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Verizon Begins Charging Full Price of Warranty Phones if Rooted? (Updated)

What exactly should happen if you were to root your phone, play around with ROMs/hacks/etc., somehow manage to break it, and then send it in to Verizon for a warranty replacement?  Should you be allowed to get a replacement or not?  According to reports, you can get a replacement, but the rooting of your phone voids any warranty you had and gives Verizon permission to charge you for a new one if they determine that your broken phone was tampered with.

Our buddy @P3droid has apparently heard from a couple of friends who have run into the scenario that we described above and then been slapped with a pretty hefty and unannounced bill.  Fair or unfair?

I’ll just say this – we’ve known that rooting your device voids your warranty since well back in the original DROID days, so it makes sense that Verizon would do this.  As unpopular as this may sound, I can’t fault Big Red for going this route.  If you decide to take your phone out of its original factory status, tinker with its guts, and break something, it shouldn’t be their responsibility to take care of you.

With that said though, a broken volume rocker, faulty screen, etc. has nothing do with rooting, so I’d hate to see someone get charged for something that they didn’t cause even if they decided to root.  It’s an interesting topic, and one that I would love to hear all your opinions on.

Update:  Our friends at Verizon saw this post and wanted to reach out to clarify everything immediately.  First up, is the fact that their policy says absolutely nothing about checking for root on devices.  When a phone is received, a phone is checked for three things and that definitely isn’t one of them.  They check to see if the box that the device was sent in is damaged, if the outside of the phone looks awful, and if it powers on – satisfy all of those and they move on to the next phone.  So basically, these reports of being charged for a rooted phone simply mean that these people were sending in garbage phone with defects.

So…sound off!

Via:  MyDroidWorld

  • Gortex Overcoat

    I personally just bricked my galaxy nexus rooting it, keep in mind I had cracked the screen and I made a claim for a broken screen so I got a new one sent to me. (FYI the nexus is almost unbrickable, i could have unbricked it with a dongle they sell on amazon). But i was really worried that I would get charged for this unlocked phone because i couldnt flash to stock because usb wouldnt read. When I recieved my replacement phone it was already unlocked!! When I read over the fine print of the asurian insurance which is what verizon uses.  Your phone is covered if its lost, stolen, water damage or however you break it. I don’t see a difference between breaking it that way and breaking it by modding it.  Google released the stock images for the phone so it could be rooted and other things.  In a way they kind of encourage it.  I don’t know how those guys got charged but i never did. And my friends been getting replacements like every few months.  NO WORRIES IF UR SENDING IN A ROOTED PHONE. If you have any ? email me [email protected] i can help instruct on not getting charged or how to root ur phone

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3TPQA7TFDXGIEUZ4QA3QTGN3TA DizzyDog

    Well I wonder why then doesnt the service providers offer a service for a small fee, to those who want to change things about he phone, just have a person on hand with hardware and software that can set the device up the way you want it to,,, it seems to me a new way to bring in revenue. I would pay about 20.00 to get my device set up the way I want, for example get rid of programs I dont want, ect. They can make a bundle on this type of service.

  • Cleven dennis

    Thats what I thought, I sent in my phone after I restored it back to factory state. I didn’t know how they would have someone checking each phone to find out the problem, that didn’t seem possible to me.

  • Fes_24

    wwell im having problems trying to get the 2.3 update I’ve reset it to factory settings and the update still don’t work. The only thing I could think about is that I did delete some bloatware and had overclock on my phone. Im wondering if I could turn it to Verizon to deal with it. What do you guys think I should do???

  • Antwonfisher91

    well my predicament is that my (phone droid x) has superuser/root permissions to run barnacle wifi tether. i did not mod any other settings (no roms, no deletions of preloaded apps, etc.). upon taking the official ota update to gingerbread my phone bricked. i cant enter even run recovery mode while powering up. wouldn’t this technically be Verizons fault for sending corrupt software to my phone?

  • Antwonfisher91

    well my predicament is that my (phone droid x) has superuser/root permissions to run barnacle wifi tether. i did not mod any other settings (no roms, no deletions of preloaded apps, etc.). upon taking the official ota update to gingerbread my phone bricked. i cant enter even run recovery mode while powering up. wouldn’t this technically be Verizons fault for sending corrupt software to my phone?

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/2bk3gkl

  • http://profiles.google.com/bobboman Tom Koeppel

    as far as i’m concerned P3droid has lost all credibility and should probably go away

  • Tim

    There is a lot of confusion in the comments about the difference between an insurance claim and a warranty replacement.

    Warranty replacement is done by Verizon for the first year you own the device (and longer if you pay for TEC  or just Extended Warranty) and is used when something just stops working int he phone or something breaks that is obviously a manufacturer’s defect. This is free.

    An insurance claim can be made for anything, even loss of the phone and physical breakage even if it is due to carelessness/abuse. This is the one that costs $100 for advanced devices. This is actually done by Assurion, not Verizon.

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/2a7usxg

  • http://www.facebook.com/nathanielnewmanmusic Nathaniel Newman

    I actually spoke with a high level VZW tech about this. He told me “The phone must return to us as we sent it to you. If it’s been rooted it must be unrooted or you will be charged back. Root if you want but know that”.

    • http://profiles.google.com/legionthefecalexcretion LegionFecalExcretion aire

      Hes only saying that becuase you specifically told him you rooted it. The point is that even the term “root” itself DOES NOT appear in the device warranty fee guidelines. PERIOD. There is no team, guidelines, policy, OR fee for a rooted device. PERIOD. Only DAMAGE. Is root damage? That’s subjective but It is definitely not physical damaged as defined by Verizon.

  • http://twitter.com/timberwolfkw Kyle Wilkins

    I agree that Big Red is in the right to charge more if your rooted and that is why your phone is being sent in, because that would detour more people who root because “it’s kewl” and 1click everything because that’s all they know. But like you said, a broken camera button or faulty screen isn’t caused by rooted users, I would applause Big Red if they said this and enforced this policy.

  • http://twitter.com/HenriDevious Henri Devious

    I’ve never brought a phone to VZW that I couldn’t fix myself first.As many of you have said, it’s a matter of easily SBF/RUU. In my (almost) two years with the android root community, modding my own and my family/friends’ phones, I’ve NEVER bricked a phone. Bootloop, sure, but that’s easily fixable if you care to look and do research on amazing sites like XDA. I’ve never seen a case where flashing CWM, or a legit custom ROM damages a phone, as some of you claim.  
    It’s sad to see the root community be attacked because of the general abuse of features unlocked. As much as I love the ability to tether for free, I’m not gonna tether my PS3, my PC, and electric generator (i kid) to my phone and incur 15+ GB in a month or less. I honestly only use it when I *really* need it. We (rooters/devs/etc) get the bad rap because of the people that do these things. With great power comes great responsibility; the irresponsibility of many of these uneducated rooters has cause VZW to perk up their ears and peel their eyes for us, when we (in the big scope of things) are a minority in the android community.

  • Anonymous

    If this is true I would imagine this was triggered by multiple returns by those users over a specific period of time and/or some other similar blatant issue which resulted in a red flag.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sprunka Sean Prunka

    The terms of the warranty are fairly explicit about what is and is not covered. If you’ve voided your warranty, you’ve voided your warranty. It does not and should not matter what the issue you’re having with your phone (assuming that they warranty is void.)

    Also remember that warranty is not the same as insurance. Accidental damages aren’t covered by warranty, but are covered by insurance. Rooting may void warranties, but I don’t think it voids insurance. (I don’t know.)

    That being said, the thing that disturbed me the most was the unannounced portion. Rather than actually replacing the device Verizon should have warned the responsible party that (for whatever reason) the device would not be covered under warranty, and that they could still replace the phone at cost, if they wished. Verizon should not have proceeded with the repair/replace without verifying costs.

    (and yes, my Droid Incredible on VZW is rooted with custom roms and a custom kernel. My Thunderbolt will be rooted within “minutes” of taking it out of the box when I upgrade.)

    • Gee

      The customer is always warned at the counter before we finish. If you weren’t I’m sorry and that rep should be fired

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/2a7usxg

  • Hakr81

    This is very easy to get around. I am currently on my 3rd OG Droid. My first Droid, way back when they came out, i fried because i didn’t know what i was doing. My second one was a Hardware defect. All you have to do is brick your phone so they can not tell that it was rooted. Worked both times for me. Hitting it hard on something seems to work! I two refurbished OG droids on warranty with my old one rooted!

  • Nope

    I think the headline is total B.S.  ” heard from a couple of friends ” dear God whats passes as news these days.

  • Anonymous

    If they don’t replace it then they need to refund that $6 or $7 a month you’ve been paying for coverage.

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/2df4ccp

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/2a7usxg

  • J Dub

    Weeeeell…broken screen, buttons, camera should not fall under this. However, say you burn your logic board up by running a kernel you should be running. Def full price. I do feel though that there are enough places to get parts that you should be able to fix just about anything. I just took 2 broken D1’s and made one good one for my wife. One had a cracked screen and the other had a fried board. Pretty easy esp. with the help of sites like iFixit.

  • http://twitter.com/tychastain Tyler Chastain

    I work as a VZW customer service agent (yes, it blows). As far as my job goes, there’s no way of knowing if a customer has a rooted or ROM on it, but that could be something only available to tech support. The fee for returning a damaged feature phone with a warranty claim is $99, for a smartphone, $299. This fee is non-negotiable as well. Insurance claims only charge the deductible (($45/feature phones, $99/smartphones) and the monthly charge), to replace the phone. Asurion could care less if you’re rooted or not.

    • Ozzzmosis

      that’s what i wanted to know…i know having insurance would pay off

  • Stussmachine

    My insurance is through Best Buy.  I shouldn’t be worried should I?

  • Asmack101

    Thanks alot you stupid people if u can’t read and understand root instruction u don’t need a damn android phone. At least have enough f****** since to unroot the thing before you return it you complete idiots. Thanks alot for ruining it. Improve your comprehension and while you do that get you F*&^*%@ Iphone.

  • Sylviamta

    I root my OG Droid and set it back to stock before I sent to back for a broken mic, no issues and easy to do. I was also doing this at the same as my upgrade and got a refurbished Droid as a back up.

  • http://twitter.com/samthomas86 Sam Thomas

    I can’t be bothered to read all these comments, but from what I can tell a lot of people seem to have the impression that you can return a phone for physical damage. Some accidental physical damage can be cause for a replacement, but a majority can’t me.  I am using a DROID X and for anyone familiar with the DX there is a separate piece directly under the physical buttons.  That is one of the first pieces checked when a phone is returned.  If it is loose or cracked they are likely to charge you a partial fee.  I would guess you are 50/50 to get your phone replaced for a physical issue with the phone.  Software issues are far more likely to be accepted and replaced for free.  Up until recently VZW did not check the phone for root or any other issues, they simply SBF’d the device and checked to see if it worked (and did their whole certified thing). Now, the last time I needed support, the tech suggested to me that I SBF the phone before returning it. He mentioned that the start up image was the most important factor.  According to the tech I spoke with they only check the boot image (some check for SU apps) because many of the people checking have no idea whether or not the mods are an app or a rooted change. 

    On a side note, I was in a store getting a new phone for my Dad a few months back and I saw a store tech messing with a rooted DX.  They realized they had bricked the phone (messing with some settings while people waited in line).  When the phone boot looped the other tech working suggested sending it back for a new one.

  • misphit917

    I think that anyone who is rooting their phones better know how to return it to stock and know how to find the sbf file incase something goes wrong. the fact that there is hand full of people rooting their phones and not having every possible tool to fix it if something happens is beyond me and these are the same people walking into the store crying about a bricked phone. Trust me i have bricked my phone like three times and you better believe i was up all night until i fixed it. bottom line dont root ur phone F it up and try to blame verizon,sprint , att blah blah…help keep rooting strong ask ur fello rooters and fello rooters when someone ask you a question give them to answer not a bunch of mombo jumbo…im  1

  • Anonymous

    Uhh, first of all if you’re rooted, please unroot before going into Verizon for dust under you screen (or whatever reason).

    Secondly, as long as restrictions are software based, there will be a workaround.
    Also, its not Verizon charging I don’t think. When I came into Verizon 2 months ago with a Corrupt Code Bootloader error (tried SBFing a bunch of times, to no avail–eventually fixed without their help though), they offered to send it in to Motorola, but if Motorola were to find that the phone had been tampered with or damaged they would charge me for it.

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/2a7usxg

  • Anonymous

    Are there any third party warranty services that will replace your phone regardless? Obviously, an alternative to a warranty is to get a case like an Otterbox, but not all of us want to double the size of our phones.

  • http://twitter.com/BrokersLie BrokersLie

    Few issues here, first insurance and warranty is two different things. Warranty covers a defective device that isn’t human error. Insurance covers any damage or defectiveness of your device regardless.

    So unless your device is bugging out, rebooting, etc. Or if your device is having hardware issues such as stuck volume rocker, stuck power button, etc. Then there’s no reason to contact Verizon for anything. If your device is dealing with problems outside of these factory defective issues then call your insurance company and file a claim. Heck say you lost it, dropped it into a lake, or broke it. 

    Now the problem is you have people bringing rooted devices into Verizon, and half of those people are probably going in for some dumbass software issue or defective hardware issue. If you’re taking your shit into Verizon to get it service then unroot your phone. No possible way for them to find out whether or not the phone has been rooted before. Heck I’ve seen some morons get their warranty voided because they were having trouble with Gingerbread on the Thunderbolt. These people deserve it. It’s common knowledge that your warranty voids if your phone is rooted. However, ifs not impossible to unroot your device so you can take it back. They can absolutely CANNOT check if your phone has been rooted previously or not. 

  • Anonymous-x

    Two have been sent back that were rooted & replaced with no troubles at all.

  • Anonymous

    I fail to see how software or the tweaking of said software can cause a hardware failure. That said, I hate all you rootin mofo’s. Just like I hate all you data sucking meatheads.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001992840095 Tj Allen

      You’re a moron.

      • Anonymous

        You wouldn’t have been born if I pulled out.

  • Kunta Kinte

    Great.  And I’ve got a replacement on the way for a defective slider.  I will reset it to factory defaults and hope for the best.

  • Pat Morton

    why do most people root their android phones when it basically already does everything? so they can get the newest update a year before verizon decided to release it or to get leaked apps that verizon promises but then doesn’t feel like releasing them. so i’m not surprised that verizon wants their customers to be satisfied and happy with their phone.

    • http://twitter.com/rudy79g Rudy Guzman

      Go get an i*hone, you don’t deserve the Android device in your hand right now! Just like the first amendment gives you the right to freedom of speech, our purchase with our hard earned dollars gives us the right to customize our phones any way we want to because that is our right as a consumer. TRAITOR!!!

  • http://twitter.com/__menthol d

    Good thing I’ve rooted twice and found it to be nearly pointless both times so I’m now enjoying a carefree stock phone. :]

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/2a7usxg

  • CIQ Investigation

    Sprint has the same corporate policy.  But here is a twist for you to chew on…Say your carrier installs known trojan horse like spyware such as CarrierIQ (Sprint does) and the only way to protect your data and privacy from potential hacking is to root and use a custom ROM.  Should carriers have the right to void your warranty if you are forced to root and install a custom ROM in order to protect your user names, passwords, data and privacy?

  • Frodo of the Nine Fingers

    I have seen V replace two bricked phones with no questions asked. But then again the person was paying for the insurance that covers the phone and all accessories. In fact the first phone was bought used from someone else.

    I cannot give out any more details. Even now the clouds are circling the sky and I must flee . . .