Sony clarifies warranty guidance if you unlock your bootloader

by XB on 3rd August 2012

in Featured Content, Problems

Last week we reported on the problem that a number of people were having in trying to get repairs made on their Sony Xperia handsets. The problem affected some of those who had unlocked their bootloader to allow them to install custom ROMs and root their handsets. Many of these repairs were refused because of the fact that these people had unlocked bootloaders and Sony therefore said the warranty was voided. This was also the case for manufacturer issues, such as the yellow tint display problem.

Phone Arena reached out to Sony Mobile PR’s team for an answer and we’ve included their full response below. The gist of it is that unless it is a known batch issue, Sony Mobile will not honour the warranty if the bootloader has been unlocked. This sounds fair to us, especially given the fact that installing custom ROMs and overclocking one’s handset could cause overheating and other issues. Obviously in most issues this isn’t the case, but Sony shouldn’t be expected to spend the time to weed out these issues when it may have been caused by the consumer. See the statement after the break.

For most issues/problems, unlocking the bootloader voids the warranty. Sony Mobile only honours the warranty if it is a known issue in that model/batch of phones or if it is an issue that clearly could not have been caused by flashing a different ROM. Because a new ROM can have a wide range of consequences (e.g., it can overheat the battery or change the voltage, which can damage other components), that basically means that only a small subset of issues are still covered by the warranty. Therefore, even when the phone is in warranty, the service centre usually has to do a very costly board swap in order to get the phone back to its original state before it can perform any repair. The end-user has to pay for that part of the repair.

We are proud of providing the unlock feature to the developer community. Previously, there was a large risk of bricking the phone when unlocking with third party software. Sony Mobile’s solution remove’s that risk. When we initially provided the unlock feature, it was presumed that only highly skilled developers and super-users would take advantage of it. From blogs and discussion boards, it was clear that the community understood the risks and that unlocking largely voided the warranty. It appears that less sophisticated users (despite all our warnings) might be using the feature, and are now surprised by the consequences.

Via Phone Arena.

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