Comparing apples with lemons

11 March , 2013

So, due to my extreme bad cell phone luck of late I am in a unique position to do a comparison on the services I received from the two different companies I used to repair my screen after I accidentally annihilated it.

Let’s do it chronologically, shall we?

moldy lemon

Cellphone Surgeon

When you look at the website don’t be dazzled by this royal “we” business…it’s actually just one guy working from home.

How I ended up taking my phone there the first time: I phoned around for quotes. I got five different ones and this one was the second cheapest at R1700. When I asked the companies to email written copies of the quotes to me the cheapest one (R1600) didn’t bother, which I took as a good indication of what kind of service I would get there.

I was told to rock up on Friday the 22nd at 9:00 and that it would take an hour to fix. In fact the CONFIRMATION email I received on the Thursday clearly stated that I needed to be there from 09:00 to 10:00 the next day, and confirmed the colour of my phone and everything.

The original plan was to drop Nicola off at school and head straight through to Pretoria after that, but Murphy smiled on us that day and she was too sick to go to school so I took her along with me.

When we got there Wilco (he of the royal “we”) decided to share the news with me that he didn’t actually have stock of my screen and would only be getting it at 12:00. I threw a hissy fit because it really wasn’t in my grand scheme of the day to wait in Pretoria for three hours, and if he knew he was only getting it at 12:00 why the hell ask me to come through at 09:00?! For this I dragged my poor sick child out of bed?!

He said I could take it or leave it, that’s just the way it was going to be. I would have dearly loved to leave it, but we were leaving for Ballito the next morning and I needed my phone fixed pronto…so Nicola and I spent a couple of hours cooling our heels at the local Spur waiting for my phone. Seriously though?! Who uses “take it or leave it” as a valid response to a customer complaint these days?!

When we got there at 12:00…surprise-surpise…he wasn’t there, and wasn’t ready. Eventually he rocked up and proceeded to glue all the parts of the phone together again. I paid the man and we left shortly before 12:30 (he only arrived at 12:15).

Oh…he threw in the little silver strip that goes round the screen replacement as a sort of thank you for f-ing me around for three hours. I left utterly unconvinced of his regret but at least my phone was fixed and it happened in one day which is better than the two week lead time some of the R2200 places had quoted me over the phone.

I would not recommend this company at all…I would in fact highly recommend that you avoid them if at all possible.


Platinum Repairs

These guys were the third best price when I phoned round the first time at R1800. I know it seems silly to have picked the “winner” above based on R100 or R200 difference, and if I knew then what I know now I would definitely have gone straight to them to begin with!

How I found out about them: one of my colleagues is friends with one of their technicians and he told me about them. I asked him to please call in a favour for me and see if they would come and repair my phone and allow me to pay them at the end of the month. I probably would not have been able to ask for that if I didn’t have some sort of indirect personal connection to them through my colleague, but they pleasantly surprised me by saying yes! (Two enormous excess payments in one month just doesn’t fit into my please-let-there-be-no-surprises budget).

What a completely different experience from the first repair!

I received an email copy of the invoice well in advance with confirmation that they would allow me to pay at the end of the month. They also confirmed the time slot and date of the repair.

Get this: the technician comes out to you and does the repair right there next to you and it doesn’t cost a cent extra! Just the amount of time I spent driving to Pretoria and shooting the breeze at Spur already makes this well worth it! *does cartwheels of joy*And the guy they sent happened to be my colleague’s friend, Emwee.

He arrived early, which was already a great first impression for me, and then he unpacked all his tools (little rubber mat, screw drivers, blow-torch, spare parts, rubber gloves, blades and what not). He quietly sat right next to me and got to work.

It turns out that all the glue from the first repair bumped against the LCD when it took it’s light tumble last week, and the LCD is such a flimsy fragile little thing that it just completely shattered! Emwee took out a blade and meticulously scraped old glue out of my poor phone’s innards.

He put everything together again with the new screen, but because my phone actually has had its fair share of tumbles even before this, the frame isn’t exactly factory standard straight anymore. Emweee took it all apart and back together numerous times, until he was absolutely satisfied that it wouldn’t fall out and that everything lined up perfectly. He then tested every little thing he tinkered with to make sure that everything was working perfectly. All of this took just under an hour to do.

I am tickled pink at how well the second repair went and especially that they came right to my office to do it. I can only kick my own ass for not going with them the first time! This company bent over backwards to accommodate me in every aspect and they did an excellent job of fixing my phone. Without a doubt, I would highly recommend them to anyone who needs their gadgets fixed.

I asked them if they would mind me doing a write up to share my experience with you, just so you know I’m not getting anything for this post, I volunteered. Delightful people, real professionals – I hope you never need a repair, but if you do I hope you consider them for the job. They mostly repair Apple products, and the Samsung Galaxy S2 is the actually the only exception to that – lucky me. 🙂



  1. So nice to read about amazing service like your second experience! I would definitely use them now if the need arose.

    • They were amazing, you won’t be sorry if you do. 🙂

  2. I would ALWAYS in a million years pay more for anyone coming to do things at my work 🙂 (kalahari….. :))

    they sound fantastic – hopefully i never need them because i bought an expensive case that covers the whole thing completely (mainly for the babies….. as I’m kind-of a careful person – i know, you’d never guess)

    YAY – so glad they wowed you! That is true customer service.

    Also, I laughed at this – (Two enormous excess payments in one month just doesn’t fit into my please-let-there-be-no-surprises budget)

    • I was really wowed! I have invested in a small collection of covers and screen protectors now too – my first time ever that I’ve put something like that on my phone.

      I guess I have to confess to being rough on phones now? 😉

      Hahaha, glad you liked that bit – I was a little histerical when it all happened for exactly that reason.

  3. Glad your phone is working

    • Thanks – me too!

  4. I like reading posts like these. Make our consumers more aware of the right and wrong people to visit.

    • I’m quite happy to recommend a company or a person if I received great service from them – hopefully they’ll get some more business out of my recommendation somewhere in the future.

  5. Hi Louisa,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this blog post. It’s a real encouragement for everyone here (we’re not a one man band…) and it is feedback like this that makes it worth our while.

    Our business model requires far more admin & planning than a normal repair centre. We have offices in Fourways and Hyde Park and 5 vehicles on the road. We are blessed to have the most skilled yet friendly technicians in SA. They always go the extra mile.

    As you mentioned – the “pay at the end of the month” option is a once-off – we are strictly COD other than with the likes of OUTsurance (we do all their iPhone & iPad repairs), Hollard, etc.

    We hope the rest of your month only has positive financial surprises in store…

    Kind regards,



    Platinum Repairs

    • Hi Brad,

      It’s my absolute pleasure! Thank you for providing such a great service to me.

      I realise that the payment arrangement you made for me is exceptional – that’s why I appreciate it even more!

      Thank you – and keep up the great work!


  6. Now I will know who to use- but may I never need to !

    • Let’s hope you never need to, yip! 😉

  7. What more can one ask for, nothing beats excellent customer service and good work done to top it all off. The kind of people I would like to do business with. The lemon company is just horrible, but it is sad that many people have that attitude, and worse still coming from a one man business 😦

    PS: Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to get another phone than embark on these repairs

    • My dad is going to have a good chuckle about that last question when he reads this tonight. He wanted me to get a new phone on the first claim already but I resisted.

      Reason being that I love the phone I have already, and even if I get the exact same phone now it will come out with different software. and I love the way it works NOW. Plus all my shit is on this phone and it’s already set up exactly like I want it to be set up.

      So no…I don’t want to claim for a new phone. 😛

      Anyhoo, I’m due for an upgrade in October – so if I have to go through all the rickmaroll of setting up a new phone “just so” then I’d rather do it then.

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