Last Thursday, my iPhone 6 fell into the office loo.
Amazingly, it still worked right after I retrieved it, but the screen flickered when I typed on it. I turned it off and tried to dry it out with the toilet hand dryer and later at home, the hair dryer. The screen kept going on and off. Of course, given that it had fallen into the toilet, I also wiped it with hand sanitiser while taking pains not to let any more liquid get into its ports.
Following conventional wisdom, I put the iPhone in rice, and later read that rice doesn’t help as much as leaving it out in the open to dry – it just reduces the temptation to turn the iPhone back on when it isn’t safe to do so yet. In the meantime, I restored all my data, backed up on iCloud, to my old iPhone 5.
Being a SingTel customer, I called their hotline and was pleasantly surprised to have my call answered politely and helpfully (after having had a terrible experience the last time at SingTel Commcentre where they kept insisting my faulty iPhone cable was not original, when it was). I was asked to hold down both the power and home buttons at the same time and count to 10. Nothing happened.
Then I was told to go to the nearest Apple authorised service centre, so I did. There, they found that there was still water in my iPhone, but I could buy a new replacement for S$550, with no further warranty. As I thought my current iPhone still had a chance of being revived, I decided to try my luck with a tried and tested repair store at Sim Lim Square called Atom.
Yes, mention the name “Sim Lim” and Singaporeans will immediately think of the notorious Jover Chew, the former shop owner who made a Vietnamese tourist cry after fleecing him out of his savings. But Sim Lim Square has been trying very hard to improve its image. The repair store I went to had fixed an iPod of my husband’s which experienced similar water damage, and it was a Star Retailer – which means that they don’t try to cheat their customers. (How we wish all stores were honest in the first place and didn’t need to be labelled as such!)
My iPhone was swiftly unscrewed and dismantled. Its insides had dried out by then, but there was some corrosion. So they put it in a chemical wash and let it dry. They told me that minimally I would be charged $20, even if the phone was irreparable. The cost of replacing the corroded parts may cost up to $200+. I was OK with that as it was still much less than $550.
The next day, they called me and told me it was fixed, after replacing a few parts. I paid $140 – a fraction of the $550 that I would have otherwise paid if I had just decided to get a new phone. And even better – they gave me a one month warranty on the repair!
Let’s see how things pan out over the next month. But at least for now, I am one happy customer!