When is Tesco not Tesco? When you’ve got a broken phone.

Samsung Galaxy S3 with a cracked screen

Nine weeks ago I bought a Samsung Galaxy S3 with an O2 contract from the Tesco Phone Shop in the Evesham branch of Tesco.
A few days ago I suddenly noticed a crack running along the right edge of the screen, from about a third of the way down to a third of the way from the bottom. It’s barely noticable viewed from the front, but when viewed from the side, like when I lay it on my bed with my head on the pillow, it’s right in the way and distorts the text. I checked online and found that quite a few people have reported cracks in the screen of this model without any drops or impact, which means that this is almost certainly a manufacturing defect.

Today I went back to the Tesco Phone Shop and asked for a replacement. I was told that since I bought the phone longer than 28 days ago, they would not replace it but they could arrange for it to be sent away for repair. I insisted that this was not acceptable since it was within six months and it was the retailer’s responsibility, and I asked to talk to a manager. Unfortunately that manager was completely unable to do anything despite wanting to help because the Tesco Phone Shop is not actually part of Tesco – it’s run by 2020 Mobile.

Tesco paperwork showing an email address at 2020 mobile
Buying from Tesco? Look again.

I believe the law says that a defect arising within six months is assumed to be a manufacturing defect and is the responsibility of the retailer to fix. I do not want to send my phone away for repair since (a) I don’t want a repaired screen, I want a pristine product that looks like it is nine weeks old and (b) I would have to be without the phone for days, probably weeks. The S3 takes a Micro SIM which will not fit in any spare handset I have access to, including any that the Tesco phone shop offered to lend me.

I didn’t particularly want to bring up disability, but I also explained that my phone is often the only way I can communicate when I am at my sickest and can barely move in bed. The Tesco manager offered to lend me a phone (Not a smartphone) and a SIM which would at least let me call and text but I would still be unable to access the minutes, texts and data that I pay for.

Samsung Galaxy S3 with a cracked screen - switched on

So now I have a phone with a broken screen which the retailer refuses to exchange, and I didn’t buy it from the retailer that I thought I bought it from but from another who tell me that their computers won’t let them exchange it.

Update: I’ve received the following message from Tesco, which I will follow up when I have the energy for a phone call.