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Google Play Now Offers A One-Time Free Replacement if You Damage Your Nexus 5 (Updated)

Nexus 5

If you like to live dangerously (i.e., without a smartphone cover or insurance), breaking your handset’s screen can sometimes be a terrible disaster. Getting a low-cost replacement can prove challenging depending on the company and carrier, but Google’s apparently sympathetic to the travails of careless owners. According to reports, Nexus 5 owners who ordered their devices from the Play Store are now eligible to receive one replacement free of charge, should their device accrue damage of any kind.

Slightly more flexible than Motorola’s replacement program, the new policy appears to be without exemption, meaning whether your Nexus 5 ended up at the bottom of stairs or in a lake, you’re covered.

Looking to take advantage? You need only call Google Play customer service and arrange to ship back your damaged device. Google will place a hold on one of the payment methods associated with your account, but it will be removed after the damaged Nexus 5 is received.

The addition of Google makes three companies – Motorola, HTC, and Google – that now offer free replacements for damaged smartphones. We can only hope this is a trend that continues down the road.

Update: Readers are reporting varying levels of success initiating the replacement process. We have reached out to Google PR for the exact details of the reported program.

Via: +Joshua D.
  • SLC

    is this true or Scam ? I was suppose to get my phone today and it convenienetly got stolen/lost after the UPS guy decided to deliver it earlier than the window they gave me. I have a $~400 dollar hold on my account from google till the investigation is performed about the missing package. So moral of the story I never received a phone !!!

  • Shaggy723

    I know this post is about a month old at this point, but just letting folks know that Google just agreed to replace my Nexus 5 with it’s recently cracked screen. The extremely nice support person who was in the US had to get authorization from her manager, but she went ahead with the process (which is basically in line with what many have said here). Google rocks!

  • Hey Guys, i broke my nexus 5 screen this morning as it slipped from my hand while getting down from car, phone goes blank while incoming or outgoing call and have to restart, can I expect any help from google….

  • marrieta

    my Nexus 5 cracked, please, could you tell were i can call. i will be at NY, but no one answer this phone Phone: +1 212-565-0000. thank you a lot.

  • Jay

    I contacted google play 5 days ago, last night they finally approved my RMA. They want me to pay 369.99 w/tax for a refurb?!?!?! Even if they cover the problem it can take up to 21 days to be taken off of my CC. Only problem with my N5 is the microphone has gone bad. Sounds like I’m trying to talk to you through a wall.
    Has anyone had issues with being charged the full amount? How long have they held their payment for you?

  • Mark

    This is way old but i figured i’d give it a try for my crack near the sim tray and screen scratches. No go, wear and tear not covered. No big deal though, i did drop this phone a few times.

  • TooYellow

    My N5 screen broke from sitting on it. Google is replacing it for me. They said it was a one time thing. The support agent also said there was no change in policy and that not everyone was eligible. Pretty vague but I was one of the lucky ones.

  • Omar

    So my Nexus 5 went through the washer for 3 hours… And then it dropped and was smashed several times (Basically unfixable). I have done the RMA and it shud come today, they have a 400 bucks hold on my account. Will they really accept my smashed up Nexus 5 and release the hold???

  • Carlton Crasher

    I had actually replaced the screen in my phone, but it must have been a knock off…light bleedthrough everywhere, little did i know somehow none of the microphones worked in the phone…so ordered the lower board part replaced and still nothing….meanwhile i’ve had a note 3. i just now realized i actually bought the phone from the play store. so, with a screen protector i smashed the phone, took the screen protector off and the phone looks perfect (until you turn the screen on hehehe), called and they said they would be getting me my replacement.

  • Alwad

    Not in Europe. Shame.

  • Stephen James Hanson

    only nexus 5 i’ve got a nexus 7 that needs to be repaired 🙁 a bit of the corner has come off

  • Cary Zuber

    Here is the email.

    Hello Cary,

    Thank you for contacting Google. It was a pleasure speaking with you today, and I’m glad we can begin to find a solution for you.

    Good news: the Nexus 5 is now in your name. We can now begin going over any warranty options we may have for you.

    I understand you have a cracked screen. Now, normally, this would fall outside our warranty policy and we’d transfer you over to the manufacturer for their repair options. Damaged devices are normally directed to the manufacturer, which may cost money to repair. But I have some great news for you! Because we value you so much as a customer, I’ve asked for authorization and been approved to give you a one-time courtesy device replacement.

    What I would be issuing is an advanced replacement, and it goes as follows:

    1. I’ll send you an email with two attachments and a link. You will need to print out the two attachments and click on the link within 24 hours. Fill out all the information the link requires and we’ll send you a refurbished device. There will be an authorized hold on your account.

    2. 3-5 business days later, once you receive the replacement, pack your broken device in the box we have sent. Please include the RMA label on the inside, and place the shipping label on the outside. Ship that on over within 7 days.

    3. Once we receive the device, the authorized hold will be dropped from your account within 14 business days.

    If this sounds good to you, go ahead and let me know and I will begin the replacement process for you. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to let me know and I will be happy to further assist you.

    Thanks and have a great day,


  • Cary Zuber

    My screen cracked on my nexus 5 yesterday. I called google support they first had to transfer the phone to my name,(I bought it on swappa) about 10 min later i received an email from google saying they would be sending me a replacement refurbished nexus 5 free of charge. About 5 min ago i got an email informing me the phone had shipped. I was blown away by how smooth the process went. The phone should be in my hands Monday.

  • markp99

    I just called Google and got a replacement for my cracked Nexus 5.

    The perky person I spoke with was not aware of any such replacement program, but went away to “talk to her supervisor”, then came back and announced she was able to “pull some strings” (hehe) and got me a replacement authorization. Nice.

    I was going to replace the screen, or just buy a new device. This replacement gives me a little more time to review my options and decide.


    that’s fake news, they said nothing changed.


    that’s fake news, they said nothing changed.

  • Eddie

    Just wanted to chime in here, in case other people are in a similar situation. Just over this long weekend I drove over my N5, totally smashing everything. Called Google yesterday to see if I could qualify. The support person said he’d get back to me, and just a half day later he called to tell me that they’ll get the replacement process started. It looks like if I can qualify with these circumstances, everyone else should give it a shot.

    Oh forgot to mention that I’m in the US and of course purchased the device from the Google Play Store about three months ago.

  • KT

    Thank you for this! Just went through the process…Google Play order does show “refurbished”. Hopefully all goes well!

  • mrjayviper

    Which country?

  • Disqus_n00b

    Good luck getting anyone on the phone at Samsung, let alone someone in your time zone who understands English.

  • Thomas

    I think this is a way of getting rid of extra inventory before they start to introduce the new Nexus phone.

  • Visual360

    Wooohoo! Didn’t expect to be able to get this, but I’m getting a replacement. It was quick and easy! I wish they have this program for the N4 also. lol.

  • Adlv

    Worked for me thanks i had cracked my screen on July 4th although not a bad crack cant beat a free replacement

  • Brad

    35 minutes on hold, 10 minutes with the rep and then told this doesn’t apply to Australia.

    • cc

      Its only eligible for people who bought it in the usa play store

  • cc

    Dont believe everything you read google will only replace it if its under the 1 year warranty bought through the play store you have to have purchased it in the usa and not every issue with the phone means they will exchange the device! Spread the word I work for tech support

    • CHRIS42060

      Umm no one has a Nexus 5 over a year old so that’s not an issue and they are replacing my phone that has liquid damage. I’d say that they’ll replace devices for most reasons.

  • I have one crack across my screen that was so annoying. Called google at 8 AM. Have a nexus 5 being shipped to me tomorrow. LOve you google

  • Michel Carvalho Icart

    It worked with me. Thanks for the tip!!!

  • billy

    Ha, I always assumed that there already was some sort of warranty replacement program for the Nexus 5. That’s probably in part because my wife had a great experience with Motorola when the screen on her Motomaker Moto X cracked. We didn’t really know what the repair policy was, but she was able to submit a claim and configure a new phone on Motomaker simultaneously through the Moto website. Moto FedExed her a new phone within a day or two w/ a pre-paid mailer to return her busted phone.

    Anyway, glad to know I’m covered!