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Protecting your Investment in iPhones
Would you like 2 Aspirin with that?
Last Updated: Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 8:45:15 AM

iphone in water:

Like any other piece of complicated equipment, it needs to be well cared for, and the reality is that they’ve become so commonplace that most of us take necessary care for granted.   We sit them on the counter near the sink while we’re washing dishes (so we still see any and all notifications); we have it tucked in our shirt pocket (keeping it close to our hearts) as we’re making a quick dash from the car in the rain, or we just have it sitting next to us as we’re enjoying the beach on our topical vacation (don’t we all like to take our ‘loved ones’ on holiday?).  

What all these scenarios have in common is that it leaves our favourite companion subject to its most bitter enemy – water.   Most of us are aware that we should NEVER throw our phone in the lake (although coincidentally, that little bit of knowledge still didn’t stop me from doing just that this summer) – but we’re pretty lackadaisical about just how little water/humidity/condensation might just trip that pesky internal water sensor and send our world spiralling out of control.

You likely understand by now that the real value of that iPhone that you’re putting into your Employee’s hands is upwards of $700.00 without the carrier’s subsidy, and most of us would agree that it’s worth it.   They’re powerful pieces of equipment that help us accomplish any number of tasks; increase our productivity and simplify our connectivity.

But when that sensor touches water - life as we know it changes.   We’re temporarily elated if the phone hasn’t been rendered completely useless, but soon after it becomes a ridiculous source of frustration for the user as the actual damage is slowly revealed to them (could be the home button no longer works, or your volume control is gone). So then what?

Well, first you’re going to find out that your 1 year limited warranty doesn’t cover water damage. Then you’re going to find out that your provider doesn’t subsidize your replacement phone in the same way that they did the initial one.   And then? Well, you’ll probably panic.  

When you’ve got a multitude of employees with iPhones, you’re at risk of having to shell out big bucks for the replacement of phones, unless you’ve done your best to mitigate those risks.   There are a number of choices:

1)       Implement a policy that shifts the responsibility of repair/replacement costs to the Employee

          in cases of failure caused by anything other than manufacturer defect.

2)       Invest in a protection plan; either with the manufacturer, or your carrier (these are available

          as a monthly device protection fee ($7.99, or as a one-time purchase $99)

3)       Invest in a higher level of protective cases (Water proof cases are now on the market for $75

         - $130, depending on manufacturer/retailer)

4)       Cross your fingers, hope nothing like this happens, and take your chances with the replacement costs.

Any one of these possibilities could be the right choice for your company, depending on your specific situation, but you do have to choose. Let’s be clear: avoiding the issue altogether automatically defaults to choice #4.   Without having a clear policy in place or being proactive in the protection of the equipment, you're on the hook for all associated costs without any recourse against either the employee or the manufacturer.

Do yourself a favour and take few moments to assess your situation: your number of Employees, their roles within the organization and the duties that they perform.   Once you’ve assessed the risk, you’ll be in a much better position to determine what level of protection is required in order to minimize that risk.

Jan Jolly is VP Operations for HPCI , a contingency-based expense management firm specializing in wireless telecom.

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