Closing the electronics loop: Device Pitstop
If you’re wondering where electronics plug into your sustainable lifestyle, Device Pitstop in Maple Grove is a good place to start. At the store, you can shop, sell, repair or recycle your electronics. And since 85% of Americans own a smart phone, it’s no surprise that Device Pitstop knows a lot about the life cycle of smart phones. We asked store operations manager Brock Locker about the costs and environmental tradeoffs of smart phones and other electronics.
What are the most common smart phone issues that you fix?
When it comes down to it, most of the time, iPhone screens are always going to be the easiest and more affordable to replace than their Samsung or Motorola counterparts, or the main android manufacturers, just because of the way their screens are manufactured, and the way that the phones are taken apart.
Typically, to fix an iPhone screen, our price ranges anywhere between $120 to $300 max value. With Android it’s a different story: Samsung devices in particular, the starting cost is $250 and all the way up to $600 to the screen replacement. It’s more expensive just because of Samsung’s part itself costs more.
Motorola and LGs we don’t do a lot of. Motorola or LGs are cheap when it’s comes to purchasing and expensive to repair so people are comfortable with purchasing a new phone outright, and essentially throwing their old phone away, which is not great for the environment.
Liquid damage is an interesting repair. It doesn’t mean that the phone is completely gone. We do offer a liquid damage treatment. It allows us to go into the phone, take the screen off, take the back glass off, and then we put it through ultrasonic cleaner. That allows us to take off any microscopic corrosion that could be on a mother board or any other component of a device.
Usually, the repair is not guaranteed in any way. Every now and then you get one that’s perfectly fine after a liquid damage treatment, but a lot of times, we have to replace a screen or replace a battery, just because any kind of liquid getting into an electronic component can cause the component to fail early on or to not work at all.
How do you help someone decide whether to fix a phone or get a new one?
A lot of people have the misconception that when something doesn’t turn on anymore, or when something has had a significant amount of damage to it, they think it’s a total loss. But you would be surprised on what you can bring back to life post repair. People come in and their phone doesn’t turn on at all, and they think something has happened to it. We just have to put in a new battery, which can cost between $50-$100, and then the phone boots up.
If the phone is a total loss, then we can recycle it here. And since we specialize in certified preowned, and we can help the customer purchase a used device, and then they don’t have to buy a brand spanking new phone and pay the full retail on there. That also allows the device that they’re buying to stay in the world longer just because it’s not being thrown out. Think of it as a second life if it’s being able to be reused.
Any advice about trading up for a newer model?
We’ve seen a lot the carriers have good deals for trade in, like “Get a free iPhone 13 when you trade in your mobile device.” Then they look at your phone, and especially the newer model phones—think iPhone 8 and above—they have back glass on them. A lot of people have cases on their phones, and when they take that case off, they find out their back glass is cracked. So instead of getting that whole $800 trade in value they were promised on the TV ad, they’re getting way less than that.
But if you were to get the back glass repaired at our store, cost between $125-$200, then your phone looks as good as new. Then you also get more value for your trade in. And the best part about that value, when T-Mobile buys that phone from you, instead of risking some corporate conglomerate saying, we’re just going to take a loss on it and throw it out, you know for a fact that carrier stores are now selling used devices because people are trading in phones that can easily be put out on the floor and sold within a reasonable amount of time. The more time it takes to repair something, the more effort it takes, the less likely it is you’ll see it in someone else’s hands.
Do you have to buy something at Device Pitstop to be able to recycle electronics there?
There’s no cost involved, there’s no implication that you have to buy anything from me. It’s just so that way we get you in the door. We chalk it up as an advertisement. We get to advertise to someone who may have never known we existed, and they may have Googled "free electronic recycling" or "electronics recycling near me" because they’re wanting to do the right thing. They want to ethically dispose of something that’s at its end of life.
Learn more about Device Pitstop, Maple Grove: devicepitstop.com/maple-grove/
13732 83rd Way N
Maple Grove, MN 55369
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