A trip to Samsung’s Service Center

Early last month I went to Samsung’s service center in Plaza Singapura to collect my wife’s Galaxy S III. The device couldn’t detect its SIM card and we turned it in for a warranty claim. The service center is located in the basement (#B2-23) and you’ll find it easier if you enter the mall via Dhoby Ghaut MRT Exit D. This phone also functions as the development device for our upcoming Android-based software products.

It was a FridayGalaxy S III Teardown night and the service center was quite crowded. However the total time I spent there was relatively quick — it took just under 20 minutes from the time I walk in to get a queue number until I walk out with the device. Much faster than if you go through a telco’s service center – one of the nice things that you get if you buy direct and pay the full price of the device, not through a 24-months contract with a mobile service provider. 

About half of the customer service representatives there looks like they’re in their mid to late teens – just below undergrad age (note: my dayjob’s office building is inside a university complex and thus I am pretty confident in my judgement —at least for probing oriental-looking people in Singapore). Probably they’re getting night jobs after school and this shows how industrious (and perhaps competitive) they are.

Anyway, the representative lady that serviced me asked me for my identity card (which of course won’t match since it was my wife who took it in), squinted her forehead but then gave me the device anyway. She asked for the battery but I didn’t carry it with me at the time, but was kind enough to lend me a battery to test it.

She also mentioned that they did a mainboard replacement, a SIM card housing replacement, and a software upgrade. Strangely when I turned it on (and rapidly blast through the various setup that an Android device needs), it prompts me that a software update was (still) needed. Quite strange, if they really upgrade it then shouldn’t it be the latest one and no further update is needed?

The fact that they replaced the mainboard sounds alarming. Essentially a phone consists of mainboard and display plus a few other accessories like batteries and enclosure. Thus the mainboard is the very core (and expensive) part of the phone, probably more than half of the entire phone. What I originally expect was only SIM tray assembly replacement, which is about USD 13 worth of parts. But this instance I can’t complain for this since it’s all
covered under warranty – thanks & kudos to Samsung for this.

There was one important hiccup that marred the experience: Samsung Kies for Mac didn’t restore all data – most importantly 3rd party applications data are not backed up. Unlike what iTunes normally does for iOS devices. So when I used Kies to restore the device from a backup she previously made, 3rd party applications were still missing and thus need to be reinstalled one by one. I was unpleasantly surprised with this, but then again she doesn’t keep much other data besides contacts and email.

In summary, if you want to go to Samsung’s service center you’ll need to pay attention to the following:

  • Try to identify the defective part and ask just to replace that one, especially if the device is no longer under warranty.
  • Bring the device’s original battery fully charged.
  • If it’s a cellular device, bring along a SIM card that you can use to test it out.
  • Bring the warranty card (paper version) when you bring it in and the service receipt when you collect it. Apparently the service representatives were not accustomed to looking up the device’s serial number.
  • Last but not least, backup your data and get all other 3rd party application’s data backed up (somehow) before you turn it in.

That’s all for now. Take care.

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