Samsung will let Galaxy Fold owners replace their screens once for $149

In just a few days, the Samsung Galaxy Fold will again go on sale in the US, for $1980. One of the big mysteries about the re-launch was what Samsung would do to try to avoid another debacle. The answer, it turns out, is just a ridiculous amount of education and warnings. And if none of that convinces purchasers to baby their Folds, Samsung is allowing for a one-time-only screen replacement for $149.

We have already covered the changes Samsung made to the Fold in a previous story. In short: Samsung extended the screen protector under the bezel so you’re not tempted to peel it off, it reduced the size of the gap when it’s closed, added covers to better protect the insides from debris, and finally added more protection to the back side of the screen itself.

Customers who purchase a Galaxy Fold will have make an appointment and go to a retail store to pick it up. Samsung emphasized repeatedly that it would be available in “limited quantities” and also that it won’t ship a Fold direct to anybody. Instead it wants users to get one-on-one “Premier” consultations at either a Best Buy, AT&T, or Samsung Experience retail store. I got a brief demo of one of those sessions yesterday, and as you might expect it involved quite a lot of discussion about the proper care and maintenance of the Fold.

We normally don’t do unboxings here at The Verge, but I’m making an exception for the Galaxy Fold because of the sheer number of warnings you have to look at before you can hit the power button on the Fold for the first time. The first is a piece of paper that describes the Fold’s screen as being made up of “tissue thin layers.” That piece of paper is itself translucent and maybe a little tissue-esque, just to make sure the point gets across.

Underneath that is a black sheet of paper describing the Galaxy Fold Premier Service. It doesn’t offer any special warranties beyond a standard Samsung one-year service, unfortunately, except for the option to replace the screen once for $149. That only applies to people who purchase a Fold before December 31st, 2019. What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

After the setup concierge has walked you through those two pieces of paper, you’re finally going to get a chance to use the Fold itself, but it is wrapped in a piece of plastic that is also just riddled with warnings. So much so that it begins to seem more like a pharmaceutical ad that has to disclose dozens of side effects. Here’s some of what Samsung warns you about (emphasis mine below):

After all of that, the Samsung concierge will offer to help set up the phone and transfer your data to it. They can also explain how the unique multitasking system on the larger screen works.

Once you’re out the door, Samsung will give you a custom phone number just for Fold customers who need support — though they can also do video chat via Samsung’s Members app.

I have another review unit from Samsung here in my hands, but I’ve only had it for a little under 24 hours, so there’s no chance I could give you any kind of verdict on its durability yet. I will say that I am still intrigued by the idea of a folding phone, if only because it forces you either to intentionally use it or ignore it, as I explained in our original (now sort of defunct) review of the Galaxy Fold:

Phones are funny things. They fit into our in-between times when you’re waiting in line or you have a minute to glance at something. But then they fill up all of those moments — and much more. The Galaxy Fold is just too big to fit in those in-between times. It is less useful than a phone when you’re walking, and it’s way more useful when you’re sitting down. I ended up feeling better about how I was using this than I usually do with a regular phone.

If that interests you too, and you have $1,980 to blow on a experimental luxury tech product, and another $149 to spare in case you need to replace the screen, and all of those warnings didn’t scare you off, and you are willing to go to a Best Buy or AT&T store to pick one up, and you pinkie promise not to let your fingernails or dust or liquid of any kind get near the screen, you can order the Galaxy Fold on September 27th.

Update, 9am ET, Sept 24th: the original version of this article suggested that the concierge set up was mandatory, Samsung emailed to clarify it is not.

Comments

No, I rather think I’ll use the protections I enjoy under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to demand a replacement, given that this is essentially an admission that the screen and the mechanism aren’t fit for purpose. Six years, that Act covers me for, and I would reasonably expect a £2,000 item of consumer electronics to last that long.

Of course, I wouldn’t actually buy one of these—I sort of don’t really see the point of a phone that can go a bit bigger, a screen in a screen, a big ol’ foldy boi—but. Y’know.

Allowing for a one-time-only screen replacement. Not how it works, gents.

Don’t see you getting very far with that argument. The phone is fairly clearly fit for purpose, however being the first mass marketed folding device it’s currently in a class of it’s own (with the exception of perhaps 1 or 2 foreign market devices, that means it’s very difficult to compare it with other phones. And because of that you can’t state that it’s not fit for purpose because you can’t compare it with a traditional phone.

My Nokia E72 lasted about 30 days on a charge, my phone today lasts 2 days so is it not fit for purpose? Same with things like water/dust resistance and screen toughness. As a brand new form factor it can basically set the standard. From what it looks like it will probably be like the old resistive touch screens on the Palm devices or the 3DS, the plastic top layer is more prone to scratches but it should still function.

The phone is fairly clearly fit for purpose

Their instructions are full of warnings of fragility. A reasonable expectation of durability for a mobile phone is, for instance, being able to keep it in a pocket without it going all wrong and that—remember when that iPhone would break if you put it in your jeans? More than one person I know got a complete replacement or refund using the Act. And if Samsung have to have a man tell you ’don’t do normal phone things with this or it’ll certainly shatter into a million useless shards’ then, well. Fit for purpose, boys!

You probably could argue successfully for a replacement battery for your E72, if it was bought new within the last six years and you could be arsed. Partially this is because as soon as you say ‘Consumer Rights Act’ in a shop, managers get very nervous indeed. Used to be ‘Sale of Goods Act,’ which was always much more pleasing to say.

But, well, you keep on fighting for the multibillion multinational behemoth, man! I’m sure they appreciate your support and you’ll get a christmas card off Ian Samsung and everything.

As a brand new form factor it can basically set the standard

Well, if this is really the new standard… it sucks

Nobody reasonably expects a phone to last 6 years these days, but yeah, laws cover you should the screen break due to normal use of the phone. However, while fragile it won’t break just like that. It will die because you dropped your phone or heavily scratched the screen with keys in your pocket. At that point, Samsung can easily claim your device died due to incorrect unreasonable handling you were warned about.

In my home country, Samsung denies warranty coverage for your Galaxy Phone’s OLED screen burn-in if you had used A single app like WhatsApp or Facebook too frequently.

They are making this extremely clear upfront that this thing is fragile and you need to take extra care of it. If you decide to to buy it, it’s on you.

pretty sure thats not how this works in respect to consumers.
You can’t just dump a faulty product on people and then blame them

The best part is that they actually expect best buy and AT&T to be educated enough on the product to give you a demo of the multi-tasking

Pretty sure this is going to be select AT&T and Best Buy stores. Also depending on the Best Buy you go to, they have some actual Samsung guys at the Samsung Experience sections or whatever they call them. So I could see this working out okay.

Outside of tech bloggers and the absurdly rich/foolish, absolutely no one should buy this phone.

It’s a good concept but years from viability.

And I don’t think it is meant for anyone else as well.

Oh definitely. But some idiots will buy it, file a class action and swear off Samsung for life when they realise it’s a turkey.

Then it should not be marketed as a generally available consumer product, and the buying process shouldn’t be too easy.

I think it shouldn’t be offered at third-party retailers like Best Buy and AT&T, maybe not even at physical Samsung stores. It could be a special online buying process, with a name that suggests you’re getting a prototype-like device (kind of like Google Glass Explorer Edition), with a bunch of disclaimer you have to accept.

Selling this like any other phone and expecting consumers to educate themselves and adjust their expectations beforehand is irresponsible IMO.

And why would they do that? This phone is not going to break down by itself.

Yes the phone doesn’t stand up to smartphones today in terms durability.
Yes it gets the scratches like a plastic screen will. And Yes it’s not protected against water and dust.

But it also folds. And if you want to be in that early adopter cycle this is what we’ve got so far.

This device should be considered an experimental release, and be given to a limited number of long time Samsung customers for free. You can not use early adopters, who are also your most devoted customers, as test subjects, while also charging them $2000 for something that will quickly break.

I know, that’s also what others like Google do sometimes, but making your best customers pay ridiculous prices for an experimental new device that will be useless soon is the quickest way to lose them. People take risks thinking that shit won’t happen to them, until it actually happens.

Maybe to be safe they should have the concierge follow you around, carrying the Fold for you and operating the screen for you using only approved touches.

They’ll remind you the recommended force you need to apply in order to use the touch aspect of the phone. Everyone need this.

I find it amusing that there’s a big cover on the screen you have to peel off, presumably they think once you’ve peeled one thing off, you won’t try to peel off the layer underneath.

I have another idea for Samsung – include a nail file.

This thing sounds like more trouble than it’s worth…

If they’re discounting a single screen repair to $149, I don’t wanna know how much the regular price for a screen repair is.

They shouldn’t be charging a penny for a screen repair when the phone costs $2000.

Samsung felt like they were pot committed to the device and now are trying in vain to get a return. Good luck with that. They should have just killed it. Now they will spin in circles trying to sell it and then deal with unhappy customers. I want to meet the people who buy this product.

Anyone else tired of paying manufacturers for the privilege of testing their concepts?

No. Cuz I don’t.

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