is a promise to repair or replace a product if it doesn't work properly. Sometimes, your service provider will also add their own warranty on the phone. Some phones also have a warranty.

The service provider must tell you:

  • if your phone has a warranty
  • what the warranty covers
  • if you will have to pay to send the phone for repair

They must also tell you how long the warranty lasts before they offer you any extended warranties or insurance. An extended warranty lasts longer or covers more than the warranty the phone is sold with. You usually have to pay more for this extra protection.


Many contracts let you send your phone away for repairs. Your service provider must stop charging you for services, like call time and data, if all of these apply to you:

  • your phone is part of a contract with the service provider
  • you sent the phone for repair through the service provider
  • the phone is covered by the manufacturer's warranty or the service provider's warranty
  • the service provider didn't give you a free phone to use during the repair
  • you would have to pay an early cancellation fee if you cancelled your service
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