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S20+ "Gross Electromechanical Damage" - Samsung Denied Warranty Claim

I picked up a Galaxy S20+ in May and last week it randomly popped the message "Security Error: This phone has been flashed with unauthorized software & is locked. Call your mobile operator for additional support. Please note that repair/return for this issue may have additional cost". I am the original owner and it was ordered from Verizon Business (it's a corporate device) so I know the history of the phone is legit. Being a corporate device, I of course never tried to change the firmware, etc. It was in my pocket all afternoon while working around my house and was sitting on a nightstand when I looked down and saw the above message. I returned it to Samsung via their online chat/portal return program for warranty service and just got the below email back from Samsung:

 

After careful inspection, unfortunately your device is un-repairable due to GROSS ELECTROMECHANICAL DAMAGE which is not covered under the Samsung Standard Limited Warranty. Samsung technicians determined your product is BER (Beyond Economical Repair) simultaneously voiding the warranty. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Your Model: SM-G986UZAAVZW

 

Does anybody have any experience with this type of situation? This is like my 4th Galaxy (5, 6, 8 and now 20+) and I've never had a problem like this before. I can't get my head around what might have caused the damage they are suggesting. I was at my house and the phone was in the same pockets my other Galaxies have ridden around in and was sitting on the same nightstand as the others and none of those ever failed (there is a Kindle Fire sitting there too and it has never had a problem).  I have asked them for clarification on what "gross electromechanical damage" actually means and to send me pictures, technical information, etc. that show/describe the damage and how it may have occurred, but so far have not gotten a response.  I just can't see plunking down another $1k on a phone that might fail again in another 2 months because of something in my environment that can cause "gross electromechanical damage" (my nightstand?) without some kind of detailed technical report that may shed light on a possible cause.  Due to lack of response to my query, I can't help but think Samsung is just trying to wiggle out of a warranty claim, but I can't imagine why they would do that given that this is a corporate device and my long history of Galaxy purchases both at the corporate level and personal level.  Any advice is welcome.

 

Thanks!

8 REPLIES 8
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Comet

Re: Gross Electromechanical Damage

just curious, but was it recently on a charger? I only ask because a friend of mine had the exact same thing happen this weekend to his iPhone. then today while we were at work, he got an email from DTE (Edison electric) that his home area was under a large amount of draw over the past few months (covid lockdown, everyones home) and many people were experiencing device failures due to a lower than normal current.
His iphone and brand new 72" tv both fried.
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Highlighted

Re: Gross Electromechanical Damage

At the time it failed it was not on a charger.  It was charged overnight so was taken off the charger in the morning and failed in the late afternoon.  I have a six outlet APC (similar to this model - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0046BGUWG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1) on the outlet behind the nightstand and none of the other devices (alarm clock, lamp, Kindle Fire) were affected.  I just went in and checked the APC and it is still showing a green light with no obvious signs of failure.  I don't have a wireless charger so it is just the Samsung OEM charger plugged into the APC that I plug into the phone via USB C every night.  Thanks for taking the time to reply.

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Comet

Re: Gross Electromechanical Damage

They never replied to you with what "Gross electromechanical damage" is exactly?
Of all the malfunctions I've seen happen to devices, I've never heard that one until now.
if you do ever hear back, please reply here with what they said. I'm really curious about this one
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Re: Gross Electromechanical Damage

No, they have not responded to my request for additional information about what the actual failure was and whether they can provide any supporting documentation, photos, etc.  I'm glad I am not the only one who found it to be really strange.  When it first happened I figured it was no big deal and I'd go online and figure it out..maybe a reboot or two or some hidden reset function would get it back to normal.  The first thing that really stuck out to me as odd was the sheer lack of hits when you throw that phrase into Google.  I mean, there are a few, but none of them were really applicable and were for other products (earbuds, televisions, a Galaxy Note or something, etc.).  Usually when something like this happens it's at least somewhat common to a particular device and you'll find a few people complaining about it somewhere that have already figured out a fix.  Nothing.  The next thing I did is start a thread on /r/galaxys20 thinking that for sure somebody that hangs out in galaxy subreddits would have an answer.  Nada.  A few well thought out replies like yours, but nothing usable.  I work in tech so I get it...stuff fails sometimes.  It's really not that big of a deal to me, but the kicker is that they won't stand behind it.  I've got a Galaxy S5, S6 and S8 in my drawer and 2 Samsung TVs downstairs and you are going to slam the door in my face on my two month old smartphone?  I'm not gonna lie..that one stings a bit.  /rant

 

I'll definitely post again once I come to some kind of resolution or hear anything further from Samsung.  I got a UPS notification that my device is en route back to my house now so I should have it in my hands in a few days with, hopefully, some kind of paperwork or description or something inside the box of what was done and what the diagnosis was.

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Re: Gross Electromechanical Damage

Just got the phone back, but all they put in the box is a white form that says it was "unrepairable".

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Constellation

Re: S20+ "Gross Electromechanical Damage" - Samsung Denied Warranty Claim

Hey,

 

I got the below message for S20 as well...it was a software issue. I got a warning message on the phone just like you. Sent the phone back to Samsung; they replied what is written below.

 

Did you take any action? Please advise....where did you land on?

 

After careful inspection, unfortunately, your device is un-repairable due to GROSS ELECTROMECHANICAL DAMAGE which is not covered under the Samsung Standard Limited Warranty. Samsung technicians determined your product is BER (Beyond Economical Repair) simultaneously voiding the warranty. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

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Highlighted

Re: S20+ "Gross Electromechanical Damage" - Samsung Denied Warranty Claim

I wish I had better news to report, but sadly, I do not.  Samsung completely ignored my request for additional information about the cause of the "gross electromechanical damage" and I have never heard from them since then.  I received a survey a week or two later that asked about my experience sending my device in for repair and the support experience.  I filled it out and gave them the worst ratings on the scale across the board and explained in the comments section that I felt it was disingenuous (at best) to simply void customers' warranties on brand new devices using nebulous technical terms without providing supporting documentation as to the nature, extent and possible causes of the failure.  To this day I have not heard a peep back from Samsung. 

 

If there is a silver lining it came in the form of our company's CIO.  He did a personal favor for me and reached out to our corporate Verizon rep and through whatever magic he worked with her they were able to send the phone back to Verizon and Verizon sent me a brand new one at no cost to the company.  That one is still running perfectly and riding around in the same pockets, sitting on the same nightstand and getting plugged into the same Android auto in the same vehicle as the one that had "gross electromechanical damage" so go figure.

 

I hope you can figure something out on your end.  Whatever happens, please let the group know so others that experience this will have some body of knowledge to draw on since Samsung isn't interested in providing any kind of assistance.  When I was dealing with this a month ago there sure wasn't much information out there..

 

Good luck!

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Highlighted

Re: S20+ "Gross Electromechanical Damage" - Samsung Denied Warranty Claim

I got a note that my message was edited by moderators so figured I would log back in for a couple of reasons.  First, to simply point out that the act of moderating my post actually took more time and effort than Samsung put in to answer a simple question from a dissatisfied customer with a purchase history spanning decades that had a legitimate problem with a new product that was (supposedly) under warranty.  That truly speaks volumes here, but in the interest of keeping it positive I'll throw in what I mentioned above, but more directly - try your carrier.  Who knows, maybe my situation wasn't unique and there was no magic involved and the carrier is simply more interested in assisting customers than the manufacturer in this case.

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