Credit Card Purchase Protection Pays to Fix My Samsung S3’s Cracked Screen

Some of you will remember that I cracked the screen of my new Samsung Galaxy S3 phone a month ago, when the phone was just two months old.

I was walking along the sidewalk, it slipped out of my hands, and hit the pavement glass-first.

Since then I got case for the phone… but that’s not the subject of this post.

It gave me an opportunity to test out a purchase protection claim for the very first time., so it was a great learning experience.

Ancillary Benefits on Credit Cards, Do You Know All the Benefits Your Cards Have?

Talking to folks around my office most don’t realize that there are all sorts of benefits that come with their premium credit cards, such as:

  • Premium travel benefits, such as Visa Signature Hotels
  • Travel accident insurance, buy your travel on the card and there’s a modest payout if you die on the trip (!)
  • Trip cancellation coverage, buy your travel on the card and some emergencies and cancellations may be covered
  • Trip delay, baggage delay and lost luggage expense reimbursement

Lot of folks who pay attention know they receive collision damage coverage on rental cars, though most cards offer secondary coverage only (picking up eligible charges that your own insurance company doesn’t pay, such as deductibles).

And then there are three common items related to consumer purchases made on premium cards:

  • Purchase protection is supposed to cover the cost to repair or replace broken items, usually in the first 90 days after purchase
  • Extended protection may add a year to a product’s warranty
  • Price protection may refund you the difference between what you paid for something and a lower advertised price in the 90 days after your purchase

I imagine all of these benefits, along with things like ‘access to exclusive events’ are great come-ons to get people to apply. Or at least someone once thought they would be. Other cards added similar benefits so they could say that they were just as good as their competitors, and that in general card companies don’t get rid of them for that very same reason. Everyone offering some version of these coverages bundled with premium credit cards like Visa Signature, World Mastercard, and many American Express products is some sort of equilibrium even though very few consumers even remain aware of the benefits — or think to use the benefits when the need arises.

Submitting a Purchase Protection Claim for My Phone

After the incident on August 23, I have a need for purchase protection and there was some disagreement on the comments of this blog whether I would get anything out of it.

A few hours after my August 24 post, I rang up Chase Sapphire Preferred since that’s the card I used to make the purchase. They put me in touch with the “benefits department” which is actually a different company that identified themselves as “Enhancement Services” (1-888-320-9961).

I spoke with Sarah there who was very friendly in describing the benefit — that I had coverage during the first 90 days after purchase, that I must submit a claim within those 90 days, and that the maximum benefit was $500 — and what I would need in order to submit a claim:

  • Copy of receipt for the item
  • Credit card receipt or statement showing I had used the card through which I was claiming coverage to make the purchase
  • A repair estimate, repair bill, or statement that the item could not be repaired
  • My home owners insurance declaration page (so they could determine that my claim wouldn’t otherwise be covered by other insurance)

I was told I would get an email about the claim within 24 hours, but it arrived instantly.

No problem, I had a copy of my receipt in my email folders, I printed out the relevant redacted portion of my credit card bill, and I went online to my insurance company website to print out the insurance declarations page.

I also quickly got a written estimate for repair, fortunately there was a repair shop near my office and they even had the glass for my phone in stock. So I had an estimate to include in the package as well. I filled out their claim form and shipped everything off that day.

Request for More Information #1

I sure thought I had given them everything they wanted, but on September 4 I received an e-mail response from Enhancement Services noting (2) deficiencies:

  1. That the declarations page for the insurance I submitted was for my policy which renewed August 27 and thus was not in effect on the date of the incident (August 23).
  2. I needed to submit a repair estimate

The first one was my bad, I went to the website and printed out the declaration but hadn’t noticed it was for my new policy about to start and not for my old one that was ending (which covered the date in question). I couldn’t get the old one online, so I had to ring up my insurance agent who emailed me what I needed promptly. (I didn’t look into whether my home coverage would actually apply, since I have a $500 deductible on the policy so it wouldn’t offer a payout in this case anyway.)

The second item though vexed me somewhat. I had sent in a repair estimate! So I sent it to them again, and this time I sent in my actual receipt for the repair. I had my phone fixed the same day I wrote the blog post about the crack. I left it with the repair shop for about 45 minutes and it was fixed, good as new.

The cost was $329 plus tax — I understand it can now be fixed less expensively than that — but I had a receipt, and could therefore document the actual cost to fix the cracked screen.

So I sent along both the estimate and the receipt, figuring at this point I should be good.

I faxed everything back same-day.

Request for More Information #2

On September 8th (they must work weekends!) I got another request from them.

Thank you for submitting your completed Chase Purchase Protection claim form. We have carefully reviewed the information provided to date and note that additional documents are required to promptly process your claim. Please assist us by providing the following:

• A copy of the repair estimate from the manufacturer or authorized repair facility. Otherwise, a statement from the manufacturer or authorized repair facility that the item being claimed is not repairable. Samsung has fixed pricing for their repairs please contact Samsung for a repair estimate.

Umm… okay. I had sent them the repair estimate, twice.

But this time they had clarified, Samsung has fixed pricing for their repairs please contact Samsung for a repair estimate.

They didn’t like the estimate I gave them, or the actual receipt. They wanted an estimate from the manufacturer.

That was a bit annoying and I didn’t get around to dealing with it until September 14, when I finally contacted Samsung. They informed me that they could provide me with a price quote over the phone but that they do not provide written repair estimates.

My reply back noted that I had provided an estimate, a receipt, and that now they were asking for something that the manufacturer said was impossible. And I got a bit forceful in my closing:

The cost to fix the phone is, by definition, what I actually spent to fix it. You have also received photographic documentation of the damage, a signed statement, proof that the product was paid for with an eligible credit card. There’s no possible dispute that the damage is a covered claim, or that it would be reimbursed by other coverage.

At this point you are asking for duplicative information that the phone manufacturer states is impossible for me to provide. Continuing to ask for this information would be bad faith.

Resolution: $314.99

Ten days later after my frustrated response — and exactly one month after filing the initial claim — I received the following e-mail:

Dear Gary Leff:

I am writing to alert you that your claim under the Purchase Protection Claim has been paid. The check has been issued in the amount of $314.99.

• This represents full settlement of the claim.

You will receive the check in the mail within approximately 7-10 business days.

Should you have any questions please contact us.


The repair was $329 plus tax. But the amount the paid was, I think, the amount actually charged to my card when I purchased the phone. My contract was re-upped at the time of purchase. There was a rebate after-the-fact. But the value of the benefit wasn’t going to be up to $500 but up to $500 not to exceed the actual purchase price charged to the card. And that’s what I’m getting back.

So I’m getting my claim, and I have my Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa to thank for that.

Let me say that again: I did something stupid or at least careless. I broke my phone. It was 100% my fault. And yet about 20 or 25 minutes of total effort got me $314.99 to pay for that. Thank you, Premium Credit Card’s Purchase Protection!

Still, for purchases of this sort I probably should have used the Starwood Amex — it doesn’t just have the purchase protection option but also return protection where I can submit a claim if the merchant won’t take an item back. And it has higher limits — $1000 instead of $500 per occurrence, and up to $50,000 per cardmember year.

The good news — since my phone is now 90 days old — is that Samsung (per the woman there who wouldn’t send me a written estimate) will replace cracked glass for $179 all-in (although I would be without my phone for a few days). Of course I hope I don’t break it again!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. In my experience, AMEX is the easiest to deal with among the 3 big card networks when it comes to purchase protection. It took me forever to file a claim with Visa/Chase, while AMEX has everything you need online, and my claims usually got approved the very next day.

  2. I’ve used services like this for many years. I think AMEX pioneered it, way back in the late 80’s early 90’s for certain.
    A buddy of mine from grad school worked in the AMEX additional services dept. His comment about 7 years ago was that in all the stuff they pay out, 90 day insurance, 2x manu warranty, secondary rental car insurance, etc., they pay out less than .01 of 1% of all income. It’s a rounding error.

  3. Two things I learned: 1) Amex still has the best purchase protection out there and 2) watch out for independent repair shops gouging their customers for simple repairs.

  4. Amex just refunded the purchase price of my iPhone (299.99) 22 months after I purchased it. It had broken and I had to get it fixed (i.e. swapped). This is the second time I’ve used it since 1998. The first time required faxes and stuff like that, this time was a simple online form and I got my refund in about a week.

    I really should use it more as I break a lot of stuff. 🙁

  5. Other than the glass breakage, how would you rate the Samsung phone? Would you reccomend it? Does the phone not do anything you wished it did?

  6. Gary would you recommend this phone over the iphone 5? I’m trying to decide between these two phones.

  7. Out of all AMEX cards, is there one that is the BEST for these types of benefits (that admittedly most of us never use)? Or are they all the same? Should I start using my AMEX Platinum for such purchases??

  8. Good writeup. The experience reminds me of why I don’t file rebates for anything under $10. The job of the processing company is to payout as little as possible and I’d assume that they’re (indirectly) incentivized to make the process as painful as possible.

  9. Well sorry to say the Citi Hilton Visa does not offer this benefit. They say “accidental damage” on their marketing material but when you try to file a claim it is a very limited scope of “accidental damage.” Things such as acts of nature and thats about it. Its almost deceptive advertising if you ask me.

  10. Amex is very good at the claim stuff… The last time I used (afaik it was the SPG Amex) it for a broken pair of sunglasses the agent just asked which line item in the past it was associated with. Refund was done to the account in two days.

  11. Do the AMEX prepaid cards offer the same purchase benefits as the others? Return protection, 90 day purchase protection, and/or extended warranty?

  12. Gary, funny experience, I cracked my Samsung Galaxy S3 as well!

    I think I purchased this with my Hilton (surpass) Amex tho, do you know if the Surpass has this purchase protection as well?

    I should have used my SPG card!

  13. The Samsung S3 is a really cheaply made phone. It’s not hard to crack any part of that phone. Don’t understand why people say they like it so much frankly.

    But real happy to hear that AMEX purchase protection came through.

  14. @Ronf – for the extended warranty perhaps, but which card and thus company were you talking to? because purchase protection explicitly includes accidents.

  15. How do you know or track what item was bought on what card? I think that’s why most people don’t bother with claiming protection benefits can you help us? Imnotarunner at gmail dot

  16. Ugh…exact same boat here with the exact same phone. So now I know how to get reimbursed; I just need to figure out how to get it repaire. The 179.00 that through my carrier or through Samsung?

  17. How long did the repair take? We talking days or weeks? Dial them up or find a local service center?

    sorry for the detailed ?’s…panicked about not having my phone!

  18. @MW – I didn’t use Samsung. I used a repair shop across the street from my office (which charges more but had it done in less than an hour).

  19. Last one Gary…hopefully. what kind of repair shop is this? I’m not familiar with smartphone repair shops…do they exist? Thx.

  20. Hello Everyone
    I am from India and using Samsung Galaxy Y. Some days ago, I went to Samsung Service Centre, as got some water damage. And they checked that, and told me that the phone touch and jack are destroyed and have to replace these. I said okay coz my phone was under warranty. But they told me that they would charge me 4000/-. As it was near the half amount of new phone’s price. Then I went to another service centre and they told me to charge 1600/-. So I gave my phone to them as they were charging fewer amounts then first one. But my some of friends told me that they have charged me unnecessarily. Because if our any product is under warranty, the company pay for their repair. So I contacted the centre for same but they didn’t respond me for my issue. So, I filed my complaint at had bookmarked for future use. I just hope for great help from their side as soon as possible. I just shared my experience to aware you guys. I hope it worked.

  21. I’m working through the paperwork now and am leery of the whole “manufacturer estimate” piece of this.

    I called SamSung to look in to their 179.00 repair. The guy that picked up the hone asked for my mobile number right off. I don’t give that number out to just anyone b/c I fear getting junk calls and texts and asked if there was any way to proceed without giving him my cell number…home number, work number…nope he said, can’t go on.

    So I asked a few more questions, like how long it would take. 2 days to send the phone in, 5-7 days for them to diagnose the problem (cracked glass), and 2 days to send it back. So 1 1/2 weeks in their estimate. I can’t be without my phone for that long.

    The Cell Phone Repair (CPR) shop by my office charges $350.00. It is a gouge, but it takes an hour.

    @Gary: what kind of case did you buy? Please don’t say Otterbox…those cases make it impossible to get your phone out of your pocket b/c of the tackiness of the rubber they use.

  22. Hi Gary,

    I just dropped my iphone 5 and wanted to use this benefit. When I called visa they mentioned that accidentaly dropping my phone wasn’t covered (I bought the phone about 2 months ago)
    When you called did you just say you dropped it or did you claim something else?

    Thanks for your help!

  23. My son picked up an Iphone 5 for himself and for my husband last year at AT&T and charged it on my Chase United Explorer Card. I knew they were coming in that day and didn’t catch him in time to tell him to put them on my Amex. My husband dropped the phone within a couple of weeks (even with a case on it) and cracked the screen. I know Amex would have covered it. I didn’t even check to see if Chase would have done anything. I should have atleast checked. Luckily the phone still works fine.

  24. The Amex return protection probably doesn’t work for your case. See the limitations: The item must be in “like new” condition (not visibly used or worn) and in working order to be eligible.

  25. Thanks for doing the footwork on this one Gary ; I actually have a desktop model of a 747 from Herpa that came broken in the mail. Herpa wont replace it, but I did use my Sapphire card, and will submit a claim for it.

  26. Indeed – thanks for trying this out. Your experience, and previous experience I had with Amex, inspired me to use my Platinum card rather than Sapphire Preferred for a purchase just now. Amex was super easy, without the apparent hassles you experienced. They refunded me the purchase price of a device that broke after Verizon’s warranty had run out. I expected they’d only refund me the price of the new device or want proof that the old device was broken, but really they just wanted to give me the $250 and be done with it. Which worked out well for me as the replacement device was half the price.

    I will say, however, that it was the same “Enhancement Services” place that I worked with when a rental car (covered by my Mileage Plus Club card) was damaged in Hawaii. I got the detailed bill from Avis, contacted “Enhancement services” and it was easy. I had to show that I had declined CDW on the rental (an easy snapshot from my Avis account) and scan the bill. That plus the PDF of the rental agreement and it was all dealt with in a week or two. They even sent the check directly to Avis (which was the only error on my part – I should have paid and gotten the miles and taken the check myself!)

  27. I will tell you that Chase didn’t cover an ACCIDENTAL damage claim that I tried to file today. My husband accidentally broke an ornament that I gave him for Christmas. He was so upset because it was a 100 year Wrigley ornament. I was told it was not covered because they consider it abuse. Seriously. What’s the point of offering this if it doesn’t cove accidental damage. Anyway, it was a whopping $65, but they will not cover it.

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