I've owned several Galaxy phones, inevitably most get a swollen battery sometime after the warranty expires. I always opened a repair ticket direct with Samsung and sent the device in. The battery was always replaced timely and for a reasonable price, so I didn't hesitate to send in my current out of warranty phone when I noticed the back of the phone starting to swell.
It is a few weeks later and I've received the phone back, at my request unrepaired. This was a very disturbing and unsettling experience with Samsung repair.
TLDR; Samsung Repair is not what it used to be. I strongly recommend to not send in out of warranty devices for repair.
1. First off, nothing is wrong with the phone except for a slight bulge in the back case indicating a probable swollen battery. All functions work correctly (even the battery charging and life), and there has never been any damage. The phone is pristine.
2. As usual, I opened a repair ticket for a battery replacement. The cost is ~$100 (plus tax). I send in the phone using prepaid label.
3. About a week after Samsung's receipt of the phone, I receive email requesting me to authorize an increase to ~$430, the PBA (mainboard) needs replaced. I am doubtful but I call in and authorize the repair.
4. About a week later, I again receive email requesting to authorize an increase to ~$600, the LCD and assembly needs replaced. Here I draw the line. Why does a pristine phone require an LCD replacement? Has some damage happened?
5. I call in to Samsung. Before I can express my doubts about these repairs, Customer Service offers to sell me a new phone for $200 more and will give me $200 trade in so effectively I can get a new phone for the same price. No thanks, I want my original phone with the battery replaced and that is all.
6. Customer Service then wants me to authorize the latest amount and again I decline, I want only my original phone with the battery replaced as per the repair ticket, which has somehow been changed from a battery replacement to "will not power on after upgrade".
7. Customer Service cannot tell me anything about the repair, they can only sell me a new phone or take my authorization of the current amount. CSR suggests I call back when the Repair Center is open and speak to someone there (it is already after hours now). I agree to call back.
8. Samsung CSR calls me the following day to request authorization for the new amount. CSR also suggests I can get a new phone for $200 more with a $200 trade in, and would I like to do that instead. I decline, and request to speak to someone about the necessity of the repair. Unfortunately, it is Saturday and no one is available to speak with me from the Repair Center.
9. Samsung Customer Service calls me again on Monday. Same conversation: Why authorize such a high amount when I can get a new phone? I ask to be transferred to the Repair Center for explanation of the repairs. The transfer fails and I am disconnected.
10. I call Samsung back, same conversation with yet another CSR. After declining the offer to buy a new phone yet again, I am successfully transferred to the Repair Center.
11. I ask why a battery replacement on a pristine phone has become more than $600 in repair costs. I am told the technician evaluating the phone is using a "template". I ask what this means. Did my main board fail some test? How did the LCD become damaged after I sent it in to Samsung? If UPS had damaged the phone I'm sure there would have been a different conversation soon after Samsung's receipt of the phone.
12. After lengthy argument with the Repair Center rep, who is telling me no one is claiming any damage, the Repair Center rep finally reveals that Samsung "must" bring my device "up to current spec" because it is out of warranty. The main board, LCD, battery "must" be replaced, Samsung doesn't do "partial repairs". These are the estimated costs based on the "template".
13. Enough. I stated I'd like my original phone back with only the battery replaced, and why was I able to open a battery replacement ticket if Samsung doesn't do this anymore? Repair Center rep states that I can authorize Samsung to send my phone back unrepaired, free of charge, and I accept.
While waiting for my unrepaired phone to be sent back to me, I bought a genuine OEM Samsung battery online for $35. Yes, it's genuine. It took some patience but I replaced the battery myself and all is good as new.
If your device is under warranty, go ahead and send it in, I'm guessing Samsung will still stand behind their warranty (?). If your phone is not under warranty, go to someone else or maybe try it yourself. Replacing the battery was a delicate operation, and scary (I didn't want to crack the LCD) and avoid Samsung Repair like the plague. IANAL but I wouldn't be surprised if Samsung faces a class action suit soon for these deceptive practices.