Samsung’s move to cut fraudulent warranty repair claims could threaten accredited service centre businesses and create a repairs backlog, the industry was warned this week.
Concerns focus on the manufacturer’s decision to ban licensed service centres from repairing Samsung phones sent in by dealers, unless the dealers can provide the user’s full name and address.
However, many dealers are reluctant to share their databases with service centres. Samsung accounts for as much as 70% of business for some centres.
The new rules follow a major investigation into fraudulent claims late last year, which has resulted in a number of service centres losing their licences to repair Samsung phones.
Samsung’s new rules on warranty repairs impact around 30 service centres across the UK, which carry out an estimated 15,000 mobile phone repairs a month. Service centres warned the rules could see over half of these businesses close. Sources claim some dealers are unwilling to reveal customers’ details to service centres as those centres own rival dealerships. One major dealer said: ‘Our databank is a major asset. We are not prepared to hand that out to anyone.’
Executives at service centres contacted by Mobile claimed the new rules would force dealers to move their repairs to larger centres, which do not run rival dealerships, to protect their data. In addition to the impact on their own businesses, they predicted the resulting upheaval will cause a log jam of repairs and less competition. Another service centre chief said: ‘This could result in the destruction of at least half of Samsung-accredited service centres. It is a disaster.’
The executives were angry at the lack of consultation on the new rules, which came into effect on 1 January this year. An email to service centres warned the cost of repairing Samsung handsets without end user data will ‘be borne by the supplier of the units for repair’.
A Samsung spokeswoman said: ‘The decision has been made following a thorough investigation into the sources of handsets for warranty repairs previously claimed back in order to mitigate the risk of any non-genuine claims in the future.’