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Sony explains why using its official bootloader unlock tool voids your warranty

Sony explains why using its official bootloader unlock tool voids your warranty
You probably remember a story from a few days ago in which we told you how a number of customers ended up surprised that their warranty is voided due to them using the official bootloader unlock tool by Sony. We then reached out to the company in an attempt to get more information regarding the way Sony treats those devices, which have had their bootloadrs unlocked. Basically, we wanted to understand why a user's warranty is voided when they have used a manufacturer-provided tool. Our desire for more details was also intensified due to the somewhat vague statement found on Sony's site, which reads: "Please note that you may void the warranty of your phone and/or any warranty from your operator if you unlock the boot loader."

We now got a reply, and we have to say that we really appreciate the friendly and helpful attitude of the company regarding this issue. Here's what Sony Mobile's PR Manager had to say:

For most issues/problems, unlocking the bootloader voids the warranty. Sony Mobile only honors the warranty if it is a known issue in that model/batch of phones or if it is an issue that clearly could not have been caused by flashing a different ROM. Because a new ROM can have a wide range of consequences (e.g., it can overheat the battery or change the voltage, which can damage other components), that basically means that only a small subset of issues are still covered by the warranty. Therefore, even when the phone is in warranty, the service center usually has to do a very costly board swap in order to get the phone back to its original state before it can perform any repair. The end-user has to pay for that part of the repair.

We are proud of providing the unlock feature to the developer community. Previously, there was a large risk of bricking the phone when unlocking with third party software. Sony Mobile’s solution remove’s that risk. When we initially provided the unlock feature, it was presumed that only highly skilled developers and super-users would take advantage of it. From blogs and discussion boards, it was clear that the community understood the risks and that unlocking largely voided the warranty. It appears that less sophisticated users (despite all our warnings) might be using the feature, and are now surprised by the consequences.

By the looks of it, Sony is more concerned with users flashing a custom ROM, rather than simply unlocking the bootloader. Still, the official also says that known issues (like the yellowish tint on the screen of the Xperia S), are OK and should be covered by your warranty, even if you've used the tool, yet, some customers complained that their warranty wasn't honored. We guess that it will simply depend on the repair center that you visit, or even the person that will examine your phone. At least, one thing is now certain - if you have unlocked your bootloader, you still have chances of getting repair service, but don't count too much on it.

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posted on 03 Aug 2012, 03:50 16

1. loken (Posts: 462; Member since: 09 May 2012)

As always , great Support from Sony :D

posted on 03 Aug 2012, 03:53 1

2. nadar.bsm (Posts: 32; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

WTF... "less sophisticated users" .... the one who unlock the bootloader are either developers or teck geek.... we are more sophisticated users than those who live on the skins provided by the OEMs... android is open source OS so we do what we want to do...


posted on 03 Aug 2012, 03:58 7

4. Phullofphil (Posts: 807; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)

By the sounds of it you classify as a advanced user buddy. I like the fact they make that optional and I can understand why they would do that with the different kernels you can flash to overclock among other things

posted on 03 Aug 2012, 03:59 5

5. pyradark (Posts: 887; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)

then u brag once the phone doesnt turn on because of your error


posted on 10 Dec 2012, 12:26 1

14. nosxman (Posts: 3; Member since: 10 Dec 2012)

you do what you want to do, so why do you blame Sony on your own mistake, you suck or sony sucks?

people who do what they want to do, usually know exactly what they are doing , they know the risk, they take the risk, and they don't blame it on somebody else, they are sophisticated users because they have common sense.

posted on 03 Aug 2012, 03:56 4

3. Phullofphil (Posts: 807; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)

I wish Verizon alowed that with the same understanding about the warenty

posted on 03 Aug 2012, 04:00

6. Phullofphil (Posts: 807; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)

To ad to that if Verizon provides the tool they can keep track of the people that unlock wich would be smart.

posted on 03 Aug 2012, 06:14 2

7. andro. (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

I've seen phones come into us for repair with an array of software issues caused by failed implementing of custom roms,Its only fair that if you alter a product beyond the manufacturers set specifications then your warranty is void,hardware issues or not. you wouldn't take apart you tv set and customise the programming and expect the likes of Panasonic etc to honour the warranty would you? Everyone knows the risks when flashing,rooting etc,if you choose to do it then you accept loosing your warranty

posted on 25 Oct 2012, 07:15

11. Kvasi (Posts: 2; Member since: 25 Oct 2012)

So if I reinstall the OS on my computer you think it's fair it would void the computer's warranty?

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 12:17

13. nosxman (Posts: 3; Member since: 10 Dec 2012)

an OS such as Windows, a generic system, can be installed in any machine that compatible to Windows, then depending on the configurations of the computer we may add more applications to customize it. Windows itself causes almost no harm to computer's hardware, so it's never been an issue of warranty. Only those customization applications may damage computer's hardware.

In contrast, each phone model is equipped with an os which include customized applications for just this specified model only, the os+applications has been tested by the manufacturer to make sure it won't damage the phone's hardware. So I would call it a customized OS as opposed to a generic OS for computers. Thus when you unlock bootloader to install a different customized OS that has not been tested, there is a chance that this OS may damage the phone's hardware. If you were a manufacturer you wouldn't want to give your customer this kind of warranty, would you? your business wouldn't have a chance to survive :)

posted on 12 Dec 2012, 11:43

15. Kvasi (Posts: 2; Member since: 25 Oct 2012)

But there are a lot of customized OS out there for computers and none would void my computers warranty.

posted on 09 Sep 2014, 17:06

16. ShaunOfTheLive (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Sep 2014)


posted on 03 Aug 2012, 08:35 3

8. Techno (Posts: 6; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)

That's a wise decision from Sony. I imagine the loads of troubles that might have been cause by amateurs trying to flash their phones... bricking them and then sending them for repairs. While the customers are at fault, any company would not accept repairing the stupidity of these users since they are not supposed to be playing around with the boot loaders etc...

By the way, Sony HAS a great support. This can be observe with the reply they did give.

posted on 03 Aug 2012, 09:44

9. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

Less Sophisticated?? oh my god Sony, call them Normal Users or Casual Users.
What happened to your Corporate Business English?
Anyway, it make sense what they said, very good explanation.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 11:58

12. nosxman (Posts: 3; Member since: 10 Dec 2012)

I believe less sophisticated is the exact name for these users, normal or casual users would not need to unlock bootloader, they would not bother to mess with the system.

troubles often come from these users, who doesn't know exactly what they are dong? they're the people who follow step-by-step instructions and pray that it would work

those sophisticated users well understand the risk they are willing to take, usually they can always find a solutions by themselves if problems arise

posted on 03 Aug 2012, 15:57

10. sniper22 (Posts: 2; Member since: 03 Aug 2012)

Before you flame Sony PR for grammar, read what you just typed.

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