General Question

monsoon's avatar

Hypothetically speaking: Can the cell phone company really tell if a phone has suffered water damage, if it's all dried out?

Asked by monsoon (2510points) July 4th, 2008

You know, hypothetically.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

23 Answers

beast's avatar

Yes. My sister’s phone was water damaged and we called to see if we could get a new one. We didn’t tell them it was water damaged. They had us take the back of the phone off, and then the battery. There was a tiny pink spot there. That’s how they knew.

wildflower's avatar

Depends on the device. Some have a liquid submerge indicator. Those that don’t won’t necessarily show signs of liquid damage until the components are inspected under a highly magnified lens, but then it will show! Especially on circuit boards.

cheebdragon's avatar

I have only heard of verizon checking for water damage, even if you have never dropped your phone in water, it can still be damaged just by being the bathroom while your in the shower.

GeauxTigers's avatar

And by removing this sticker, you’ll void your insurance replacement. There also tends to be one inside of the device, that you can’t get to.

Sprint checked mine and rejected it because of it.

thebeadholder's avatar

I think the battery starts to immediately corrode (sp.?) and a red dot showed up on mine also (verizon).

osullivanbr's avatar

Almost all phones are manufactured with that tab (for want of a better word) on the device somewhere, often times though it’s hidden. The iphone has one. LURVE for the the person who can tell me where!!!!

cheebdragon's avatar

headphone socket

cheebdragon's avatar

I was right?

osullivanbr's avatar

You were indeed. Well done.

monsoon's avatar

Say hypothetically it was a sony walkman w800i? Through say… AT&T formerly cinguler?

cheebdragon's avatar

you mean AT&T formerly known as Cingular, formerly known as AT&T?
I’m not mocking you or anything, I just love how stupid they were for switching the names back and forth and back again, it was so confusing.

osullivanbr's avatar

Sadly. There is a simple way of determining the w800i is water damaged, that little puppy does have the sticker. It’s on the battery as far as I remember.

I suppose if you really want to try and fool em, maybe in a purely hypothetical world, you could, oh I dunno, swap batteries with someone. Only thing though, if they send it to be repaired, it is very obvious at that stage that the phone is water damaged. But for a hypothetical over the counter exchange, yeah, swap batteries.


GeauxTigers's avatar

I considered switching the sticker on mine (you can find packs of stickers on the web easily), but even if you do an over-the-counter swap, it still gets sent off to be refurbished and sold to some other sucker. If they find water damage then, they still know who’s phone it was, and can still bill your account for the full price of the phone.

monsoon's avatar


The w800i has two indicators, one on the battery and one on the little sticker under the battery, which turn red when wet.

Also, the w800i costs $300 without any commitment.

osullivanbr's avatar

So I take it you didn’t get it returned then?

monsoon's avatar

Hypothetically speaking, it was my friend’s, and no.

osullivanbr's avatar

Aww. That’s too bad. Well hypothetically it would have been too bad.

wildflower's avatar

Shame you’re not in Ireland – one of the biggest mobile phone companies here base most of their processes on guess-work, so you hypothetically would’ve had a reasonable chance of them guessing it didn’t have liquid damage….

lily's avatar

my w300i is on the fritz and it says its been water damaged but truly has not. i’ve read elsewhere on the web that they’re VERY over-sensative and that happens all the time. But i know thats not the problem. !@#$%^.

I have a friend who said to try a bleach pen on the red sticker. also, i’ve read that all it really is is litmus paper, and i failed chemistry but couldn’t you then just throw on the opposite of what water would be? acid? base? who knows. stupid chemistry.

one issue is that i think there is another hidden one, and i think i can see it but can’t get to it. should i just throw out my not-even-1-year-old phone? thats absurd!!

osullivanbr's avatar

By doing that all you’ll be doing is making matters worse. Unfortunately it does sound like it’s time for a new phone.

monsoon's avatar

There’s also one on the battery, I believe those are the only two. One on the battery, and one on the phone under where the battery goes. Yeah, the lady at the store was very sympathetic towards us, believing that we were innocent victims of steam, but she still couldn’t do anything about it.

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